I recently had the chance to have a chat with Patrice Godin, the man behind Acadie-Broue beer, at the Laudromat Expresso Bar in Moncton (a.k.a Marky’s) over a Unibroue Terrible. Patrice is a man determined to bring something different to the local brewing scene and to highlight his Acadian heritage in the brews he produces.
Patrice has been a long time beer enthusiast who started a beer tasting club with 3 friends in 2001. The group would meet every Wednesday night and would sample three different beers of similar beer styles. Once they sampled everything that was available through NB Liquor and the local Pump House Brewery, they moved on to sampling different beers available in Nova Scotia, then Quebec and eventually took trips to Europe to sample different beers. Along the way Patrice has completed the Beer Judge Certification Program Judge level program. He has regularly judged for the Garrison Ultimate Brew-Off Awards and once judged a homebrewing competition in Boston.
In 2004, Patrice moved into homebrewing jumping right into all grain brewing with a long term vision to offer different styles of beer commercially. Patrice started out with a stainless steel BC-50 system. The system produces 50 litres / batch and is the system he uses to this day. Patrice estimates that he created about 40 batches before brewing professionally and has brewed with output into kegs from day one. Patrice’s education and day job as a Microbiologist has served him well in brewing. It has helped him understand fermentation and cleaning needs and is proud to report he has never experienced a contaminated batch.
Growing up on the Acadian Peninsula in Northern New Brunswick, Alpine was always seen as the “Acadian beer”. The idea of a beer brewed in Saint John with an English name being considered “the beer” in his area never sat well with Patrice. Patrice was determined to create interesting beers reflective of Acadian culture and to offer a beer by Acadians for Acadians.
In all, it took six years to get all the required permits to offer his beer commercially (this was a part time effort). The final hurdle to open his brewery on the outskirts of Moncton was a town hall meeting in nearby Ammon just beyond the city limits. Local residents had signed a petition to prevent the creation of the brewery as they were fearful or rat infestation, beer getting into the water supply (how is this a problem?), and increased transport trailer traffic. The brewery was approved by the slimmest of margins and since then the local community has become very supportive of Acadie-Broue.
Patrice puts a great deal of thought into the beers he produces and their names. As a BJCP judge, he looks to create beers that are very reflective of their style. His thinking is that if these styles have been around for in some cases hundreds of years they have stood the test of time and should be respected. He always looks to pick a name with strong Acadian references that is also very applicable to the style of beer that is being produced. In addition to his experience exploring different beer styles, he listed the Brewing Network as a key resource in identifying new potential beers to make. Here is a run down of his beers:
La Tintamarre is a Saison and is reflective of a typical Belgian beer. It is refreshing with medium bitterness with lemon and pepper notes. Patrice has never used the exact same recipe twice for this beer. In his most recent brew he added rye and wheat malt to add a spicy flavour and used both a Saison and French Saison yeast. Patrice noted this is his most difficult beer to brew as the yeast has a mind of its own. The name of the beer is a reference to an event which takes place on August 15th which is the Acadian National Holiday. The intent of the Tintamarre is to make a lot of noise to let the English know that Acadians are still here. Here is link to a past Tintamarre in Caraquet, N.B. on you tube.
La Bringue is a North American Brown Ale which ironically won a Bronze medal at the 2011 Canadian Brewing Awards in the North American Style Amber/Red Ale category. As there wasn’t a category specifically for North American Brown Ales, Patrice entered a sample from his third ever batch of the brew into this category looking for feedback. He was pleasantly surprised to win a bronze in the category despite having the color being considered off universally by the judges. Patrice uses lots of late hopping in this brew (Amarillo) and adds oatmeal to it as well. It has a very silky taste with grapefruit and chocolate notes. The name is based on a play that his Father and Mother (who was pregnant with his brother at the time) were in and is a tribute to to his hometown of Maisonnette. The term can loosely be translated as skank or loose woman.
La Boloxée is another Saison. This is a beer that looks like a stout but doesn’t taste like one. Patrice uses Carafa which is a roasted but not harsh malt and adds coriander to it. The term can be translated as “being confused” and was chosen to reflect that the taste of the beer doesn’t line up with what you would expect based on the look of it.
