Digby area getting 2 microbreweries, community currently has none
Lazy Bear Brewing and Roof Hound Brewing will be opening within the next few months
Digby will soon join the Nova Scotia craft beer boom as two microbreweries open in the area, providing local suds to a wide swath of geography where there currently aren't any local breweries.
"There's about a two hour stretch of highway there where there's no craft beer being made," said Roof Hound Brewing Co.'s Les Barr.
The two nearest breweries are Rudder's Brew Pub in Yarmouth and Bad Apple Brewhouse in Somerset, which is just outside of Berwick.
Craft beer desert
The absence of breweries is one reason the Digby area is a good place to set up shop, says Andy Norman, the co-owner and assistant brewer at Lazy Bear Brewing.
"There's a lot of craft brewing [in Nova Scotia]. If you look at the map of Nova Scotia, it's a bit of a hole here," he said.
The two breweries will be quite different.
Barr's operation will also include a 40-seat restaurant serving up pub food, such as sandwiches, pizzas and meat pies. He is a contestant on the current season of MasterChef Canada, which kicks off on Sunday.
By offering food service, Barr will be able to serve up pints of beer and not just sell growlers. He says pints have higher profit margins and will help Roof Hound's bottom line.
The business will be located in Hillgrove, which is four minutes away from the Digby exit on Highway 101.
The plan is to have 10 taps, with some of those devoted to a stable of English-style beers, such as an IPA, brown ale, amber ale with rye, as well as some seasonal and experimental beers.
"I've done everything from chocolate peanut butter wheat beer to summer wheat beer," says Barr.
He says there will also be some handmade sodas made with real fruit and cane sugar.
Barr is hoping to open the business in June.
At Lazy Bear, the business will be a hobby project for Andy Norman and his wife, Erin. The two work with Acadian Seaplants and their professional background will serve them well in this endeavour.
Andy is a process engineer, while Erin is a research biochemist.
Her education background includes a masters in food science, which she says helps her with recipe development, "understanding how enzymes work during the mashing process, how the yeast flocculates."
Being an engineer allowed Andy to design the setup of the brewery.
Lazy Bear will be selling growlers of its beer and plans on having a few options to choose from: an amber-style English ale, an IPA inspired by west coast pale ales/American IPAs, as well as a coffee stout using coffee from the Sissiboo Coffee Roaster in Bear River.
The business hopes to open late in the spring, early summer and plans to have limited business hours from its location in Smiths Cove, which is about 10 minutes from Digby.
Lazy Bear will also be selling growlers at the Annapolis Royal Farmers and Traders Market and hopes to begin doing that on May 21.
The brewery's proprietors are also enthused about the fact there are two campgrounds within walking distance of the brewery and hope to make sure their visitors are happy campers.