Tag Archives: Prince Edward Island Brewing Co.

“Taste of New Glasgow”, A PEI Fall Flavours Signature Culinary Event

New to the 2015 roster of the Prince Edward Island Fall Flavours Culinary Festival  was the “Taste of New Glasgow” event. New Glasgow is a small rural community in the central part of the province. Despite its small size, it has a number of fine restaurants, chefs, and food producers and they brought their A-game to ensure festival goers had a fine “Taste of New Glasgow”, despite the challenges that the weather presented.

September 11th dawned with gray skies that, by late afternoon, resulted in a torrential downpour for the 2015 Festival kick-off event.

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Organizers had planned to hold the event outside in the Gardens of Hope at the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company in New Glasgow, PEI. However, Mother Nature had other ideas.

An alternative plan of action was implemented and a huge tent was erected in the parking lot of the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company and, instead of outdoor open firepits as originally planned, chefs improvised and used barbeques and other cooking appliances adjacent to the big tent.

While the rain certainly changed location plans, it did not dampen the enthusiasm of event goers or the participating chefs but umbrellas and rain gear were certainly the order of the day.

This event was classed as a signature festival event meaning it was hosted by a celebrity chef who in this case was PEI’s own Chef Michael Smith.

Chef Michael Smith, Celebrity Chef Host at "Taste of New Glasgow", A PEI Fall Flavours Signature Culinary Event
Chef Michael Smith, Celebrity Chef Host at “Taste of New Glasgow”, A PEI Fall Flavours Signature Culinary Event

“Taste of New Glasgow” was a roaming feast which meant that several participating local restaurants/chefs/food producers each had a station where they served food to patrons who made their way, at their leisure, around the tent to sample the offerings. Participating restaurants/chefs/food producers were Prince Edward Island Preserve Company, Glasgow Glen Farm, New Glasgow Lobster Suppers, The Mill in New Glasgow, The Culinary Institute of Canada, Larkin Brothers, and Carr’s Oyster Bar. In addition, there were four Beverage Stations featuring local beers and wines – Barnone Brewery, Upstreet Craft Brewing, Prince Edward Island Brewing Co., and Matos Winery.

To give you a flavour of the feast, here’s a sampling of what was on the menu:

New Glasgow Lobster Suppers served up lobster salad on their famous homemade rolls alongside steamed PEI mussels and, for dessert, offered lemon meringue tarts reminiscent of their mile high lemon meringue pie.


The Mill in New Glasgow offered Larkin Brothers chicken with rhubarb cranberry chutney and a blueberry mousse for dessert.

Carrs Oyster Bar hosted an oyster station and also offered lots of steamed bar clams, too.

Glasgow Glen Farm had lots of breads and spreads along with a cheese fondue. They also served Florrie’s Pride Goat Cheese Cake with smoked tomato aioli, garden cherry and tomato salad, all in a small mason jar. Their dessert offering was a blackberry and honey tart with bee pollen and chokecherry syrup.

Location host, the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company, served spice-encrusted smoked pork ribs and, for dessert, offered a popular ginger cookie sandwich which was filled with homemade vanilla bean ice cream.


The Culinary Institute of Canada offered a charcoal beef brisket served with roasted onion aioli on a milk bun while Larkin Brothers provided grilled turkey sausage.


Chef Michael Smith and his crew from his new restaurant, “Fireworks”, at the Inn at Bay Fortune served up wood-fired crusted Island halibut from Victoria-by-the-Sea.

Chef Michael had a portable wood-fired oven which he used to cook the halibut near his serving station.

The halibut was accompanied by saffron tomato broth and sea rocket slaw (and, on yes, the miniature PEI flag, of course!).

Ever personable and engaging, Chef Michael had a very long line up all evening at his station as foodie fans arrived with the chef’s cookbooks in hand ready for autographing as they picked up a sample of the halibut.

But, make no mistake about it, the master was still overseeing the preparation and presentation of the halibut.

A good PEI party includes two things:  Good food and entertainment.

The event was also an occasion for a local food producer to create awareness with people about the source of some of the food they enjoyed during the evening.  Florrie Sanderson from Island Hill Farm in Hampshire, PEI, raises a herd of some 60 goats and milks 10 goats.

Florrie Sanderson and “Bae”

Florrie sells her goat milk to Chef Jeff McCourt of Glasgow Glen Farm who uses it to make cheese, some of which was used in a feature dish at the Glasgow Glen Farm station.

