travel photographer Heather McKay

Ultimate List of Newfoundland Craft Breweries

This summer, I had the opportunity to work remotely from Mount Pearl, Newfoundland for a month, try all their craft beer, hike the East Coast Trail, see puffins, get to know the locals, and it was amazing!

I really didn’t know too much about Newfoundland (aside from the fact that we all pronounce it wrong! (It’s pronounced New-Fin-LAND.).

However, I jumped at the chance to explore the Avalon & Bonavista Peninsulas and the many hiking trails and craft breweries near St. John’s.

Three things drew me to visiting Newfoundland:
  1. My future Brother-in-Law’s parents live there and they let me stay with them.
  2. It has it’s own HALF HOUR TIME ZONE!
  3. I had a travel voucher for Air Canada, thanks to a canceled flight returning from Africa.

I’m so stoked that I was able to visit Newfoundland finally and I’m absolutely going to return.

destination travel photographer blogger Heather McKay in Quidi Vidi Newfoundland harbour reviewing craft beer near St. John's
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What to see and do in Newfoundland Canada by travel blogger

Fun Facts About Newfoundland

Newfoundland is a large, rocky island off of the coast of Canada and is home to puffins, whales, icebergs, and lots of foggy days. I learned that they were given the choice between joining Canada or the USA and they only relatively recently joined Canada. I’d say they made the right choice.

Most of the people who live in Newfoundland and Labrador live near St. John’s on the Avalon Peninsula, which is the most North-Eastern point in North America! Less people live there than do in the city that I live in here in NY.

It was really easy to drive around and explore the entire area, but the island is much bigger than it looks on a map.

Each day, I took a day trip from Mount Pearl to explore St. John’s and the bay.

My favorite activity was tasting all of the new craft breweries and hiking the East Coast Trail. Thanks to working while traveling, I didn’t get to hike enough of the East Coast Trail. I want to go back to hike the whole thing, which would take 2-3 weeks.

Visit St. John's Newfoundland and easy day trips around the Avalon Peninsula

Here are more really cool facts about Newfoundland I bet you don’t know.

Visit Newfoundland Craft Breweries

St. John’s and the surrounding area are starting to add some craft breweries to the mix of amazing slow-food and now there are more choices than just the Yellowbelly Brewery on Water Street downtown.

I partook in all of them and enjoyed seeing the variety available. The hardest part was in getting someone else to drive because Newfoundlanders don’t mess around with drinking and driving. Canada in general takes it very very seriously.

Here are the new craft breweries near St. John’s Newfoundland:
  1. Quidi Vidi Brewery (Quidi Vidi/St. John’s)
  2. Bannerman Brewery (St. John’s)
  3. Dildo Brewing Company (Trinity Bay)
  4. Landwash Brewery (Mount Pearl)
  5. Port Rexton Brewery (Bonavista Peninsula)
  6. YellowBelly Brewery (St. John’s)
  7. Ninepenny Brewing (Conception Bay South)
  8. Baccalieu Trail Brewing Co. (Bay Roberts)
  9. Newfoundland Cider Company (OK, not a brewery, but still worth checking out with your Gluten Free friends)
travel blogger and photographer Newfoundland

Why visit Newfoundland Craft Breweries?

As a travel blogger and photographer, I was excited to visit all of the St. John’s Newfoundland craft breweries that I could get to while exploring. It’s one of my favorite things to do when I travel and a great way to get to know an area.

Well, hiking and visiting craft breweries. Those are the top of any travel itinerary when I’m exploring a new place.

The industry appears to be fairly new and I wouldn’t say that the craft beer in Newfoundland would be worth a special trip, however, it’s exciting to see the trend starting to catch on there.

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Port Rexton Brewery

This was my favorite brewery and when I go back, I’m going to find a Bed-and-Breakfast in Port Rexton so I can hang out here. Port Rexton Brewery has a relaxed, backyard/barn vibe and they have my fave beers: Porters!

