Local craft beer and food culture has grown exponentially in the last few years. Much of the success can be attributed to growing concerns of the environment and health impacts of food and drink shipped in from great distances. The spinoff of a wider audience being exposed to local food is the “aha” moment that all local, less-processed food and drink, such as locally made craft beer, simply tastes better.
It’s not just an urban phenomenon. Rural Nova Scotia is lapping up the local movement with pleasure. Case in point is Tatamagouche on Nova Scotia’s North Shore. Little more than two years ago, legendary local winemaker Hans Christian Jost and daughter, Christiane, opened Tatamagouche Brewing Company.
According to Christiane, “Growing up in Malagash, Tatamagouche was where we went for groceries, the dentist, etc. It was always like we were going to the big town. When deciding on a location for the brewery, it was always the area that we wanted to be. When we started our new business it was very important for us to be part of the streetscape of town. The community of Tatamagouche embodies community spirit.”
The Josts originally set their sights on the old town library, but around the same time, as it turns out, the old building beside it, which according to Christiane has been everything from a tire shop, a dance hall, a restaurant and mostly recently a butcher shop, also went on the market. It was a tough decision to open the brewery in the butcher shop, but according to Christiane, “It had more square footage which at the time we thought would be necessary.”
As it turns out, it wasn’t enough. This past winter the brewery expanded, taking over the old library space. They added new fermenters — allowing them to double production — as well as an enlarged tasting room and patio space for customers to sit down and try there beers.
Asked if this was the end of expansion, Christiane responded, “No, it hasn’t been enough. We have another tank on its way and we just bought the property next to us and have expanded production there, as well.”
As for whether they would consider moving the brewery out of Tatamagouche’s downtown core, Christiane said, “No, we definitely want to keep a presence on Main Street.”
The brewery has become an integral part of tourism in the area.
“We offer flights of four-ounce pours. We have different beers on tap here that you can’t often get in city. We have a great team here to answer questions. There is a real energy going on.”
It’s all been good for Tatamagouche Brewing Company but also for the local restaurant community and neighbouring beverage alcohol producers.
According to Christiane, “A lot of restaurants have told us that their sales have gone up because the brewery brings more people into the community. It’s a symbiotic relationship. All the restaurants here sell our products and we send customers to them. We think we’ve helped make the community more of a destination. We round out the experience, as do Uncle Leo’s (Lyons Brook), Caldera Distilling (River John) and Jost Vineyards (Malagash).”
The brewery completes the food and drink package in the area. Visitors making a base in Tatamagouche have a wealth of activities within driving distance. Any foodie trip to Tatamagouche requires a pilgrimage to the Saturday farmers market where a small group of enthusiast vendors sell all you need for an afternoon picnic or gourmet evening meal.
When in the area, you’d also be remiss not to venture to the nearby Train Station Inn for a visit and light lunch on The Dining Car, housed-in a converted CNR railcar. It’s a restaurant experience that Christiane notes as “favourite.”
A short distance from Tatamagouche you’ll also find Sugar Moon Farm, producers of local maple syrup, and less than a 10-minute drive away in Denmark, The Pork Shop, which has even used Tatamagouche beer to make sausages.
It all makes for a worthwhile venture to Nova Scotia’s North Shore, where you are sure to discover Tatamagouche Brewing Company and one of this province’s most dynamic food and drink cultures.