Bagtown Logo

A brewery with a very unique genesis will be launching very shortly in Sackville, New Brunswick, home of Mount Allison University – it began as a project in Dr. Nauman Farooqi’s third-year commerce class in entrepreneurship and is fully owned and operated by MtA students! With a name that reflects the brewery’s home (Bagtown being a longtime nickname for Sackville), and a logo that evokes the Sackville Waterfowl Park, Bagtown proudly wears its origins on its sleeve. Their first beer, the Wobbly Duck English Pale Ale, was released at Ducky’s on April 1st where the first keg sold out in 40 minutes! An official launch party for the brewery will happen at 9pm this Saturday night, April 8th, also at Ducky’s. Earlybird tickets will be available at the brewery Thursday, April 6, from 3-7pm, that will provide access at 8pm on Saturday. A $10 ticket will get you 2 beers, and $15 will get you the same two beers plus a Bagtown branded pint glass to take home.

We asked the team behind Bagtown to answer a few questions about their brewery and their plans.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
We are a brewery that is fully owned and operated by 14 students that has come out of an Entrepreneurship class at Mount Allison University. While 12 of the students will be graduating at the end of this year, Brewmaster Anthony Maddalena has stepped up to follow his passion, committing to a 5th year in Sackville and taking ownership control of the brewery. The other members of the team will remain shareholders, coming out of their undergraduate careers with an investment and a company start-up experience on their respective resumes.

How did you get into the world of beer?
Basically the first day of class, we had to think of some ideas of what we were going to do for our entrepreneurial venture. There were a few ideas tossed around and the one that intrigued most of us was a brewery – a venture that no one had ever done before. Because we had 2 people in our class that had brewed beer before we decided to go for it.

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
A couple of the students in our class brewed beer this past summer in Sackville. One of them has a brother who is in the beer industry and has worked with Moosehead as a Production Manager. Because of this, there was a lot of knowledge that was passed down, which has been a fantastic resource for the company to use.

When is your launch date?
We had originally hoped to launch at the beginning of March, but unanticipated delays in the listing process pushed our opening date into April. The first keg of our beer to be served to the public was tapped at Ducky’s in Sackville last weekend and we’re doing an official launch party this Saturday night at 9pm.

What are your plans for distribution? Will you be licensed for on-site sales or consumption at the brewery?
To date, we have our brewer’s license and our ANBL listing, and have are in the process of getting our brewer’s agency license. Our plan for now is to sell kegs to restaurants and bars in the area to get our beer out to the public. Once we have our brewer’s agency license, we will be able to sell growlers from our storefront at 62 Main St, in the Sackville Commons C0-op complex. We will not be licensed right away for on-site consumption, however maybe down the road this could be a possibility. Our main focus for the time being is getting our beer in the public’s hands!

Do you have some initial tap accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
In addition to Ducky’s, we have talked to Joe and the Crow (Joey’s Pizzeria & Pasta / Split Crow Pub Sackville), who are both on board to have our beer on tap.

Can you tell us about the beer you plan on offering initially? Any seasonals or one-offs in the works?
The beer that we plan on initially offering in an English Pale Ale called the Wobbly Duck! The beer is medium-bodied with a low carbonation. It is golden in colour with a moderate hop aroma and a mild bitterness. You will be able to taste a mix of fruity, earthy and malty flavours with a smooth finish! We have thought about producing a cranberry beer that our brewmasters have fiddled with, however it is not on the radar quite yet as we want to get our first beer underway. There have also been some other ideas tossed out such as a maple beer, but we will have to see what comes in the future!

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?
Tatamagouche Brewing has been a huge help for us. They have answered a lot of our questions and have been a fantastic resource on our journey thus far. We have had so many other great resources as well with people reaching out and letting us know that if they can offer any assistance they are willing to help.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
Hopefully our brewery will become a success and grow to offer multiple different kinds of beer and become a staple in the town of Sackville.

What size/manufacturer/type of system will you be brewing on? Expected output (monthly, yearly, etc)?
We currently brew on a 40 litre system. Monthly out will be approximately 1000 litres.

Bagtown swag

Care to share some info on your homebrewing history?
We have experience homebrewing from last summer and fall. The experience provided us with the information we’ve needed in order to develop our recipe and refine our production process in order for it to be as efficient as possible.

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
Definitely enjoy drinking lighter craft beers such as Garrison Irish Red or Picaroons Blonde. Something that is flavourful but also easy to drink.

How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
We love to use Cascade hops in our pale ale. It is a very versatile hop that can add a lot of character to your brew.

Anything else you’d like to share, we’d love pass it along?
We want to thank everyone for their support thus far in our journey and we cannot wait until we finally get our beer into the public’s hands!

Bagtown first pints!


