I recently visited New Brunswick’s Acadian Peninsula for the annual National Acadian Day holiday on August 15. While in the seaside town of Caraquet, I took a short trip out to the nearby community of Petit-Paquetville to sample some spirits that racking up the awards and earning Distillerie Fils du Roy international acclaim and attention.
A distillery AND brewery
Owned and operated by the endlessly creative Sébastien Roy, the distillery is unique in that it produces top-quality craft spirits and a unique selection of craft beers, also brewed on site. I visited on a searing hot Friday morning, and was warmly greeted (in French and English) by the distiller’s family, who were running the show that day.
We were taken on a tour and led through the tasting by Sébastien’s father, who told us about Fils du Roy’s remarkable list of successes in just a few short years. In the barrel room, we could see the variety of interesting spirits that will be bottled in the coming months.
The tour continued through to the brewery side, with its gleaming steel kettles, loaded up with the next seasonal brew.
Back in the tasting room, we were led through one beer and four of Fils du Roy’s winning spirits:
- The summer beer, La Messe Blanche, a 7% ABV Wiezenbock
- The vodka, Grande Bagosse
- The bold absinthe, Courailleuse
- The anise-flavoured, pastis-style liqueur, Thério
- The gin, Gin Thuya
The spirits were served to us in an order that would bring out the most noteworthy aspects of each one. The vodka was served neat, the absinthe diluted in water (1:5 ratio), the pastis-style liqueur neat, and the gin with some San Pellegrino Aranciata orange soda to bring out the citrus notes.
I picked up a bottle of gin and it was soon put to good use, as a fog bank took hold off the coast of Nova Scotia, leading to days of unrelenting heat and humidity. In addition to winning international spirit competitions, Gin Thuya saved the weekend, one gin and tonic at a time.
Discovering Fils du Roy’s craft beers
On the tour, I learned Fils du Roy (presently) makes one beer per season, starting in December 2014. Before heading out for a drink at a local boîte, I found the beers for sale at the Caraquet Alcool New Brunswick Liquor outlet, so I picked up a bottle of the rapidly-disappearing Stella Maris just in case I didn’t encounter it again.
Lucky me, I managed to sample three of those seasons in one long weekend. My beer-tasting adventure started at La Chope, a charming craft beer shack on the Caraquet waterfront (Le Carrefour de la Mer) that is attached to the larger La Brôkerie next door.
That night, two of the six taps featured Fils du Roy beers – La Messe Blanche and the Stella Maris, a 7.5% ABV Bière de Garde spring beer.
Again, luckily for me, one of my friends joining our Fête Nationale celebrations held on to a bottle of Caraquet Flyer, an 8.5% ABV Eisbock-style ice beer, the winter beer released this spring due to the administrative and bureaucratic challenges on selling liquor in Canada.
Finding Distillerie Fils du Roy
Located in the small community of Petit-Paquetville on New Brunswick’s Acadian Peninsula, the distillery is a bit off the beaten path, but well worth the visit.
For more information:
Distillerie Fils du Roy
599 Chemin Principale, Paquetville, NB
Visit the distillery’s Facebook for news and product information
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