Category Archives: Contemporary Beer

Newfoundland Craft Beer Roundup, December 2018

What a year it’s been for Newfoundland Craft beer! Looking back at my post from January, “What to Expect in Newfoundland Beer in 2018,” it’s great to see that so many of the developing breweries managed to get open and serving their beer so far this year.

And the year is not over yet! We still have one that looks like it’s going to be a photo finish celebrated with more than a few of their first beers. With three new breweries open (Baccalau TrailCrooked Feeder, and Landwash), one immanent, and one getting a brand new name (Bannerman Brewing Co.), let’s take a little trip up the TCH and beyond and see what everyone’s been up to in the last two months.

Eastern Avalon Breweries

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The biggest news in the metro region is perhaps the launch of Landwash Brewery. For total clarity, I write this blog, but also am a co-owner at Landwash. Landwash launched with four beers, all available in cans and most in growler fills: Hazures Rock Breakfast Stout, One Wave Blonde Ale, That Much Ocean New England IPA, and Brackish Sour Ale with Newfoundland Salt Company Sea Salt. Cans of all but the stout ran out due to a line of people outside the taproom on opening and a steady crowd of locals. Keeping beer in the taproom is the priority right now as production ramps up to a regular schedule, so more packaged product will have to wait until January.

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Quidi Vidi Brewing Company hosted a beer pairing dinner with the constantly-winning-awards Raymonds Restaurant and brewed a collaboration beer, Bogs and Barrens, an Imperial Gose with Bakeapples that – while a bit delayed – will be out in the new year. Billed as “something that could only be done in Newfoundland,” the can looks incredible and it promises to be one of the more sought after new beers when it comes out. Quidi Vidi has really pushed out this year with Calm Tom Double IPA and Day Boil Session IPA being breakout hits and their Open Saison line of fruit beers have ensured a saison is now a style that everyone has access too.

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The other big item of news is a new name! “The Firehall Brewery” has long been the stand-in name for the brewery opening up on Duckworth Street in downtown St. John’s but now it finally has a name: Bannerman Brewing Company. Their logo looks amazing and they look to be setting up a very polished looking space with some very cool beers. Right now the brewery looks on track for an opening in the first few months of 2019.

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In other soon-to-be-brewing news, Ninepenny Brewing Co in Conception Bay South is getting their final equipment setup finished up and on the way to brewing soon. Their taproom is shaping up to be a steampunk inspired space and their growlers (as they teased on their instagram) look great and almost ready to fill with some exciting new beers from Ninepenny.

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Meanwhile, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and with all of this new brewery excitement it’s important to remember the classics of Newfoundland craft beer and celebrate with a pint of Yellowbelly Brewery’s rotating Mummers Brew. Here is the scoop: “This years Mummer’s Brew is a light bodied winter warmer. Designed in part, to highlight the character of malt from the Alberta heirloom barley breed ‘Olli’ and a brand new Canadian hop called Sasquatch™. The lovely, soft, sweet berry character of this malt is elegantly counterbalanced by the beautiful citrus, melon, floral, earthy, spicy character of this unique hop. Lagered for 4 weeks and dry hopped to enhance hop character, this beer is approachable, clean and moreish. Medium length bitter finish. Strong. Mind yourselves.” The beer is in NLC locations around the metro region, but is it really Christmas time if you don’t have it at the pub downtown?

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Yellowbelly has also announced that they are setting up a second brewery, hotel, convention centre and more in an old church in Harbour Grace. Read more on that here.

Finally, Storm Brewing Co has instagram now and has posted a few great old shots of their beer in NLCs back from 1999. Currently it’s been hard to find Storm on the shelves, so fingers crossed a few new batches will be around before the holidays (edit: as I was writing this post bottles of Island Gold returned to select NLC locations)! Anyway, here is a great shot of some Newfoundland Beer History from Storm. Anyone still have a Millennium Ale bottle?

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Western Avalon Breweries

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We have another brewery opening! Baccalieu Trail Brewing Co. has opened in Bay Roberts (right on the edge with Spaniard’s Bay)! Offering four beers (an ESB, New England IPA, a Stout, and a Blonde) they have designed a beautiful minimalist tasting room that showcases the beauty of the Shoal Harbour Bird Sanctuary they overlook. Somewhere between a more tourist attraction brewery (the road trip from the metro region this summer will be a three stop trip to BaccalieuDildo, and a visit to the Newfoundland Distillery Company in Clark’s Beach) and a local taproom, Baccalieu looks to be set out to do great things.

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Over in Dildo, we can turn to a little more political news as they played host to provincial Finance Minister Tom Osborne who announced some tax relief for Newfoundland breweries. While Newfoundland’s taxation rate on beer continues to be the highest in the country by almost three times, this is a shift in the right direction as Newfoundland’s craft beer industry becomes a larger player in tourism, hospitality, and local job creation in this province.