Thanks to the Bagtown crew for sitting down with us. Be sure to drop by Ducky’s Saturday evening to grab a pint of Wobbly Duck Pale Ale. Keep up to date with growler sales launch, additional events and new beer releases on their social media pages: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The little town of Montague, PEI (located on the eastern end of the Island) is going to be getting a lot bigger this coming summer… at least, beer-wise! Husband and wife team Ken Spears and Ashley Condon announced early this month that they plan on opening Copper Bottom Brewing sometime by mid-summer. This is one of two breweries scheduled to open in Montague in 2017 (the other being Montague Brewing), with Ken and Ashley planning to focus on live music, as well as beer, in the brewery’s accompanying tap room. We’ve recently exchanged emails with Ken to find out what the couple have in store for when the brewery launches this summer…

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
I am a Red Seal electrician turned brewer originally from Nova Scotia. My wife, Ashley Condon, is an award-winning songwriter and touring musician originally from Murray Harbour North, PEI. We live in the woods in rural PEI just outside of Montague and have a cat named Fiona. We enjoy hiking, the beach, and Ashley does yoga in the upper part of the “Brewdio” (the barn on our property that houses the “nanobrewery” and yoga/music studio)

How did you get into the world of craft beer?
I fell in love with craft beer in 2003 when I landed a job at Propeller Brewing in Halifax. The owner, John Allen, became a mentor to me, offering advice and inspiring me to follow my passion. Ashley fell in love with craft beer by proxy and by travelling around North America as a musician visiting local microbreweries. When we travel together we spend lots of time visiting local breweries as well, and have grown to love the whole craft beer scene together which is pretty cool.

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
Ashley and I moved to PEI in 2011. The move inspired change and I quickly realized PEI was the perfect place to open a microbrewery. I also realized that PEI needed more options for craft beer. Having been exposed to the thriving craft beer scene in Nova Scotia, I was excited to see how PEI’s craft beer scene could grow as well. I also felt like my love of brewing could be an asset to the community and allow me to follow my passion.

Care to share some info on your homebrewing history?
I love experimenting with new beer styles and playing with the flavours. The brewhouse is currently a converted 50 litre keg, propane-fired nano brewery. As mentioned previously, we call our barn the “Brewdio” because it’s a brewery and music/yoga studio in one.

Do you have an approximate launch date?
We are aiming so serve our first pint mid-summer 2017.

What size/manufacturer/type of system will you be brewing on? Expected output (monthly, yearly, etc)?
We have a DME 10 BBL (~1170 L) system that has 7000 L cellar capacity to start with, and room to grow.

What are your plans for distribution? Plans for tap accounts, bottles, growlers, etc.? Are you licensed for on-site sales?
We will have several tap accounts across the Island with growler fills from the brewery, and eventually cans distributed to PEILCC stores. Our tap room – which overlooks the Montague river – will be set up for pints served daily.

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
Stay tuned!

Can you tell us about the beer(s) you plan on offering initially? Are you planning on offering a specific style, or genres (Belgian, English, etc), of beer? Any seasonals, one-offs, or will you stick mainly with a “flagship lineup”?
We are committed to a wide variety of styles to keep our options open for experimenting. We will have flagships and we have planned for exciting one-off brews and smaller batches. Keep up-to-date on our Brews News blog on our website. We will be documenting the entire building process as well.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?
We have been in touch with several brewers across the country and everyone has been really helpful. In particular, John Allen (Propeller Brewing in Halifax), Jeremy White (Big Spruce in Cape Breton), Don Campbell (Barnone in PEI), Simon Livingston (L’Espace Public in Montreal) and Mitch Cobb and Mike Hogan (Upstreet in PEI).

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
We will be distributing across PEI and collaborating with other breweries. We also hope to be a hub in our community, hosting monthly events and growing our networks within the artistic and brewing communities.

Do you have a favourite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
I love dark, malty beers as well as light and hoppy… and sour beers are changing my life!

How about a favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
I love brewing with the American “C” hops and Maris Otter malt.

It’s fantastic to see yet another craft brewery planned to open in PEI, and we’re looking forward to hearing more from Ken and Ashley over the coming months, with updates on their progress! Be sure to follow along on their website, as well as their Facebook and Twitter accounts, and of course we’ll be sure to include any news in our weekly Friday Wrap-Up.

The town of St. Stephen, New Brunswick, can expect a new brewery to be opening in the near future in their area. Gore Farm Brewery will be run by Robin and Pierre Heelis, on the family farm where they also grow produce. We recently caught up with Robin via email to talk about the brothers’ plans, as the launch date for the brewery will be happening soon.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
My father and I have been producing high quality, locally grown vegetables, eggs, honey, and meat using organic methods; when my brother moved back to New Brunswick, we decided to combine our homebrewing efforts on the farm. Our brewery was a natural extension of the self-sustainability we espouse on at Gore Farm and is another avenue for Gore Farm to develop interest in local products and to further sustainability and self-sufficiency in our community.

How did you get into the world of craft beer?
It all started with a Sierra Nevada… then a Dogfish Head… then an Allagash… soon we were looking to re-create those flavours because we could not find those styles of beer at our local ANBL at the time.

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
Firstly, as a farm, we are committed to providing local products for local people. Secondly, during participation in the Fredericton Beer Run a few years back we had a look at the brewery map of New Brunswick and noticed our little southwestern corner was remarkably devoid of breweries, so we thought… why not us!?

