Gahan ale honours brewmaster Trent Hayes
by Bryan Carver
Few people on Prince Edward Island have watched the growth of the craft brewing industry—from within it—like Trent Hayes. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of his career brewing beer in Charlottetown. Trent has witnessed firsthand the modest beginnings and the subsequent growth of an industry which has gone from one brewery to the six currently in operation.
In 1997, Trent started brewing at Murphy’s Brewing Company in the old Lone Star Cafe that used to be on University Avenue—the only brewery operating on PEI at the time. Small batch beer was still a new concept and slowly growing in popularity. The ability to brew fresh, flavourful beers gave Trent and his recipes (brewed under the Murphy’s Brewing Company banner) a unique position in the beer market here on PEI.
At the time, Islanders were more accustomed to buying bottles of warm lager rather than cold craft beer at the PEILC outlets. On a small 400 litre brew house, Trent worked to develop their core beers which were featured on tap at Lone Star and helped to lay the groundwork for the next stage in his brewing career; the Gahan Brewing Company.
When Gahan House opened on Sydney Street in 2001, Trent gained the ability to brew more beer on a larger brew house and an increased cellar capacity allowed for the introduction of a wider variety available on tap. Trent’s beers saw an ever increasing demand, with beer lovers now looking to buy bottles at PEI Liquor outlets.
In the early spring of 2008, the Gahan Brewery started brewing on a 2300 liter brew house on Walker Drive. This new, larger brewery was built to meet this increased demand for bottles that soon began rolling out to local stores. As soon as the Gahan bottles were introduced, the beers began winning national beer awards which put Gahan in the national spotlight, a highlighted PEI as a destination for world class beer.
To celebrate Trent’s 20 years in the brewing industry, a special “Hayes’y” India Pale Ale has been brewed at Gahan House. Light in colour with a moderate bitterness from an early kettle addition of Columbus hops, this hazy beer is big on hop flavour and aroma driven by the late additions and dry hopping of Citra and Huell Melon. Watch for it in cans at PEI Brewing Company locations soon or grab a pint at Gahan House and give a cheers to Trent for the great work he has done helping to pioneer such growth of the brewing industry here on PEI.