Florrie brought along one of her goats, “Bae”, who quickly became a celebrity and photo star throughout the evening. “Bae” drew many smiles and chuckles throughout the evening and she was exceptionally well-behaved!

"Bae"
“Bae”

So, this event featured many PEI flavours – from both the rich PEI soil and the waters that surround our Island. One of the advantages of a roaming feast event is that you get to sample food prepared by different chefs, restaurants, and local food producers all in one venue. Often, it is an occasion to try foods and beverages you may not have tried before so it’s an opportunity to sample something new or, alternatively, perhaps it’s a familiar food but prepared in a new and innovative way.

For more information on the PEI Fall Flavours Culinary Festival and information on tickets and upcoming culinary events, visit their website.

To read stories about other Fall Flavours Culinary Events I have attended, click on these links:

PEI Shellfish Festival (2012):
Farm Day in the City (2012):
Savour Victoria (2012):
Toes, Taps, and Taters (2013)
Lobster Party on the Beach (2013)
Applelicious (2013)

The Great Island Grilled Cheese Challenge (2013)
Feast of the Fathers (2014)
Lamb Luau at Crowbush Cove (2014)

Feast and Frolic Dinner (PEI Int’l Shellfish Festival) (2014)

Beef and Blues (2014)

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A Prince Edward Island-Inspired Menu for Food Day Canada 2014

PEI Mussels Steamed in Beer
PEI Mussels Steamed in Beer

It’s Food Day Canada today (August 2, 2014). This is a day to celebrate and enjoy all the great food that is grown, fished, or otherwise produced in Canada. Coming from Prince Edward Island, we are truly blessed with the abundance and variety of fresh food at our disposal.

As those of you who are regular followers of my food blog know, my focus is on eating local food whenever possible and supporting local food producers, be they farmers, fishers, or other food producers. And, this I do more than one day a year.  It’s a regular occurrence in our household.

Today, I am pleased to share with you the menu and photographs of what is on my table today for Food Day Canada 2014 and where the food came from. The menu includes foods that come from the waters that surround our Island and from the rich, red soil of our land.

Food Day Canada Menu 2014

Starter

PEI Mussels steamed in beer
and dipped in melted butter
Served with Multigrain Bread

Main

PEI Scallops pan-seared in butter
Boiled PEI potatoes
Medley of steamed yellow string beans, broccoli, and carrots

Dessert

Haskap Shortcake
Whipped cream and a rich haskap sauce
sandwiched between layers of old-fashioned sponge cake
with a drizzle of haskap sauce on top

 Wine Pairing

Chardonnay Seyval Blanc, Newman Estate Winery, Gladstone, PEI

Starter

Products & Sources: Mussels – Prince Edward Aqua Farms Inc., Springbrook, PEI
Beer – Gahan’s Sir John A’s Honey Wheat Ale from the Prince Edward Island Brewing Co., Charlottetown, PEI
Bread – Multigrain from the Whole Grain Bakery, Freetown, PEI
Butter – Amalgamated Dairies Limited (ADL), Summerside, PEI

I love mussels! PEI mussels are world famous and my mussels today came from Prince Edward Aqua Farms in Springbrook, on the North side of the Island.

There are many ways in which mussels can be prepared. They can be steamed in water, wine, beer, apple juice, or in just about any liquid that strikes your fancy. The key is to use just a small amount of liquid as too much liquid dilutes the flavour of the mussels. It is the steam that opens the mussel shells, not the amount of liquid used.

While I am not a beer drinker, my preferred liquid for steaming mussels is beer. Today, I am using Gahan’s Sir John A’s Honey Wheat Ale, brewed by the Prince Edward Island Brewing Co. in Charlottetown, PEI (click here to read the story I wrote on the Brewery).

While nothing other than the beer is really required for steaming the mussels, I like to add some herbs, spices, a bit of garlic, onion, carrots, and celery to the steaming liquid for additional flavour. It usually takes only about 7-10 minutes to steam a pot of mussels. The amount of liquid needed will, of course, depend on the size of the pot you are using and how many mussels you are steaming at a time. Remember to discard any shells that have not opened during the steaming process – do not pry them open. If they haven’t opened via the steaming process, they are not considered safe for consumption.

Dip the mussels in good PEI-churned butter (I’m using ADL butter today) and they are simply delicious. Some also like to use the steaming broth in which to dip bread, soaking up the flavors. My recipe for steamed mussels follows at the end of this posting.