Care to share some info on your homebrewing history?
Being so close to the border, we were able to try a lot of great craft beer on our frequent trips to Maine and Massachusetts. We just couldn’t find those types of beers locally, so we decided we should start making our own. We reached out to friends with homebrewing experience in Charlotte County and just dove in. We started with wort-in-a-bag kits, which quickly morphed into kit hacking. It wasn’t long before we made the full conversion to all-grain and began developing our own recipes.

What type of system will you be brewing on?
We are truly nano in size. We currently brew on a 1⁄2 barrel (60 L) electric system and hope to ease into the local community and festival scene in early 2017.

What are your plans for distribution? Plans for tap accounts, bottles, growlers, etc.? Are you licensed for on-site sales?
Our initial plan is to sell kegs only.

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
Brendan Moore of The 5 Kings in St. Stephen has been great, and we look forward to having our beers available there as soon as we can get them out! We also have been working and learning from the guys at Graystone in Fredericton. We have been fortunate enough to have completed a collaboration brew with them called Mont Blanc, a White IPA that has been on tap recently at their taproom in Fredericton (and returns tomorrow), as well as a couple of other establishments in the city.

Can you tell us about the beers you plan on offering?
Gore Farm Brewery produces seasonal ales (and even lagers) with a notably-Belgian influence. We brew with the seasons and are inspired by many of the ingredients that can be found on the family farm. There are three beers that are planned to be the backbone of Gore Farm’s regular production:
Gore Farm Saison – (~6% ABV) a yeast-forward Belgian farmhouse Saison that has the same base recipe, but changes slightly with the seasons based on spices and ingredients available on the farm.
Gore Farm Belgian Blonde – (~6% ABV) a balanced, easy drinking and refreshing Belgian Blonde that is meant to provide an easy introduction to Belgian beers.
Gore Farm Seasonal – (varying ABV) examples include: Gore Farm Pumpkin, Gore Farm Russian Imperial Stout, Gore Farm Black Currant Wheat, and Gore Farm Rhubarb Wheat.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?
How much time do we have? The brewing community is amazing, much like the farming community actually – always willing to share and assist wherever possible. One of our great friends, Luke Cook, was our first resource for all things all-grain in our early home brewing days. Through the licensing process we have had support from many people in the community. We would certainly like to thank Sean Dunbar of Picaroons and Shane Steeves of Hammond River. We also really need to single out Wes Ward of Graystone and the whole Tough Guys Brewing gang (Ian DeMerchant, Steve Christie, Mark Budd) for their generosity with their time and advice.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
Our desire is to get our beers out there and hope people like them as much as we do!

Do you have a favourite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
There is no question about our affinity for Belgian beer and Belgian beer styles. Cantillon is a clear favourite. On the East Coast, we are big fans of just about everything they do at Allagash in Portland, Maine. We also are a big fans of German style lagers.

How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
Part of the beautiful thing about beer is that it is much more diverse than most people know. Who was it that said if you don’t like beer, you just haven’t tried enough of them yet? Often, our inspiration is derived from the seasonal offerings available on the farm, like a subtle Pumpkin Ale in the fall and a tart Rhubarb Wheat in the spring.

Be sure to follow along with our Friday Wrap-Ups, as we’ll have more news on Gore Farm soon. They’re currently wrapping up work on their website and social media pages; we’ll be sure to include that info once they’re up and running!

Lunn's Mill

Lunn’s Mill Beer Company will be opening later this month in Lawrencetown, in the heart of Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. Located almost exactly half-way between Digby and Somerset, the brewery will help to serve the population looking to support a small local brewery. Lunn’s Mill is the original name for Lawrencetown, named after John Lunn, who purchased a wood mill lot there in 1760, before being renamed in honour of Lieutenant Governor Charles Lawrence in 1822. Mark Reid and Sean Ebert, along with Chantelle Webb and Chad Graves, are the force behind Lunn’s Mill, and brewer Mark sat down with us to answer some questions about their plans for opening, their brewing system, and beers they’ll be offering.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
Lunn’s Mill Beer Co. is a partnership of 4 people who live in the Annapolis Valley. Sean and I have been homebrewing all-grain beer together for a few years now, and have toyed with the idea of opening a real brewery for some time. The time never really seemed right, so we just decided to do it anyway. We partnered with Chantelle to focus on food in the taproom and Chad to help with the business side to form an A-Team for the modern age.

How did you get into the world of craft beer?
My interest in craft beer was sparked by a work trip to Belgium which had an unexpected stop at Delirium Cafe in Brussels. That gave me a chance to try a bunch of beer styles I’d never really thought about before, and finding them very enjoyable, I continued branching out and trying different things when I got back home as well. Around 2012, I started brewing all-grain beer, planted a few hop rhizomes in my back yard, and ever since then, brewing and drinking reinforced each other as fun and rewarding activities.
Sean and I met about three years ago and started brewing regularly together a year later. If I recall correctly, the conversation went something like: “Hey, do you want to brew and drink all the things?” “Sure!”
All four of us have been increasingly delighted with the quality and variety of local craft beer over the past couple of years.

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
I’d been daydreaming about starting a brewery for several years, and after having the “should we? shouldn’t we?” discussion with Sean enough times we decided that the time would never be better than right now. Craft beer is booming, we’ve got a few recipes dialed in, and our home base is smack in the middle of one of the largest remaining brewery-less areas in the province (Annapolis County).
There’s a very strong “support local” culture, and we want to add an excellent local option for beer.

