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Kelp on the Way

Author: Communications

Posted on Apr 24, 2015

Category: UNB Saint John , UNB Fredericton , In the Media , myUNB , UNB Homepage

The latest beer from Picaroons Traditional Ales, a brewing company in Fredericton is made with one of the organically certified kelps, the sugar kelp Saccharina latissima, grown at an Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) site in the Bay of Fundy.Thierry Chopin (Scientific Director of the Canadian Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture Network (CIMTAN), based at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John), left, and Sean Dunbar (owner of Picaroons Traditional Ales, based in Fredericton), right, tasting the new beer “Kelp on the Way” made with organically certified kelps cultivated at an IMTA site of Cooke Aquaculture Inc. in the Bay of Fundy (photo credit: Dennis Goodwin).

Dr. Thierry Chopin, UNB Saint John biology professor and scientific director of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture Network (CIMTAN), approached Picaroons to make a beer using organic kelps. 

These seaweeds, with superior sweetness and flavour, are rich in proteins, trace minerals, phytochemicals and vitamins, and low in fats. They are rich in alginates, which we already use in our everyday life (as extracts to keep pulp in suspension in an orange juice in the morning, to giving the paste texture in the toothpaste we brush our teeth with in the evening), but can also be viewed as dietary fibers. Because of their composition and attributes, some nutritionists believe that, in fact, kelps should be recognized as being on par with other well-known superfoods.

‘Kelp on the Way’, which has 5.8 per cent alcohol by volume, is pitched as like drinking a dark, malty, smoky beer right after a cool brisk swim in the Bay of Fundy. “If you like sweet and salty combinations, then you are going to enjoy this beer,” said Sean Dunbar, the owner of Picaroons Traditional Ales. “The neat part is the way the salt hits your tongue at the very end of the flavour profile.”

“It’s kelptastic - it’s exactly what we wanted! A kind of toffee impression mixing the sugar and the salt together,” adds Chopin.

For Chopin, seeing how the first batch of 600 litres of ‘Kelp on the Way’ went in less than three days, and reading very positive feedback comments, is a clear indication that the recipe was right. The development of a very smooth beer with character and the combination of two great Maritime stories is certainly a winner. 

“Picaroons is a well-regarded microbrewery from New Brunswick, with a great sense of humour for developing unique beers with equally amazing names. This beer also represents our efforts at diversifying and commercializing our differentiated IMTA products,” said Chopin. 

“Seaweeds lend themselves very well to the Integrated Sequential BioRefinery (ISBR) approach. With careful planning at the time of harvesting and sequential processing, more than one product can be manufactured from seaweeds. Over the last decade, this is the strategy we have adopted with Cooke Aquaculture Inc.  IMTA kelps not only recapture some of the inorganic dissolved nutrients from fish farms, but we are also developing markets for kelp use in human consumption, for cosmetics, as a partial substitution in fish feed and for biochar production, along with organic certification we obtained in the spring of 2014.”