Multigrain Bread from the Whole-Grain Bakery in Freetown, PEI
Multigrain Bread from the Whole-Grain Bakery in Freetown, PEI

The bread I am serving with this appetizer comes from the new Whole-Grain Bakery in Freetown, in the central part of the Province. This bakery uses locally-grown organic wheat which the baker grinds just at the time of the bread making. The bread on the table today is a multigrain bread that has a lovely dense texture and exceptionally good flavour. It makes a fine accompaniment to the steamed mussels.


Main Course

Products and Sources: Sea Scallops, fished off East Point, PEI, sourced from MR Seafoods, Charlottetown, PEI
Potatoes – Farm of Brent Craig, Tryon, PEI
Vegetables – Jewel’s Country Market, Marshfield, PEI

Scallops have long been a favourite of mine. Today’s scallops were fished off of East Point in the Eastern end of the Island and were sourced through MR Seafoods in Charlottetown. While there are a host of ways in which sea scallops can be prepared, sometimes I like them simply pan-seared in butter which is how I am serving them today – sear 1½ – 2 minutes on each side, in a hot pan with butter, and this is a quick, easy, simple, and tasty way to prepare scallops.

Pan-searing Sea Scallops in Butter
Pan-searing Sea Scallops in Butter

Add a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley and serve with a lemon wedge or your favourite tartar sauce, if desired.

Pan-seared PEI Scallops
Pan-seared PEI Scallops

With the early PEI potatoes now on the market, they were a logical choice to serve with the scallops. Just a slather of butter is all that is needed for these! The round white Island spuds come from the farm of Brent Craig of Tryon.

And here is the complete main course, all products of PEI.

This time of the year, there are so many fresh-from-the-garden veggies available. I chose the yellow-orange-green color scheme to add color to the plate: yellow string beans, carrots, and broccoli, which came from Jewel’s Country Market in Marshfield, PEI.

Dessert

Product: Haskap berries – Farm of Lynn and Becky Townshend, Rollo Bay, PEI

For dessert, I headed east to Rollo Bay for haskap berries to make a rich and sumptuous haskap shortcake. I recently shared my recipe for this delightful dessert and you can find the recipe by clicking here.

Haskap Shortcake
Haskap Shortcake

Wine Pairing

My wine of choice for my meal is a Chardonnay that comes from Newman Estate Winery in Gladstone, near Murray River in the Eastern part of PEI. Click here to read the story I previously wrote about my visit to this winery.


It’s so easy to prepare a tasty meal when local foods are sourced. The ingredients are super fresh because they haven’t traveled many miles for many days before they reach the dinner plate.

What’s on your menu to celebrate Food Day Canada today?

Steamed Mussels – My Island Bistro Kitchen Style

Ingredients:

1 cup Gahan’s Sir John A’s Honey Wheat Ale
½ cup onion, chopped
2 tbsp carrots, diced
2 tbsp celery, diced + some celery leaves
½ tsp puréed garlic
⅛ tsp coriander
⅛ tsp fennel
⅛ tsp thyme
⅛ tsp basil
½ tsp parsley
1 lb PEI mussels

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

In 5-litre pot, place all ingredients, except the mussels.

Bring mixture to a boil and boil gently over medium-low heat for 4-5 minutes.

Add mussels.

Increase heat to medium. Cover. Let steam for 7-10 minutes until shells have opened.

Scoop mussels into serving bowl(s). Serve hot with melted butter and your favourite bread which may also be dipped into the steaming broth that was used to steam the mussels.

Yield: 2 appetizer-sized servings.

 

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What’s Brewing at the Prince Edward Island Brewing Co. in Charlottetown, PEI?

Prince Edward Island Brewing Co., Charlottetown, PEI
Prince Edward Island Brewing Co., Charlottetown, PEI

Prince Edward Island is well known for its seafood and potatoes, both of which are major industries on the Island.  However, what many of you may not know is that there is an emerging industry on the Island that involves beverage making.  Blueberry juice, apple cider, cranberry juice, wine-making, spirit distilling, and beer-brewing are all happening on PEI.

Today, I am taking you with me on a visit to the Prince Edward Island Brewing Co. in Charlottetown where the local artisan brewery, now set up in its spacious new state-of-the-art facility on Kensington Road, brews award-winning ales and lager.  After we tour the Brewery, we’ll head downtown to the Gahan House Restaurant to talk with the chef about beer pairing and find out how he uses beer in making a traditional Maritime dish – Fish Cakes – and, yes, he shares his recipe 🙂

My guide at the Brewery today is Al Douglas, Director of Branding and Community Engagement.  We begin our chat in the modern and spacious lobby of the brewery.