What are your plans for distribution? Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
We’re planning to roll things out in phases. First is growler fills onsite at the brewery at 515 Carleton Rd (Highway 201), with weekly subscription-based home delivery in the immediate area (Annapolis Royal to Greenwood). Shortly after that, we’ll be opening a taproom, and eventually we’d like to start canning beer – all the cool kids are doing it. We have spoken to a few establishments about tap accounts, but haven’t finalized anything yet.

Can you tell us about the beers you will have at launch?
Our initial lineup consists of four beers:
Charming Molly – Blonde Ale – Nice and light-bodied, this beer has just a hint of hops and a crisp, slightly sweet malty character. 4.7%, 14 IBU
Brickyard Red – Red Ale – Rich and malty with a deep ruby colour. 6.2%, 20 IBU
Lunn’s Pub Ale – English Bitter – Copper colour with low-medium bitterness and mild hop character. True to style, it has relatively low carbonation so you can pour a full glass without all that pesky foam. 4.5%, 37 IBU
XPA #1 – The first iteration of our ever-evolving (x = experimental) IPA – Hop-forward, bright and citrusy. Very pale, slightly hazy. Highly sessionable. 5%, 80 IBU
We also plan on offering seasonals as capacity permits: harvest brews with hops grown here in the valley, some darker beers for the darker months including a Black IPA and a Porter, easy drinking patio beers for the summer.
One thing I’m particularly excited about is what we’re calling the Showcase Series. This is where we hope to offer small batches of a recipe brewed two ways, showcasing one small variation at a time – Cascade vs. Centennial hops, say, or 2-Row vs. Maris Otter, or US-05 yeast vs. Nottingham – one tweak and folks can try them side-by-side to see what difference it makes in the final beer. The potential items to showcase are nearly endless, and our aim is to let people gain a better understanding of the different facets of beer.

Lunn’s Mill is using a BIAC (Brew In A Conical) system, where the wort drains/lauters out through the bottom of a colander. Related to Brew In A Bag, a popular technique for homebrewers.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada?
You always hear the same answer on this topic – breweries in Nova Scotia are extremely helpful and welcoming – and it’s absolutely true. More specifically though, the folks at Saltbox went above and beyond, giving us a ton of advice early on even when they were extremely busy launching their own business! Boxing Rock graciously invited Sean and I to brew with them after we placed second in last year’s Black Box Challenge (aside: can’t wait to see what this year’s contest brings!) which gave us the bug to take our brewing hobby to the next level. Les Barr at Roof Hound has been great as well with a constant flow of communication, advice, tips and friendly encouragement.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next few years?
We hope to see the overall craft beer industry expand and make further inroads with the broader beer-drinking population. As part of that, we hope to contribute to the diversity and quality of local Nova Scotia products by making exciting beers and building an awesome venue to share them! We’d love to experiment with hyper-local brewing, growing ingredients for the beer (and eventually for the kitchen) right at our facility’s 7-acre riverside property.

Do you have an approximate launch date?
Our initial brews are bubbling as we speak! We are aiming for a soft launch later this month (February) for growler fills, ramping up as our production capacity permits. Expect to see us at your favourite craft beer events this spring!

Emptying the colander after the lauter is complete.

Tell us about the brewing system you are using.
Right now we’re brewing on a 1.5 barrel system from BREWHA Equipment in Vancouver. I’m not aware of anyone else in Nova Scotia using their BIAC systems, but we love ours so far. We plan to expand to a 5 barrel system in the future, keeping the current gear as a pilot system and for brewing up the showcase recipes.

Can you share some info on your homebrewing history?
I’ve been home brewing since my university days, though always from those Cooper’s kits. The goal back then was different of course (cheap and tolerable), and things really shifted as I started to drink and enjoy craft beer – I switched to all-grain to see if I could hit a new goal: something delicious that was hard to find locally. I started with the brown ale recipe from John Palmer’s iconic How to Brew book. That very first batch turned out well, and I was hooked. From there I went on to experimenting with different kinds of ingredients, which really sparked the “showcase” idea; brewing up a ton of different SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop beers) to figure out the flavour profiles of different hops; then designing recipes to combine them in interesting ways.
Sean and I started brewing together about three years ago, brewing our first attempt at a Black IPA. We worked hard on consistency and repeatability, designed several new recipes, and joked about starting a brewery one day.
Last year I entered the Boxing Rock Black Box Challenge, and with Sean’s help came in 2nd place with a White IPA called Hop Springs Eternal. We’d never brewed a White IPA, but it turned out good enough for Henry and Emily to want to brew it at a commercial scale. The experience of brewing there was great (all of the fun, none of the responsibility!) and made Sean and I have some less joking, more serious, discussions about ramping up.

The conical is jacketed, allowing cold water in the double wall to chill the beer during recirculation,

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
Between the four of us, we have have quite a broad range of favourite styles. My go-tos are hoppy IPAs and sours. Sean is all over Saisons and IPAs. Chantelle prefers dark beers, but also a good hefeweizen. Chad likes a nice crisp lager or a flavourful pale ale. We are all eager to try a new beer of any style, particularly from here in Nova Scotia.

