An interview with Jim MacDonald of Western Newfoundland Brewing Co.

Western Newfoundland Brewing Company

The Western Newfoundland Brewing Co. made a special beer, Anansi’s Traverse, in celebration of our 50th Anniversary! We wanted to highlight the great things Western Newfoundland Brewing Co. is doing — check out our interview with brewmaster Jim MacDonald below:

On Western Newfoundland Brewing Co.

We’re a very small brewery — our production capacity is only half a barrel and typically in a microbrewery you’d have anywhere between 10 to 30 barrels of production. So, we’re much, much smaller than your average.

We started off selling our beer past December selling, and were in development for about two years prior to that. We’re growing very quickly; we don’t intend to stay small, that’s where we are right now, but we’re proving to be quite popular this summer.

Inspiration for Anansi’s Traverse

The inspiration for the beer came from learning about House of Anansi. I didn’t know too much about the legend of Anansi, so I went and found a few materials on the subject and quite liked the story of Anansi trying to climb the tree with the pot full of the world’s knowledge. In Western Newfoundland we have one of the best hikes in the world as determined by National Geographic — it’s called the Long Range Traverse, which commences at the far end of a gorge. So the imagery just sort of worked with having Anansi as the spider traversing across the top of the gorge. And then to fit in with the West African origin of the story I mixed in some sorghum and millet in the brew, and to give it more Newfoundland heritage we also used wild mint and wild rose from here for flavouring.

What food pairs best with Anansi’s Traverse

Something spicy. It’s very light and refreshing. So lighter meats and spicier foods would be best.

What books pair best with Anansi’s Traverse

Anything from House of Anansi!

What Brewmaster Jim MacDonald likes to read

I’m currently reading of history books and a lot of beer brewing books.

I do like to read certain Canadian authors — I’ve always been a fan of Michael Ondaatje and Margaret Atwood and Richard Wagamese, and on the non-Canadian side I like Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, and I’ve always been a huge Tolkien nerd.

Plans for Western Newfoundland Brewing Co.

We just got a canning system in! We’ve just started our 1 litre cans, which we’ll be selling at the brewery to start, and we hope to put our beer into stores as soon as we can.

Learn more about Western Newfoundland Brewing Co. here

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