Lobby and Bar at the Prince Edward Island Brewing Co
Lobby and Bar at the Prince Edward Island Brewing Co

The brewery had its beginnings 13 years ago when owner, Kevin Murphy, operated it under the name of Murphy’s Brewing Co. in a restaurant (Lone Star Café) he owned in Charlottetown.  The brewery then moved its operations to the Gahan House Restaurant in Olde Charlottetown and, when it outgrew its space there, moved to a location on Walker Drive.  After two years in that location, it became apparent that the demand for the product was increasing as they were running out of beer mid-season.  So, in 2013, to increase their brewing capacity, the brewery moved to their current newly-refurbished building at 96 Kensington Road.

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Prince Edward Island Brewing Co. brews both ales and lagers the old-fashioned way with no preservatives, additives,or pasteurization.  The brewery currently brews eight ales and one lager which is aptly named “Beach Chair Lager”.  The Beach Chair Lager has the distinction of being the first-ever canned craft beer produced in Atlantic Canada.  Al says their most popular products are the Beach Chair Lager and Sir John A’s Honey Wheat Ale.  They do brew some seasonal specialties like a pumpkin ale in the fall and Dunkel, a vanilla and bourbon oak-infused dark lager over the Christmas and winter period.

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I asked Al what sets their beers apart from others on the market.  He tells me that it is a locally-brewed product that uses no preservatives or additives.  Additionally, the naturally clean and clear PEI water is easier to filter.  Consumers today are conscious of where the products they consume come from and there is support for products that are produced locally, like the brewery’s ales and lagers.

The brewery’s beers have won awards attesting to the quality of their products.  In 2011, the Sir John A’s Honey Wheat Ale was awarded the Canadian Brewing Awards’ gold medal.  In 2012, the brewery won both gold and silver medals and, in 2013, was awarded the silver medal from the Canadian Brewing Awards.

On Tap at the Prince Edward Island Brewing Company
On Tap at the Prince Edward Island Brewing Co.

The beer is available onsite at the brewery and is also sold in all liquor stores on PEI and in many restaurants, cafés, and bars around the Island.  If you are off-Island, look for the beers in select locations in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta, and British Columbia and, come spring 2014, in Ontario.

What makes the current location of the brewery unique is that it has a huge area where they can host large events like weddings and concerts.  Check out the chandelier and the contemporary white chairs in the photo below.

page - chandelier

Event capacity is up to 500 persons and Al tells me they have held a number of events already, have more planned, and bookings are brisk for wedding receptions for the upcoming wedding season.  Two full-scale kitchens onsite, including a large brick oven, allow for food preparation for large numbers.

Serving Kitchen at the Prince Edward Island Brewery
Serving Kitchen at the Prince Edward Island Brewery Co.

The brewery employs 16 full time employees over the winter and, in the summer, that staff complement increases to 25-30 that includes both full and part-time employees.  The brewery has two certified brew masters on staff.

Prince Edward Island Brewing Co. supports local producers, buying local ingredients where possible.  For example, the Sir John A. Honey Wheat Ale uses honey from Honey Dew Apiaries in Canoe Cove.  The blueberry beer uses a blueberry purée from PEI Berries Ltd. in East Montague.  This means the brewery has a year-round demand for these two ingredients since both beers are brewed all year.  This is good news for the support local movement.

So, what goes into beer making?  There are four basic ingredients:  water, grains (malt), hops, and yeast.  Extra flavorings such as blueberries or honey may also be added.  Each of the main ingredients contributes important properties to the beer.  The water carries the flavour, the malt adds sweetness, color, and flavour, the hops add flavour, aroma, and some bitterness to counter or balance the sweetness from the malt, and the yeast converts sugar extracted from the malt into alcohol and carbon dioxide gas that adds flavour.  Yeast is what causes the beer to ferment.

“Fresher is better.  Having a brewery in the community is where you’ll get the freshest beer.”

— Chris Long, Master Brewer – Prince Edward Island Brewing Company

What’s next for the PEI Brewing Company?  This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference where the Fathers of Confederation first met to begin laying the framework for what would later become Canada.  In honor of this event, the brewery has brewed a Fathers 2014 Commemoration Pack of beer.

