Atlantic Canadians are gearing up for the regional travel bubble as COVID-19 restrictions in the region change.
And visitors to New Brunswick can celebrate in a very Maritime way.
Starting July 3, people in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI and Newfoundland and Labrador can travel through the region without having to self-isolate upon arrival. Each province is handling cross-border arrivals differently.
Peter Grandy, head brewer and operation manager at Holy Whale Brewing Co. in Alma, N.B., said family connections prompted he and his brother, Jeff, to create an Atlantic bubble beer line to coincide with the easing of restrictions.
“We’re from PEI originally, my brother and I, so we had connections there and then my grandparents on my father’s side (are) from Newfoundland as well, and my parents are from Nova Scotia and we now live in New Brunswick,” Grandy said.
“So it all kind of just came together.”
Grandy said he’s excited about the return of out-of-province visitors because most of his brewery’s business takes place during tourism season.
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They used potatoes from Prince Edward Island to create a Belgian witbier, and cherries — and possibly blueberries — to create a Nova Scotia saison. Both of those beers are expected to be ready for consumption next week.
Grandy said the brew for Newfoundland and Labrador is coming along.
“It might be a half-hour behind,” he laughed. “We’re trying to source partridge berry, so it’s a tart, tart beer.”
The New Brunswick beer, a rhubarb sour, is already on sale at their Alma pub and other locations in New Brunswick.
It is made with rhubarb sourced primarily from Walker’s Strawberry Farm in Lower Millstream, N.B., less than an hour from the brewery.
Farmer Brian Walker said the concept could be a boost for producers like him.
“If we can produce local and export local or ship local it eliminates a lot of that trucking costs,” Walker said. “It’s all around good for everyone I guess.”
The line of Atlantic bubble beer will only be available in New Brunswick.
Grandy said he’s proud to play a part in the latest phase of recovery from the pandemic.
“We really, really do have a soft spot for all the provinces given our background and so it’s nice to kind of bring it all together with a product and just new flavours for people to try and share some moments away from home,” Grandy said.