Profiles

morALE Brewsters, a nanobrewery located in Oromocto, NB, will be holding a launch party this Friday at Griffin’s Pub. We caught up with co-owner Rémi Lévesque to learn more about this military-owned brewery, their beers, and plans for the future.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
morALE brewsters is a team of 4 serving military members and one military wife. Rémi Lévesque, Nicholas Matheson, Bruno Plamondon, Samuel Roy and Johanna Osborne. We are from different areas within Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Quebec, but some of us have been in Oromocto for over 15 years.

How did you get into the world of beer?
Seeing as we are five individuals, we all have a different story. But in the military culture, beer calls, special events or even payday were always all good reasons to share a cold one with friends. Funnily enough, I remember when Jo and I started dating, we both liked beer, and together discovered micro brews initially through PicaroonsSimeon Jones and Irish Red and I think this was a turning point for myself. There was that sweetness I was not able to describe but that I was fascinated with. At that point I was making wine and I figured that it would be great to try to make beer too. So like many, we started with beer kits and progressed all the way to all-grain brewing. And that’s when I realized that I knew nothing! There is so much to learn and to experiment with.

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
I remember in December 2015, Bruno and I were talking about homebrewing at work, he suggested that it would be fun to gather a small group of craft beer fans to start brewing together. To experiment with different recipes with the idea/hope that if we come up with some good ones, we could transition into a real side business. So we approached some friends and I told my wife the news. By January 2016, we officially sat down and all 5 joined together. In the summer of 2017, we were very happy with our recipes and we decided to get more serious equipment and here we are today! The real reason I think is that we observed the reactions of our friends when we were sharing our beers and their comments were so positive that it convinced us to try one step closer to a real brewery!

What is the culture or ethos of the brewery?
We definitively have a soft spot for our military background. Having all our beer names related to some military expression or slang within the community. We started with “Brewed by the troops for the troops” but we wanted to share our culture with the rest of the population too. Knowing that at any point in life, everybody needs a morale boost!! And there it was, morALE brewsters! Good beer, shared with people that understand that we don’t need to take ourselves too seriously all the time.

Can you tell us about the beers you plan on offering?
We are starting with a Cream Ale (Cornflake) because that seems to be the fan favourite and the perfect introduction for us. We actually have 7 registered styles of beer available at this time, that we will soon be able to offer by the keg, limited to local pubs in the Oromocto area. Those include a Red IPA (Red Over Blue), an APA (Hops Honour), a Brown Ale (Boot Camp), a Milk Stout (Bug Out), a Belgian Blonde (PTE Bloggins) and a Seasonal Cucumber Wheat Ale (9ner Domestic). We kept our list within classic styles that we were confident to reproduce with consistency.
morALE Brewsters brewhouse

The morALE Brewsters brewhouse

What are your plans for distribution (aka, how can people enjoy your beer)?
At this time, it is a nano brewery right in Jo and mine’s basement! For now, all we are able to offer is kegs. Local pubs in the Oromocto area is where we want to be involved in the community.

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
Our first account will be starting Friday August 31st, and will be at Griffin’s Pub in Oromocto, NB. Being very new in this venture, we want to start slow and make sure that we will be able to provide to those we offer our product to.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada?
Everybody is so awesome in the craft beer community. There is always someone that knows someone they think you should meet! Recently, Jeff Saunders from Bad Apple Brewhouse in Somerset, NS, was of incredible help with knowledge and introducing other brewers in the area of NS. Keith at Ol’Biddy’s Brewhouse in Sackville, NS, Sean at Lunn’s Mill in Lawrencetown, NS, Mike Doucet and Francois Chabot at CCNB for all of the Beer Education days! Sébastien Roy at Fils du Roy, NB. And all the brewers at the different breweries are just so awesome at sharing their knowledge. I guess we are still shy at asking for help since we are at a very small and early stage but we are grateful for anyone recognizing and supporting us. (Thanks Atlantic Canada Beer Blog 😉 ) 

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
Having an actual taproom in Oromocto, NB to serve Growlers and enjoy a pint on location, would be a great next step for us. This includes the expansion of our equipment. We would love to eventually have our product in cans to be seen on the shelves beside all the other great craft breweries. Hopefully we can manage our expansion to occur within the next 3 years. Most likely, our capital will dictate a lot of our developing schedule. Plus add 30%, right?!!
morALE Brewsters full panorama

The morALE Brewsters Brewhouse (click for full panorama)

Tell us about your brewing system
We are currently brewing on a 1 BBL (120 litre), all electric system, with 2 fermenters and one brite tank. We fill and sell in 19 litre kegs. Our expected output for our first year is 5000 litres.