I asked Al if there was one product they brewed that surprised them in terms of its popularity.  He says the blueberry beer was initially developed to be a seasonal beer available in the spring/summer season but it became so popular that customers and restaurants were continuing to ask for it other times of the year that they now brew it year-round.

In addition to the retail store, a bar, and a cold beer store on the premises, 45-minute tours of the brewery are available for $10/pp (+HST).  This includes a sample of the hand-crafted beer in the tasting room as well as a tour through the facility, starting with the ingredients room where you can see samples of the ingredients and smell the hops.

The tour takes you past the large brewing tanks.

Inside the Brewery
Inside the Brewery

A pristine brewing operation.

The tour concludes in the bottling center area which was really busy today.

Lots of beer being bottled at the Brewery this afternoon!

Bottling Beer at the Prince Edward Island Brewing Company
Bottling Beer at the Prince Edward Island Brewing Co.

The brewery was certainly a hive of activity today!

And, the end result – pallets of boxes filled with bottled artisan beer ready for shipping to customers.

Pallet of Beer
Pallet of Beer

For more information on the Prince Edward Island Brewing Co., visit their website.

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Up until a few years ago, if you went into a restaurant and asked what the server recommended as a drink with a certain dish, you would most likely be provided with a wine suggestion.  Today, however, you might very well receive the suggestion of a beer pairing with your meal.  To find out what dish would go particularly well with the PEI Brewing Company’s beers, I went to the Gahan House in Olde Charlottetown where, incidentally, they still brew onsite all the beer served in their restaurant.

Gahan House Restaurant, Charlottetown, PEI
Gahan House Restaurant, Charlottetown, PEI

Chef Dwayne MacLeod of the Gahan House suggests a good Maritime dish to demonstrate how beer can be used as an ingredient and/or paired with food – Fish Cakes made with salt cod and haddock.  Chef MacLeod says the beer brings out the saltiness in the food and several of the Prince Edward Island Brewing Co. beers pair very well with fish cakes.  He also suggests, if beer is used as an ingredient in the dish, the same beer would pair very well as a beverage with the meal.  So, if you cook the potatoes for the fish cakes in beer, as Chef MacLeod suggests can be done, then the same beer would pair well as a beverage with the fish cakes.

Chef Dwayne MacLeod's Fishcakes
Chef Dwayne MacLeod’s Fish Cakes

Chef MacLeod has graciously shared his recipe for fish cakes.  He has two beer pairing suggestions to go with the fish cakes.  The first is the Gahan Iron Bridge Brown Ale (pictured in the photograph below).  He says this beer will introduce a nutty and caramel flavour to the meal.  His second suggestion is a wheat ale like the Gahan’s Sir John A’s Honey Wheat Ale.  It is a light beer and will not overpower the flavors of the fish but will add to the flavour of the salt cod.

Gahan Iron Bridge Brown Ale
Gahan Iron Bridge Brown Ale

 

Chef Dwayne MacLeod’s Fish Cakes

(from the Gahan House Restaurant in Charlottetown, PEI)

Fish Cake Ingredients

1.5 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes

1 lb. haddock

1 lb. salt cod

1.4 oz green onion

1 tsp. garlic

2 oz oil or bacon fat

 

Sauce Ingredients

½ quart (2 cups) mayonnaise

1.7 oz. horseradish

1 cucumber

 

Method for Fish Cakes

Soak salt cod in water for 12 hours.  Drain and rinse cod and chop up finely in a blitz machine.

Cook haddock in water.

Cook potatoes.  If desired, cook the potatoes in beer and water (ratio is 2 parts water to 1 part beer).  Cool potatoes.

Finely chop green onion and garlic.

Mix haddock, salt cod, green onion, and garlic together.  Portion out 2 oz for each fish cake and form into a patty.

Heat oil or bacon fat in pan over medium to medium-high heat.

Place fish cakes in hot oil and cook until the edges start to turn golden brown.  Once golden brown, flip the cakes and cook the other side the same.

Serve with the cucumber sauce and enjoy.

 

Method for Sauce

Remove the seeds of the cucumber with a teaspoon and blitz the cucumber very well in a Blitzer.  Mix the cucumber with the mayonnaise and horseradish.  Season to taste.

Yield:  4-6 servings of fish cakes

Fishcakes Paired with Beer
Fish Cakes Paired with Beer

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