Sarah Rennie –
When Trevor Livingstone’s long-held dream of launching his own farm brewery started to cement itself in 2016, his choice of Livingstone for a name represented much more than his family name.
He still remembers picking stones from the field in Havelock as a child growing up in Havelock. His father, Gary, owns a stone quarry and his brother went on to become a stone mason while he and his dad have worked together for over a decade as landscapers specializing in stonework. The pair of hammers in his logo honour his family’s long tradition of quality work, attention to detail and finesse while embracing the landscaper’s ethic of bringing together natural elements to create something beautiful. And, as anyone who appreciates craft beer will understand, a tall glass at the right moment is a beautiful thing.
For years rumours of a brewery on Covey Hill have resonated throughout the Valley. In fact, the brewery has been garnering attention and fans online since the worst-kept secret of its existence was confirmed with a Facebook post in 2016. Most have never tasted a drop. And, as the grand opening now scheduled for sometime early on in the New Year creeps closer, Livingstone is quite ready for visitors to enjoy their first pints in the area’s only farm microbrewery.
“I’ve been wanting to open up a brewery since I started homebrewing over a decade ago,” says Livingstone. “We wanted it to be a real farm brewery and I wanted it to be in the barn,” he adds, while standing in the centuries old hand-cut timber frame barn that now houses his brewery and tasting room. Imbued with tradition, nature and locality, a farm brewery brews beer made from ingredients grown on the farm. Livingstone’s barn stands on property belonging to his family, and the partnership with his father has now evolved to include working together to convert the old barn into a modern brewery. The building was effectively gutted and then raised. Allowing for a new radiant-heated floor to be installed. The barn now houses both the tasting room and brewery as well as a warehouse and a kitchen, that may be furnished with a pizza oven. “It has been very intense and a lot of work, but the final product is worth it,” says Livingstone, who was careful to use as many local businesses as possible in the construction of the brewery.
From beer geek to brewer
A die-hard beer geek – like most he started brewing on a stovetop before slowly investing in different brewing systems as his passion for the craft grew. “The more into it you get the easier it is to network,” he admits, crediting his membership in the Montreal Homebrew Club as a gateway for meeting and brewing with different breweries.
Far from a traditionalist, Livingstone plans to use alternative ingredients and to incorporate local products in his beers, while avoiding the cliché of novelty beers. “Anything edible can be used in beer,” he maintains, describing a beer he recently brewed with bee palm, sorrel and rhubarb from the well-known Ferme des Quatre-Temps in Hemmingford.
He is now working with a Blichmann 5-barrel brewing system with 10-barrel fermenters and a carbonator. Livingstone also will be brewing cask fermented beer with a final fermenter and a double tap beer engine for pulling the cask ales already installed. The goal is to have ten beers on tap at all times as well as two non-alcohol options, likely kombucha and nitro coffee. Visitors will be able to enjoy their drink of choice in either the tasting room in pint or flight format, or in growler or bottle format at home.
The majority of the work has been completed on the brewery, with only the stone landscaped terrasse and the farm side to come, with hops already growing and other crops to be planted next spring.
The Livingstone Brewing Company will officially open in early 2019.