Tidehouse Brewing is the partnership between Shean Higgins and Peter Lionais, two avid homebrewers in Halifax. They are taking their passion for well-crafted beer to the next level, and will be opening shop this fall. Located at 5187 Salter Street, their brewery and retail shop are right in the heart of downtown. We caught up with the boys to learn a bit more about them, and their plans for the brewery.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
Shean hails from the woods of New Brunswick, and is seemingly always occupied by some kind of DIY project, with almost an obsessive focus on home improvement projects, woodworking, brewing, etc. Oh, and handsome; he’s really, really handsome.
Peter is a Cape Breton ex-pat who has been living in Halifax since 2003. He used to be found at almost every indie rock show, but now mostly stays home to work on beer while popping over to his favourite tap rooms when he can. Also handsome.
How did you get into the world of craft beer?
Peter started down the road of fermentation after moving to Halifax and following in his dad’s footsteps of making wine kits, when he and a friend split on some equipment and began making wine in a spare room. Eventually, looking for a more creative output and falling in love with Halifax’s burgeoning craft beer and home-brewing scene, he moved towards focusing on designing and brewing beer. Shean was a little late to the party but made up for any shortcomings by talking REALLY LOUDLY. Shean learned the ropes from Peter, and his friend Derrick Hiltz. Derrick and Peter were brewing for years and Shean was great at consuming their products.
Care to share some info on your homebrewing history?
The two of us, as well as some other close friends, have bonded over our varied fermentation projects/experiments. We have both worked together at a local home brew shop, Noble Grape (shout out to the Oxford crew) for many years, honing our knowledge, helping others and learning about running a business. We both entered the Stillwell Open of 2016 and have entered many of the local homebrew competitions.
What made you decide to take the step into brewing professionally?
CASH MONEY!! Because a 1 hectolitre system is a HUGE money maker right? RIGHT??!! (Perhaps a bit of passion for brewing and creating as well)
What type of system will you be brewing on?
We will be brewing on a 98 L system and be doing double brew days. We are starting with a four brew day/week schedule.
Do you have an approximate launch date?
Barring some unforeseen incident, we are hoping to have beer for sale early to mid-October, but we hear from our pals in the industry that unexpected delays are to be expected.
What are your plans for distribution?
To start, we are focusing on pre-filled growler sales from our 5187 Salter St. location. We will have our own branded refillable bottle, but will be filling other clean growlers/refillable bottles. We will be sending some kegs/casks to our favourite craft beer hangouts/tap rooms.
Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
Nope! But we will soon!
Can you tell us about the beers you plan on offering?
Our initial lineup will consist of:
Golden Glacier– A pale ale hopped with a favourite hop variety of ours, Glacier. We’ve always said it is a really pleasant hop with a lovely balance of earth, citrus and wood.
The Copper – A darker amber ale with a hint of smokiness from Rauchmalt (beechwood smoked malt from Germany).
Mild Thing – A super sessionable (lower alcohol) malty beer following British traditions of a pub beer. Look out for casked versions that make your heart sing!
Like A Motorcyc-ale – We were inspired by our friends’ band Like A Motorcycle to make a black but sessionable rock n’ roll of a beer. Light body, earthy and dank hop flavours and dark as a midnight ride on your motorcycle through the woods.
We are launching with four titles, but will add in one-offs and seasonals as we like.
Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?
We are definitely excited to be joining an industry that is so friendly and collaborative. We have learned a lot from Big Spruce, North Brewing, Good Robot, Sober Island and even fellow new comers 2 Crows and Bore City. “The rising tide floats all boats” truly does apply in our region, and we think most of the breweries out there recognize that. We are also very thankful for the help we’ve received from Noble Grape; the Haynes brothers have been hugely influential and big supporters of our project for quite some time. We’ve learned a lot from the home brewers of Halifax both those involved in the Brewnosers club and our enthusiastic customers at Noble Grape. We didn’t just teach people to how to brew beer, many of them taught us a thing or two.
Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
We plan to expand from what we can brew in our Salter St. space and have a larger production brewhouse set up, while still slinging growlers and producing fun one-offs in the downtown Halifax location. At the moment there are no plans for a pub or tap-room, however there IS available space in the unit directly next door. *wink*
Do you have a favourite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
Peter is a big Saison fan, so expect to see something from that style coming down the pipelines. Shean tends to lean more toward sessionable hop-forward beers.
How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
Variety is the spice of life and we enjoy exploring the many avenues that brewing can lead you down. Expect a lot of different options. We’ll really be all over the map once we lock in our initial offerings.
Thanks to Peter and Shean for getting us up to speed with their little big project! Be sure to follow along on the build and brew process at their social media pages, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Cheers!