We stopped here on a whim because I knew it was nearby, however, I had to talk the others into taking a small detour to check this brewery out. It’s a peril to traveling with others.

The reason we were in the area was that we had a day trip planned to drive around the bay and have lunch at the Bonavista Social Club. It was a really long day and probably better split into two days, coming from Mount Pearl.

The Bonavista Peninsula is stunning and there is plenty to see in the area, like the Bonavista lighthouse, with it’s awesome hiking trails (and puffins!). More on all of that in a different post, so let me know if you want to see those pics too.

Thankfully, they let me detour to this brewery when I realized it was kinda on the way home to Mount Pearl. Each of us loved our beers and felt right at home. I even bought a shirt!

Port Rexton Craft brewery in Newfoundland
Port Rexton Craft brewery in Newfoundland by travel blogger Heather McKay
Port Rexton Craft brewery in Newfoundland by travel blogger Heather McKay
Port Rexton Craft brewery in Newfoundland
Port Rexton Craft brewery in Newfoundland by travel blogger Heather McKay
Port Rexton Craft brewery in Newfoundland by travel blogger Heather McKay
Port Rexton Craft brewery in Newfoundland by travel blogger Heather McKay
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Landwash Brewery in Mount Pearl

Seeing how I was staying in Mount Pearl with my brother-in-law’s parents and drunk driving is taken so seriously, I walked over to this local brew pub. I’d been working a lot anyway and was looking forward to stretching my legs, so the 3-mile round trip walk was just what I needed. 

The Landwash Brewery was probably my second favorite beer, after Port Rexton. The location has a large, laid back vibe and I felt fine just saddling up to the counter to settle in and write some postcards.

Landwash Brewery has a separate area to pick up beer growlers to go and a food truck for food. I got there too late for food, however, I did grab a small growler to go for later.

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YellowBelly Brewery St. John's

Though YellowBelly Brewery is a St. John’s standard and classic institution, this had our least favorite beers. That being said, the building is really amazing and totally worth checking out. 

In the basement, is the UnderBelly… an authentic speakeasy!

With it’s location right in the heart of St. John’s and near George Street, I’m sure they won’t mind my hating on their beers. They’ll have a never ending stream of customers.

Fun Fact: My hosts’ other son had his wedding reception here!

The ‘colourful’ name harkens back to the Irish immigrants who entered Newfoundland between 1750 and 1830. The “Yellowbellies” were an Irish faction hailing from County Wexford who once famously tied strips of yellow cloth around their middles in a hurling match against the Cornish champions. Following their victory, King George III was heard to remark, “Well done the Yellowbellies!”

travel blogger and photographer visits St. John's Newfoundland and the craft beer on the Avalon Peninsula

Dildo Brewing Company & Museum

The plan was originally to visit the Dildo Brewing Company and work remotely from there for the day, however, the weather was so freaking nice out that I turned it into a road trip instead.

What ended up happening was that I drove around the bay to Heart’s Content, stopping along the way to take photos & stretch my legs. My journey took me to visiting the spot where the first telegraph was sent to Europe and hiking a fun, hidden trail.

Therefore, I ended my day trip from St. John’s in Dildo and had dinner & beers at the Brewery. They have an amazing view of the bay, a huge deck, live music in the evenings, and a decent beer selection.

My favorite was the Blonde Ale. 

The food is a pretty traditional menu of bar food and it was hard to find anything remotely healthy, so I had them give me a side of poutine and some grilled chicken.

Afterwards, I was still hungry (and was going to drive), so I went down the road to another restaurant and they made me some fish cakes before they closed for the night. The fish cakes were amazing!

