With so many craft breweries popping up across the country, it can be difficult to distinguish between them all. But New Brunswick’s latest brewery is off the beaten path—literally.
Located on an isolated property several kilometres from the nearest power pole, Off Grid Ales is a small craft brewery that’s almost completely powered by solar and wind energy.
Brewer Randy Rowe and his wife, Denise, have lived in a solar-powered home on Harvey Lake for years. Rowe told CBC News that adding a brewery to their isolated property started as a passion project for them both. Not surprisingly, it’s turned into a lot of hard work. Running a small brewery can be challenging enough, but Rowe’s learned that it’s even tougher when you have to rely on Mother Nature.
“You can’t produce a lot of electricity without spending a lot of money, so basically we have to do everything very energy-efficiently,” Rowe told CBC News. “That’s how we’ve designed the brewery, to be able to run on a fraction of what other places would use.”
Most of Off Grid Ales’ production is powered by 18 solar panels and a wind turbine. Combined they produce an average of 12 to 15 kilowatts of green energy per day. Rowe says they also have a backup battery system that holds around 20 kilowatts.
The setup isn’t simple, but Rowe says it’s paid off.
“It’s nice to be able to live and brew and not have a power bill,” he told CBC. “It will be virtually nothing.”
Of course the couple still needs to consider taste. To ensure consistency in their brews, Rowe admits that he and his wife rely on a propane system for heating.
To find out what green beer tastes like, look for Off Grid Ales on shelves this fall. The couple is planning to sell four different brews, including a red and a double IPA.