Profiles

In case you’re still looking for Paradise, you’ll find it just east of St. John’s, on Conception Bay. And Paradise can now boast having a brewery of their own, as Banished Brewing has released their first beers, and have just today opened their retail shop, and working toward opening their beer garden, we wanted to get the skinny on the folks behind Banished, their beers, and what you can expect as they enter the busy season. We caught up with co-owner Craig Farewell, no stranger to the Newfoundland and Labrador beer scene, having co-produced the Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival since his return home to Newfoundland.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m Craig, I grew up in Atlantic Canada (NL, NB, NS) and moved back home to NL in 2015 after a four year stint in Halifax.

How did you get into the world of beer?

I started brewing in 2011, just after moving to Halifax. At the same time the craft beer boom was just hitting Halifax and breweries were starting to open everywhere. Dove in head first and never came back out.

What made you decide to take the steps into opening a brewery?

It was the original goal, but mostly blind ambition Haha. I’m a CPA so I had that side of the business looked after and I knew I loved brewing and loved the craft beer community, so it was just a matter of time.

What is the ethos of Banished Brewing?

Beer doesn’t mean anything if you’re not using it to enhance the communities that you operate within. Be great people and brew great beer and use it to do as much good as you can along the way.

You have, just today, opened your retail spot at 9 Maverick Place, in Paradise. How else can folks enjoy your beer?

We currently have the retail space in the brewery, and later on we’ll have the Beer Garden adjacent to the brewery with on-site sales and consumption. We’ve been sending to keg licensees across the province, including Bar Brewdock in East Duck, and even as far as Iron Rock Brewing in Lab City! Most of our product will be canned and sold through retail outlets, including NLCs, Marie’s, Ultramar, and other private shops. Find cans and merch at the retail space, growlers may be coming later.

So, tell us about the beers folks can expect at the retail shop or on draught?

The initial offerings are varied, and there are plenty more brews in the pipeline as we make our way through the summer.

  •  Out The Gate is a 5.3% ABV Belgian Single, light malt and hop character, with a touch of bubblegum on the nose, while remaining refreshing.
  • Space Puffin is a 6.0% ABV New England IPA, juicy, hazy, and full of citrus and tropical goodness for the warmer months ahead. Look for more Puffins coming soon!
  • NO NO NO NO YES NO is a 4.5% ABV EI (Employment Insurance) Pale Ale, light enough in alcohol to warrant having a few in the afternoon while you wait for your check to come in! Check out the label, though all of them are great, thanks to Paul George Hammond.
  • Paradise Town is their 5.5% Fruited Sour, featuring Pink Guava puree added for a tropical kick. Look for more iterations of this beer as they play with the fruit additions throughout the year.
  • An Elaborate Series of Mirrors is a 5.0% American Lager, crushable, quaffable, however you want to put it, this beer is made for easy enjoyment.
  • Tall Trees, with a label reminiscent of the Redwoods in the Pacific Northwest, is a 7.0% West Coast IPA. Piney and citrusy, there is a serious bitterness in here to match the aromatics.

No brewery is an island, someone smarter than me once said. Can you tell us about those who have helped along the way?

I hope I can remember them all because without them I wouldn’t have gotten here! Most important is my wife Katie. Without her embracing my dream and pushing as hard for it as I was, it wouldn’t have happened. She has kept every aspect of our lives in check while I chased this dream and this belongs to her as much as it does me.

Thank you to Tom and Jamie for continuing down this path and toughing out the many obstacles we faced. Big thanks to our head brewer Duncan who packed up his life and brought his family to a place he’d never been, to pursue this dream and turn it into a reality. Thanks to Boxing Rock for putting out The Vicar’s Cross and sending me down the path of Craft Beer. Thanks to Stillwell for showing me what the craft beer community looks like when you bring everybody together. Thanks to Sonja and Alicia from Port Rexton for brining me in after we moved back to NL and really paving the way for the new generation of craft brewers in this province. Thanks to the Landwash crew for giving me experience and always lending a hand. Thanks to Dave and Phil at Bannerman for the knowledge sharing, chats, and unlimited coffee. The craft beer community in this province is awesome and we just want to spread that joy as much as we can.

How about the future of Banished, where do you see it in the next few years?

Looking forward to stable distribution, hopefully exporting to the Atlantic provinces and out west.