I was sad that this place was closing early on such a beautiful day, since they too had a huge deck. I think the difference is that Dildo Brewery is the hot new place to be and that’s hard to beat.

travel blogger and photographer visits St. John's Newfoundland and the craft beer on the Avalon Peninsula
travel blogger and photographer visits St. John's Newfoundland and the craft beer on the Avalon Peninsula
travel blogger and photographer visits St. John's Newfoundland and the craft beer on the Avalon Peninsula
Craft Beer in Newfoundland review by travel blogger
travel blogger and photographer visits St. John's Newfoundland and the craft beer on the Avalon Peninsula

Where did the town get its name? The origin of the word "dildo" itself is obscure. It was once used to reference a phallus-shaped pin stuck in the edging of a row boat to act as a pivot for the oar (also known as a "thole pin" or "dole pin")

~ Wikipedia
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Quidi Vidi Brewery

Iceberg Beer and Quidi Vidi Brewery Newfoundland

This brewery’s claim to fame is that it makes their Iceberg Beer from actual icebergs, which are common in Newfoundland. Icebergs from Greenland make the trek down the Alantic Ocean each summer and can be spotted along the Eastern coast of Newfoundland.

I saw an iceberg offshore from the airplane as we made our descent and I went chasing after them on one morning and saw two!

It was pretty good beer, on the light side, similar to Budweiser Beer. We loved the location, in the heart of the tiny fishing village connected to St. John’s called Quidi Vidi.

This was our first day, as Marie and I picked up Amy and Bekah from the airport earlier, then went to Signal Hill, ventured down to Quidi Vidi to scope out Mallard Cottage & this adorable village.

travel blogger and photographer Heather McKay Parallax Life

Fun Fact: There is an Iceberg Finder website where you can track & update the location of floating icebergs!

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adventure blogger and photographer who reviews craft beer
destination travel photographer blogger Heather McKay in Quidi Vidi Newfoundland harbour reviewing craft beer near St. John's

Hot Tip: we found out the hard way that most breweries and bars don’t have food.

So, if you see a food truck or something, do stop. We split the fish and chips and should have each bought our own serving.

  1. First, it was fresh cod from off the shores of St. John’s and the best fish and chips I’ve ever had.
  2. Two, we didn’t’ find food the rest of the night! We ended up ordering pizza later.
visit St. John's and what to eat and drink
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Bannerman Brewing Company

Still on the search for food and a gorgeous night, we decided to walk back into St. John’s along a path and catch a taxi home to Mount Pearl. Just inside the city limits, we stumbled on Bannerman Brewing Co. and inquired about food.

Alas, they just sold out of everything they had!

Bannerman Brewing Co. is brand new and was totally hopping on the night we stumbled upon it. They did an amazing job renovating an old fire house in St. John’s and the vibe was perfect. I loved that they had a ton of bathrooms upstairs. I mean, when you break that seal…. you gotta go.

The ambiance is perfect for anyone and it seemed higher class than your typical brewery. We loved the decor, the logo, and the beers.

destination travel photographer blogger Heather McKay in Quidi Vidi Newfoundland harbour reviewing craft beer near St. John's
travel blogger and photographer visits St. John's Newfoundland and the craft beer on the Avalon Peninsula

Long before we poured our first beer, BANNERMAN BREWING CO. was the location of the city’s historic East Fire Station. Originally constructed after the Great Fire of 1892, it was rebuilt in the 1950s and still stands today at the corner of Duckworth and Ordnance Street. But the building is only half of the story. During the Great Fire, some 11,000 people lost their homes. Displaced, but not defeated, residents banded together with nothing more than a few belongings to set up a tent city in Bannerman Park. They weathered the aftermath of the fire and re-built the city. It's this story of collectivism and community that BANNERMAN BREWING CO. proudly celebrates.

Bannerman Brewing Co.

Craft Beer In Newfoundland

Are there more Newfoundland craft breweries since my visit?

I’m bummed I didn’t see a list like this one before I visiting St. John’s, as I now also realize that I missed Ninepenny and Baccalieu Trail Breweries.

On that note, also check out The Newfoundland Distillery because their Seaweed Gin is winning awards! We tried it when we had lunch at the Bonavista Social Club in a lemonade and it was amazing.

Turns out that we drove right past a tasting room!

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