How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
Hmm, nutmeg? Just kidding, that one’s already taken. We tend to stick with traditional ingredients – hops, barley, yeast and water – keeping adjuncts to a minimum, though we do occasionally use oats or wheat in the grain bill as well. One thing during the harvest season that has been a lot of fun is using fresh hops from a farm that’s within walking distance of my home. It’s very satisfying to go from picking the cones to drinking the result.

Anything else you’d like to share?
I’d like to say a big thanks to AIRO – they were a huge early supporter and we wouldn’t have gotten this far without them.
Thanks also to Geordan at Quarrelsome Yeti for the great work designing our logo.

Thanks to Mark and the rest of the Lunn’s Mill crew for spending time with us. Be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates on their progress, and those in the area can sign up now for their soon-to-be-launched Growler Delivery service. We’ll be sure to let you know all of the details on their launch later this month, once announced!

2 Crows Logo

It’s been half a year or more since the first reports of 2 Crows Brewing made the rounds, and excitement has been building steadily ever since. This Saturday, January 28th, at noon, the doors will finally open at 1932 Brunswick Street and everyone will be able to see what the anticipation has been about. Named for a fascination with an old rhyme about crows that begins, “One for sorrow, two for joy,” the spirit of 2 Crows is all about seeing one crow and immediately looking for another, that is, seeking out joy even when faced with sorrow and trying to find the brighter side.

2 Crows brings the husband and wife team of Mark and Kelly Huizink together with brewer Jeremy Taylor in a venture that will bring some unique brews to our scene right out of the gate. Originally from Vancouver, Jeremy and his wife Elaine, who is from Dartmouth, have been looking to come East for some time. Jeremy most recently spent a few years as head brewer at Bridge Brewing in North Vancouver after some time in Scotland where he acquired his formal brewing education and took his first brewhouse job.

After a childhood of travelling from country to country, Mark landed in Halifax for University in the early 2000s where he met Kelly, who is from the area, and they’ve been based here ever since. Mark is half Belgian and half Dutch, and his trips with Kelly to visit family over the years introduced them to many varied styles of beer and gave them an appreciation for the industry on an international scale. Watching the beer trends change at home, with friends becoming more interested in different styles of beer, seeing the local industry grow by leaps and bounds and having always loved the idea of opening a business locally, they decided to take the plunge. Mark leaves behind a 7-year career in accounting to work the business side of the enterprise, while Kelly will run the taproom.

Jeremy and Mark were kind enough to answer our many questions about how the brewery came about, what beers they’ll be introducing on Saturday, and what they’ve got planned for the future.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
Jeremy: I am from Vancouver originally. My wife is from Dartmouth, and we have been aiming to move back here for a number of years… I have wanted to be here because of how exciting the NS beer scene is, and how awesome people from NS are. Outside of beer, I do a fair bit of camping, hiking, and fly fishing with my dog and wife. I used to play a lot of rugby when I was younger, and first came to NS in the early 2000s because I played for the Newfoundland provincial team.
Mark and Kelly Huizink are the other part of the brewery. Mark is 1/2 Belgian and 1/2 Dutch, and grew up bouncing around from country to country because of his father’s work. Mark landed in Halifax around 15 years ago for university, and has loved life here ever since. He met Kelly while in university, they have been together ever since. Kelly, having been born and raised here in Halifax, was always excited about the idea of opening up a business locally. They have two kids, both born here in Halifax, and are excited about the idea of raising their kids in such a wonderful place. Being part of the burgeoning craft beer industry here in a place that they love so much has been a dream for both of them, and it’s now starting to look like a reality.

How did you get into the world of beer?
Jeremy: I started off by homebrewing. I was working as a researcher in a biochemistry lab, doing some really neat genetic sequencing work… but it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing for the rest of my life. My wife got me a very simple homebrew kit, and I was sold — it had the perfect combination of geeking out on science, playing with flavours (I’ve always enjoyed cooking and baking), plus there’s a beer at the end of the process. I decided to give up the scientist job and go back to school for brewing. I did an MSc in Brewing & Distilling at Edinburgh’s Heriot Watt University, worked a little bit helping set up a barrel-ageing program at a Scottish Brewery, then worked in Vancouver as a head brewer for a couple years before ending up in Halifax.
For Kelly and Mark, drinking craft beer started on their many trips to Europe visiting Mark’s family. These travels have opened their eyes to the many different styles of beer available in Europe and the rest of the world. Watching the demand for variety and quality in beer develop over the last few years has made them all the more excited to be living in Nova Scotia and have more and more of their friends get into the appreciation of good beer being produced locally. Their excitement for beer is more on the “consumption” side of things, but with this business we are all hoping to push the envelope and make some exciting new styles of beer.

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
Jeremy: Since I started getting into brewing, the goal has been to move to Halifax and open a brewery. It is great to have any sort of brewing work, but the idea of being able to call the shots and brew what you love is really the dream. Nova Scotia has such a cool brewing scene that I feel is still just starting to get rolling, and the hope is that we can be part of this wave of high-quality craft beer and keep pushing the levels of quality and craftsmanship. Mark, being an accountant and a beer lover, put together a business plan for a brewery here in Halifax. We were put in touch with each other by a mutual friend, who is also a brewer, and we came to the conclusion that we had very similar ideas of what a successful brewery should look like and that between us we had the skills and resources needed to make it happen. Fast-forward a year and here we are, opening up a brewery and living our dream.

