Split Rail Brewing pays homage to historic Assiginack settlement

Split Rail’s latest offering is named for Squirrel Town, located off Highway 6 in Assiginack.

GORE BAY—With its new small batch brew, Squirrel Town Nut Brown Ale, Split Rail Brewing Company is paying homage to an historic settlement in Assiginack Township.

“Squirrel Town is a farm settlement in Assiginack,” Barb Erskine, acting general manager of Split Rail, told The Expositor. “We knew we would be producing a nut-brown ale, and I talked to several people in Assiginack if we could use the name for this beer. Everyone was okay with it.” 

“We would like to invite some representatives of Assiginack to join us as we hold an unveiling event of this beer, which will be on tap only March 19,” said Ms. Erskine. “We will unveil and release the beer that day on tap and it will be available however long this small batch lasts. It is a very seasonal beer.”

Barret Campbell, head brewer for Split Rail told The Expositor, “It’s a candied chestnut brown nut ale. It is made with candied chestnuts and is a little sweeter than conventional beers. Its flavours are a mix of nutty, toffee colours with hints of raisin and plums.”

“It is a rich, hearty beer,” summed up Mr. Campbell.

Assiginack councillor Hugh Moggy said, “Squirrel Town was/is known as a farming community. Among the families there were the Sim and MacDougall families, which lived pretty close to each other and both farmed. Granville Sim was on council and the Hall family lived as well in Squirrel Town. And there was the Bennett house.”

Dave Ham, Assiginack mayor told The Expositor, “I wish I could give you a complete history of Squirrel Town. From what I understand, the Squirrel Town area was along the road that led from Manitowaning and went to South Baymouth and Michael’s Bay (as you come to the Slash Road). The road was put in probably 100 years ago. The old road used to wiggle and tie into it. You can still see remnants where the 10th sideroad runs into the highway.”

“It was a farming area, but was also known for its logging as well,” said Mr. Ham.