It’s hard to talk about beer in New Brunswick, or Canada, without talking about Moosehead Breweries. For over 150 years, the Oland family has owned and operated this empire of hops and grain. For many years, Moosehead focused on markets outside of New Brunswick, and as a result of security concerns they stopped allowing guests to visit the historic brewery. That all changed in June 2016, when Moosehead opened their doors to public tours for the first time in 15 years!
With Moosehead’s new small-batch brewery just days from opening, we thought it would be fun to go for a visit and find out what you can expect when you stop in at Canada’s oldest independent brewery. In short, you’ll find good beer, great hospitality, and a state of-the-art facility that continues to innovate the way we produce and distribute beer in Canada.
The current Moosehead facility, formerly the James Ready Brewery, was purchased in 1928 shortly after the family had also purchased the Alexander Keith’s Brewery in Halifax. In 1933, Moosehead Pale Ale was introduced, becoming the flagship beer for New Brunswick Breweries, and paving they way for the brewery’s name change in 1947. Some of the brewing equipment that you’ll see on the tour isn’t much younger than that, and includes a huge copper mash tun and kettle, and an early computer designed to manage the brewery inputs, outputs and temperature control, among other things.
It’s not long into the tour before you receive your first sample, of many. As a commercial brewery, Moosehead has several ales and lagers available, but it’s their new small-batch products that have people excited. Playing with flavours, yeasts, grain bills and adjuncts is something Moosehead couldn’t do on it’s large brewing system, so make sure to try everything!
One of our favourite stops on the tour was the brite tank. This is where beer is chilled and can be found at its freshest. There are some good reasons why beer from the brite tank tastes so great. It hasn’t been pasteurized, it’s at the optimal temperature and carbonation, and it hasn’t been exposed to any air or light. All of these factors affect the flavour of your beer.
The last stop on the tour is the packaging line where you really start to get a sense of the scale of Moosehead Breweries. Along with their own product, the company contract brews for several large international breweries. You’ll see bottles and cans zipping along, and be amazed at how few people are needed to package so much product.
After your tour you’ll want to save time to pick up a growler and a shirt in the Moosehead Store, as well as enjoy a pint of your favourite Moosehead brew on the new outdoor patio. Uncork Moosehead today and experience Canada's oldest independent brewery!
At Uncorked Tours we're all about sharing the fabulous food, wine, beer & spirits being produced in the Province of New Brunswick.
It is our pleasure to share some of the awesome experiences you can have while living or visiting the province.