Can you share some info on your homebrewing history?
Jeremy: I think the first brew I ever did was an all-extract kit from Dan’s Homebrewing in Vancouver. After that, I wanted more control over the brew, so I stepped up to doing partial extract, and it all went from there. I stuck to mostly English and North American styles at first, but got a little bit more adventurous as time went on. I haven’t had a chance to homebrew for probably about a year now, but some of my last batches were a lambic-style with aged hops, a no-boil Berliner Weisse with wild lacto and wine yeast, and a Brett IPA.

What system will you be brewing on? What sort of output do you expect?
Jeremy: We are brewing on a 24hl (20bbl) DME brewhouse, and brewing into 48hl (40bbl) unitanks. The brewhouse is a 2 vessel system — a combined mash/lauter tun, and a combined kettle/whirlpool. We will be canning using a Cask canning unit, their 5 head automated filler that is capable of roughly 36 cans/minute. Monthly output will depend on demand. We have oversized our system a little bit, as we heard about a lot of breweries locally that were basically maxed out and looking to expand within a week of opening their doors. If we ever get to max capacity on this system, we would be producing about 310hl (264bbl) per month.

What are your plans for distribution?
Jeremy: We plan on kegging and canning our beer right out of the gate, and we will also be offering growler fills in our tap room. The hope is that we will have our canned beer, and possibly kegs for growler fills, at a few of the private stores — we have been chatting with the folks at Bishop’s Cellar and RockHead, who have both been very supportive. We are also trying to get our canned beer into the NSLC eventually too. We are also aiming to be on tap at bars/restaurants around the city.

Can you tell us about your taproom?
Jeremy: We hope the taproom is going to be a pretty cool experience for people. We wanted customers to feel like they were coming for a drink in a working brewery, so it has been designed to be very open. People will be able to see the brewing process, and chat with me (or just shout profanities at me) as I brew. We will have 12 taps on the go; one of which will be a cider, and the rest will be a combination of our beers and a few guest taps. We have had a local artist, Christian Toth, do up a really impressive mural on the main wall in the tap room, which we think looks pretty cool. People will be able to drink full pints and have tasting flights there. We will be offering a pretty limited, but well-curated selection of food — charcuterie and cheese from Ratinaud — but we also encourage people to bring or order food from elsewhere while they are visiting.

Can you tell us about the beers you’ll be offering initially?
Jeremy:  Our core lineup will consist of three beers: Pecadillo, an Oat Pilsner, 4.8% and 28 IBU; Liesse, a Table Beer, 3.5% and 16 IBU; and Pollyanna, a Wild Northeast IPA, 7.3% and 64 IBU. We will also hope to be brewing lots of seasonals and on-offs, the first of which will be Innisfree, a 7.6% ABV Rustic Saison brewed with spelt, and fermented with yeast we harvested and built up from a bottle from Belgium. Plus a few more tap-room-only releases that you’ll have to drop by Saturday to try!

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in the province?
Jeremy: Everyone we have met from the NS brewing scene has been awesome! We have had advice from basically everyone we encountered — many of whom have gone out of their way to track us down or come visit in order to let us know how best to navigate the trials and tribulations of starting a brewery. Nash invited us by Unfiltered a few months back when he heard we were about to install our glycol system, so he could show us what did *(and didn’t) work on his setup, and how to avoid headaches. Daniel at Garrison actually helped me out of a bind with hops that came as a result of miscommunication with our hop supplier. Jeff from Bad Apple came by (bearing gifts of beer) just last week when he heard we were having some trouble with some controllers, to help troubleshoot. Shean and Peter at Tidehouse have been awesome too, offering to help in any way possible, and we have had visits from Big Spruce, Granite, SchoolhouseSpindrift, Tata…. the list goes on. Basically, everyone in NS has been incredible and really supportive.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
Jeremy: From a beer standpoint, I am hoping we will have a decent wood ageing and sour program by then, along with a nice selection of seasonal beers. I am hoping we can build a reputation both locally and beyond for brewing modern and complex beers. I would love to see us distributing beer a little further than Nova Scotia, if our production level allows it. Obviously, NS is first priority for us, but I have a few good friends across the country that would love it if they didn’t have to come visit in order to get the beer. I would also like to be seen as good brewery people, friendly and helpful to other breweries and other businesses. I would love to work alongside lots of brewers from around the province, and I also have plans for collaborating with brewers from different parts of the world.

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
Jeremy: I have been spoiled since moving here because of all the Belgian beer that Mark’s family has been bringing. Obviously, I am a sucker for anything from Cantillon. I also love North American sours a lot too — I recently had a Reynard Oud Bruin by Iain Hill at Strange Fellows brewing that was sublime. The guys at Four Winds in BC also make some exceptional sour and clean beers. I love the juicy/hazy Northeast IPAs too, the stuff by Bissell Brothers is incredible, and I had the good fortune of getting a bunch of Alchemist beers a few months ago too, which was really a treat. I also visited Hill Farmstead… if I could drink nothing but beer from them for the rest of my days, I’d probably be OK with that.

