Profiles

Hardisty Logo

Located in the suburb of Cole Harbour, made famous by being home of some of the best hockey players in recent history, lies the small community of Colby Village. And with the opening of Hardisty Brewing last week, it has yet another claim to fame: owner, brewer, cellarperson, and head cleaner (always cleaning!) Charlene Robichaud has launched Hardisty as a way to share her long-time passion with her community. We chatted with Char, from a socially appropriate distance, to learn more about her beer offerings, plans for distribution, and the future of Hardisty Brewing, “Inspired by Community”.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Charlene Robichaud (but everyone calls me Char). I have been brewing all grain for almost 20 years. I currently work full time Monday to Friday for a telecommunications company as a web application programmer, and then brew on the weekends and manage the fermentation, dry hopping and packaging in the evenings through the week. I love both my day job and brewing beer, so starting this company just fits with things I enjoy doing.

How did you get into the world of beer?
My brother-in-law introduced me to real craft beer 20 years ago out in Alberta. He was the Master Brewer of a craft brewery there and he taught me to appreciate the styles and complexity of beer. I got to see how beer was made, the equipment, and distribution. He taught me to brew all-grain on a homebrew scale, and from there I developed my skills and experimented with ingredients and styles.

Beer Kitchen

What made you decide to take the steps into opening a brewery?
I have been fortunate to own homes that had space for an all-grain brewing setup, and in the past 3 years I have renovated a room in my home dedicated to brewing. I call it my ‘beer kitchen’. For me, having a beer is social, I love having my friends over to have a pint (or more) of beer and hang out in my beer kitchen. This once hobby has naturally progressed to going pro and starting my own brewing company. I have always wanted to, and I realized I could start small (a nano) in my beer kitchen and just start to get my beer out there.

Can you tell us about the beers you have available now? And what may be coming in the future?
I have started out with the 2 beers that will be staples in my beer lineup. A SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop) that I called Block Party, as it got its start as a beer I brewed for a Hardisty Court Community block party we had last summer. It uses 2-Row for the malt, and Simcoe for the hops. At 4.5% ABV and 30 IBU, it offers a tropical and citrus aroma and flavour, with a malty backbone. The Smoked Porter I have brewed for years, I’ve played with the grain bill over the years but have now locked it in. It’s 4.7% ABV and 26 IBU, and uses Smoked and Chocolate malts, and is hopped with Northern Brewer and Willamette.

While keeping the above 2 beers in stock I will brew smaller batches of IPAs, like a New England Style with a lot of hop aroma, and an East Coast style with a punch of hops for your palate. I have a witbier I enjoy brewing during the summer and in the winter, an Imperial Stout infused with spices and chocolate. I also plan to keep experimenting with ingredients and spices to create one-offs to keep things interesting and fun.

Hardisty Cans

Enough talk, we’re getting thirsty! How can folks enjoy your beer?
Since I am a nano sized brewery in my home my distribution is by ‘members’. My business model is to be a Community Shared Brewery (CSB), which is much like a Community Shared Agriculture. Home delivery is the focus to start, as by-law prohibits me from on-site sales or having a taproom in my home. So I am canning my beer into 473ml cans, and selling them in a 4-pack. Customers within my community (footprint) will be able to register on my website and pay a monthly fee to have a certain amount of beer in a specific timeframe of 3 months or 6 months. Based on the membership a user selects, they will be able to select the beer they want from the site, and it will be delivered during specific timeframes to the member’s home. They will also be able to purchase add-ons based on stock availability. The site and CSB membership will be set up by the end of April. However… in the meantime we have beer and are ready to sell! For now sales are happening by word of mouth. The delivery footprint is Colby Village in Cole Harbour, NS. Follow us on Instagram and DM me to set up a delivery. We deliver on Thursdays, between 4 and 5 PM-ish. Customers can pay at the door with ‘Tap and Pay’. When possible, I also would like to sell kegs to local pubs in the Dartmouth area so that others can try my beer outside of my delivery footprint (Colby Village).