Let’s get nerdy! Tell us about your brewery equipment and expected output…

We specced out a 30 barrel system (3500 litres), but after brewing on it a few times, it acts more like a 40 barrel (4800 litre) system. It’s a 3 vessel brewhouse (Hot Liquor Tank, Mash/Boil/Whirlpool, Lauter Tun) from Jenrey, with the option for an additional two vessels for future expansion.

Expected output is unknown. Cautiously say 1,500 hectolitres to start. Depends on exporting and level of distribution.

Tell us more about your own brewing history…

I started brewing in 2011 in Halifax. Picked up a Vicar’s Cross from Boxing Rock and wanted to figure out how to make it myself. The same week, my friend sold me his homebrew kit and the spending on brewing equipment never stopped.

Some commercial experience with Port Rexton and Landwash when I moved home, but most of my brewing knowledge came from brewing on my own systems. We brought in Head Brewer Duncan Tennant because he’s wicked and had the commercial knowledge at a scale that we are hoping to get to one day.

Do you have a favourite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking? Or brewing?

I enjoy most styles, but enjoy the complexity of brewing lagers as they’re a white rabbit that you seem to never be able to catch. Don’t mind crushing some hazy IPAs as well. Love brewing lagers because while I know I’ll never win, they at least keep me trying.

Congratulations once again to Craig, Duncan, and the entire Banished family. Check out their retail shop today and tomorrow, 12 – 7 PM at 9 Maverick Place in Paradise, where you’ll also have the first looks at their brewery. Keep your eyes peeled to their Insta and Facebook pages for updates on new beers, distribution, and the Beer Garden opening in the coming weeks. Their website is also kept up-to-date with beers and news.

AWOL Brewery, a Canadian Armed Forces Veteran-owned brewery in the Moncton region, is up and running as of this month, and celebrating its Launch Party at the All Ranks Moncton Mess this weekend. We caught up with owner and brewer, Robert Black, to learn more about his journey to open AWOL, their current and future offerings, and much more!

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and AWOL?
My name is Bobby and am the brewer/owner of a new craft brewery located in Moncton, New Brunswick. I am a retired Sgt. from the Army, and started this project after my medical release in 2015. AWOL Brewery is primarily marketed towards serving and retired members of the Canadian Armed Forces, as well as first responders, but not exclusively so. We are part of the Buy Veteran movement, and give back to Veteran non-profit organizations, through a percentage of sales from our merchandise and a selection of our seasonal/specialty beers.

Can you tell us about your brewery and plans for distribution?
The brewery is a 3 BBL (~350 litre) electric brewery, powered exclusively by solar energy, thanks to the panels on the roof of our building. While our current brewing location is not open to the public, we are focusing on providing licensees in the region with beer. The focus is on the development of the brand and getting exposure, before we expand into a new space, which could include a taproom. Where to find us on tap is always expanding, so it’s best to check the list on our website for the up-to-date information. Currently pouring at the All Ranks Moncton Mess (ARMM), Laundromat Expresso Bar, Timber Lounge, and Furnace Room in Moncton, and on the rotating taps at The Joyce Pub in Fredericton. The ARMM is not normally open to the public, except during special events.

Can you tell us about the beers you have available now, and plans for the future?
Currently, we have an American Pale Ale, Tactical Pause APA, as a regular full-time listed beer. This beer is a 5% ABV hop-forward pale ale, with German Caramel malts to give it some body and help balance out the bitterness of the Warrior and Amarillo hops used to make it 36 IBU.
Throughout the year we will be rotating different beer styles in our seasonal selection. By our second year, we plan on promoting the best performing seasonal beer to a permanent listing. Our first seasonal beer is a Smoked Amber Ale, called The Smoker, named after the (rare) post-military training exercise beer call and BBQ. Lightly smoked using traditional German Beechwood-smoked malt, along with German Caramel malts and American Hops to help balance the flavor. The Smoker Ale is at 5.1% ABV 24 IBU and displays a colour of 15 SRM. This beer pairs nicely with anything from the grill, and the smoke does not overwhelm your sense of taste.
The next seasonal beer is a Red Lager brewed with German lager yeast and German Cara malts. It weighs in at 5.0% ABV. No special for it yet, other than calling it AWOL R.E.D. Lager. All three of these will be available on tap at the Launch Party, and at the other licensees, then it’s hard at work on releasing summer seasonal beers.

