This is a research blog so I ought to include a summary of some of the topics in Newfoundland’s brewing history I am looking for information about or in the process of researching.
- The strike of 1986, where the local breweries were shut down for several months causing the import of numerous low-end American brands (Old Milwaukee, Pabst Blue Ribbon)
- Dominion Ale / Bennett Brewing’s Newfoundland Songbook
- Other breweries and microbrews. In particular the brewing done at the Duke of Duckworth and the reports of Brewing at Fog City in the Avalon Mall
- Bison Brewing in Stephenville
- The homebrew culture in Newfoundland, particularly the story of the homebrew supply shop Brewery Lane
- Newfoundland Prohibition
- Details on the takeovers by Molson, Carling, and Labatt
- More general detail on the key historical breweries (who worked their, etc.)
Any topics you think I’ve missed? Have any information about these topics? Let me know!
I was poking through some old issues of The Newfoundland Quarterly from WWII this morning and I found a really great advertisement for Newfoundland Breweries’ India Pale Ale. It boasts that 90% of the malts and hops used in the India Pale Ale are still from Brittan and that drinking IPA is your patriotic duty. Demand it!
From The Newfoundland Quarterly, Volume 40, Issue 2, Autumn 1940.
So a few posts back I mentioned that Quidi Vidi Brewing brought the IPA style back to the island after a far too long hiatus. IPA’s are one of the most popular craft beer styles in North America, so it’s really about time Newfoundland started to catch up.
There are several varieties of IPA, the more popular style is the American West Coast IPA which has big fruit and floral aromas from the hops, while the British is slightly more malt-centered with a rich, citrus-copper bitter finish.
I am very fortunate to have a friend who was willing to ship eight bottles up to Toronto so I could give it a try. I don’t want to discuss the taste to much on here, it’s not the function of this blog to review beer, but I strongly suggest that if you are in Newfoundland then you should to drop down to the brewery and pick up at least a 6 pack! It’s exciting to see beers coming from Newfoundland with a more pronounced hop character.
Quidi Vidi Brewing British IPA, circa 2012
The haul in Toronto.
Today, a few more advertisements of beers by the Newfoundland Brewery Limited, India Beer and India Pale Ale.
An unnamed young man sings about his India Beer in The Collegian, 1974-1975 (the yearbook of Prince of Wales Collegiate, a high-school in St. John's).
This one from Burkes Ballades (1960?) offers free home delivery!
India beer advertised with a lesser known brand, London '53. From The Atlantic Guardian, 13, 1956 (page 23).
From the Newfoundland Who's Who, 1937 (page 13), three men enjoy frothy glasses of India Pale Ale.
Bennett Brewing was one of the most powerful and popular breweries in Newfoundland in the 1950s. In the 1950s there were many advertisements claiming that the “big three” beers in Newfoundland were Dominion Pale Ale, Dominon Stout, and Rainbow Beer. Here are a few examples:
The "big three" as advertised in the Adelphian, the school magazine of St. Bonaventure's College in St. John's, in 1955.
A similar advert from volume 13 (page 23) of the Atlantic Guardian from 1956. They were celebrating Corner Brook's amalgamation.
A slightly more bland one from volume 31, issue 4, page 2, of the Newfoundland Quarterly from 1931.
This one, found on the cover of Burke's Ballads (compiled by Johnny White sometime near 1960) celebrates the milestones of Newfoundland's history.
The connection between Newfoundland music and Bennett Brewing is one I plan to explore in a future post. The Newfoundland Songbook in it’s many volumes was presented by Bennett Brewing and/or Dominion Ale is a major part of Newfoundland’s Brewing Heritage. I’ll be reviewing an article by Paul Mercer and Mac Swackhammer “`The singing of old Newfoundland Ballads and a cool glass of good beer go hand and hand’: Folklore and `Tradition’ in Newfoundland Advertising” Culture and Tradition 3 (1978) 36-45.
Another somewhat bland advert from the 1937 Newfoundland Who's Who, page 52
An advert for Haig Ale and Stout from 1926.
It’s interesting to note the medial sounding tone of the 1926 advertisement. This would be from only two short years after the end of Newfoundland’s bout with prohibition, so the medicinal aspect was still quite important, as that is how many of these breweries stayed in business during those years.
This is more about current events than about brewing history, but I am happy to announce that Quidi Vidi Brewing are bringing the IPA style back to the island. No IPAs have been brewed commercially (as far as I know) in Newfoundland for home consumption (though Yellowbelly’s Hodge Podge seasonal was close) since the end of the “India Pale Ale” by Newfoundland Brewery (excepting homebrew, of course).
This is a British IPA, not a more America hop-heavy version, about which they state: “IPA’s are brewed strong and are highly hopped originally to withstand the voyage from England to India.” While I’m not in Newfoundland right now I do have some pictures provided by my folks.
A picture of the Quidi Vidi British India Pale Ale seasonal, circa March 17, 2012.
A close up of the British IPA label, circa March 17, 2012.
If all goes well I might have a couple of bottles to sample in Toronto later this week. If that happens I’ll update with some thoughts on the taste and a high-quality label scan. Hopefully it’s hopped enough to survive the voyage up!
More digging through old Atlantic Advocates today has yielded another gem of an advertisement! This old India Beer advert, from 1959, has to be one of my favorite. Note the label is like the one on the timeline, giving us a little more confidence that the diagonal India label was around for most of the 1950’s (that’s the bottle label, not the head stock one). I especially love the slogan “What Newfoundlanders Make, Makes Newfoundlanders,” which would be a great slogan for a contemporary craft brewery.
India Beer advert by Newfoundland Brewery Limited, from The Atlantic Advocate, June, 1959.
Just a note: I’m guessing this was in the June issue due to Cabot’s landfall in Newfoundland somewhere near June 24, 1497. This would have been just in time for the “Cabot 462” celebration!