Brewing the Best of Home

There’s an old-fashion kitchen party held every Friday night at Quidi Vidi Brewery Co. It’s a spot where all ages – including the family dog – can come and celebrate everything grand about this place we call home. From music and friends to locally brewed beer and even a delightful mug-up; there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

The Spot to Be

“We have a house band that’s been playing for us for over a decade now, and it’s so much fun for the entire family – people even bring the family dog,” shares Justin Fong,  the Brewery’s Sales and Marketing Director, with a proud grin.

Seems there’s much to be proud about these day. Since opening its doors in 1996, Quidi Vidi Brewery has certainly grown. While the bar area used to be open only on Friday nights for the Kitchen Party, it’s now open for business every day at noon. This afternoon, like many others year ‘round, proves that the brewery is the spot to be when you want to quench your thirst. 

But it’s not just about sipping just any ol’ beer. Right now, Fong explains, they’re really working on perfecting the tastes of home with what they are calling their SaisonFest.

Collecting Crab Apples

Saison (which is French for season), is a style of beer that originates in Belgium. “It has a really wide style range, but it goes really well with fruits and berries and even vegetables. The whole premise of this series is to use different fruits and vegetables when they are ready to be harvested in Newfoundland,” Fong shares. From rhubarb, which has a “delicious tartness”, to a variety of locally-grown berries, QVB is willing to try just about anything. Though Fong admits that this year, brewing with crab apples presented a challenge.

“In 2017 we made a crab apple saison, a delicious beer, but we had a problem this year.” A June frost all but destroyed the delicious but tart-flavoured fruit.  “It was a struggle to find enough this year, so we actually put a call out on social media and everybody pitched in,” he says. Little wonder perhaps as a donation of crab apples was rewarded. Anyone who dropped off their goodies received an invite to the beer’s launch, among other goodies. Donations came in from all over, Fong says with a laugh.

“I had apples from New Harbour, from people who had summer homes out there and some even came to us from the west coast. It was great.”

Celebrating their Bounty

Quite different from last year’s harvest when he and a few other staff members spent about two hours climbing and shaking trees throughout Pippy Park.

To celebrate their donated bounty, Quidi Vidi Brewery will be hosting a ticketed event on Nov. 3. “The guys from Mallard Cottage are coming down and they will do a big  pig roast and we will launch three new beers,” says Fong. But don’t delay in grabbing those tickets – there’s only 80 spots available and tickets are only available online from QVB’s website.

Who is their expected clientele? Just about anyone, according to Fong. While there’s around eight beers on tap available year-round at QVB, beers in general have changed over the decades, and it’s all for the better, says Fong. “People are willing to experiment and try new styles of beer. We have a bakeapple beer coming up later this year. We use naturally available ingredients to produce amazing beers. It’s about flavour and variety and being different,” Fong says with a wide smile.

They’re even winning over wine drinkers, he says with a twinkle in his eye. Wine, he explains, has one ingredient; grapes. Beer on the other hand has water, malt, hops and yeast. “Then you’ve got blueberries, raspberries, spruce tips; whatever you want to add,  for a range for styles.”

Beer has Changed

Their saison selections, for example, are really light, citrus-flavoured, super carbonated beverages that go down almost like a bubbly glass of champagne, he offers. “It’s actually refreshing. When someone says, I don’t like beer, or I’m not a beer drinker, it’s probably because they’ve tried one style of beer ten years ago and they just didn’t like it. Beer has changed, and it’s great,” Fong says.

With to-go samples downed later that evening, this writer can certainly attest to that!  Cheers!

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