What can folks expect at the Launch Party Saturday?
From 6PM on Saturday, at the All Ranks Moncton Mess (Building 47 at 299 Park Street), we are inviting the public to join the active and veteran communities to help us celebrate our launch. We will be onsite pouring our three beers, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, the BBQ will be fired up and we will have burgers and sausages available after 6:30, with merchandise such as shirts, glassware, and stickers available for purchase. And door prizes to say thank you to those who come out to support! We have more details on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

How can we keep up with the latest AWOL Brewery news?
We have Facebook and Instagram pages, and we update our website with new beer releases, merchandise, and licensees. Look for an online store for merch coming soon!

Congratulations to Robert and Julie Black on the launch of AWOL, we know it has been many years in the making!

Village Green Logo

The town of Cornwall, PEI, is 15 minutes outside of downtown Charlottetown, and offers a quiet area to stop and take a break while traveling the island. Now that stop can also include a visit to its own brewery, thanks to the launch of Modern Brewer’s Village Green. The Modern Brewer moniker is that of Bryan Carver, who has worked in beer and brewing on PEI for well over a decade, and is debuting his brand by opening the Village Green location at 30 Church Street. Over the years, Carver has worn many hats in the beer industry, including brewer, brewery consultant, equipment manufacturer representative, author, and everything in between. We caught up with Bryan in between brewing and pouring pints in the taproom.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Bryan Carver, I am the owner of Modern Brewer and the owner/brewer of Village Green in Cornwall, PE. I am a Certified Cicerone®, I write about beer on PEI for The Buzz here on the island and I have been working in the brewing industry here on PEI for close to 12 years, from keg cleaning to brewing, to design and consulting, hosting tastings and now running a taproom and nano system in Cornwall.

How did you get into the world of beer?
I have always been a beer lover. In 2000, I spent a month in Dublin ‘studying’ Irish Literature, definitely spent more time in pubs than studying. At that time Guinness was brewing a witbier called Breó, having my first pint of that was a real eye opening experience. I grew up in Ottawa, and we had a bit of exposure to the early craft beer movement, I would drink Big Rock ‘Traditional’ and ‘Grasshopper’ while also being exposed to Unibroue over in Hull, QC. I have always enjoyed trying different beers, and am often pretty grateful I have been able to make it into a living.

In 2008, I joined Gahan Brewery to help build the only operating production brewery on PEI. From there I went to Gahan House to brew for a couple years and was present for the initial growth of what would become PEI Brewing Company. I moved to the production Gahan Brewery in the year leading to the opening of the current PEI Brewing Company’s home on Kensington Road. We opened the larger brewery, perhaps one of the largest craft breweries in Atlantic Canada at the time, and I came to the realization that my perspective on brewing wasn’t aligned with the company’s anymore.

I left my position as Head Brewer from PEI Brewing when any opportunity to consult a start up brewery in New Delhi came up. I spent a little over a month in Northern India working with the team that became White Rhino Brewing. The founder Ishaan Puri had developed a thorough plan on launching the brand, and it was a great experience to work with him.

Coming back to PEI, I needed to find work close to home and landed working with DME Brewing Solutions. I spent a little time working on the shop floor, assembling pumps and working with the piping crew. Then I began to travel to install and commission breweries all over North America. During 2014, I travelled to roughly 25 different cities to work at breweries. It was a tremendous experience and gave me massive exposure to what was happening in craft beer across the continent. Eventually, my wife Amy and I were expecting our first child and I moved into an office position with DME, managing the after-sales and technical support. There I helped breweries across the globe resolve any issues they were experiencing.
I used my free time at home to study for the Certified Cicerone® exam in Halifax. I would like to write the Advanced Cicerone® exam, but that won’t really happen until we are through the pandemic.

VG Draught System

What made you decide to take the steps into opening a brewery?
When DME Brewing Solutions went into receivership and everyone lost their jobs, I decided to commit to opening a brewery. I had been working on business plans for a few years but that wasn’t gaining traction. Unfortunately, I had no money. While at DME, I had been thinking on how nano breweries operate, and what the function of a tasting room in a community was, drawing inspiration from micropubs in the UK. There was a suitable building in Cornwall that was soon to be available, and I developed a plan to squeeze a small brewery into a small building! That was the beginning of Village Green.

What is the ethos of the Modern Brewer and Village Green?
I started working in the initial business plan under the brand Modern Brewer, which is a brand of the beer we produce. Modern Brewer’s Village Green, or just Village Green, is the physical location in Cornwall. I hope to expand the Modern Brewer brand to another location or two in the coming years. We are developing a culture aimed at celebrating diversity. I feel that diversity in beer can be a great vehicle for celebrating the diversity in people.

