Fredericton — Winter Warmer is already brewing, but Picaroons devotees across the province are more concerned about the dwindling supply of the last batch of summer seasonal favourite Dooryard. The dregs were drained and bottled over a month ago, with shipments of the brew delivered to every New Brunswick city and town.
The end of Dooryard is symbolic in New Brunswick, heralding the end of summer, youth, vitality — even life itself. The shelves of the Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton liquor stores have been picked clean, a fact that has spurred a mass exodus of residents of “the big three” cities; evenings and weekends are now spent poking through every liquor outlet in every town from Musquash to Alma, searching for that last 4-pack of the emblematic beer.
Picaroons owner Keith Dunsford has observed this Dooryard desperation each fall, and has revealed that this year, the company has added a twist to amp it up. “We’ve engraved a ‘golden hop’ under the cap of the very last Dooryard that was bottled this year, and sent that one out in a shipment toward god-knows-where,” he explained. “The lucky Picaroons-lover who finds it can redeem it for a brewery tour, including a sample from the Winter Warmer Waterfall, a tube ride on the Simeon Jones Stream and a haunted hike through the Foxtail Forest.
“There’s no cash prize, but if they survive the tour, they’ll take over the brewery itself,” Dunsford added with a dramatic flourish. “But not until at least January, after the ’12 Beers of Christmas’ thing is over with — we don’t want some newbie messing with that age-old tradition.”
Some New Brunswick residents have put all other responsibilities aside to prioritise the search for the last Dooryard.
“This week I’m going to search the town of Bath; most people have never even heard of it. I really want this. I have so many ideas for Picaroons, like a beer flavoured with cinnamon heart candy for Valentine’s Day,” gushed an excited Susan Fellows of Regent Street, who explained that the cinnamon heart would ideally overpower the taste of beer, which she doesn’t enjoy. Fellows has already gone as far as spending a day just searching the Grand Manan liquor store, with no luck so far.
The “Find the Last Dooryard” contest doesn’t end until the cap is popped on the final bottle.