It’s been almost two months since my last roundup of what’s happening in Newfoundland beer and while there are a few very exciting things to report, for the most part the complexion of province’s beer scene has remained very much the same. Let’s run down through the areas and get a sense of where everyone is going into summer 2018.
Eastern Avalon Breweries
The biggest announcement on the eastern Avalon is the opening of Quidi Vidi Brewing Company’s tasting room. Open daily (for hours and tour availability see their facebook page), the space is a minimalist, rustic, clean taproom offering their core beers as well as a series of pilot batches from their new 3 BBL pilot system.
The rest of the eastern Avalon has stayed very much the same for the open breweries, with YellowBelly Brewery and Public House releasing new seasonal beers (including a collaboration with Central City Brewers + Distillers) and Storm Brewing rolling out it’s summer raspberry wheat to NLC locations.
The new breweries all seem to be under active construction, Motion Bay Brewing Co. (Petty Harbour) has posted on facebook they will be pouring by December 2018. Ninepenny Brewing (CBS) posted just today that they have begun work on getting their waterline capacity increased and their electrical permit opened.
Landwash Brewery (Mount Pearl) is on schedule to receive equipment in August and is currently working on their taproom and retail area construction. Finally, the Firehall Brewery is still under active construction on Duckworth Street in St. John’s.
From the current indicators, all of these breweries will likely be open by the end of 2018 but none will likely be serving beer this summer. Expect the months between October and December to have lots of grand openings on the eastern Avalon.
Western Avalon Breweries
Currently none of the breweries on the western Avalon are open, but it is possible two will be pouring by the end of the summer. Dildo Brewing Co. (Dildo) has brewed its first batch of beer, a dry stout, with the consulting stewardship of veteran brewer Greg Nash from Unfiltered Brewing (Halifax). With beer in the tanks, opening could be as soon as a month away for Dildo Brewing.
While there is nothing new to report on Brigus Brewing Co., Baccalieu Trail Brewing Co. is preparing for their equipment which is currently in shipment in Halifax.
With the best case for a system commissioning (electrical, plumbing, placing, testing) being around a month and a batch of beer taking at least another month, Baccalieu Trail might have beer by September, so file them in with the breweries in hoping for a fall 2018 opening.
Eastern/Central Newfoundland Breweries
Both Split Rock Brewing Co. (Twillingate) and Port Rexton Brewing Co. (Port Rexton) are open and operating at full capacity this spring preparing for the incoming summer tourist season. The big news in this region is the opening of Scudrunner Brewing in Gander.
While they have had to stop filling growlers for the time being, their tasting room is open everyday except for Mondays. It’s been years in the making for Scudrunner, so congratulations to them! Some of their beer has made it to St. John’s (Blue on Water, in particular) but for the most part you’ll have to visit their tasting room to see what they have brewed up. Their Red Ale seems to be the one with the most interest thus far.
Western Newfoundland Breweries
I have tentatively added Ragnarock Northern Brewing Company (St. Anthony) to the map, as they have stated a location and a target for a 2019 opening. Their facebook features lots of excited pictures of their homebrewing setup and they have released a small batch of shirts for purchase.
Bootleg Brew Co. (Corner Brook) and Western Newfoundland Brewing Co. (Pasadena) are both operating, with Bootleg being featured at a recent tap takeover at Adelaide Oyster House in St. John’s and Western continuing to ship cans across the island to NLCs in their crowlers.
Crooked Feeder Brewing Co. (Cormack) has been working to renovate their space and is in the process of building their pilot system with the help of a local fabricator. Meanwhile, Secret Cove Brewing Co. (Port au Port) has receved their steam boiler and is pouring concrete in their production area. They have also announced the name for their first beer, “Malt Water Joys.”
With the opening of Scudrunner, we’re up to eight breweries. They are: Quidi Vidi, Storm, YellowBelly, Port Rexton, Western Newfoundland, Split Rock, Bootleg, and Scudrunner.
From the current progress and posting online I suspect that the only brewery that will be pouring beer this summer that is not currently doing so will be Dildo Brewing Company. I also suspect that their will be a bunch of openings starting in September with Baccalieu Trail, Secret Cove, and Crooked Feeder all receding equipment currently and deep into renovations. Similarly, Landwash, the Firehall, Ninepenny, and Motion Bay will all likely be pouring nearer to the end of the year. That makes eight more on the way this year: a potential doubling of the number of breweries in the province between now and the end of the year. The current forecast will put Newfoundland at 16 breweries by the end of 2018.
As for the rest, it’s harder to tell from their social media. Ragnarock has not yet filed an environmental assessment with the provincial government and has stated 2019 as a target for opening. Brigus hasn’t updated any social media in over two months, so it is unclear how far along they are with their construction, if at all. Other breweries announced, like Boomstick (Corner Brook) and Rough Waters (no location yet), haven’t rolled out any new information about their planning, so they will likely be 2019 openings. Similarly, up in Labrador, Iron Rock seems to be rethinking their size and location.
2019 is shaping up to be the year of beer in Newfoundland where you will be able to try more beers brewed here than ever before. At least sixteen breweries with tasting rooms, stories, and interesting new beers are just around the corner. For now, follow them along on instagram, facebook, and twitter and show them your support!