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Still nothing new to report on the Brigus Brewing Co. We hope to find out more about the project in the new year and try to get a sense of when they might be opening.

Eastern and Central Breweries

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In the “no surprises here” category, we have Port Rexton cleaning up at The Overcast‘s People’s Choice Awards. In new beer news, Port Rexton has also released a new Helles Lager, Long Trek, brewed with Escarpment Labs’ Isar Lager strain. This is the brewery’s first foray into lagers thanks to two new fermenters that have once again increased their production.

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Up in Twillingate, Split Rock has brought back their Flanker Smoked Porter for the late fall season and continues to host local musicians at their Stage Head pub.

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Scudrunner is all dressed up for Christmas and seem to have found success with their Thunderhead Gros Morne Coffee Stout.

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Since announcing not much more has come forward about Union Electric. They are an exciting brewery to follow into 2019 as they work to add yet another reason to make the trip up the ever popular Bonavista Peninsula.

Western Newfoundland Breweries

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Out on the other side of the island we have two exciting developments. First, our third new brewery, Crooked Feeder, started filling growlers out of their brewery! They currently don’t have a taproom setup (look for that in the spring or early summer), so on growler fill or on tap in local restaurants is the only way to try their beer. Fingers crossed a few kegs find there way east soon! So far they have released Bonne Bay Blonde, Spillway IPA, and their Double Chocolate Oatmeal Stout.

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Second, Secret Cove has started brewing and are still aiming for an opening date before the end of the year. For anyone following the developments of our brewery community, this is great news as Secret Cove has been in the works for a long time and it’s so exciting to see it start to come to life. Their Hard Case in Your Face DIPA and When In Stout Foreign Irish Stout have both been brewed and will hopefully be available soon! With a DIPA on the initial offering list (and with a name like that) it sounds like some of the Nova Scotia brash and big IPA style might be finding it’s home here in Newfoundland too.

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Boomstick Brewing is still further out than most of the other west coast breweries, but they are a very ambitious project. Combing a hotel, restaurant, and brewery is a massive undertaking and the photos they are sharing on instagram show they are clearly doing it right. It’s a major construction project still, but from the looks of it so far this will be a huge destination on the west coast. At this pace, it could potentially be open before the end of the tourist season in 2019.

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Western Newfoundland – who were less active over the summer on social media – have returned with fresh “crowlers” of their Strout River Midnight Stout being distributed to NLC locates across the island.

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Bootleg Brew Co really look like they are always having fun making beer. From their new Deez Nuts Peanut Butter Stout to  their Juice Arse Milkshake Pale Ale, there are some fun beers and names coming out of Corner Brook.

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RagnaRöck Northern Brewing Company Ltd has announced it’s opening date with a ticking clock on their new website. It seems like they are targeting a late May opening and have begun renovations of their building in St. Anthony.

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Labrador Breweries

Yes! Labrador Breweries! Iron Rock continues to be a brewery that is under active development. Having ordered glasses and growlers, it seems more and more likely that by the end of 2019 we might have the first brewery in Labrador… ever?

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Rounding out the Dozen

Landwash brings us up to an even dozen operational craft breweries in this province, with three more brewing or about to brew (Secret CoveNinepenny, Bannerman) to bring us to fifteen early in 2019. For this count I don’t include Mill Street in the same way that I don’t include the Molson or Labatt Breweries in this province. If you want to count those, Landwash was brewery fifteen with the three on the way bringing us to eighteen but for clarity I will continue to use the twelve number to represent independent craft breweries in this province.

On the way in 2019 we have Boomstick and Ragnarock already working on renovations to their spaces, bringing us to sixteen and seventeen within the next six to eight months. Union ElectricIron Rock, and Brigus still in the planning stages. If they open next year, we would get to the twenty before the end of 2019. Additionally, the Kilick Capital Project is a potential new brewery where they are “seeking an energetic and passionate Brewery General Manager to run a start-up brewery. The brewery is to be commissioned from scratch with a package brewery plus one or more tourism centric brewpubs.”

By summer 2019 we will have fifteen operational craft breweries in the province that will have a few months under their belts to work out the opening kinks and dial in their production. I cannot stress how unique this is enough. In April of 2018 there were seven breweries in the province, where one year later there will almost certainly be more than double with all of them having several months of brewing completed. If you are thinking about coming to Newfoundland anytime, this summer is the time. You can see and be a part of the excitement of this new industry here and see the energy, enthusiasm, and enjoyment of a market developing for the first time. It’s going to be a wild year.

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Newfoundland Craft Beer Roundup, Autumn 2018

It’s getting dark earlier and the weather has decidedly cooled, which means it’s time for crisp evenings with crisp beers. And there are a lot of beers in the works for the next few months! We have a crop of six breweries fighting to get open by the end of the year, as well as a new addition to the Newfoundland craft beer list, so let’s take a little flight over the island to see what’s happening.

