Sean Doyle has done what many artists dream of (and fear)!
He quit his day job to follow his passion – to operate a small scale craft brewery. Sean is the owner and operator, the one-man driver behind Rothesay’s newest beer emporium: Long Bay Brewery.
Long Bay Brewery is local right down to its name. Located in Rothesay New Brunswick, the brewery takes its name from the nearby Kennebecasis River. The river’s name comes from the original inhabitants, the Mi’kmaq First Nation. The logo shows a little sailboat in front of Long island out in the Kenebecasis, near the cliffs at Ministers Face.
“We use the excellent local well-water,” says Doyle “and our hops are from Darlings Island, just a few miles upstream.” The yeast in his Belgian Blond is culled from his own cultures. “I sent an order for the specific yeast I needed, but they were all out. So I sent them cultures from my own lab, they grew enough yeast for me.” Joking at the suggestion that they should name the yeast after him now, the quiet Doyle demurs.
Doyle left his day job back in September 2016, and he’s been pouring his energy into Long Bay ever since. Opening day was June 30, 2017.
“I’ve been working dawn ’til dusk every day getting this up and running,” said Doyle. Doyle’s work ethic shows through- as we talk, he continues working constantly, preparing for his Friday night crowds. “Wayne Love has been helping me out along the way as a consultant, but other than that I’m a one-man operation.”
“I started out brewing when I was in University,” says Doyle, “and I started hanging out with the local all-grain brewers some years ago. Wayne [Love] was one of the first people in the province using computerized brewing systems, and I learned a lot from him.”
Doyle’s referring to a current hep craze – folks making beer from scratch, using their own milled grain, local hops, sometimes from their own backyards. Doyle says he learned everything he needed from the small scale brewing. “It’s all the same concepts, the same equipment, the same process. The only thing different is the scale.”
Homebrewers usually make 20-40 litres of beer at a time- Doyle’s giant kettles and fermenters look like they’d hold 1000 litres.
“The biggest challenge between the small scale home brewing and this is managing the temperatures,” he said. “Other than that, it’s the same process.”
So, enough about the set-up… what about Doyle’s beer?
We tried a Belgian Blond- the one that Doyle started his own yeast for. It was cold and quite dry. “This one needs to be slightly warmer to allow it to ‘open up’,” said Doyle. “We keep it slightly colder than it needs to be. By the time you get this one home, it will have warmed up so that the florals come out and it opens up.” This one is Doyle’s favorite.
We also tried an American Pale Ale. I met this beer nose-first. It had a beautiful fresh hop aroma that was like sitting in a garden. This was the freshest hop aroma I’d experienced in a long time, and it was captivating. It’s unusual these days to get any hop aroma from any brew, but this scent was intoxicating by itself.
The American Pale Ale registered a 40IBU. It was very smooth, with a gentle hop flavour that matched its aroma sweetly and a fairly gentle bitter aftertaste. This one was my favourite. “We will always try to have ‘sessionable’ brews on tap,” says Doyle, ”this is one of them.”
Doyle says, “We’ll continue to create new brews, and we’ll let the people tell us what is most popular. My favourite is the Belgian Blond, but everyone has different tastes, so we’ll see what demand tells us will be our flagship brews.”
Interestingly, as we chatted, four different people I know from my old homebrewing days came in to get growlers from Long Bay. Some mentioned they no longer brewed themselves, and it was interesting to me to see these aficionados coming to Long Bay in numbers.
When asked how he felt about following his dream, Doyle said, “Very excited… and slightly exhausted… but really i’m pretty thrilled! I’ve been dreaming of this for about 5 years, and even though the hours are very long, and it’s been a long set-up, I’ve really just jumped in with both feet.”
Seeing the huge gleaming tanks, the waves of new clients and Doyle’s ceaseless energy, Doyle has more than jumped in with both feet. It looks like he taken a deep headfirst dive into Long Bay and is experiencing the fine art of surfacing! Drop in to see him.
Long Bay Brewery is located at 82 Marr Road in Rothesay, there’s a ton of parking space there, but no sit-down area; Doyle is catering to the folks heading home who want to drop in quickly to pick up a growler. You get a discount if you bring in your Long Bay Growler.
You can find Long Bay Brewery online easily, but I really think you’ll prefer to visit in person.
Long Bay Brewery: FACEBOOK