I love to travel. I love Craft Beer. Thankfully, we live in an age where the two go hand-in-hand.
With a week off, I decided to take my family for a vacation to Newfoundland, as a change of pace. We rented a nice little cottage in Portugal Cove (about 10 minutes from St. John’s, the capital of the province), directly across from the ocean. A perfect relaxing trip.
Naturally, I had to try some of the local fare. With Labatt and Molson Coors both having factories in St. John’s, I was heartened to find that there is a lively, albeit small, Craft Beer scene in Newfoundland.
I learned that until recently, there was not much by way of diversity in style on the island. Lagers and Ales ruled the day, and it was only relatively recently that IPAs were introduced as a distinctive style.
For this review, I chose perhaps the most ‘touristy’ craft brew, Iceberg, by Quidi Vidi Brewing Co., based out of its namesake neighbourhood in St. John’s. I call this particularly one touristy because of the process and marketing associated therewith.
Originally bottled in clear containers, the brewery quite ingeniously started using blue bottles to make the product stand out. It definitely worked, because it was on my list of items to seek out while on The Rock.
Moreover, I was blown away to find that Quidi Vidi actually employs individuals to ‘hunt’ icebergs, harvesting the 20,000+ year old water, which is the softest in the world, to use for brewing this clean lager.
I must admit, I am not typically a fan of lagers. I like hops, I like complexity, and most lagers lack both of these. This is also true of Iceberg. However, what Iceberg has, aside from a brilliantly crafted market, is an extremely clean and crisp finish, while not compromising flavour.
The beer is remarkably smooth, inoffensive, but still flavourful. I find that typically, lagers produced by craft breweries can be metallic and overly carbonated. Not so for Iceberg.
It is almost too drinkable, and I could see it being a very dangerous rabbit hole for patio frequenters across this beautiful province.
While it lacks the complex flavour profile and that I typically seek in a craft brew, I couldn’t possibly give this less than a 4.3. It isn’t the type of beer that I would lust after were it not available, but Quidi Vidi has provided a brew that lives up to the hype and pours remarkably clear (though not surprisingly so, given the source water).
I can also say that I have tried other brews from Quidi Vidi while in Newfoundland, and they are far from a one trick pony. The Calm Tom’s Double IPA might be one of the best DIPAs that I have ever had the pleasure of enjoying, which cannot be understated.
Here’s hoping one of the big brewers doesn’t buy this out and turn it into a Mill Street type of situation!
Drink up, b’ys!
- ABV: 4.5%
- IBU: 3
- Style: Lager
- Taste: Clean and refreshing
- Rating: 4.3/5.0
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