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A Guide to Newfoundland Breweries

Guide to Newfoundland Breweries

Newfoundland might be a bit late to the microbrewery game but we’re starting to catch up in a big and tasty way. While our oldest brewery opened in 1996, it didn’t have a lot of company until 2008. Now here it is, summer of 2017, and we have a dozen open or soon-to-be-open breweries right across the province and a newly started tour company offering beer tours in the capital city. For a province that’s typically known for mass brewed, but limited availability beers like Black Horse and India (Molson Coors) or Blue Star and Jockey Club (Labbatt) we’re becoming a legit craft beer destination.

If you’re visiting this summer and want to know where to find all this delicious new craft beer, I’ve compiled a handy guide to Newfoundland breweries. I’ve decided to leave out the two national breweries in town: Molson Coors and Labatt, and instead focus on smaller operations.

 

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Quidi Vidi Brewery

Quidi Vidi Brewing Co.

Quidi Vidi Brewing Co. opened for business in 1996 as one of the first microbreweries in Newfoundland and Labrador. It’s located in Quidi Vidi village just a few minutes from the heart of downtown St. John’s and offer brewery tours and tasting during the summer. My favourite of theirs is the Iceberg Beer, made from melted down local iceberg ice, making it a super pure taste.

Fact Sheet

  • Location: St. John’s
  • First Brewed: 1996
  • Beer Styles: 7 + seasonal
  • Availability: In NLC stores across the province

 

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YellowBelly Brewery

YellowBelly Brewery & Public House

YellowBelly was the first new entry to the microbrewery business in over a decade and remains the only locally owned brewpub in the province. This is one of the first places I recommend visitors stop for a bite and a pint. Housed in a fully restored building from 1846 the place oozes character. I’m a fan of the Wexford Wheat but if you’re a Guinness drinker, their St. John’s Stout can’t be beat.

Fact Sheet

  • Location: St. John’s
  • First Brewed: 2008
  • Beer Styles: 5 + seasonal
  • Availability: Growlers available at the brewpub

 

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Mill Street Brewery

Mill Street BrewPub

Mill Street is neither locally-owned, nor micro, but since they do brew right in the Harbour Drive location and have some recipes that are specific to St. John’s, they made the list. They’re paired up with BierMarkt and offer the largest selection of beer in town. It’s a fun place to get together with friends for happy hour $5 pints.

Fact Sheet

  • Location: St. John’s
  • First Brewed: 2016
  • Beer Styles: rotating selection of local brews
  • Availability: In NLC stores across the province at at the brewpub

 

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Storm Brewing

Storm Brewing

Storm Brewing is one of the oldest microbrews in Newfoundland and probably the one that people know least about aside from the fact that they’ve stuck to the Newfoundland style stubby bottles. They don’t have any public buildings and their supply can be spotty so it’s not always available but if you can get your hands on some raspberry wheat, grab it.

Fact Sheet

  • Location: Mount Pearl
  • First Brewed: 1995 (as Freshwater Brewing)
  • Beer Styles: 5 – coffee porter, Irish red, raspberry wheat, hemp ale, pale golden ale
  • Availability: In select NLC stores

 

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Port Rexton Brewing Co

Port Rexton Brewing Co.

Port Rexton Brewing Co. is the current tourism and local brewing darling. They opened last summer and couldn’t keep up with demand. It seemed the most unlikely thing, a microbrewery in a town of 350 people but Newfoundlanders were clamouring for more craft beer and the local community welcomed the out of town brewers with open arms. In short time, the taproom has become the hub of the community and people routinely make the three hour drive from St. John’s to have a taste. If you want a perfect day, hike the Skerwink Trail and then head to the Port Rexton taproom for a pint of Baycation Blonde. You’re welcome.

Fact Sheet

  • Location: Port Rexton
  • First Brewed: 2016
  • Beer Styles: 9 (available on rotation)
  • Availability: Growlers available at the taproom and on tap at 6 St. John’s restaurants

 

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Western Newfoundland Brewing co

Western Newfoundland Brewing Co

The Western Newfound Brewing Co is considered a nano-brewery, producing up to five kegs a day. It’s small but mighty…and only available in western Newfoundland. They have no public brewhouse but during the summer you can find their beer on tap at a handful of restaurants, like Galliott Studios in Gros Morne.

Fact Sheet

  • Location: Pasadena
  • First Brewed: 2016
  • Beer Styles: 2 – Cream Ale, Pale Ale
  • Availability: Select western Newfoundland restaurants

 

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Scud Runner Brewing

Scud Runner Brewing

Scud Runner Brewing isn’t open yet as of my writing but once they do this summer they’ll be the first microbrewery in central Newfoundland. The plan is for an open concept taproom so that patrons will be able to observe the brewing process. I plan to get out for a visit once they start serving.

Fact Sheet

  • Location: Gander
  • First Brewed: N/A
  • Beer Styles: 4 – Ale, Lager, Kolsch, Bitter
  • Availability: Not yet brewing

 

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Split Rock Brewing

Split Rock Brewing

Twillingate already has icebergs, whales, stupidly beautiful scenery, and this summer it’ll have a microbrewery. The owner group has a love of English-style beers so that’s what you can expect once they get up and running.

Fact Sheet

  • Location: Twillingate
  • First Brewed: N/A
  • Beer Styles: 6 – bitter, red ale, brown ale, stout, IPA, Belian witbier, cream ale
  • Availability: Not yet brewing

 

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Secret Cove Brewing Co.

Secret Cove Brewing Company

The third of the yet-to-open set is Secret Cove Brewing Company on the Port au Port peninsula. They’re  aiming for a late 2017 opening date so there’s not too much to say about it yet but you can follow them on Twitter to see the process involved in getting a new brewery up and running. They intend to run a seasonal public taproom as well.

Fact Sheet

  • Location: Port au Port East
  • First Brewed: N/A
  • Beer Styles:
  • Availability: Not yet brewing

 

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Killick Stone Brewing

Killick Stone Brewing Company

This is one of the newest kids on the block. Killick Stone Brewing Company still in the process of getting setup and getting approvals from government so you won’t be beer sampling after a visit to the WaterShed in Petty Harbour this summer, but I’ll update as I find out more information.

Fact Sheet

  • Location: Petty Harbour
  • First Brewed: N/A
  • Beer Styles: N/A
  • Availability: Not yet brewing

 

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Dildo Brewing Company

It makes sense that the town of Dildo would want to cash in on the popularity of breweries. They already get a lot of attention and tourism because of their name. Can’t you just imagine it on a beer label. :P They’ve received government environmental approval but I have no details about possibly opening dates. I’ll update as I find out more.

Fact Sheet

  • Location: Dildo
  • First Brewed: N/A
  • Beer Styles: N/A
  • Availability: Not yet brewing

 

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Newfoundland Cider Company

Newfoundland Cider Company

While not a brewery, I’m including the Newfoundland Cider Company on the list. They’re using previously neglected apple trees to develop ultra-local cider. While they’re working on building a factory to produce the cider, they’re not yet allowed to sell it. This is one to keep an eye on though.

Fact Sheet

  • Location: Milton
  • First Brewed: N/A
  • Beer Styles: Cider
  • Availability: Not yet selling

 

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All this talk of beer and breweries has made me pretty thirsty. It’s also made me daydream about opening up my own microbrewery on the Baccalieu Trail. I bet Brigus or Cupids would be a great spot. For now, I’ll content myself with planning a cross-province tour to check out all of the great brews coming out of Newfoundland.

Are you a craft beer drinker? Which brewery are you most excited about?

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