How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
Jeremy:  I love Thomas Fawcett Oat Malt — I feel like it gives a really nice texture, more so than flaked oats do. I tend to sneak it into a lot of the beers I do. There was a recent article by Scott Janish that has done nothing to quell that, basically saying that oats in beer can lead to a lot of improvements. For hops, I really enjoy hops from the Southern Hemisphere, although they can be a challenge to acquire. My favourite is Nelson Sauvin, but I’d probably have to sell my soul a few times over to get it in any sort of decent quantity/price. For styles… that’s a good one. I really enjoy wood ageing and sour beers, probably more into brewing American sours than traditional European sours. They can be very challenging and a little unpredictable, but I think that’s part of why I am so fascinated by it.

Thanks very much to Jeremy, Mark, and Kelly for spending some time with us. Drop by the brewery tap room from noon on Saturday, Jan 28th, and daily going forward noon to eight (noon to ten Thurs-Sat). Drop by to purchase cans of their Pecadillo Oat Pilsner, Liesse  Table Beer, and Pollyanna Wild Northeast IPA to go; growlers of those three, plus the Innisfree Rustic Spelt Saison will be available as well. Those who pull up a stool (or rocking chair) will also have their pick of some draught-only small batch brews from their pilot system, including a Bakeapple Sour, Aztec Milk Stout, and a Mango & Brett IPA. Keep your eyes peeled on their social media accounts for more details: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Last May, Think Brewing announced that they would be opening their nano brewery in Harvey, New Brunswick (approximately 40 km outside of Fredericton). Owned by Scott and Denise MacLean, the brewery is located at the couple’s 150-year-old farmhouse, where they also reside. With Think beers likely coming out any day now, we finally exchanged emails with Scott to get a bit of a preview on plans for the brewery’s launch.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m an Engineering Technician and my wife, Denise, is a potter. We have two grown sons and a granddaughter. In the past we were a certified organic farm with a market garden and greenhouses. A month after we were married we bought the 150 year-old farmhouse that we still live in. We have spent many enjoyable years upgrading the house and working on the gardens and land. The original barn has been our most recent project and now houses our brewery. We enjoy travelling, outdoor activities, gardening and cooking.

How did you get into the world of craft beer?
We’ve enjoyed drinking craft beer for many years, going back to the early 90’s when we spent a lot of time in Maine and discovered their local beer scene. We’ve always enjoyed “back to the land” type of pursuits: gardening, cooking, preserving, etc., so making beer was a natural fit.

Care to share some info on your homebrewing history?
I have homebrewed off and on since the late 80’s and started all-grain brewing in 2014 with friend Randy Rowe (now of Off Grid Ales).

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
It’s something we’ve always wanted to do and with our sons grown, it seemed like the right time. It’s such an optimistic period in the craft beer movement now, and we are looking forward to being part of the New Brunswick craft beer community.

What type of system will you be brewing on? What is your expected output?
We brew on a 1 barrel (115 L), propane- fired system, with the capacity to do around 3 barrels per week.

What are your plans for distribution?
The James Joyce in Fredericton will be carrying our beers on tap by this coming weekend. Our local pub in Harvey, The Loch Pub & Grill, is currently closed for renovations but will have our beers on tap when they re-open. We are not licensed for on-site sales at this time.

Can you tell us about the beers you plan on offering initially?Our initial release will be Revelation IPA (6.5% ABV, 65 IBU), an American style IPA with a bit of English style in the background, and Eureka ESB, (5.9% ABV, 40 IBU). Beyond that we plan to be a bit style diverse. We will have seasonals down the road and a DIPA will be coming soon.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?
We’ve had a lot of help and support, so many people in fact that I’m afraid to leave someone out. Randy Rowe and I learned so much brewing together weekly on our pilot system. Jake Saunders and Dan Mason of Trailway, and Paul Maybee from Maybee Brewing are always willing to answer questions. Being a member of the New Brunswick Craft Brewer’s Association [a local homebrew club] and going to the Saturday meetings was a huge help. The club has so many knowledgeable and talented brewers; I can’t say enough about them. Finally, we have to thank Philip LeBlanc for designing our logo.

Can you tell us how your brewery got its name?
We have always admired how many craft breweries are socially responsible and that’s one of the things that drew us to the business. Our name “Think Brewing Co.” is based on that – we want to try to do a little good when we can, anything from sourcing local ingredients to giving a portion of sales to charity. Our plans are still being worked out, but we think we will choose a different charity every month. For the first month we will be donating $2 from every keg to a local food bank.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?We have bee hives, fruit trees and gardens, and hope to integrate many local ingredients into our recipes. We plan to develop a hop yard and make use of a native hop vine discovered growing on our property. Our primary goal is to produce interesting beers that people enjoy drinking.

Do you have a favourite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
That’s a tough one to pin down; I love IPAs, but enjoy any well-crafted beer. Denise is a big fan of Belgian-style beers.

How about a favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
Right now I love brewing IPAs and I’m looking forward to incorporating local ingredients into future recipes.