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
No accounts yet, but we will announce them in our social media as it happens. When the pubs start opening up again we will be able to see about setting up some accounts.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries and folks in Atlantic Canada?
The brewing community here is so awesome! Yeah, I sat down with the guys at Brightwood Brewery, and they let me ask all the questions about getting started in your home to opening a full size brewery. I also unofficially visited many breweries last summer to see how they ran there set ups and I was fascinated by Shipwright Brewing in Lunenburg and their 3BBL set up with the walk up counter bar. It made me feel like my beer kitchen could certainly work as a first step.

Brewhouse

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
In 2 to 3 years, I plan to be brewing in my beer kitchen. If the question was in the next 5 to 6 years… the plan is to have my own taproom and brewery somewhere close to this community.

Let’s get nerdy! Tell us about your brewhouse equipment.
I have a unique 1BBL (120 litre) set up. It consists of two 65 litre Robobrew Brewzillas to brew in, and a standard RoboBrew as my Hot Liquor Tank. When I brew a double batch, it then goes in my 1BBL Stainless Steel Unitank to ferment and later carbonate. I then can brew a different type of beer in each Brewzilla the next brew day and ferment those in my smaller fermenters. Currently I can brew 400 to 500 litres a month.

Canner

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
Personally, I love IPAs, Imperials, Double, and Rye IPAs. Lots of hops! When I go out, ordering a flight is the way I go so I can enjoy a bit of what everyone is brewing. I do have so many favorites and I am always purchasing whatever is new to me from any of the craft breweries. Some people travel to see the sites, I always look up the breweries and beer stores so I can visit, taste and purchase a collection of different styles to try. I’m a geek, I have a diary of every beer I have tried since 2016. I have a database of 208 beers from over 84 breweries 98% of it is all Canadian microbreweries.

How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
I like to experiment with spice blends. Star Anise, nutmeg, citrus peels, cloves, and rosemary to name a few.

Thank you again to Char for getting us up to speed with Hardisty Brewing, and how we can enjoy her beer. Check out Instagram and Facebook for the latest beer news, and sign up for their CSB when it launches in April. Congratulations again!

Known as the Hub City, Truro Nova Scotia is a popular destination and stopover for travelers in the region, whether they are heading Northwest to NB or PEI, North to the Shore, East to Cape Breton, or South to Halifax and onto the South Shore. While the city was home to Keltic Brewing for a brief period in the 2000’s, since then, there has not been a full-mash brewery serving the community. Until now! Truro Brewing Company is opening their doors at 53 Inglis Place tomorrow, ready to serve the thirsty residents and travelers alike. Located in the heart of downtown, and a stone’s throw from the train station and other amenities, Truro Brewing Company could soon become the heart of Hub City! We caught up with Brewer and co-owner Jana Dellapina to learn more about TBC, her journey to opening, and what visitors can expect in the taproom. Jana’s name should be familiar to our readers, as she is a highly decorated homebrewer, who won the 2019 Black Box Challenge from Boxing Rock with Hello Darkness Schwarzbier, as well as the 2019 Lunn’s Mill Summer Patio Beer Homebrew Competition with her Mon Cherri Cherry Berliner Weisse.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
Patricia and I are a married couple, and now business partners, with a love for craft beer! Jana has a background in Nursing and Patricia is a Chemical Engineer.

How did you get into the world of beer?
Jana has been brewing at home for a number of years and worked at Tatamagouche Brewing for a short time. Patricia is an expert taste tester! 🙂

What made you decide to take the steps into opening a brewery?
We wanted to bring locally made, fresh beer to the people of Truro, and have always wanted to run our own business. We hope our passion for brewing shows in our product!

What is the culture of the Truro Brewing Company?
The brewery is a cozy, comfortable space to come and enjoy a pint or flight. We want the people of Truro to think of us as their local watering hole!

What beers and styles do you have available at launch? Working on anything new and fun?
We have a core lineup of Willow Street Wheat, a 4.0% ABV American Wheat Ale, Hub Town Honey Brown, 5.2% ABV, Cobequid Bay IPA, 6.3% ABV, Exit 14 Porter, 4.6% ABV, and, finally, Trackside American Pale Ale, 4.9% ABV. We have the four flagships and the fifth tap will be rotating. We are also working on a collaboration with local coffee roaster Aroma Maya!