Eastern Avalon Breweries

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Three of those six breweries vying to open this fall are on the Eastern Avalon with Landwash Brewery, Ninepenny Brewing, and the Fire Hall all having received 15 BBL systems from DME in the past few weeks. Commissioning has begun on all three systems which means all three will likely be pouring by the end of the year.

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Meanwhile, Quidi Vidi Brewing Company has continued to work on new collaborative project and events with local businesses, including launching a beer in collaboration with the MerB’ys for their charity calendar.

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Finally, Yellowbelly Brewery and Public House has launched a new Blueberry Cider on tap at their brewery, while Storm Brewing has continued its rotation of Raspberry Wheat though likely we’ll be sipping on Coffee Porter in the coming months.

Western Avalon Breweries

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Baccalieu Trail Brewing Co., is another one of the six working towards opening soon. With their first batches underway already, they are most likely the next brewery to open in Newfoundland.

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Dildo Brewing Co.’s continued success has been recently covered in The Racket’s brewery tour of Newfoundland (read that here). And while all has been quiet on the Brigus Brewing Co. front, I do have confirmation that the project is still in planning and hoping for a 2019 opening.

Eastern and Central Breweries

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Our new addition to the Newfoundland Craft Beer list is Union Electric Brewing Co, who have announced their intentions to open a brewery in Port Union in 2019 (you can read more on the CBC here). It’s exciting to think that a Bonavista brew tour might be possible next summer!

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Split Rock Brewing Co and Port Rexton Brewing Co came together last week to take over the six taps at The Merchant Tavern in St. John’s. With some new beers, like Port Rexton‘s Drifter Gose and Split Rock‘s Oathkeeper IPA, it was a great showcase of the kind of beer events and interesting beers we’ll be seeing more of as our brewery scene develops.

Finally for this area, Scudrunner Brewing has continued their operations after a brief hiatus due to some plumbing issues and have oddly removed their page from Facebook.

Western Newfoundland Breweries

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There is a lot happening right now in the West! Crooked Feeder Brewing Co has brewed a batch on their first batch of Bonne Bay Blonde and are expecting to be selling beer in the next month or so. Work on commissioning Secret Cove Brewing Co’s 15 BBL DME system is underway with brewing likely commencing soon. It still seems down to the wire of which of Secret Cove, Landwash, Ninepenny, and the Fire Hall will open first this fall.

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Western Newfoundland Brewing Co has been somewhat quiet recently and their beer hasn’t appeared in St. John’s as frequently as over the winter months. Bootleg Brew Co seems to be having a great time playing with new beers and fun movie nights at their pub. And work still seems underway for RagnaRöck Northern Brewing Company Ltd who, having filed their environmental assessment, are aiming for a 2019 opening.

The Race to Open…

In the closing months of 2018 we have six breweries either brewing or in the final stages of getting their equipment placed and installed. It’s likely that Baccalieu Trail and Crooked Feeder are only weeks away from pouring their first beers. And it seems likely that before the end of 2018 LandwashNinepennySecret Cove, and the Fire Hall will all open their doors. That takes us from nine operating breweries (Quidi VidiStormYellowbellyPort Rexton, Western Newfoundland, Bootleg, Split RockDildo, and Scudrunner) to fifteen, which isn’t bad when you consider that at the beginning of 2018 there were only seven (both Dildo and Scudrunner have already opened this year).

Boomstick looks as if they are well on the way to opening with equipment being received at their Corner Brook facility. The remaining breweries (Brigus Brewing CoRagnaRöck NorthernUnion Electric, and Labrador’s Iron Rock Brewing Company – with the removal of their social media and webpage, Rough Waters Brewing Co has been removed from this list) all have longer timelines into 2019. With Boomstick likely bringing the total to sixteen early next year, if the remaining four projects continue we could reach 20 breweries by the end of 2019. With this rush to open by year end, we’ll need the winter just to catch up on all the new beers coming our way.

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Newfoundland Breweries, Mid-Summer Update, 2018

The summer is underway and we’re starting to see more of what Newfoundland will look like in the coming years as the operating breweries continue to expand their beer offerings and as many new breweries are receiving and installing their brewing equipment. Let’s take a another virtual trip across the island to see all the newest developments.

Eastern Avalon Breweries

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First, some sad news. Motion Bay Brewing Co, in planning in Petty Harbour have announced that they will not be continuing with their brewery project. Their commitment to the brewery scene here and enthusiasm won’t be forgotten.

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From Quidi Vidi Brewing Co’s instagram

In more exciting news, Quidi Vidi Brewing Company has begun canning operations with releases of their Day Boil Session IPA, Three Seasons Saison, and Folk’d Up Folk Festival Pale Ale all moving quickly off the shelves at the brewery and NLC locations. It will likely be a while until these are truly available in abundance, but for Quidi Vidi three new beers in only about a month all in cans is a huge step forward.

