Profiles

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!

O'Creek Logo

 

 

Brewing on a small scale at his house in Dieppe, New Brunswick, Patrice Daigle launched O’Creek Brewing in late May, just in time for the local Atlantic Beer Festival. Daigle was looking for a change in focus, and with the support of his family, found brewing to be the perfect fit. Daigle was kind enough to sit down with us and share the details on his brewery, his homebrewing history, and plans for the future.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I grew up in a small fishing village called Pointe-Sapin, this is where the name O’Creek is from. I’ve been in Moncton for over 20 years, working in IT ever since. I am the father of two beautiful young girls and have been married to a supportive wife. I’m mostly involved in the brewery duties but it’s also a family thing. Before brewing, I did wedding photography, and since I stopped, I’ve been brewing non stop and last year I decided to go commercial. It’s a real passion that I would like to share with others.

How did you get into the world of beer?
I wasn’t into beer that much to be honest, I was more a wine drinker. It all started about 10 years ago with friends, buying all sorts of imported beers and that’s where you start tasting different styles. After a summer of drinking just Picaroons, I really got hooked on craft beer. Back then, the craft beer scene wasn’t much, but now we have many choices and great options to pick from.

O'Creek and Beer Glass

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
After I started homebrewing, I liked it so much and couldn’t keep up with giving some to family members and friends. I would get good feedback and would want to brew more and more. I saw, and I still see, a huge potential in our region and I want to be part of this industry and to help other breweries to make a difference.

What is the culture or ethos of the brewery?
– I want people to enjoy the final results as much as I enjoy making it!
– Drink and support local

Can you tell us about the beers you have launched with? How about beers in planning?
Most of my beers are American style beer, big flavors like IPA, American Pale Ale, and Stouts, but I’m also a big fan of Belgian Saison so I will have a Saison Series, one called “Saison du Nord” and the other “Saison du Sud”. These names come from back home; we have two lobster seasons which divides the North and South. In summer time I will release some Wheat beer, Belgian and German styles, and in winter time, some stronger beer like Belgian Dubbel, Imperial Stout, etc. This may also change on demand, I’m really open and can’t wait to hear some feedback. This drives me to brew more. One of my launch beers was Route 117 NEIPA, named after the highway which goes from Kouchibouguac to Chatham along the Northern NB shore, via Pointe-Sapin.

What are your plans for distribution?
No taproom, bottles or cans for now. I only do kegs and I will post on social media where it will be available, so stay tuned to O’Creek!

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
No permanent accounts for now, however I have sold some kegs to the Pump House Fill Station, The Laundromat and Tide & Boar in Moncton, and Au Bootlegger in Bathurst. Also, you will soon see us at the ANBL store in Dieppe for growler fills…

O'Creek Family and Friends

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in the region?
Not on site in the brewery, but whenever I need advice on anything, I know I can count on other local breweries, they’ve been great answering all my questions, and continue to do so, and I try to do my part as well. That’s what make this community so great: wanting to help each other out.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
I can’t say;  I don’t think about it but my goal for now is putting my name out there. I’m happy to start this process since it took almost one year to get ready.

Let’s switch gear to some nerdy details… What size/manufacturer/type of system are you be brewing on?
I have a 1BBL (120 litre) HERMS system from Spike Brewing (Milwaukee, WI) which I bought last year. I brewed my first test batches last fall, and as of now, I’m still learning the system as I ramp up batches. I have three 1BBL fermenters as well as a ½ BBL (mostly to do test batches) from SS Brewtech. I’m hoping to brew once a week for now and see how it goes.

O'Creek Panel and Vessels

Care to share some details on your brewing history?
I started homebrewing like most brewers, and before that, I was a photographer (mostly weddings), and got tired of it and that’s when I decided to get some all grain equipment. After my last gig, I went to Halifax and bought my homebrewing system from Everwood Ave Brew Shop and bought a kit to do a Witbier. For a first brew, it tasted pretty good from what I remember.

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
I cannot lie, I am a hophead, so IPAs are my go to, but it all depends on the season, too. Last winter I was big into stouts. I like to taste any style, but lately there are some styles I don’t care to buy anymore; even my taste in IPAs have changed, now I’d rather have a juicy NEIPA. Overall I’d say IPA, Saison and Stout are my favorite styles. Oh, and let’s not forget Brett beer!

Do you have a website, Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter page?
It’s funny, I don’t have a website, because that’s what I’ve been doing for a living for the past 20 years. Not sure if I want one, I don’t really see the need since Facebook and Instagram have been great so far. That’s how you guys found me right? [Ed: It sure is!]

Thanks again to Patrice for spending time answering our questions. As of publishing, kegs of Route 117 NEIPA have been delivered to the ANBL in Dieppe, to go on their Growler Station next week. Keep an eye on Facebook and Instagram for all of the latest O’Creek news! Felicitations!