Profiles

Heritage Brewing Company celebrated its soft opening this past weekend at 19 Kirk Street in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Heritage is the brainchild of four friends from the Yarmouth area, who, after years of homebrewing and toying with the idea of going pro, decided to make good on their plans. We caught up with partner Jason Murphy to learn more about Heritage’s past, present, and future.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
We are four friends who decided to get together and open this brewery, all hailing from the Yarmouth area. Jeff and Albert are both teachers, Jason is a vice principal, and Drew works in heating and ventilation.

How did you get into the world of beer?
Albert and I (Jason) went to an NSTU function, where various businesses were invited to come and promote their products. The Yarmouth Brewing Centre (an excellent homebrew supply shop in town) was there, and sold us on the idea of “Just Add Yeast And Water” boxed beer kits. We thought we were making great, cheap, beer and were feeling pretty good about ourselves until we went to Rudder’s and had their IPA! It was an excellent beer, and we decided we needed to do better than our boxed kits. We bought two turkey fryers, a mesh bag for BIAB and some grains, hops, and yeast. Over time, we have slowly built up from a 5 gallon homebrew BIAB system with plastic bottles for packaging, to a 55 Gallon Blichmann RIMS system and kegs.

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
We have been talking about it for years, we love the craft beer we have tried around the province, but one thing we kept saying was that our beer was as high quality as some of the bigger craft breweries. I (Jason) have always been a bit self-conscious about our beer, but as we kept giving more and more out, to more and more people, we kept feeling more confident and encouraged to move forward with it.

What is the ethos of Heritage Brewing Company?
We want to show our pride in our community ,and our love for beer. All of us are from Yarmouth; some of us moved away for a number of years, and have come back to settle down and have families.
I think our logo is a play on the idea of our love for beer combined with a well-known Yarmouth landmark. We had a friend who came up with the idea, and a great local artist (Danielle Mahood) who drew it up for us.
We, like other small breweries, believe every town should have a locally-owned and -operated brewery. We want people to buy beer, and talk about beer, with the people that actually make their beer! We want to be a part of a positive change in our downtown area and help build the economy in our home town.
As we start to release names for our beer you will also see many of them reflect the history and culture in Yarmouth.

Do you have an approximate opening date?
After our soft opening this past weekend, we will be open Thursday afternoons 4-8PM and Saturdays 10AM-4PM. We will make it a rather quiet affair, to see what kind of kinks we run into, before we do a grand opening in the next couple weeks.

Can you tell us about the beers you currently have available?
We are starting with an Amber Ale, Blonde Ale, Session IPA and a Stout. As a small brewery, we believe we have the flexibility to respond quickly to our customers’ tastes and we have excellent Cream Ale, Double IPA, Porter, Brown, Red, and Strawberry Rhubarb Wheat recipes all ready to go. (In fact, we have our Red and Cream Ale in fermenters at the moment, along with Rhubarb in the freezer).
We are really excited to offer our Strawberry Rhubarb Wheat. We made it last summer, it was so much work and so messy we swore we would never make it again no matter how good it was. After tasting and giving some away, the feedback was so positive we have already started freezing rhubarb and tracking down strawberries.

What are your plans for distribution? How can folks enjoy your beer?
We are offering growler fills (both 0.95 and 1.89 litres) on site, along with tasters (4oz). We have been in discussion with local establishments to have our beer available to customers on tap and in bottles, distributing bottles to restaurants in the coming weeks. We do not have a tap room at this time, but we do have hopes and plans for expansion.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?
Yes, I think it is really important to thank the guys at Tidehouse Brewing Company. We have sent them an awful lot of messages and questions and they have been extremely helpful and quick to give advice.
Alan from Meander River Farm and Brewery allowed us to spend a day there talking beer while he gave us tips and pointers, which were really helpful in completing our business plan.
As fellow teachers, we made contact with Schoolhouse Brewery as well, and Cam was more than willing to talk beer with us, and give us advice that we really appreciated.
We have been blown away with the support other craft brewery have been willing to give us and are really excited to be part of this industry.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next few years?
We hope that our system will be too small to keep up, and we will be able to expand rather quickly and add a taproom to our brewery.

What type of system are you be brewing on?
Currently we have an electric 180 litre (1.5 BBL) system, with 8 fermenters. We hope to produce and sell at least 350 litres per week.

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
I think all four of us have slightly different favourites, though our single hop Citra Session IPA is one of our personal favourites.
Between the four of us, we have been to a lot of craft breweries, especially between Yarmouth and Halifax, and we have found something we like at each one.

How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
I am a fan of heavily-hopped beers, and dark roasty beers. The Citra and Chinook hops are my favourite to work with, and our customers will taste that with our Citra Session IPA. We will also start off with a great Stout followed by a Porter and Brown ales, that will showcase my passion for dark beer.

Thanks to Jason and the Heritage crew for sitting down with us and giving us a behind-the-scenes look at their new brewery. As mentioned above, drop by the brewery today (and every Thursday) from 4-8PM and Saturdays 10-4PM to grab a taster and growler, and keep your eyes peeled on their Facebook and Twitter pages, where they’ll be sharing the newest beers available, and the details of their Grand Opening Party. Congratulations!

