“The only thing better than making music and sharing a stage with your buds is drinking a cold pint with your hops in it while you do it,” says Bob FitzGerald, farm-owner, bassist, and chief hop grower. Which is something you may have already unexpectedly experienced. Fitzgerald has been growing hops on his Cornhill, New Brunswick farm for the last eight years and selling them to local craft breweries. If you’ve ever had beer from Picaroons, Hammond River, Good Robot, Pumphouse, First City Brewing, Celtic Knot, Upstreet ,or Garrison, there’s a good chance you’ve already sampled Fitzgerald’s work.
The band will be teaming up with a number of craft breweries through New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island for some collaboration brews using their own organic hops during the tour. Of course Fitzgerald isn’t just delivering hops like some ginger-bearded Santa Claus – it’s still a chance to see the band perform. Win-win.
“It’s kind of taking our lifestyle on the road, instead of pretending that we are some big deal band coming to your town, we are just being ourselves. Organic farming do-gooders who insist on delicious beer, even if we have to grow the ingredients ourselves,” says drummer Mike (Mumble) Humble. Mumble has gone so far as to start his own St Andrew’s-based organic veggie farm and permaculture demonstration site. Both farms have expansions planned for 2017.
The breweries, taprooms and otherwise brewery sponsored events participating in the collaboration are largely distributed throughout Nova Scotia. The band would typically be making their annual tour through Ontario at this time of year, but are counting on gas savings and the beauty and hospitality of the Maritimes to outweigh the smaller population sizes.
The band will be making stops at Roof Hound Brewing in Digby, The Governor’s Pub in Sydney (sponsored by Big Spruce Brewing), Upstreet Brewing in Charlottetown (who are currently using Fitzgerald’s hops in their Black IPA), and The Seahorse in Halifax Tavern (sponsored by Good Robot).
“I first bought hops from Bob early last fall, our first local one, not for lack of want. We are brewing a slightly extra hoppy pale ale with a hint of Thyme and grapefruit for the show, called Thyme Hopper,” says Sam Voth of Good Robot Brewing in Halifax.
“At the moment, hops growers in the Maritimes are very much in an emerging industry, and generally not one with immediate results for farmers (hops plants tend to take about three years of maturity before they producing hops in any significant number). As a result, Maritime brewers in general (especially the smaller ones) are lucky to be able to use any local hops in their beer, let alone ones that can be reproduced over multiple seasons as main-stays.”
The band hope to add a few more brewery stops to the list, and with the number of craft breweries in the Maritimes sprouting up regularly, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a few more.
Friday Nov 18th – Upstreet Brewing – Charlottetown, PEI
Saturday Nov 19th – Governor’s Pub – Sydney, NS (Big Spruce)
Sunday Nov 20th – Split Crow – Antigonish, NS
Monday Nov 21st – The Commune – New Glasgow, NS
Tuesday Nov 22nd – Roof Hound Brewing – Digby, NS
Wednesday Nov 23rd – The Red Knight – Yarmouth, NS
Thursday Nov 24th – Broad Cove Hall – Broad Cove, NS
Friday Nov 25th – The Seahorse Tavern – Halifax, NS (Good Robot)
Saturday Nov 26th – Bishop Hall – Wolfville, NS
Sunday Nov 27th – Plan B Lounge – Moncton, NB
For the full event listing click here.