Lone Oak Brewing is opening their doors in Borden-Carleton on Prince Edward Island this weekend. Located at 103 Abegwait Blvd in Gateway Village, this is your first (and/or last) stop when visiting the Island. Spencer Gallant, Jared Murphy, and Dillon Wight are the co-founders, co-owners, and all-Islanders, having met while studying and playing varsity sports at the University of Prince Edward Island. Together with friend and jack of all trades (and fellow Islander) Dan Hendricken, they are excited to bring Lone Oak to Islanders and visitors alike. With a wide range of backgrounds in professional and personal lives, the four each bring a wealth of knowledge to the full Lone Oak experience. We spoke with Head Brewer Spencer Gallant to learn more about Lone Oak, his journey in and through beer, and what you’ll soon be enjoying from them.
How did you get into the world of beer?
My beer journey began in the last year of my undergrad at UPEI. Being in Chemistry, I have a passion for science and wanted to apply this to a career. I then applied for a part time gig at PEI Brewing Company on their packaging line, in hopes to segue into brewing. After several months putting bottles into boxes, I was granted time in the cellar to learn the trade of brewing under Chris Long and Bob Lawrence. After this, I was hooked. Picking up any brewing book I could, studying for the Diploma in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, gaining knowledge any way possible. Most recently I am finishing up graduate research on wild growing hops in the Maritime region. And here we are now.
What made you decide to take the steps into opening a brewery?
Isn’t it every brewer’s dream to have his/her own brewery? While working with PEIBC/Gahan for 6 years, I was involved in the process of opening up a brewery from start to finish on 4 different occasions. This gave me the confidence and knowledge to do so on my own. I know the styles of beer I want to make, and the way I want to see them marketed. Being able to have control on the product in every aspect was important to me, and wasn’t always a reality when working for somebody else.
What is the culture or ethos of the brewery?
Local, local, local. We want to push local ingredients in our beers and create a local hub in central PEI. We have the opportunity to be the first point of contact with tourists given our location, so we plan to showcase all the talent on our Island. From our table and chairs, tap handles, artwork and decor, to our beer ingredients, we push for local. We’re featuring malt from both Shoreline Malting and Island Malt House, hops from Darlings Island Hop Farm (currently located in New Brunswick), and the apples for our cider are from Red Shore Orchards in Montague. Our brewery will have a pretty laid back feel to it, for anyone to enjoy. Quality. Local. Simple. It’s just beer.
Can you tell us about the beers you plan on offering initially?
Overall, the beers that well be produced at Lone Oak will be crisp, sessionable beers ranging through hop styles, lagers, and mixed fermentations, with the occasional outlier of a seasonal.
Yankee Gale Pale Ale – 5.7% – Hazy pale ale loaded up with hops to drive a tropical forward beer with undertones of citrus and pine. Features Amarillo, Cascade, and New Zealand Moutere.
South Shore Sour – 5.0% – Fermented with a blend of Lactobacillus and Saccharomyces delivers a fruity sour with notes of guava, melon, and fresh lemon zest. Expect fruited variations of this down the road. Hops in this initial release are El Dorado.
Fixed Link Maritime Pilsner – 4.7% – Brewed will all PEI-grown malt and New Brunswick-grown Magnum and Ultra hops. German inspired with the maritime terroir. This pils is dry, crisp and clean with a Noble hop character.
Iron O3chard Hard Cider – 5.5% – An ode to the rust that gives Island dirt its iconic red colour, Iron O3chard is made with a blend of PEI MacIntosh and Cortland apples. It’s a dry cider with notes of white wine and fresh picked apples. Expect to see some barrel aged/Brett ciders down the road.
That is the starting line up – we do have some seasonals in the works including a Foeder Aged Stout, mixed ferment saisons.
How will folks be able to enjoy these and future releases?
We have a 100 person taproom on site, complete with a stage to host events and parties, where customers can sit in for a pint (or several). Our retail shop has growlers and cans to go (and merch too!). In addition, our cans will be available in the PEILCC stores next month.
How about elsewhere on the Island?
Most certainly. We are still in the relationship building phase, but we have commitment from about 15 accounts locally. Including our good friends Mike and Brett of HopYard Beer Bar in Charlottetown.
Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?
Very fortunate to have a lot of friends and colleagues in the brewing industry here locally. The gang at PEIBC has been willing to help in a number of aspects, so thank you to them all. Big bad Bryan Carver was also a big help in getting some setup done. Other brewers; Jeremy Taylor, Matt Kenny, Kyle Jeppsen, Mark Patriquin, Ken Spears, Matt Martel allowed me to bend their ear a bit for brewing and start up issues.
Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
Always growing. We hope to crack into other markets in Atlantic Canada over the next couple years, as well as a taproom in a more urban centre. We hope to build a strong sense of community with the surrounding areas of our brewery and have a thriving local watering hole.
Let’s get nerdy, tell us about the lovely brewhouse and equipment we can see from the taproom.
We’re rocking a 10 BBL (1200 litre) 2-vessel system from Specific Mechanical in Victoria, British Columbia. We’ve paired it with six 20 BBL (2400 litre) fermentation vessels, to let us rotate through a variety of beers.
Care to share some info on your brewing history (at home or commercially)?
I may have already touched on this in a previous question but; 6 years at PEIBC/Gahan with a variety of roles during my time there. Working in packaging, QC, cellaring/filtration. innovation brewer, shift brewer, to managing the brewing at 5 Gahan pubs. I have actually never homebrewed at home. The first batch of beer I ever made was 5000 litres. Courses at the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, and my graduate research at UPEI helped add to my brewing skill set. I am also an active member of the American Society of Brewing Chemists and have given presentations at conference across North America.
Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
Honestly, I love a lot of styles of beer. They all have a place and time to be consumed. But if I were to pick a beer that I could drink forever, it would be Saison DuPont. Its just perfect. Other breweries I really look up to are; Allagash, Oxbow, and Brasserie de la Senne.
How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
I like to keep it simple. 1 malt, maybe 2-3 if I’m feeling groovy. And same goes for hops. Adding more ingredients doesn’t necessarily add more complexity to the beer, but can take away from it. At the Lone Oak, I am going to be pushing for local ingredients, so why not showcase what our suppliers/farmers can do. Saisons are my fave to brew.
Congratulations to Dan, Jared, Dillon, and Spencer on Lone Oak Brewing’s opening this weekend. Drop by their place Friday at 4 PM until late to grab your first pint, growlers, and cans of the beer and cider. Keep an eye on their website and Social Media (Fb/Ig/Tw) for their taproom hours and news of their latest releases and pop-ups and takeovers they’ll be holding in the coming days and weeks. Located just a stone’s throw from the Borden-Carleton side of the Confederation Bridge, this will be a great opportunity to highlight the excellent beer and cider available on the Island.