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Image from YellowBelly’s Facebook page

Continuing with breweries in operation, YellowBelly Brewery and Public House, now has a second public house: a new location at St. John’s airport. The space continues the cozy pub vibe of their Water Street location with the added bonus of letting you have a beer before your flight. They also have brewed a new cream ale for the Regatta. Meanwhile, Storm Brewing has their usual brands on offer at the NLC.

The Firehall has, as evidenced by them covered with tarps outside their Duckworth Street location, received their tanks and seems still under heavy construction. Hopefully more information will be coming our soon about The Firehall, as an opening is hopefully pending for the fall.

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From Ninepenny’s Instagram

Ninepenny Brewing is deep – literally, from the looks of their instagram – under construction with concrete being poured and coated over the last few weeks. Meanwhile, Landwash Brewery has their sign up on their Commonwealth Ave location and are preparing to receive their brewing equipment in the next few weeks from DME in PEI. (Again, for clarity, the author of this list is a co-owner of Landwash Brewery.)

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From Landwash Brewery’s instagram.

Western Avalon Breweries

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On the western Avalon we have an opening! Dildo Brewing Co. is now open for customers. After a very busy first few weeks and a menu reduction, it seems like Dildo is off to a great start. Meanwhile, Baccalieu Trail Brewing Co., has posted pictures of their equipment and are in the process of commissioning it. They will likely be the next brewery open the the public in the province… though there are several contenders to give them a run for that title.

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From Baccalieu Trail’s instagram

Finally, Brigus Brewing Co. has posted some beer names on their Facebook including Brigus Blueberry Blonde and Bartlett’s IPA, however, no further information about the project has been released.

Eastern and Central Breweries

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In exciting news for someone making these maps, there has been no change in the breweries in eastern and central Newfoundland and, even better, all are open and operating!

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Port Rexton Brewing Co’s Instagram

Port Rexton Brewing Co. just celebrated their second anniversary which featured a huge range of their barrel aged beers. It seems – at least from the lineup for their anniversary – that barrel aged and funky beers are becoming a larger part of Port Rexton’s brewing portfolio.

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From Scudrunner’s Instagram

Scudrunner Brewing Co has officially launched in Gander with a small tasting room and a range of more English-inspired beers. They have been pretty active in seeking out accounts, sending kegs into St. John’s with beers showing up at Blue on Water, Adelaide Oyster House, and Merchant Tavern. The tasting room is a welcome layover in Gander if you’re in the area.

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From Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV’s Instagram for Mill Street, St. John’s

Meanwhile, Split Rock Brewing, has been continuing to entertain in their Stag Head Pub with live music and lots of different beer options. They have sent their Red Sky Red Rye down to the Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV “Pier Garden” on the St. John’s harbour front if you’re looking to try their beer closer to town.

Western Newfoundland Breweries

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It’s impressive how many breweries are opening in the west of Newfoundland and how many are showing real progress. Considering that of Newfoundland’s small population of only just over half a million with two fifths of that on the Eastern Avalon and only thirty thousand in the Corner Brook area, Western Newfoundland could find its way to one of the highest per capita beer destinations in Canada.

One to note is Boomstick Brewing Co who have broken ground on their water main construction. While they have remained somewhat quiet about their development, this construction has prompted their addition to the list. Lose one, gain one.

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From Boomstick Brewing’s Instagram

The two operating breweries in the west have continued along their growth plans with Bootleg Brewing Co offering a new beer, Breaker Room Grisette, at Chinched Bistro and Western Newfoundland offering their “crowlers” through NLC locations.

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From Secret Cove’s instagram

Secret Cove Brewing Co in Port au Port East is in the race with Baccalieu Trail Brewing to be the next new brewery in the province, with both having equipment rigged and onsite currently. It will be interesting to see which of the two is the first to pour beer this fall.

Meanwhile, Crooked Feeder hasn’t updated much since their last pictures of a pilot system being fabricated and installed and RagnaRöck Northern Brewing Company Ltd has been selling t-shirt and dog treats while home brewing, but have not submitted an environmental assessment meaning their production is likely over a year our still.

Into the End of Summer…

It’s been a busy few months! For those looking for the newest of the new, Dildo and Scudrunner are both now open, so plan a trip and check them out. The operating breweries in Newfoundland now include: Quidi VidiStormYellowbellyPort Rexton, Western Newfoundland, Bootleg, Split RockDildo, Scudrunner, bringing us to nine (9) operating breweries.

Who is going to be number ten? Right now both Baccalieu Trail Brewing and Secret Cove Brewing Co have equipment in place and on site, so one of those is a strong contender. The Landwash Brewery is expecting their equipment in the next few weeks and have completed most of their construction to be ready to both serve and brew beer, so their install might happen quick enough to try to catch up. These three will almost certainly be open this year, putting the number up to twelve (12).