Care to share some info on your brewing history?
All of us started with the fool-proof beer kits. And honestly, we all thought that brewing from scratch couldn’t be much harder…
So I guess you could say, our history could be described as countless hours of trial and error!

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
We are beer fans that is for sure! In the specifics, it is hard for me to pin point a style or a brewery in particular. All of them! I think that should be the goal, to try them all!

Anything else you’d like to share, we’d love pass it along.
We are very happy to be entering the brewers community and we can’t wait to get to know you all and get your feedback!
Thank you to Rémi for spending some time with us, and getting us up to speed with morALE Brewsters. Drop by Griffin’s Pub in the CANEX Mall at 42 Broad Rd in Oromocto from 7PM for their Launch Party to try their Cornflake Cream Ale, and meet the folks behind the brewery. Stay up to date with the latest releases and goings on at their Facebook Page and Website (launching soon).

Retro Logo

Brasserie Retro Brewing opened in late July in Bertrand, on the Acadian Peninsula of New Brunswick. Operating out of the Motel and Campground Colibri on Boulevard des Acadiens, Retro is owned and operated by three friends who met through a mutual love of beer, and have taken their hobby and passion and grown it enough to now share with the public. We spoke with one of the owners, Yves Godin, shortly after they opened.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
We’re three partners in the company; myself (Yves), Joel Thibodeau and Maxime Hebert. We all work full time jobs and do this (brewing) as an “upgraded” hobby.

How did you get into the world of beer?
Joel and I met around 5 years ago at the Oktoberfest des Acadiens, in Bertrand. We both live in Bertrand and started to develop a passion for craft beer because of this Oktoberfest. After talking for a while, Joel asked me if I would be interested to try and brew a batch of beer with an all-grain kit, I jumped on the occasion and five years later we’re opening this micro… no… nanobrewery!

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
After brewing in my basement and in Joel’s garage for 4 years, we decided to take it to another level so we could share our creations with everyone. But the plan was to stay small because we don’t have time to brew full time. That’s when we decided to add another partner to the mix, so we could have a break from time to time. That’s when Max came in to play, early last year.

What is the culture or ethos of the brewery?
We go with our name on this one. We wanted a short, bilingual name with enough context to play around with. Like the decoration, names of the beers, etc. When Joel proposed Retro, we saw the multiple possibilities that came with the name, it was exactly what we were looking for! So we don’t have any history in our beers, just funny, retro names that we try to match with the style.

Can you tell us about the beers you have available currently? Any seasonals or one-offs in the works?
We decided to go with three “full-time” beers:
– A light pale ale at 4%, easy drinking, fully carbed named “Tapisserie Laide“, which translate to “Ugly Wallpaper”, you know… every had one in the 70’s!
– An amber ale at 6%, really smooth caramel taste, named “Tricycle Rouge“, or “Red Tricycle”, again, we all had one as kids.
– And the third one is an IPA at 7%, citrusy but not bitter, named “Arcade 2001“. We named this one off of an arcade that we had in Bertrand when I was a kid.
We are also brewing one-offs, we need to test the market so we try something different once in a while. If some recipes are more popular than others, we could add more to our regular lineup.
– A 6.3% ABV American Pale Ale named “Vinyl Scratché” (“Vinyl Scratch”), with a touch of pronounced alcohol and more hops than usual.
– A 5.0% ABV IPA named “Barre à Jack” (“Jack’s Bar”), a blonde-coloured beer with more hop aroma, flavour, and bitterness than our other offerings, perfect for hop-heads.

How can folks interested in Retro try your beer?
Because of our size (200 litres), we decided to sell 473ml cans and refill growlers (more on that below), only on location at the brewery. We plan to sell kegs to restaurants and other bars starting this fall. We’re located on a camping ground, so all the beer will be sold onsite during camping season. We’re not licensed for consumption at the brewery, that’s in our future plans.

Let’s talk growlers!
We sell our own 1 litre flip-top growler, which is yours to keep. We will refill any clean growler, no matter the brewery marking, style, or size.

