Quidi Vidi 2.0: Renovations and Innovations; New Beers and Brewmasters

A lot's been brewing at Quidi Vidi Brewery, literally, including some delicious new craft beers like a crab apple saison, a crazy good "Mad Mike's Big Bad Belgian," and a "Calm Tom's Double IPA."

A lot’s been brewing at Quidi Vidi Brewery, literally, including some delicious new craft beers like a crab apple saison, a crazy good “Mad Mike’s Big Bad Belgian,” and a “Calm Tom’s Double IPA.”

New Beers Are Award-Winning Already

The latter 2 beers, which have been boxed for sale at NLC outlets, were award winners at 2018’s Down East Brewing Awards. Mad Mike took silver in the Belgian Ale category, and Calm Tom bronze in the Imperial/Specialty IPA category.

With an “Are You a Tom or a Mike?” campaign they’re forcing patrons to choose a favourite. The Calm Tom is a West Coast DIPA, evoking juicy peaches, mangos and grapefruit; Mad Mike is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, with hits of roasted malt, pink bubblegum, corriander, and the heft of 8.4% alcohol.

“They’re a shout out to the Tom Beckett and Mike Buhler who started the special order beer club 5 years ago in NL,” says Quidi Vidi’s Justin Fong. “These beers are a big departure from the past but that’s the pint (see what I did there) … there was a little shuffling of the deck down at Quidi Vidi, and we’re finally able to produce more of the beers we want.”

New Renovations Will Make The Brewery a More Hopping* Spot

*Get it, hopping, as in hops.

Quidi Vidi’s Brewery itself has always been a great spot for events or a night out, and they’re looking to build on that with new renovations.

“A Big part of the new QV is going to be the Tap Room,” Fong says. “We’ve knocked down a bunch of walls upstairs and completely opened up the space. The bar is going to have 16 beers on tap, 12 from QV and 4 from our NL craft brewing friends.”

The renovations are going beyond reconstruction and renovations to flat out makeovers. “Our old furniture is being replaced by a mix of wooden bar height and kitchen height tables, all being made locally. The vile tile ceiling is being traded in for a white washed ship lap. It’s going to feel like you’re drinking delicious beers in a cozy house out around the bay! Let’s face it, The Gut is the bay in town anyway, so it just makes sense.”

They’re also extending their hours. In the past, the only time you could walk in for a pint was Fridays nights at the Kitchen Party. When they reopen in the summer, they’ll be open 7 days a week, starting at noon.

“It’s the middle of the afternoon on Monday, and you’re just not feeling work? Perfect! You’ve got a meeting with me down at the tap room!,” Fong promises. “The sun is blazing on a Saturday (that one day) and you’re sweaty and parched from hiking the east coast trail? BAM! A flight of four amazing beers from across Newfoundland. You get the idea. And don’t worry Baby Boomers, the Kitchen Party isn’t going any where haha! (Sorry Dad and friends, burn).”

The new tap room should be open by May, and they’ll be finished brainstorming different ideas for events by then. “As an example,” he says,

“there’s going to be a big focus on having live music a few times a week. We’re also installing a large projector so artists can screen their work. Some of our comedian friends want to do some stand up as well so there will definitely be a random comedy show or 2. And of course there’ll be new beers launching every other week! This is a Tap Room after all.

Other News and New Plans

Quidi Vidi are in the process of hiring new brewers, as their current brewmaster and crew has been busier than normal. “We just got a pilot/small batch system which let’s us play around and create new recipes on a small scale,” Fong says.

“To put it in perspective, the smallest batch of beer we could brew before was about 1100 dozen. On this new system, it will be more like 100 dozen. You’ll be able to try these new small batch beers in the tap room, and downtown at some of our fine restaurants and bars.”

And do so, because Fong says if feedback on a particular beer is particularly positive, they’ll brew a larger batch and we’ll see it at stores in bottles and cans.

There are plenty of exciting plans afoot, but it’s too early for Fong to spill the beans. We can let one cat out of the bag for now: one of the new beers is going to be added to the full time line up of QV beers, “and the name is just too good.”

As for other plans, they’re as wild and perfect as a QV Bat Signal in the sky to indicate a party’s on at the brewery.

“Basically, if you randomly look up on one of our zillion foggy nights and see a giant QV in the sky, it means there’s a party at the brewery, and the first people to get there get a free pint. Or maybe there’s a band playing. Or maybe it’s when we launch a new beer, I’m not sure.

I was expecting a no [when I pitched the idea], so I haven’t thought it through. The point is, we’re going to have a lot of new beers and a lot more fun down at QV. Whether your craft is music, art, laughs or beer, we want the brewery to be a place where Newfoundlanders can come and share it. I hope to see you all when the new Tap Room opens. #QVBatSignal.”

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