By the end of the year The Firehall and Ninepenny will likely round out the eastern Avalon section (bringing us up to 14), while Crooked Feeder might well be serving beer by the late fall too (which would make 15). From the current information is is unlikely that BrigusBoomstick, or RagnaRöck will be open this year, especially where two of these breweries have not filed environmental assessments to the provincial government yet.

So, mid-summer 2018 we have nine operating, with five or six gearing up to serve beer by the end of the year. The race to ten will be fun to watch, as will seeing if we can hit the fifteen mark this year.

I’ve tried to link as many instagrams and social media accounts as possible. Be sure to follow along with these accounts and the hashtag “#NLCraftBeer” to keep up with these new projects and to find out the latest about all the breweries in Newfoundland.

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The Eve of Summer, 2018

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

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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.

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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.

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The waterline construction for Ninepenny Brewery

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.

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From Landwash‘s instagram.

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

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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.

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Brewing at Dildo Brewing on their 10 BBL DME electric system. From instagram

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

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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.

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from Scudrunner‘s instagram.

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

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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.

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From Crooked Feeder’s facebook.

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.”

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from instagram.

Who’s next?

With the opening of Scudrunner, we’re up to eight breweries. They are: Quidi VidiStormYellowBellyPort RextonWestern NewfoundlandSplit RockBootleg, 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 TrailSecret Cove, and Crooked Feeder all receding equipment currently and deep into renovations. Similarly, Landwashthe FirehallNinepenny, 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!

 

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Defining the Second Wave of Newfoundland Craft Beer

After a flurry of announcements in late 2017 many new breweries have spent the winter planning and starting construction. Interestingly, after eleven breweries undertook Environmental Assessment – a key part of planning a brewery in Newfoundland – in 2017, only two have registered (with one completed and the other withdrawn) in 2018. Coupled with government funding through ACOA becoming harder to obtain, this wave of new craft brewers, starting with Port Rexton, seems to have crested into the second generation of Newfoundland craft brewers. As this is Newfoundland there will always be more waves and, it is worth noting, this wave doesn’t get us very close to saturation in this market without years of growth from these producers.

In this post, we’re going to run down through all the breweries and aggregate updates on all of them and point you to where you can follow along with their stories. With so many new names, people, and places it can be daunting to follow along, so hopefully this can be a little quarterly update on what’s happening. We’re going to limit this list to breweries that have given some indication of starting construction at this point and cover a few of the announced but in planning breweries at the end.

Eastern Avalon Breweries

Let’s start with the Eastern Avalon where we’ll go through the three first wave breweries: Quidi Vid Brewing, Storm Brewing, and YellowBelly Brewery and Public House; before moving to updates about the new breweries: “The Fire Hall,” Landwash Brewery, Motion Bay Brewing Company, and Ninepenny Brewing.

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Rough locations of the Eastern Avalon breweries

qv_logo_temp3Quidi Vidi Brewing Company (St. John’s)

Opened 1996, 20 BBL system – twitter – instagram–  facebook

Quidi Vidi is still undertaking renovations to its tasting room and getting ready to roll out some of the new beers brewed on its 3 BBL pilot system (see: “Local Microbreweries Launch New Association & A Pile of Events to Kick off Craft Beer Month”). Lots of work is going on down in the gut to get ready for the summer beer months and their new beers, Calm Tom Double IPA and Mad Mike’s Big Bad Belgian, have been met with positive reviews and brisk sales. More exciting stuff to come from the sounds of it.

Storm Brewing (Mount Pearl)STORM BREWING logo

Opened 1996, 7 hL system – twitterweb

Storm continues to operate as usual with its Coffee Porter currently on NLC shelves.

YellowBelly Brewery and Public House (St. John’s)421469_254532677986746_1540982760_n

Opened 2008, 10 hL system – twitterinstagramfacebookweb

Yellowbelly continues to produce seasonal offerings, with one coming out almost every month thus far this year (see: “YellowBelly Brewing Releases Partridgeberry Wheat Ale”). With their new retail location open and their airport pub underway (see: “Yellowbelly and Newfoundland Chocolate Co. opening at St. John’s airport in 2018“) 2018 isn’t just a big year for new breweries but also for Newfoundland’s first generation breweries.

“The Firehall” (St. John’s)

Expected 2018, Unknown Size

“The Firehall” has been in discussion for the past few years and it seems like construction is finally underway (see: “Something’s brewing at old firehall”). More information is expected soon and it seems likely that “the Firehall” will be a beer hall by the end of the year, though a final name and logo are still forthcoming.

Landwash Brewery (Mount Pearl)logo_nowhite

Expected 2018, 15 BBL system – twitterinstagramfacebookweb

Landwash is the last of the breweries here to have completed its Environmental Assessment, wrapping it up only last month. Having completed that and with development approved by Mount Pearl for their 181 Commonwealth location, Landwash is expected to be brewing on their 15 BBL system by the end of the year (see: instagram). For full disclosure, the author of this site is involved with Landwash Brewery, but for this post has only used publicly available information for all breweries including Landwash Brewery.