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
We plan to have a few kegs available for the camping bar throughout the summer, also to the bar “La Brôkerie“, a popular bar in Caraquet, only open during summer time. The rest of the year we hope to sell to local restaurants.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries in Atlantic Canada?
We had lots of help from a few brewers, we couldn’t believe it! We heard of the “camaraderie” in the brewing world but it’s still a business, so we thought that the brewers we knew would help us a little bit to get started and that’s it, but we were wrong about that! I can say that all the breweries we approached for help to get started were more than happy to help us! I’m talking mainly about those we knew; Fils du Roy, Acadie-Broue, Brasseux d’la Côte, CAVOK, Four Rivers, Savoie’s Brewhouse and Petit-Sault, but also all the breweries that we talked with at all the craft beer festivals we went to! Because of all their help, tips and tricks, we were able to open our own brewery with good beers, all thanks to them! Now it’s our turn, we’ll gladly help anyone who wants to open a microbrewery!

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
Maybe have a brewpub. We’ll have to check with the owners of Motel Camping Colibri if they would be willing to expand. If we always run out of beer, we could maybe hire a brewer to brew all week. But… we just opened so we’ll see where it takes us.

Tell us about the brewery itself, what type of system are you be brewing on?
We’re small… like 200-liters kit small, and 200 litres would be max, it’s more like 180 litres. And the brewery itself?? It’s 13 by 19 feet! We have our 3 kettles, 3 fermenters, double sink, a (single head) canning machine, label applicator, sales counter, 3 fridges and a hot water tank crammed in there! Our kettles were made by a local shop, we fitted them with hot water elements, so we’re electric. We plan to brew once a week, making between 9 to 10,000 liters yearly.

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
At this point, we appreciate all kinds of beers, really, I think every style has its reason, time, and, place. My favorite style of beer is “a different style than the last one”.

How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
Not really, we like to experiment with different ingredients when we have time.

Congratulations to Yves, Joel, and Max on their recent launch. To celebrate their official opening, they are holding a contest on their Facebook page, so be sure to check it out! They are open all summer, Monday-Saturday 1-9PM, and Sunday 1-5PM, at the Motel Camping Colibri at 913 Boulevard des Acadiens in Bertrand. Their Instagram page is now live, so be sure to follow and tag them when you enjoy their beer! Felicitations Retro!

the harbour brewing logoThe Harbour Brewing Company will be opening very soon in Musquodoboit Harbour, located at 7955 Highway 7. The Harbour is the first self-owned brewing project for Chris Downey, a veteran of the brewing industry in Quebec and Nova Scotia for more than 25 years. We caught up with Downey to learn about his history in the brewing business, and beers and plans for The Harbour.

Can you tell us about your brewing and educational history?
I began brewing commercially at McAuslan in Montreal in 1991. In 1996, I went South to complete the Master Brewer’s Program at the University of California, Davis. After completing the program, I returned to Montreal to brew at the Brutopia Brewpub on Crescent Street, where I stayed for 18 years. Looking to relocate, I moved to Nova Scotia in 2015. I came on board at Nine Locks Brewing in Dartmouth, where I stayed for a couple of years, before moving on to Spindrift Brewing in Burnside.

brewery front mural

How did The Harbour Brewing come together?
After working for many years for other people, I finally decided to brew for myself. With the support of my fiancée and best friend, I decided my local area deserved its own brewery. We are focused on local suppliers, businesses, and market. It is the only brewery between Dartmouth and Sheet Harbour, separated by more than 100 kilometres; we believe we can make a positive impact on the community.

Can you tell us about the beers you will be launching with?
We are starting with a German Weizen-style blonde, an IPA and a Chocolate Porter. Given our size and capacity, at this point, all of our beers are “one-offs” or seasonals.

brewery side mural

How can people enjoy your beer?
The brewery has a hospitality room permit, allowing us to serve samples and sell growlers (both 0.95l and 1.89l). We hope to have some local accounts soon as well.

What are your plans for the future?
We intend to stay where we are until we have to move into more space, and will let the market dictate our expansion. We are not looking to be the biggest or make a fortune, rather we will make beer for the local community and allow our quality to determine our growth.

brewhouse

Can you tell us about the brewery equipment?
We have a 1BBL (120 litre) Blichmann brewhouse system, with two 120 litre bright tanks for fermentation and conditioning. We are focusing on draught/kegging for the time being.

Do you have a favourite ingredient to brew with?
I really like to brew with ginger root.

Any favourite local brewery we’ll find in your fridge at home?
My favourite N.S brewery is Boxing Rock.

Thank you to owner and brewer Chris Downey for taking time out to fill us in on The Harbour Brewing details. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for more details of their exact launch date, which could be as soon as this weekend. Drop by their brightly painted building at 7955 Hwy 7 for samples and growlers of their first beers. Congratulations and welcome!