I’m thirsty! How can I try your beers?
We have a taproom at 53 Inglis Place that seats approximately 25-30 people for folks to enjoy samples, flights, and pints, and will be selling and filling growlers to take away. The taproom is open Tuesday – Saturday 2 – 10 PM, and Sunday 2 – 8 PM. While we don’t have a kitchen, we do have a few snacks, and bringing in food from local spots is totally fine. We’re not selling kegs to licensees just yet (have to keep visitors to the brewery happy!). Regarding growlers, we will fill any size/style, as long as it’s clean, and have our own 1.89 litre growlers for sale as well.

We often hear that the Atlantic Canadian brewing scene is very collaborative and helpful to new and existing breweries, have you had assistance from folks in the industry while setting up?
Greg Nash of Unfiltered has been an enormous help with several of our brews, and helping us find a yeast strain that works well across all our beers.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
We hope in 2-3 years we can expand our brewhouse and have an offsite production facility while keeping our current taproom location on Inglis place. The plan is to get into canning eventually.

Let’s get specific, tell us about your brewing equipment.
We are brewing on a 2BBL (230 litre) electric Stout system with 4 fermenters and a brite tank. We expect a yearly output of about 220hL (22,000 litres).

Care to share some info on your brewing history?
Way back when, Jana learned how to brew via Facetime from Alicia MacDonald of Port Rexton Brewing, also a brewer originally from Truro!

Thanks again to Jana and Patricia for sitting down with us and giving us a sneak peek at their taproom and brewery! We’re excited for their success, and the city of Truro having a brewery again! Keep up to date with their latest releases and events on Social Media (Fb/Ig/Tw), and here on the blog.

Boomstick Brewing Company is the latest brewery to celebrate their opening in our region! Located at 55 West Street in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Boomstick shares space with the soon-to-open Hew & Draw Hotel and Best Coast restaurant. With the Shop open now, and the brewery taproom opening this coming Sunday, March 1st, we were able to catch up with the crew to learn more about them, the brewery, and what can be expected in the soon-to-open taproom and in the glasses therein.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
Our team starts with the third generation of a logging family and a strict discipline to do things right. We searched internationally to bring in talent and experience to give our customers the best possible experience. Our founder started with the desire to serve Corner Brook with a stunning architectural contribution by overhauling a classic building on West Street. Our Director of Operations began her management career here in Newfoundland and then advanced in Alberta before returning home. Our Brewmaster got his start at a tiny microbrewery in the States called Samuel Adams. All parts of the team are here to make and deliver the best styles of craft beer from around the world. We’re pretty sure you’ll enjoy every piece of it.

How did you get into the world of beer?
The logging world can be pretty rough at times and most days are good when you’re just a little behind. However, beer makes everyone happy! And a brewery is a social center of a community. As we want to build our community and help Western Newfoundland we thought a brewery might just work.

What made you decide to take the big steps into opening a brewery?
Boomstick Brewing Co. began with a vision of bringing craft beer and a social epicenter to Western Newfoundland back in 2014ish. Researching the industry and experiencing the market’s brewing scene really made this idea come to life. Add in a trip to the Siebel Institute in Chicago to fill our brains with beer ideas and we were set. We want to do it right and serve our town by bringing the best of craft from around the world to Western Newfoundland.

What is the culture of Boomstick Brewing?
We take the quality of beer and our guests’ experiences seriously. Everything else is up for fun. As we build this brand we aim to have everyone on the team be as passionate about beer and the customer as we are. And we’re excited to see what things we’ll learn from the team we build.

