Beau’s beer 49º 54º made with ingredients foraged on NL’s Fogo Island

Hand-harvested partridgeberries, sea salt, birch bark and tree sap go into beer that taps into the terroir of Newfoundland, and supports its local economy
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Beau’s Brewing Co. is releasing a beer this week called 49º 54º, which is made with ingredients foraged on Newfoundland’s Fogo Island. Named for the approximate latitude and longitude of Fogo, the recipe includes Newfoundland partridgeberries gathered from the island, and sea salt collected from its shores. The beer is spiced with Fogo-sourced torrified birch bark, and some of the malt was smoked with what islanders call myrrh: a hardened tree sap gathered from the conifers that are part of its rugged and starkly beautiful landscape. The result is a certified organic craft beer that authentically taps into the terroir of the largest of the offshore islands of Newfoundland and Labrador.

To create this unique beer, a team from Beau’s travelled to Fogo Island to brainstorm recipe ideas with chefs from Fogo Island Inn, and to see what locally foraged ingredients would be suited to brewing. Says Beau’s co-founder Steve Beauchesne: “The recipe development in its most basic form came together very quickly. But then we took time to learn about the culture and the tastes of Fogo Island. This is a beer that’s going to exist because we’ve been able to make connections with the people who live there. We could never have created this beer over Skype.”

49º 54º was created collaboratively with Shorefast Foundation, a charity engaged in strengthening the communities, cultural heritage and local economy of Fogo Island. Beau’s purchase of the foraged ingredients from Shorefast will support their ongoing mission. “At Shorefast, we are focused on community engagement to help create cultural and economic resilience for Fogo Island,” says Diane Hodgins, CFO of Shorefast Foundation and Fogo Island Inn. “We reached out to Beau’s with the idea of working together on a project like this because we saw people who share the same values, in terms of getting the community engaged with the growth of the business, and doing business a little bit differently.”

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49° 54° pours a hazy orange. Aromas are earthy and woody, mingled with mild fruitiness from the Newfoundland partridgeberries. Flavours are of smoky incense and brine, mildly tart berry, along with earthy, woody elements and evergreen sap. The finish is of lingering incense, with nicely balanced sweetness.

This truly unique beer will be available through January 2019 in Ontario LCBOs and Quebec depanneurs and grocery stores, as well as craft-friendly restaurants and pubs in those provinces. Thursday Oct. 25 is the official release date for 49° 54° in the Beau’s Tap Room in Vankleek Hill, ON, and for home delivery in Ottawa through BYBO.ca.