FirkinStein Brewing opened recently just outside of Bridgewater, N.S. Co-owned by friends, and Michelin Tire co-workers, Devin Fraser and Adam Sarty, they have started brewing with some self-built and self-improved gear (think Frankenstein’s Monster), and their beer is available in the Bridgewater region. Devin was kind enough to answer a few questions about FirkinStein’s past, present, and future.
ACBB: Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
Devin: Adam and I both work at Michelin Tire Ltd. in Bridgewater, N.S. We work there as troubleshooters in the plant.
How did you get into the world of craft beer?
While I was taking my electronics course about 15 years ago, I was introduced to craft brew by my teacher Ken Wilson (a local homebrew legend). Ten years later, I met Adam. He and I were always talking about making our own beer. He invited me over to show me his “beer in a bottle kit”. When I saw it, I laughed and said if we were to make home brew we need to do it right! So I looked Ken up in the phone book and sure enough he remembered me! He showed us how all grain was done. I am forever grateful to him.
Care to share some info on your homebrewing history?
Home brewing blossomed for us and got friendly-competitive. We have an old ugly mash paddle that we painted gold and have handed it back and forth to whom ever made the best beer. Not that I want to admit it… but it stayed at his house more then mine.
What made you decide to take the step into brewing professionally?
We had always dreamed of starting our own business, and brewing seemed to fit. Talk is just talk, however, and little progress came out of it. Then, unfortunately, a colleague of ours became very sick. This changed our perspectives a little bit, and we went for it.
What size/manufacturer/type of system are you brewing on?
We brew on a system unlike most. We built and found and modified everything here, it truly is built from the ground up! We are using reclaimed dairy tanks for our mash tun and kettle, modified to use steam in their jackets with electrical elements inside. Our mash tun uses a crazy food-grade mixer to help stir. We also filter all our water using slow sand filtering. The entire brewery is covered in wash down plastic. We gutted my garage and did everything ourselves. Adam is a very handy builder, I lack there. 🙂 We have a capacity of 1000l but are limited now, as we only have two 1300l fermenters. We maintain temperatures by using A/C units and temperature controllers.
What are your plans for distribution?
As of now we are doing local growler deliveries. People can send us a message on Facebook or Twitter to place their order. We usually do the deliveries on Tuesdays and Thursdays, though that may change due to customer demand. We are also attending a pair of local markets: Lunenburg Farmers’ Market on Thursdays and Hubbards Farmers’ Market on Saturdays. At the markets, we can both fill and exchange growlers, in 0.95 and 1.89l formats.
Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
Can you tell us about the beer(s) you plan on offering initially?
Our beer now is the Nor’Easter Red Ale, a a 7.5% ABV Strong Ale, with lots of citrus aroma and flavour from Cascade hops. We plan on three stable varieties and many fun/one-off batches. Belgians are not on our list.
Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?
Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
Well… Adam is a dreamer, I am a little more “less” positive.. So odds are somewhere in the middle. 🙂
Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
I enjoy many… but right now I tip my hat to Temptation Red by Boxing Rock.
How can people keep up to date on the latest FirkinStein news?
Anything else you’d like to share, we’d love pass it along.
Just a cheers to you!