New Brunswick

Off Grid Ales to produce beer using solar and wind energy

Off Grid Ales, near Harvey Station, is getting ready to start production on new brews that promise to be greener than anything offered on St. Patrick's Day, because the brewery will be powered by solar and wind energy.

Kilometres away from the nearest neighbour, or power pole, New Brunswick's newest brewers make solar suds

The Off Grid Ales brewery is located on Harvey Lake, kilometers away from the nearest power lines. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

New Brunswick's newest brewery has taken its craft way off the beaten path.   

Off Grid Ales is getting ready to start production on new brews that promise to be greener than anything offered on St. Patrick's Day. That's because the Harvey Lake brewery will be powered by solar and wind energy.  

"There's a challenge to doing this," said Brewer Randy Rowe. "But the draw is just being here. It wasn't necessarily to be 'off-the-grid.' We didn't have a grid here, but we really liked the location."
Brewer Randy Rowe says there are challenges making beer off the grid, but says the extra work is worth the isolation. (CBC)
 

Rowe and his wife Denise have lived in a solar-powered home on Harvey Lake for seven years. Building a brewery on their isolated property has been a passion project for both of them.  

"It is wonderful," said Denise Rowe. "It is quiet. It is peaceful. I go for runs on our five-kilometre driveway. We love it out here."  

Unique Challenges  

Randy Rowe says that making quality beer several kilometres away from the nearest power pole presents challenges the average brewer never encounters.   

"You can't produce a lot of electricity without spending a lot of money so basically we have to do everything very energy-efficiently," said Randy Rowe. "That's how we've designed the brewery to be able to run on a fraction of what other places would use."  

To ensure consistency in their brews, Off Grid Ales does rely on a propane system for heating. But Randy Rowe says the clean energy generated on site from 18 solar panels and his wind turbine will be enough to power the rest of production.
Denise Rowe says living, and brewing, on the lake is a dream come true, but the taste testing is a bonus. (CBC)
 

"We produce around 12 – 15 kilowatts on an average day," said Randy Rowe. "And we've got a battery backup system that holds about 20 kilowatts."  

"It's nice to be able to live here and brew and not have a power bill. It will be virtually nothing."  

The couple plan to have four different beers, including a red and a double IPA, on store shelves this fall.

About the Author

Shane Fowler

Reporter

Shane Fowler has been a CBC journalist based in Fredericton since 2013.

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