This week’s Canada’s Craft Beer post comes from our Atlantic Canada craft beer guy, Todd Beal. In today’s column Todd takes us to the birthplace of brewing in Atlantic Canada, Guysborough, on Nova Scotia's Chedabucto Bay to visit Rare Bird Craft Beer.
In the extreme eastern portion of mainland Nova Scotia on Chedabucto Bay is the town of Guysborough. The town is one of the oldest in the province and the birthplace of brewing in Atlantic Canada. Nicholas Denys established a fishing post in Chedabuctou (Guysborough's original name) in 1659 and built a flour mill and commercial brewery.
With this legacy it's the perfect place for Rare Bird Craft Beer, which has been brewing beer in the town since 2004. Over the past 13 years the brewery, under owner and head brewer Glynn Williams, has undergone continual expansion. From its humble beginnings at the Rare Bird Pub on Main Street, Rare Bird has grown to its present multimillion dollar showcase combined brewery and distillery nearby at 75 Ferry Lane, adjacent to their oceanfront golf course, Osprey Shores.
A serial entrepreneur, Williams says the brewery is a cornerstone of his vision, which includes many companies in the town as he works to create sustainable jobs in Guysborough by producing iconic brands and experiences.
Rare Bird maintains a lean portfolio of beers, which consists of four core brands including an IPA, Pale Ale, Red Ale and Coffee Stout made with fair-trade coffee they roast right in Guysborough. They also make three seasonal brews: Pumpkin Ale, Maple Ale and Spruce Ale. The brewery keeps things simple and true to its brewing history, with a taste of Nova Scotia and a unifying theme to tie the brand together.
The new Authentic Seacoast Brewery and Distillery opened in June 2016 and is a showcase facility for the Province of Nova Scotia. Built to fit in with the town and its history, the facility looks like three interconnected storehouses. Inside you will find a distillery, a state-of-the-art brewery and a great room filled with native art and historical pieces. The brewery and tap room are open late June to mid October from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, with tours at 2:00 p.m Tours are also available in the off season by appointment.
If you visit there's much to see and do in the area besides beer and golfing, including biking, hiking, hitting the beach, kayaking, photography and trying culinary delights. If you want to stay longer — and you will — the DesBarres Manor Inn is a beautiful six-acre property with all 10 rooms furnished with antiques and an award-winning restaurant on site.
Todd Beal follows the craft beer scene closely in the Canadian Maritimes and reports on it weekly on his blog, Maritime Beer Report. He’s frequently asked to comment on television, newspapers and magazines as a craft beer expert. He can be heard Friday afternoons on News 95.7 commenting on beer. Visit his blog and follow him on Twitter @MaritimeBeerRpt.