LAWRENCETOWN, NS - When Lunn’s Mill Beer Company opened on March 2 of 2017, they introduced an IPA they hadn’t named yet – it was just called XPA #1. A year later, almost to the day it won a gold medal at the 2018 Down East Brewing Awards held in Fredericton.
The Lawrencetown brewery walked away with the gold in the India Pale Ale category for the fairly hoppy IPA that fans of the brew later named First Cut. It was Lunn’s Mill’s first time competing at the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, now in its sixth year.
The Lunn’s Mill IPA was up against some top brews in the India Pale Ale category with Fredericton’s Graystone Brewing taking silver with its Patagonia IPA and Garrison Brewing of Halifax going home with the bronze for its Hoppy Buoy. Garrison won Brewery of the Year at the competition.
The only other brewery in Southwest Nova Scotia to walk away with medals was Shelburne’s Boxing Rock that won gold for their Sunken Ledge Porter in the Stout/Porter category. They also earned Best in Show Honourable Mention for the same brew.
Started as XPA
“It started its life as XPA,” said Sean Ebert, who with Mark Reid created the winning IPA. “We weren’t sure what to call it. We didn’t want to give it a name until we nailed down the recipe. When we felt we didn’t want to make any more changes to it we actually put out a Facebook competition to name it. The name that we chose was First Cut – it was our first IPA that we put out there.”
And the recipe did change a bit from that opening day offering. “Obviously it’s turned into something that people like.”
While the brewery is selling its Lager Driver and Anvil Porter in cans, you won’t find First Cut in that kind of container. “It’s one of those beers that’s better served fresh, so we tend not to make a ton of it,” Ebert said. “We’d rather run out of it than have old stock sitting around – just for the quality of the beer.”
Ebert described First Cut as one of his favourites.
“It’s a little bit lighter for IPAs. It’s about five-and-a-half per cent so you can enjoy more than one. It’s fairly hoppy, pretty light bodied, light on bitterness. I don’t think we’re planning on changing it at all.”
“I think our three top sellers would be Purple Grain, which is our other IPA, that’s number one, then Charming Molly, which is our blonde ale, and then First Cut,” he said.
The Lunn’s Mill taproom regularly offers as many as eight of their own brews along with guest taps from other craft beer and cider makers.
The Fredericton Craft Beer Festival started in 2013 and became one of the fastest growing festivals in New Brunswick, bringing together the largest selection of local beer, cider, and mead on the East Coast.
Craft breweries from New Brunswick, PEI, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia took part in this year’s festival and competition. Lunn’s Mill’s Chantelle Webb represented the Lawrencetown brewery at the event.
“Since it was founded, FCBF has grown exponentially and hosted sold out events that have grown and eveloved right along with the industry,” its website claims. The goal, it said, is to promote and showcase the diverse beers that make craft brewing one of the fastest-growing trends in the beverage industry.
See a complete list of 2018 Down East Brewing Awards winners at: http://www.canadianbeernews.com/2018/03/12/winners-announced-for-down-east-brewing-awards-2018/
Follow Lunn’s Mill on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LunnsMill/
See the Lunn’s Mill website at: https://lunnsmill.beer/