Motion Bay Brewing Company (Petty Harbour)26734180_1911818935514169_4877421357700803483_n

Expected 2018, 10 BBL system – twitterinstagramfacebook

Motion Bay have been moving along with their proposal to put a brewery in the Fisherman’s Co-Op in Petty Harbour (see: instagram). They also just brewed a collaboration beer with Mill Street Brewpub in St John’s (see: instagram). With development ramping up, look to try Motion Bay beers brewed in Petty Harbour by the end of 2018 (see: instagram).

Ninepenny Brewing (Conception Bay South)20171222-Profile2

Expected 2018, 15 BBL system – twitterinstagramfacebookweb

Ninepenny has taken possession of their brewery building on the main highway through Conception Bay South and have begun construction on their brewery space (see: instagram). More information is forthcoming, but they do have t-shirts for sale right now and look to be getting ready for a fall 2018 opening (see: instagram).

Screenshot from 2018-04-16 12-27-29

Ninepenny Brewing’s Building in CBS, from instagram

Western Avalon Breweries

The western Avalon has three breweries under construction right now competing to be the first brewery in the western Avalon to pour a pint.

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Rough locations of the Western Avalon breweries

Baccalieu Trail Brewing Company (Bay Roberts)30411509_1476803002430369_4522929780521172992_n

Expected 2018, 7 BBL system – instagramfacebook

Following along on their social media, it seems that construction is well underway with Baccalieu Trail‘s Brewery in Bay Roberts. With cement pouring, it is expected that beer will also be coming from Baccalieu Trail sometime in 2018.

Brigus Brewing Co. (Brigus)brigus-brew-co

Expected 2018, Unknown Size – facebook

Brigus Brewing Co in Brigus has been a little more quiet on social media, though they have indicated a summer 2018 launch date for both the brewery and a public house in Brigus. Their facebook page – their only active social media account – has been requesting names for potential brands, so pop over and suggest a few (see: facebook).

Dildo Brewing Company (Dildo)path7216

Expected 2018, expected 500 hL/year – twitterinstagramfacebook

With a logo launch and a pickup on all social media platforms, Dildo Brewing Co. seems to also be ramping up for a summer 2018 opening. With growlers on route, it seems likely that you will also be able to try some Dildo beer in 2018.

Eastern/Central Newfoundland Breweries

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Rough locations of the Eastern/Central Newfoundland breweries

This might be a big geographic area, but it lead the way with some of the first of the second wave of Newfoundland breweries with Port Rexton and Split Rock already operational and ScudRunner seemingly ready to open any day now.

Port Rexton Brewing Co. (Port Rexton)10348632_1662308620723263_8250040599029386789_n

Opened 2016, 4 BBL system – twitterinstagramfacebookweb

Port Rexton continues to produce some of the most modern craft beer in the province, rolling out New England IPAs and barrel aged saisons through their retail space in St. John’s (see: Atlantic Canada Beer Blog). With summer incoming expect to see more and more happening out at the Port Rexton Brewery in Port Rexton with their tasting room being open seven days a week starting on May 4, 2018. Also look out for their Melee in the Market featuring their beers and beers from 2 Crows in Halifax (see: instagram).

ScudRunner Brewing (Gander)

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Expected 2018, 10 hL system  – twitterinstagramfacebookweb

Of all the breweries under construction on this list, ScudRunner seems to be the closest to pouring beer and being open to the public. Over the past few weeks they have teased on their instagram with pictures of brewing and beers being poured into ScudRunner glasses. Expect ScudRunner to be open very, very soon (see: instagram).

Split Rock Brewing Co. (Twillingate)18157026_1669612626678355_4387190011828608044_n

Opened 2017, expected 635 hL/year – twitterinstagramfacebookweb

Split Rock opened last year and have been pouring upwards of nine beers at their hugely popular Stage Head Pub all winter. They are hiring for all sorts of pub related jobs for what should be a huge summer for this Twillingate brewery (see: instragram).

 

Western Newfoundland Breweries

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Rough locations of the Western Newfoundland breweries

Western Newfoundland seems to be one of the biggest developing areas for beer in the province with Crooked Feeder and Secret Cove in development with Western Newfoundland and Bootleg brewing already. With the potential of a 15 BBL system from Boomstick (who have completed their Environmental Assessment but have released no further information) the west coast could have the most craft beer per-capita in the province very soon.

Crooked Feeder Brewing Co. (Cormack)20729187_140725783189267_5837650312443964418_n

Expected 2018, expected 600 hL/year – twitterinstagramfacebookweb

Brewing, at least in a pilot sense, seems to have begun for Crooked Feeder. They have recently purchased a locally fabricated 2 BBL pilot tank which means production beer could be pouring from Crooked Feeder by the end of 2018.

