Rare Bird Craft Beer: Something in the water

Posted May 5, 2015

Water constitutes more than 90% of beer’s total ingredients.  If you’re not using high-quality water, you’re not going to be pleased with the taste of the finished product.

So when Glynn Williams discovered that his Guysborough pub, the Rare Bird Pub & Eatery, was sitting on top of a phenomenal water source, he knew it was the perfect spot for brewing award-winning craft beer.

“Our water is one of the key things that differentiates us from other brewing companies,” explains Glynn. “We’re on top of this amazing water source in Guysborough, from a very prolific well that generates over 1,000 gallons a minute. The quality is unbelievable.”

In fact, there’s so much of this pure water that Authentic Seacoast is in the process of rolling out Glanbùrn Pure Nova Scotia Artesian Water — which will run in parallel with brewing Rare Bird Craft Beer.

The coveted water comes from the pristine Milford Haven River system, just west of Guysborough. There’s minimal industrial development, and the river is renewed naturally with rainwater, making it the perfect source.

“What’s neat about the water is it has a pH level of 8.1, which is naturally alkaline, so we don’t have to do anything to it,” says Glynn. “There’s no chlorine, no lead, no iron, no fluoride — none of the other nasties one might experience in water.”

Nicholas Denys started Atlantic Canada’s first commercial brewery in Guysborough back in 1659, and Glynn suspects he took advantage of that same, special water.

“There’s a longstanding tradition of making beer here in Guysborough, and you have to think that at one point, Nicholas was using the same water and the same locally grown hops,” says Glynn. “We’re going to be exploring that more during our tours this summer — talking with visitors about how beer might have been made back in those days, and how things have changed.”

Many locals from the Eastern Shore communities around Chedabucto Bay, are said to believe their pure, artesian water is the secret to living a long, healthy life. In fact, the Rare Bird Craft Beer brewmaster likes to say “Live long, drink beer!”

Although Rare Bird Craft Beer varieties also include locally sourced ingredients like hops, malted barley, spruce buds, sap, roasted pumpkin, licorice, chocolate, and even Full Steam Coffee, Glynn says artesian water remains the single most important ingredient.

“Having this quality of water is really the essence of our Rare Bird Craft Beer,” says Glynn. “It’s one of the reasons why it has such a smooth taste.”