Congratulations to Scott and Denise on the upcoming launch of Think Brewing! Their beer should be released by this weekend; we’ll be sure to keep you notified on our Friday Wrap-Up if this is confirmed by the end of the week. In the meantime, follow along on their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts for more information.

The 902 BrewCast was recently launched by three Halifax beer fans, Kyle Andrus, Phil Church, and Tony Wight. Having enjoyed (and worked in) the NS beer scene, they’ve decided to share their love of the craft with the rest of us. The podcast is a combination of interviews with local breweries, as well as informal tastings and news reporting. Episode 3 of the show, dropping overnight tonight, will be an interview with Halifax’s soon-to-open 2 Crows Brewing; Episode 4, a Holiday Tasting Episode will come out Friday. We tracked down the boys to learn more about them and the podcast.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves? How did you get into beer?
Tony: I started getting into beer a bit more when I was still in university at SMU in the mid 00’s – my brother in law would always bring up different bottles from the US whenever he would travel down there, so I always was trying different beer styles you couldn’t necessarily find here. I spent some time working in the industry from a retail side which got me excited about the scene here, and watching it grow has been pretty exciting for a beer fan like myself. Kyle and I have been friends for a while and share a like minded appreciation for craft beer, and I met Phil via Instagram (he takes such great pictures) when he picked up a bottle of Tatamagouche‘s Rum Barrel Aged Dreadnot for me. The three of us got to chatting about beer and I thought the podcast would be a great way to explore our passion for Craft Beer so I pitched the idea to them and here we are.
Kyle: I went to recording school down the hill from Maxwell’s Plum in 2007, so we always wanted to try everything that they had. We eventually made it around, but by doing so, I started to learn and understand more about the different styles and regions, etc. It kinda went downhill from there. It really exploded for me once Stillwell opened, I think. Seeing all that Canada had to offer that wasn’t available at the NSLC. Been great to meet so many like-minded people there and at other events.
Phil:My dad spoon fed me Keith’s and Schooner. Unibroue, Granite and (now-closed) Maritime Beer Co opened my eyes to the world outside of macro lagers (aka, what we were taught/told was beer).

What is the format of the podcast?
The podcast is focused on having conversations with breweries and brewers about their vision, process, and beer that they put out. We are also hoping to sit down with craft beer focused bar and restaurant owners to see how beer and food are working together to bring a unique experience to their customers. Other than that, we’re also planning on speaking with some other industry related folks – like (hopefully!) Horton Ridge Malt as an example – to get a bit below the surface of the craft beer scene in Atlantic Canada and give others a chance to know the hard working people behind the breweries and their stories.

Will the focus be Nova Scotian breweries, or will others in the region be on the hit list as well?
We’re starting out with Nova Scotia because, at least for the most part, it’s what we know best of the Atlantic Craft Beer scene. Eventually we want to expand beyond NS, we really want to get out to the Fredericton Craft Beer Fest this year and see the best NB has to offer. We’d also love to get the crew from Fredericton’s TrailWay on, and get over to see what they have going on over at Upstreet on PEI – I really like how they’re engaging with the artistic community over there. There’s a lot happening all over Atlantic Canada and we want to see and talk about as much of it as we can.

How often will you be releasing episodes?
We plan on putting an episode out every second Tuesday (#902sday), plus we’ll be doing a monthly tasting episode. I think we’ll also touch on some news during those tasting episodes, but I think we would want the interview episodes to sort of stand alone without coming off as being tied to a specific date or season. After our North Brewing episode, we release one with Good Robot, and after tomorrow’s 2 Crows, we’ve got Spindrift to round out the year (Dec. 27).

Do you have any live or special events planned?
Absolutely! We’d love to be doing some live episodes or doing a Facebook Live kind of thing from different events. Doing something during Fredericton Craft Beer Fest or having a few episodes directed at Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week would be awesome and give us a chance to make some connections.

What are your thoughts on the beer scene in our region?
Kyle: Seems to be blowing up. New breweries opening all over the province every week. I think PEI and NL are still very underserved, but getting there. *Plays “What a Time to Be Alive”* #WATTBA
Tony: There are always new spots popping up, so it’s certainly expanding faster than, I think, a lot of people would have imagined. It’s exciting for me because I am always looking to try something new.
Phil: It’s a great time to be a beer drinker.

Anything else?
Our first couple of episodes are out already (including an Episode 0 Pale Ale Tasting), so check them out however you like to check out podcasts. We had a great time talking with Peter and Josh from North Brewing about all kinds of different things on Episode 1, including that Blood Donair beer with Big Spruce. And of course the fun and almost-about-beer Episode 2 with Good Robot.

Thanks to Kyle, Phil and Tony for taking the time to chat with us. Check out to play the episodes online, or subscribe via iTunes or RSS here. Follow them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook at @902brewcast to see what they’re working on (right now it’s their Advent Calendar of recommendations). They love to answer questions, talk about the episodes, and listen to others’ experiences with craft beer. You can also check out their personal IG accounts for the latest shots of the beers they’re drinking right now: Kyle, Phil (aka KelticDevil) and Tony. Subscribe today to get the 2 Crows episode in your sleep tonight!