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Western Newfoundland Brewing Co. (Pasadena)

Opened 2016, Nanosystem – twitterinstagramfacebookweb

Western Newfoundland has been expanding their market throughout the winter, selling Crowlers (1L cans that act like growlers) in NLC locations as far as the Avalon. Despite some quality control issues (as discussed on the Newfermenters facebook group), there seems to be a strong effort to improve the brewing process and packaging to ensure that customers are not disappointed.

Hello Newfermenters,
We’re excited to bring you a new round of cans. We’ve put a limited release into Corner Brook stores and will be distributing this batch of our pub ale in the Western NL region and St. John’s while quantities last.

We’ve made great strides in our cold process and are thrilled with the improvements. Stay tuned over the next couple weeks as we release new runs of Green Gardens and Beer: Tastes Like the Cans Says.

Thanks to all our supporters, critics, and even our vitriolics (Hey, I just made up a word!)
We’re always working to be better and that will never change no matter how good we get.

(via Newfermenters)

Bootleg Brew Co. (Corner Brook)16865160_1676363839330268_5453051430844603323_n

Opened 2018, 3 BBL system, expected 600 hL/year – twitterinstagramfacebook

Bootleg opened in early 2018 to sell out crowds and hosted one of the first all-Newfoundland brewery features during the first craft beer month in Newfoundland (see: instagram). As production grows to keep up with demand, expect to see more beer coming from Bootleg in 2018.

Screenshot from 2018-04-16 12-57-51

One of the largest selections of Newfoundland Craft.. ever! Via instagram

Secret Cove Brewing Co. (Port au Port)

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Expected 2018, 7 BBL system – twitterinstagramfacebook

Finally, Secret Cove has begun construction on their 6000 sq. ft. faculty in Port Au Port. Pictures from their instagam reveal a massive amount of plastering in preparation of their brewery. No timeline has been announced aside from a later 2018 launch (see: Secret Cove’s website).

 

In Planning…

There are several more breweries in planning that either haven’t completed environmental assessment or have parked but inactive social media pages. Boomstick Brewing in Corner Brook, has completed its Environmental Assessment but no further information has yet to surface about the development. Iron Rock Brewing Company (facebook), proposed for Labrador City, pulled their Environmental Assessment after indicating on their facebook page that due to demand they may try to open at a larger size than initially proposed. RagnaRöck Northern Brewing Company, proposed for St. Anthony, hasn’t registered any social media or an Environmental Assessment. Rough Waters Brewing Company (instagram/web), initially planned for Burin where they had completed an Environmental Assessment, seems to be planing to open elsewhere. Similarly little new has been announced for the Pig and Pepper Brewing Company (facebook) which has an inactive social media presence.

The Second Wave

With a number of summer 2018 openings coming up and with more coming in the fall 2018, 2018 looks to be the peak of the second wave of Newfoundland craft breweries. At the time of writing in April, Newfoundland has seven operating, independent, craft breweries. Three are from the first wave: Quidi Vidi Brewing (St. John’s), Storm Brewing (Mount Pearl), and Yellowbelly Brewery and Public House (St. John’s). Four are from the second wave: Port Rexton Brewing (Port Rexton), Western Newfoundland (Pasadena), Split Rock Brewing (Twillingate), and Bootleg Brew Co (Corner Brook).

If all the breweries that are currently in their spaces, completed Environmental Assessments, and under construction open we will have ten more: Scudrunner Brewing (Gander), Dildo Brewing Co (Dildo), Baccalieu Trail Brewing Company (Bay Roberts), Brigus Brewing (Brigus), Crooked Feeder Brewing Co (Cormack), Ninepenny Brewing (Conception Bay South), Secret Cove Brewing Co (Port au Port), Motion Bay Brewing Co (Petty Harbour), the Firehall (St. John’s), and Landwash Brewery (Mount Pearl). If all these breweries open this year, there will be seventeen independent breweries in operation in Newfoundland by the end of 2018. For four other breweries, including Boomstick Brewing (Corner Brook), Iron Rock Brewing Company (Labrador City), RagnaRöck Northern Brewing Company (St. Anthony), Rough Waters Brewing Company (Unknown), it’s still to early to tell if they will be operational this year.

Keep in mind, many of these breweries are, even by microbrewery standards, very small with most producing under 1000 hL (or 10,000 L) annually. It will be a while until some of these breweries cross the 3000 hL line into a true production microbreweries and until we have four or five at that size Newfoundland will continue to be under-saturated with local, independent breweries. At this point only one, Quidi Vidi, is clearly above that line and who grows fastest of this new wave will be something very interesting to watch over the next few years as this wave establishes itself.

Still, rounding the corner to almost twenty breweries is a landmark in Newfoundland’s beer history and with a majority of the first wave keeping pace with the newcomers, the next few years of drinking beer in Newfoundland should be better than ever.

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What to Expect in Newfoundland Beer in 2018

Happy New Year! And what a year it’s shaping up to be for Newfoundland beer. We’ve got so many new breweries in the works and many of our existing breweries are turning a corner or expanding to offer more beer and ways to get it. Let’s run down through the projects and see what’s happening.

