Newfoundland Brewery Tour: Dildo Brewing Company & Museum, Dildo
If a thirst-quenching craft beer with a breathtaking view sounds like something you might be interested in, then Dildo Brewing Co. & Museum might be worth a visit. The brewery is located approximately just one hour outside of St. John’s and takes the namesake of one of Newfoundland’s most infamous towns. Dildo Brewing Co. is the brainchild of Angie and Rob Reid along with Angie’s brother Roger and his wife Debbie. (Angie Reid was sure to give a shout-out to their friends Geoff and Steve Matthews during our email correspondence).
In terms of starting a brewery, Reid said the process required a lot of planning. “For us, it was research, research, research,” she said. “Almost three years from the initial idea to the day we opened our doors on July 1! The process is huge; it takes a ton of time and energy, but well worth the effort.”
The foursome managed to secure a unique location for the brewery: the Dildo Museum. As with many buildings in the province, the museum was in need of reinvigoration and repairs, which the Society of United Fisherman Lodge 84 could not undertake. The Reids and George’s proposed they take over the museum’s operations and turned the rest of the space into a brewpub. With the help of The Overcast’s Albedo Grant, the proposal worked, and Dildo Brewing Co. & Museum opened on Canada Day.
Craft beer is seeing a high level of interest from the general public in Newfoundland which definitely helps, but Dildo Brewing Co & Museum has a name that people who aren’t from the area are intrigued and amused by. There was a lot of interest in what Dildo Brewing Co. might name their brews and CBC wrote about this conundrum before the brewery opened. The owners decided to go with tasteful names that paid homage to the community and surrounding areas like Stout Dildo (named after neighbouring community South Dildo) and Blonde Root 80 (named after the road that leads to Dildo). Reid said that the owners and workers, “love sharing how [Dildo] got our name” because “we are very proud of our community and the people who live here.” (The origin of the name Dildo can also be found on the brewery’s growlers as well).
When asked about her favourite style of beer, Reid responded, “[o]ur team each have a favorite style. For me, I'm a Stout Dildo lover.” She also said, “Every brewery does their own thing, [and] uses their own flare,” said Reid when asked what makes Dildo Brewing Co. different from the other craft breweries in the province.
One thing that Dildo has decided to do differently is to cover the logos of growlers from other breweries with Dildo Brewing Co. stickers, which they seemingly got from Unfiltered Brewing in Halifax, who worked with the owners at Dildo Brewing Company before the brewery opened. (An employee at Dildo Brewing Co. told us that every brewery does this, but after The Racket’s summer brewery tour, we can confirm this is not the case. This incident also occurred in July shortly after growler fills began, so it is possible things have since changed).
The secret to Dildo Brewing Co.’s success might just lay in their love of Newfoundland. “Influences change, mainly we love Newfoundland and we love local ingredients,” said Reid. Their brewmaster, Lionel Rodrigues has a background in winemaking. His father, Hillary Rodrigues, founded the Rodrigues Winery and Distillery in Markland. "I've been a winemaker and run a winery and distillery and a nutraceutical plant for years, but I've been very interested in beer and have done a lot of homebrewing on the side and worked with some other brewers," he told CBC. His ability to use natural ingredients in order to get a desired colour like the beets used in the Red Rocks Ale, Irish Red or the infusion of blueberries with a Blonde Ale to create the Blue Eyed Buoy is exactly what Dildo Brewing Co. needs to set them apart from the other craft breweries in the province.
It has been more than busy at the brewery since it has opened and Reid said things are “absolutely wonderful”. For those looking to visit though, things can seem a bit chaotic upon arrival. Since Dildo Brewing Co. operates as a brewpub, you have to wait for a table, as opposed to sitting down at the first spot you see in a taproom. Wait times can be long and the line-up for the bar can stretch from one end of the pub to the other because customers are there to also buy merch, fill growlers and pay bills. (A separate merch table has been since set up). Servers don’t always get to tables in a timely manner so it might be best to order your food and beer as soon as you sit. (We did notice though with multiple visits that the kinks any new business encounters upon opening are getting ironed out as the summer rolled on).
The menu at Dildo Brewing Co. is also a hit, especially the homemade beer battered onion rings. As mentioned, we visited the brewery several times over the summer and the onion rings were ordered each time. If pub fare isn’t your thing (and we aren’t sure why it wouldn’t be) the view from the deck is breathtaking and is sure to please any fan of nature or anyone looking for the perfect Instagram post.
As summer ends, Dildo Brewing Co. is looking ahead and has plans to offer some new seasonal brews for customers. Reid was tight-lipped about what we might expect and told us “Plans are to have something new for the fall,” but a little birdie told The Racket that this “something new” could come in the form of a wheat beer; though there was also talk of a sour during our last visit. If that is the case, hopefully, they have come up with a fun mix that Rodrigues can work his magic on.
The Racket’s Recommendations for a Flight: Blue Eyed Buoy Blueberry Blonde Ale, Blonde Root 80, Blonde Ale, Red Rocks Ale, Irish Red, and I’Se Da Bye PA IPA.
***As with the nature of breweries and small batches, these brews may not always be on tap.***