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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Quidi Vidi Brewery: St.John's NFLD

Back in 1996, David Rees and his business partner took advantage of an abandoned fish plant on the shore of the Quidi Vidi (pronounced Kiddy Viddy) harbour, just minutes outside of St.John's, and opened the Quidi Vidi brewery.

Quidi Vidi is a beautiful little fishing village with clapboard housing painted in bright colours protected by large cliffs on the opposite side of the harbour. The brewery is nestled right on the shore and offers a magnificent view through their upstairs lounge and paints a wonderful picture of simpler life.

A large group of us arrived at the brewery after walking around Signal Hill through mist, fog and wind, and the smell of malted barley called out to us. We gathered upstairs in the lounge and sampled from the QV line-up and listened to the brewery's next door neighbour as he played the guitar and sang folk tunes.

I had the opportunity to steal Rees away from another large event that was taking place at the brewery for a brief sit down to discuss his brewery and his beers. Rees, a engineer by trade, loves coming into the brewery everyday and has one of the nicest offices I have even seen. It over looks the harbour, the quaint village and the rock cliffs, has a tasting table and nice leather furniture, but enough about that. Let's talk about the beers.

QV makes a number of beers that are available at the brewery, the Newfoundland Liquor Commission and corner stores throughout the province and their only 1 of 2 craft breweries in Newfoundland (the other being Storm).

Eric's Red Cream Ale - a 2001 Silver medalist at the World Beer Championship
Honey Brown
Honey Brown Light
QV Lager
QV Light
1892 Traditional Ale
Cranberry Cloud - (beer based cooler)
Mummer's Brew - seasonal (didn't brew last year)
Iceberg Beer - currently in development

High Torque - a 7% alc. beer that was nowhere to be found

I made my way through the entire line-up and found the 1892 (the flagship beer) to offer the most flavour and aroma. I didn't care much for the two QV lagers, Honey beers or the Cranberry Cloud though, which was disappointing. Rees stated he has plans for three more flavoured beer based coolers: Blueberry, Pineapple and Orange. I wasn't able to sample the brand new Iceberg beer as it is still in the developing stages, but I did see the packaging and a bottle with the lightest looking beer I've ever witnessed. The Iceberg Beer is made using, well, Iceberg. The ice is melted and used in the brewing process. Niche market?

The brewery gets alot of visitors as the area is a tourist magnet and their retail store was fairly busy for a foggy Friday afternoon. Rees led us through the brewery, giving us a personalized tour and speaking to the basics of brewing beer. Many of the people I was with are Coors drinkers and have never stepped foot in a brewery and they had a great time learning how beer is produced.

If the beer was as beautiful as the brewery and its surroundings, Quidi Vidi would be a standout in the craft brewing world.

3 comments:

Crawler said...

Same thought when I was in St. John's last year about Quidi Vidi beers... so much potential, but total disappointment.

The Guest said...

"Crawler" must not have had the same Quidi Vidi Beer I had when visiting Newfoundland for the USA. The Beer is great, especially the 1892 beer. The tour of the brewery was also a interesting experience. It was very personable, enlightening and friendly.

Troy Burtch said...

I didn't find the QV beers to be anything special. The 1892 was good, not great and not far from a Rickard's Red.

The tour of the brewery was alright. I have been on a lot of brewery tours and while this one had beautiful scenery outside, the inside was a tad dirty and unorganized.

Hey - but to each his own. Thanks for commenting.

Cheers,
Troy

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