Oh, and if you haven’t already, check out the East Coast Crafted book by Whitney Moran and Christopher Reynolds. It puts a lot of this recent growth in context and shows just how much there is left to do even with this recent boom of breweries. While all the breweries coming up in Newfoundland might feel like a lot, for other provinces with similar populations we’re still playing a lot of catch up.

Let’s start with the first wave breweries. The legal dispute that seemed endless has finally settled for Quidi Vidi Brewing. With the end of the stalemate that held the brewery to business as usual there is a new sense of excitement that Quidi Vidi can pivot to a more craft-driven model with new beers alongside their classics like Iceberg. Yellowbelly Brewpub has opened a separate retail shop for their beers and pizzas a little further down Water Street and have also announced that they will be opening a full service restaurant at the airport in St. John’s. Meanwhile, Storm Brewing seems to be holding with their current lineup and availability of beers.

The opening of Port Rexton Brewing ushered in a more modern, mainland facing and connected, era of craft brewing in Newfoundland. With co-owners Alicia McDonald and Sonja Mills pushing for a new school of craft breweries to open on the island, a wave of new breweries have announced their intention to open in the next year or two. Look out for their beer now in St. John’s at their retail location on Torbay Road.

Both Western Newfoundland Brewing Company is Pasadena and Split Rock Brewing in Twillingate opened and started pouring beer in 2017, so expect to see their products roll out to more places like Jack Axes who seems to be gunning for the mantle of best place in Newfoundland to try beer from here.  Both breweries (along with Port Rexton) were featured at Stillwell in Halifax for the launch of East Coast Crafted, which is perhaps the most beer from Newfoundland breweries ever poured off the island.

As for new breweries opening soon, Scudrunner Brewing in Gander is expected to open in early 2018, with Dildo Brewing in Dildo and Secret Cove Brewing in Port au Port East are seemingly under development enough to be open in the coming year. Rough Waters Brewing Company in Burin is also targeting a spring release. The unnamed Firehall Brewery project on Duckworth Street (lead by Phil Maloney of Hey Rosetta! fame) in St. John’s might also be ready to pour beer this year.

In planning stages, Motion Bay in Petty Harbour, Ninepenny in Conception Bay South, and an upcoming Brewery Project in Mount Pearl are also looking to build up this year with either a late 2018 or early 2019 pouring date. Additionally, Crooked Feeder Brewing in Cormack and Bootleg Brew Co in Corner Brook are also still in the planning stages. As is Boomstick Brewing, also in Corner Brook, who have begun the stages of an environmental assessment. Additionally, Baccalieu Trail Brewing Company in Bay Roberts and the Brigus Brewing Company in Brigus have begun their environmental assessments. And RagnaRöck Northern Brewing Company is hoping to have beer by 2019, too.

For those keeping track, the operating list includes Quidi Vidi, Yellowbelly, Storm, Port Rexton, Western Newfoundland, and Split Rock (6). The “in planning” list includes Scudrunner, Dildo, Secret Cove, Rough Waters, the Firehall project, Motion Bay, Ninepenny, the Brewery Project in Mount Pearl, Crooked Feeder, Boomstick Brewing, Baccalieu Trail Brewing Company, Brigus Brewing, RagnaRöck Northern Brewing Company, and Bootleg Brewing (14). That’s potentially 20 breweries operating in the province by the end of 2018 or in early 2019.

At this development pace, Newfoundland could potentially have 20 breweries by 2020. For a province which for so many years was seeming locked at three craft breweries, these are exciting times. Which one are you most excited about? Something new or are you excited about more things from a brewery you’ve loved for years? With so many options about to come around, drinking good beer in Newfoundland is about to be much easier.

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NL Brewery News, August 2017

Let’s check in on the status of some brewery projects around the island. Here are a few news stories you should check out from the last few weeks.

If you’re interested in a great weekly update about all of Atlantic Canada, check out the Atlantic Canada Beer Blog which is updated every Friday with all of the news.

Western Newfoundland Brewing Company

The Atlantic Canada Beer Blog reports that WNBC will be releasing some new beers, one of which is a spruce beer inspired by James Cook, as per the CBC.

Split Rock Brewing Co.

Out in Twillingate, The Overcast reports that Split Rock will be operational soon  with seven, more English-inspired beers on tap. See page 11 of the July issue for more information.

Dildo Brewing Company

The Overcast also reports that the Dildo Brewing Company has won the  $12,500 Albedo Grant, which will help them get their interesting brewery and museum on the way to operating. See the cover story (pages 14-15) of the July issue of The Overcast for full details.

Port Rexton Brewing

Finally, Port Rexton was in Halifax pouring beer at the Seaport Beer Festival and got a chance to brew with the folks at 2 Crows Brewing Co  while they were out there. Looks like a fun time!

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