Nfld. & Labrador

Transatlantic Ale brewing to celebrate historic flight

Landwash Brewery teams up with Admiralty House Museum to mark air race anniversary in Mount Pearl.

Landwash Brewery teams up with Admiralty House Museum to mark air race anniversary in Mount Pearl

Chris Conway of Landwash Brewery and Sarah Wade of Admiralty House Museum are looking forward to tasting Transatlantic Ale. (Zach Goudie/CBC)

In the summer of 1919, some of the world's most ambitious pilots flocked to Newfoundland in a race to make history. Now, near the spot where their planes took off, Landwash Brewery is racing to make a special beer in time for the centennial celebration.

On Monday, Landwash began brewing Transatlantic Ale, produced in partnership with Mount Pearl's Admiralty House Museum. The beer will debut May 13, at the opening of the museum's exhibition on the transatlantic air race.

"When we had a chance to do a collaboration beer for this, we jumped at it," said Landwash general manager Chris Conway. "We really wanted to do something interesting to celebrate this museum event, but at the same time wanted to make a beer that was really, really flavorful."

Conway explains the beer brewing and canning process to Wade and a team from Admiralty House Museum. (Zach Goudie/CBC)

Admiralty House Museum manager Sarah Wade has been helping to plan the exhibition for months. She says the special suds will give a flavour of the fun and excitement caused by the air race.

"This is a celebration of something amazing that happened right here in Mount Pearl," said Wade. "The first flight, these pilots taking off, coming here to Newfoundland for this huge race. And what better way to celebrate than over a beer?"

Story written in the recipe

In the early 20th century, flying non-stop across the Atlantic was an aviation feat that many pilots yearned to record. A British newspaper offered a £10,000 prize for the first crew to complete it, and in the spring of 1919, four teams took up the challenge. Newfoundland became the starting line on account of its proximity to Europe.

Among the crews vying for the prize were British pilot John Alcock and navigator Arthur Brown. On June 14, 1919, they took off from Lester's Field on what is now Blackmarsh Road, and completed the harrowing voyage before crashing into a bog in Ireland.

John Alcock and Arthur Brown made the first successful non-stop transatlantic flight, from St. John's to Ireland, in 1919. (CBC)

Conway says Landwash Brewery's commemorative beer is inspired by their story.

"We're kind of riffing on the transatlantic idea by using some new-world malt, which is malt from P.E.I., and some old-world hops, some East Kent Golding hops from England, to kind of bring both sides of the Atlantic together," he said.

Wade and others from Admiralty House Museum stopped by the brewery to lend a hand as the ceremonial batch went into the brew tanks. The group got a lesson in beer-making from Wade, and helped add the special English hops to the mixture.

"It's so exciting, it's something I've never done before," said Wade. "You know, this time last year we didn't have Landwash around. And Admiralty House building has been there since 1914. So to partner with Landwash is fantastic, and I can't wait for this beer."

A worker at Landwash Brewery hefts a bag of Shoreline Malt from P.E.I. to the brewery's grain mill. (Zach Goudie/CBC)

Beginning May 13, the museum is holding an exhibition on the transatlantic air race. It also tells the story of Margaret Carter, a local woman who befriended many of the pilots and even packed a picnic lunch that Alcock and Brown took with them on their flight. Transatlantic Ale will be served at the opening of the exhibition, and afterwards be available for a limited time in the Landwash tap room.

Conway says it's a pleasure to help celebrate such an interesting chapter in local history.

"We are just honoured, because we're new to this industry in Newfoundland," said Conway. "We always try to focus in on a little bit of history of Newfoundland, in our naming, in our approach. We are a Newfoundland brewery and we want to celebrate that as much as possible."

As for the beer, Conway says it will be a bit of a race to have it ready in time for the exhibition, now just two weeks away.

"This one's a little tight, but we'll get it done and it'll be delicious."

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About the Author

Zach Goudie is a journalist and video producer with CBC in St. John's, NL.


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