 

Horton Ridge Logo

The Horton Ridge Malt & Grain Company opened in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley in 2016, the first commercial malt house in Atlantic Canada. Owner Alan Stewart has been farming and running Stewart’s Organics for more than 30 years. Malting Organically-grown grains from their own fields, as well as other farms, their variety of malts and adjuncts have found buyers across the Maritimes. On Thursday, June 1, they are opening a small brewery and taproom at the Malt House, to showcase their malts in beers brewed onsite, as well as by their customers. Six taps have been installed, three of which will feature Horton Ridge brews. For the other three, Organic stalwarts Tatamagouche Brewing and Big Spruce Brewing will have dedicated taps, and the final spout will rotate through beers from other breweries that use Horton Ridge malts. We caught up with Alan to ask him some questions about how they decided to start brewing, their initial offerings and plans for the future.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am sixth generation farmer in Hortonville, with the oldest certified organic farm in the Province. I ran away from the farm after high school to get several engineering degrees, but beat it back to Hortonville upon graduation.

How did you get into the world of beer?
We came into the beer business by way of its most important ingredient, malt. We opened Atlantic Canada’s first craft malt house a year ago.

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
Malting always made sense to me, it is a farming maneuver; we are harnessing the natural processes that occur during the germination of the seed. I did not know much about brewing, but what I did find out after a while that our malt was significantly different from macro malt that the craft brewing industry depends on. Recipe substitution was not the answer, replacing industrialized macro malt with floor malt is like replacing industrialized enriched white flour with stone ground whole wheat flour. We wanted to be part of the process whereby recipes were developed around our malts. It also did not hurt that we have a highly visible location next to Highway 101 in Nova Scotia’s bread basket with a quickly developing culinary scene.

What is the culture of the brewery?
Our brewery tag line is “From Grain to Glass”, we will be making beers from malts made on-site. We consider ourselves a malt house first, and a brewery second. Our goal is to highlight the role of agriculture in brewing by showcasing the growing and malting of grains. Another important aspect of what we do is to increase the economic footprint of brewing by allowing brewers to replace imported malts by those made here. In the fullness of time, the economics will get even better as we develop our malting grains growing capabilities. We have been able to access regionally grown grains (mostly from PEI) more quickly than we had anticipated, very happy for that. Since we have been farming organically for so long, we did not hesitate to have the organic philosophy extend to our malting and brewing operations. In our opinion we are providing the opportunity for brewers to extend their “craft” value chain. There is a cultural discontinuity of a “craft” brewing industry that relies on industrialized macro malt.

Can you tell us about the beers you plan on offering initially? Any seasonals or one-offs in the works?
We have two beers nailed down. The first is Malt House Ale, it is made of equal parts of our Two Row, Vienna & Munich malts. It is hopped with Summit. It is intentionally malty with a pronounced bready finish. The second is Rye’s Up Local, made from 50% PEI barley, 25% PEI wheat & 25% of rye that we grew ourselves. We would like to round out the pan Atlantic aspect of this beer by accessing a suitable hop from New Brunswick. We have recently started malting oats from PEI, so we are working on an Oatmeal beer. We have a good working relationship with our neighbour Just Us! Coffee, so you can look for beers finished on coffee, tea and chocolate.

Where will people be able to enjoy your beer?
We will be selling our beers out of our taproom only. We will sell them in flights, pints & growlers & bottles.

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
We have absolutely no plans to sell our beers outside of our taproom, with the possible exception of winter growler sales at the Wolfville Farmers Market (where I was a vendor for 23 years). We purposely undersized our brewery to leave room to bring in beers that our brewery customers make with our malts. At least half of our taps will be those beers. All of the beers served out of our taproom will be based on our malts.

Have you had any assistance from breweries in Atlantic Canada?
We did not want to get drawn into the “beer style” thingy right off the bat, we wanted to let the beers end up where our malts took them. To that end we employed the DIY approach. We certainly appreciate the support from our largest malt customers, Big Spruce and Tatamagouche Brewing.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
At the moment we have no plans to scale up, we want to continue to highlight malt forward beers to our taproom patrons and malt customers, and to provide an outlet for the beers made by our customers.

Switching gears to the brewing system, what type of system will you be brewing on, and what is your expected output?
We have a 120 litre system from Stout Tanks & Kettles, brewing 3-4 times per week during the summer.

Can you tell us about who will be running the brewhouse?
Our brewer Stephen Mastrioanni has been brewing for 2 years, and has been brewing with our malts from day one. He has a good handle on the malt.

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
I do happen to like malty beers, have gotten over hops. My “go to” brewery is Sea Level, it is close by, and I appreciate Randy’s support along the way. I also look forward to the offerings of Tata & Big Spruce that we bring back after making deliveries there.

How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
Of course, for us, it’s all about the malt.

Thanks to Alan for answering our questions and sharing the details on the new brewery and taproom! Current plans are to have the taproom open 7 days a week from 11am to 8pm. Bar snacks will be available, including pickled eggs “powered by” free range hens who are fed a malt-based chicken feed sourced from Horton Ridge. They’ll also be offering 1 liter growler fills (Horton Ridge beers only) – they’re happy to sell you one or you can bring your own (clean!) one to be filled. So if you’re in the area or planning a trip that way, be sure to drop by 2504 Ridge Rd in Wolfville (the Malt House is visible from Exit 10 on the 101), and keep your eyes peeled to their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for the latest news and events.

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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