Now we’re getting thirsty! Tell us about your beers!
We’ve got some serious talent on the team so we’re planning to flex that muscle early and often. Our Brewmaster Mike Wayne has done over 200 styles in his career and we’re looking to do the best of those here. We’re starting with Penstock No. 2 as our classic American Pale Ale. Wild Bologna is our IPA and we think you’ll be amazed by the hops in this beer. Veto Power is our classic Pilsner and this is how we educate all the macro consumers. Half Marathon is our Germanic Hefeweizen to start exploring styles. Bitter Bird is our take on an ESB and we think this English town will take to this great beer. Lone Flamingo tells the story of a Newfoundland hunter who learned about flamingos the hard way; it’s a bit fruity and a tad sour. The Webber is our black lager which harkens the urban legend of the Humber River.

How can we enjoy your beer? What are your plans for distribution?
The team here is proud to show off our cans! We work out. Cans and growlers are the best way to try our beer for the time being. However, we are opening up our taproom next weekend, starting March 1st, where visitors will then be able to enjoy a flight or pint. And this is a beauty of a taproom! Best Coast Cafe will be doing full menus for dinner and supper and the first test meals are so good that I’m actually eating vegetables! There will be live Music and we’re hoping to find an actual Oompah band for Oktoberfest… To add another bit – we have a chef whose approach to his menu is just as creative as our approach to beer, so we’re sure you’ll want to stay a while. Outside of that, we’re sure some kegs will sneak out to select accounts, eventually.

How about growlers?
We carry 64oz growlers and 32oz grunters available for purchase. We’ll gladly fill any brewery’s amber glassware with our beer as long as the glass is clean. We decline filling flint glass (clear) because the beer will be skunked by the time you reach your car. We want you to experience the best possible beer we brew and hope you understand our challenge with flint glass.

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
We’re blown away by the support of this town! We just listed our first jobs and we got FLOODED with responses! We’ve been approached by many places and we’ll try to make enough beer for everybody.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada?
We’ve had HUGE help from around the industry! It’s nice to have friends around the beer world. Our neighbours down the street at Bootleg Brew Co. have been a huge help (including helping to brew some early test batches), and Picaroons gave indispensable advice and encouragement early on. The Newfoundland and Labrador Craft Brewers Association is helping out a ton and the network through Newfoundland, the Maritimes, the rest of Canada and internationally has been wonderful. We’re in a truly great industry!

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
With a little luck we’ll still be on West St in Corner Brook Newfoundland.

Let’s get nerdy! What system are you be brewing on?
We’re using a 15bbl (1800 litre) DME steam system with a mash/kettle/whirl and a dedicated lauter. We’re starting with two 30bbl (3600 litre) fermenters and four 15bbl (1800 litre) fermenters. We’re using a Cask V5 to can our beers and Thielmann cooperage will hold our draught products.

Tell us about the history of your brewer, Mike Wayne (homebrewer and/or pro)?
We’d like to think we’re professionals around here. Our Brewmaster was pulled into the industry from studying Synthetic Organic Chemistry and was paid to taste Sam Adams. Somehow that turned into a career and now he applies his Chemistry knowledge to the study of Zymurgy. With experience in Cincinnati OH, Sarnia ON, Iqaluit NU, and now Corner Brook we’re excited to bring the best of craft brewing to Western Newfoundland.

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
We only know two types of beer and we prefer the Good. With a little luck we’ll be mostly brewing in that style.

How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
Me, personally, I’m really into playing with spices. Hops are cool and I was running North America’s first Reinheitsgebot brewery at the 500th anniversary of the Bavarian Purity act; all which means …not much. The team here has lots of ideas and we taste ours as well as others beer in our meetings. One style I’m excited to bring here is a chai stout. Its inspiration is Sam Adams Cream Stout then combined with masala chai spicing. Earlier in my career, I did this as a porter and it just didn’t do the spices justice. The sweet stout is the better base and Newfoundland asks for stouts during summer!

Thanks to Mike and the rest of the Boomstick family for taking the time to answer our questions. The Growler Shop is open daily Sun – Thurs 4 – 8 PM, Fri & Sat 2 – 8 PM. When the taproom opens next Sunday, March 1st, its hours will be Sun – Thurs 12 – 10 PM, Fri & Sat 12 PM – 12 AM. Stay up to date with new releases, events, and all the goings on via their Social Media (Facebook and Instagram) and their website. And of course, here on the blog!