DIGBY, NS – A small business just won one really big award, and it’s a microbrewery from right here in Digby.
Roof Hound Brewing Co. owners Les and Jen Barr took first place in the India Pale Ale, or IPA, category – the largest of the competition – at the fourth annual Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards, held October 20 at The Stubborn Goat in Halifax.
Their beer called Big Stink IPA was chosen for top prize out of 45 entries. It’s become a flagship beer at the microbrewery, and not without an ironic twist.
“The funny thing is we never intended for IPA’s to be what we’re known for here at Roof Hound. But we’ve had great success with the Big Stink, and here we are. We still can’t believe it,” said Les.
‘It doesn’t get more Digby than that’
His approach to brewing is a unique one, says brewery co-owner Jen Barr.
“There’s always some new twist, and always something that gets changed,” she said.
Winning the award has been exciting for them both, but doesn’t mean things will keep on as is for The Big Stink.
“I’ve already fiddled with the recipe. I always put pressure on myself to keep at it, and there’s always room for improvement,” said Les.
The business is all about keeping it local, and celebrating home roots.
The mash tun part of Barr’s brew system, which mixes the grains in, is made from a repurposed part from a scallop boat from Digby.
“It doesn’t get more Digby than that,” said Les.
Little brewery with a big heart
Many Roof Hound staff members attended the awards with Jen and Les, cheering loudly as they celebrated the big win.
Even in feeling very proud of what they’ve accomplished, the win still came as a shock.
“We were up against huge, multi-million dollar breweries. We’re new, small and low-budget, so to come out ahead of them is huge,” said Les.
With not even a year and a half under their belts, both owners feel support radiating as community members come to the brewery in search of unique, tasty beers.
“It’s a product we’re proud of, that people respond to,” said Jen.
“Most people that come here have a favourite beer. I just got a call five minutes ago from someone asking if the mojito sour was on tap.”
They’ll celebrate the big win with The Big Stink Party event, to be held November 4 at the microbrewery in Hillgrove.
“It’s great to have this recognition, and also great to know we’re producing beer that’s becoming part of people’s lives and culture here,” said Jen.
“It’s pretty exciting to make something in little old Digby,” said Les.