Can you tell us about the beers you plan on offering initially?
The focus at Village Green is to create a community pub, with a diverse selection of beer. The initial plan was to brew a different beer every batch, but certain issues in the PEI Liquor Act made that cost prohibitive. We are launching with a Blonde ale and a Pale ale, to be joined soon enough by an IPA, with a few more coming in the next couple of months as well.
We’re keeping the naming of the beers simple, so you know what you’re getting! The Pale Ale comes in at 5.9%, with an estimated IBU in the high 40s. Brewed with West Coast water treatment, it features malt from Island Malt House, as well as some Vienna from away. It was fermented with Cali Ale yeast and modest dry hop of Cascade and Centennial. The 5.7% Blonde Ale features a similar grain bill, with Island Malt House Pilsner, along with some Maris Otter. It features a lower IBU, and was fermented with an English yeast strain, allowing some lovely fruity esters to shine through.

VG Stout Glass

Enough talk, how can folks enjoy your beer?
The best way is to come to the taproom, as our batches are very small at just 250 litres. The main focus will be at the taproom in Village Green, where folks can grab pints, samples, as well as growler fills (BYO clean growler). In addition to our Pale Ale and Blonde Ale, we have a handful of other Island beers pouring, always a PEI cider, as well as some wine for those looking for something different. Occasionally, a few kegs making their way to Charlottetown, mainly Hopyard, as I have a great relationship with them and have worked with them for years in different capacities. Co-owner Mike Ross was actually my boss for a year or two back in my Gahan days!

We know that a new brewery does not spring up in a vacuum. Care to give a shoutout to those who have helped you along the way?
Definitely, I have called on everyone for a favour at some point! Chris and Symond at PEI Brewing are old coworkers and always a great resource for help. Spencer Gallant at Lone Oak, Mike “Hogie” Hogan from Upstreet, Andrew “Esty” Estabrooks from Foghorn [ed note: the feeling must be mutual, as Foghorn has a Stout named Bryan in Carver’s honour!], Jeremy White at Big Spruce. All these people have been very supportive.

What can we expect from Modern Brewer in the next 2-3 years?
I want to see Village Green be established as a community hub in Cornwall. I want to be working on a production focused brewery in the next 2-3 years, with a larger packaging component and space to grow.

Let’s get nerdy! Please tell us about the brewery and unique brewhouse…
The system is designed to produce roughly 250 litres of finished beer per batch. I worked with East Arc Metalworks right on the Island, which was started by Ryan Court and Calvin Harris, two fabricators that worked at DME on the shop floor who opened their own fabrication shop. They approached me about a small system for my brewery; I was looking at other options on the larger scale home brew equipment market, but would rather give my money to East Arc, as I knew their work was excellent.
The system was basically drawn on a few pieces of notepad paper. Electric Hot Liquor Tank and Kettle, with a Mash Tun that was cladded in oak by Jordan Stetson who owns New World Foeders. Jordan is a good friend and also a former colleague from my DME days. He and his father John did most of the interior construction at Village Green as well. I can’t say enough good things about Jordan, he is a great guy and his work is exceptional.

The set up is the three vessel brew house, with six open-top fermenters, and nine serving tanks in a walk-in fridge. The serving tanks are really designed for the wine industry, but I designed a fitting using ball lock connections to convert them to work for beer. East Arc added a 4″ ferrule to each so I could clamp on my dispensing set up.

The gear at Village Green is truly one of a kind, and designed to minimize the necessity of kegs, making it more streamline for working in a taproom.

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?I love Saison DuPont, it’s probably my desert island beer. I love hoppy beers too, a massive fan of Firestone Walker in Paso Robles California, their Pivo Pils is another perspective changing beer for me. Also love Bell’s Beer in Michigan, if I am ever anywhere that sells Two Hearted you can bet I am picking it up.

How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
I always enjoy brewing a dark beer, stouts and porters just smell some incredible in the mash tun.

Congratulations to Bryan and the Village Green crew on their launch! You can pop by the taproom today to grab the first pints of their Blonde and Pale Ales. They are open Mon-Thurs 4 – 9 PM, Fri & Sat 12 – 9 PM, and Sun 1 – 6 PM. Keep up to date on the latest news on Facebook, Instagram (both Modern Brewer and Village Green have pages), and tag ’em on Twitter too! They will be announcing the details of their Beer Appreciation Society soon, so you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled so you don’t miss out!