When news broke late last year that our town's best brewery, FogHorn Brewhouse, was up for sale, it sent shockwaves that not only crushed the hearts of local beer lovers, but their dreams of one day holding a frosty FogHorn beer can in their hands.
Beer gods bless Shawn Sherlock's resolve for high quality beer, and the capital investment accelerators Founders First, for their foresight to partner with Sherlock and keep the FogHorn dream alive.
"We've been working hard behind the scenes to take our beers and brand to the next level," says Sherlock, standing taller and prouder than ever before in his newly rebranded and relaunched business, FogHorn Brewery. Same location, same high quality beers, a new food menu, and a slightly different name . . .
"We've changed the name from brewhouse to brewery to better reflect the changes we've been going through. It's an evolution of our food offering within the venue, and it's the start of a bit of a revolution in terms of our beers and presence outside the brewery," Sherlock says.
On Thursday night, fans of FogHorn will attend a celebration of the newly named brewery, and sample some fresh food items off the new menu paired with a few of Sherlock's favourite brews.
"Our existing menu has proved popular over the past four years, but we thought it was time for some changes," Sherlock says. "Our most popular offerings, including our wings and burgers, are staying put, but we've introduced an expanded range of new flavours and some tapas style dishes. The chefs have updated and improved our pizza menu, we've got stronger vegetarian options, and some great grill dishes too."
The best news to come out of the FogHorn relaunch, though, is the prospect for beer fans to finally get to hold of an ice cold can of FogHorn beer in their hot little hands.
"Ever since we opened people have been asking us about packaging . . . We've taken our time with the decision because we wanted to get it right," Sherlock says.
The first FogHorn beer to be canned will be the ever-popular Young Americans IPA.
"Young Americans is by far our most popular take-away beer in terms of growler and squealer sales. People love it, and there is a demand for more of it in the convenience of cans," Sherlock says. "Initially, we'll be looking to sell direct from our venue and hopefully through some of the great local bottle shops we have in our area."
Young Americans is by far our most popular take-away beer in terms of growler and squealer sales. People love it, and there is a demand for more of it in the convenience of cans.FogHorn brewer Shawn Sherlock
Rumour has it, there's plans to can the Newy Pale Ale, the Summer Ale, and the award-winning Sligo Extra Stout, as well. Rejoice! Beer gods be praised.
"We just want to say thank you to our community for your support over the last four years," Sherlock says. "We've been through a series of changes and come out the other side stronger than before. Now, we're ready to grow the FogHorn brand into something Newcastle and the Hunter can really be proud of."