La Patente is a Stickle Alt. Patrice has sampled over 3000 beers and Alt (not necessarily Stickle Alt) is his favourite style. Patrice explained how typically in Europe most breweries focus on one particular beer style. In Dusseldorf, Germany, Alts are typically the exclusive style brewed. One day a year, without prior warning, a Stickle Alt batch is a special batch created as a surprise for clients. La Patente has nutty and caramel notes from the malt and a candy touch from the hops. It his fermented with ales yeasts but at a lower temperature to provide lager like drinkability. The term can be translated as “thing-a-ma-jig” and is a reference to a past Acadian secret society (where’s Dad? He’s at La Patente).
La Bénaise is a Belgian Pale Ale. This is an easy drinking, well balanced beer with pear notes as well as some orange. The beer isn’t grainy but more hay like. The term is a Cape Breton Acadian term and can be translated as “to be at ease” or happy. Patrice chose this name for the beer to reflect that it’s a great beer to relax and take it easy with.
La Kiebitz Coti is a Berliner Weiss. This is a very acidic, sour beer brewed with 50% wheat as malt and one that Patrice plans to condition in oak in the future. This is a beer that typically is served with flavoured syrups in Europe. Patrice added cotton candy to the brew to serve to balance the sourness of the brew. The name of this beer is a reference to a German military mission going back to World War 2. During the war, several German soldiers were captured and imprisoned in Canada. Being Canadian, we gave them the opportunity to read Atlases and send letters to their families in Germany (including escape and rescue plans). Based on their study of the reading provided, they determined that Patrice’s hometown of Maisonnette due to its dune, would be the best spot in Canada for which a German submarine to come get any of these escaped prisoners. It turns out one prisoner did escape and made his way to Maisonnette where the locals took pity on the poor guy and fed him prior to his rescue. Here’s a link to a French video on the topic. Kiebitz refers to a bird on the beach and Coti refers to rotten wood. Kiebitz Coti refers to the German misson to rescue the soldier.
La Gaboteuse is a collaboration Belgian IPA that was created with Big Tide Brewing in Saint John. Patrice stopped into the brewery and started a conversation with Big Tide brewer Wendy Papadopoulos and by the end of it they agreed to do a collaboration beer. Wendy asked Patrice to take the lead on this initial collaboration brew and he chose the style based on a brew that he recently sampled in Vancouver. As this was Patrice’s first attempt at the style, he used a simple recipe. The 7% beer was described as dangerously sessionable due to its easy drinking. The Belgian aspect of the beer is in the forefront as it is not very hoppy for an IPA (approximately 25 IBUs). It has notes of peach and pepper and was described by Patrice as tasting similar to la Fin du Monde. The name is a reference to someone who is driving a boat not far from the Coast. The name is fitting based on Patrice brewing away from home and the reference to Big Tide (the Coast).
La Picasse is a new Baltic Porter that has been listed by NB Liquor but has not yet been released for sale. It is has a touch of sulfur like a lager with lots of caramel and a bit of a prune taste to it. The beer will have a launch in the near future as early as sometime in May. The name is reference to being ticked off at something. Because the Baltic Porter is the most alcoholic of the porter styles it has bite; just like when you’re Picasse.
Collaborations with other breweries
In addition to La Gabouteuse referenced above, Patrice has also done another collaboration brew with Big Tide Brewing. The second time Wendy chose the recipe and they created a West Coast Pale Ale. Patrice has thoroughly enjoyed brewing with Wendy and hopes to do so again in the future.
Patrice will be at the afternoon session of the Atlantic Beer Festival. He is planning on offering up La Tintamarre and La Kiebitz Coti.
Patrice will also be the guest speaker at the beer and desert tasting event at Oktoberfest des Acadiens and sampling some of his beer.
Distribution / Future Plans
Acadie-Broue beer is currently available exclusively on tap at the Laundromat in Moncton. Due to the size of the batches he is producing, offering his beer in growlers is not feasible. Because of the high cost of expanding, Patrice is currently considering the possibility of contracting another brewer to produce some of his beer. He is in the very early stages of considering this next step but until he expands his production, distribution other than the Laundromat is unlikely for the immediate future.
A French version of this profile will be posted within the next few days.
Une version française de ce profil sera postée dans quelques jours.