Tuesday, October 25, 2011

On An Island...

Lauren and I had a long to-do list when we headed to Bermuda in September for our honeymoon. Visit the forts, the beach, eat some good food, and of course, seek out the best beer offerings on the island. At first glance, there isn't much. Carlsberg was all over the island, you could get a fresh pint of Bass at the Hog Penny (best Bass on tap I've ever had) in downtown Hamilton, and Sam Adams Boston Lager had a good presence on the island as well (usually not a huge fan, but after a week of limited selection, the hoppiness of the Boston Lager was so good, kind of like eating something mediocre when you're really hungry). But what about a brewery or craft beer?

I had been to the island before, so I knew a good place to start, North Rock Brewing Co. While production is no longer located at this location, the pub feel, great menu (best fish n chips ever), and tap selection makes North Rock one of my favorite locations on the island.

This location used to house a small 4bbl brewhouse, right in the corner of the restaurant. The beers would be served here, and at another location - The Frog and Onion Pub located on the eastern tip of the island at the Royal Naval Dockyard. Demand for the product increased, and production had to be moved. North Rock had the beer, but the Frog and Onion had the space...enter Dockyard Brewing Co.

Dockyard Brewing Co. (previously North Rock Brewing Co) is the only brewery on the island. The fact that everything has to be shipped to the island, tells me there aren't many home brewers on the island either. A few days after our stop in at North Rock, we headed to the Royal Naval Dockyard with the instructions "walk out back of the Frog and Onion, look for the door with all of the kegs stacked outside - that's Dockyard Brewing Co., ask for Rob".

We found it...Once inside we had the opportunity to meet Rob, head brewer at Dockyard Brewing Co. who was in the middle of brewing a batch. Great guy, with lots of experience, and more than happy to show us around. We learned that Rob studied to brew in Scotland, and has brewed all over the world, including Australia. Rob now finds himself brewmaster of the only brewery on the island of Bermuda. He mentioned that everything has to be shipped in, he gets his two row from the US, and all specialty malts are shipped in from Europe. Hops are shipped in from both locations depending on the type. The lineup for Dockyard consisted of: A Whale Of A Wheat, St. Davids Light, Somer's Amber Ale, Trunk Island Pale Ale, Black Anchor Porter. Do a little research on the island and you'll quickly learn all names are based on the history and geography of Bermuda. I asked Rob if he ever gets to experiment, he mentioned that the cruise ships keep the turnover rate pretty high, and most of his time is dedicated to keeping the flagship beers on tap. He did mention that when winter comes things on the island slow down, and he gets to mess around with the beautiful brewhouse he has.

So that's another Beercation in the books for us. If you ever get the chance to visit the island of Bermuda, take it. It's quite possibly my favorite place in the world. Visit the forts, the pubs, the beaches, and oh ya, stop in at the Frog and Onion...ask for Rob, he's out back by the door with all the kegs stacked up.

Special thanks to Rob, Dockyard Brewing Co, North Rock Restaurant, The Frog and Onion, and the beautiful island and the people of Bermuda.