Greg Nash

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Rockbottom Brewery will be offering up Desecration Imperial IRA this Thursday.  The new IRA is described as:

Big, chewy, complex and satisfying with some serious malt balls, nicely balanced with massive quantities of C-hops in classic West Coast tradition.

Here are the stats on the new brew from the brewer’s blog:

Gravity – 19 P/1.079
IBUs ~ 65
Hop Rate –  7.5 lbs/bbl
ABV – 8.6 %
Hops – Centennial, Cascade, Northern Brewer, Columbus, Magnum
Colour ~ 15.4 SRM
Malts – Pale Ale, Carastan, Light Carastan, Kiln Amber, Melanoidin
Adjuncts – Roasted Barley

Photo credit goes to Andrew Murphy

Without a doubt, the most interesting person you’ll come across on the Atlantic Canada beer scene is brewer extraordinaire Greg Nash.  The man simply known as “Nash” has been described as “some sort of demi-god” and as a “hop genius” with “a national reputation for uncompromising, assertive, slap-you-in-the-face hoppy beer — he loves his hops and it shows”.

Nash and I have exchanged emails in order to complete the following Q & A:

Atlantic Canada Beer Blogger (ACBB): Tell me about yourself .

Greg Nash (Nash): I was born and raised outside Amherst NS in a little place called Nappan, we had a cattle farm down the road with a few other critters which were eventually replaced with Christmas trees and blueberries. I worked through a few professions before discovering the passion of great beer and brewing. That led me to working on craft brewery installations in the New England States during the early ’90s. I was really intrigued at this point so I set off to the American Brewer’s Guild for my formal training. After graduation and several years of brewing abroad I moved to Halifax and still call it home.

The American Brewers Guild (now based out of Vermont) was a fabulous experience no matter how you look at it! Sunny California, a ton of hard work and a ton of great beer and fun. The instructors and management were incredible, the President is still my go-to guy whenever I’m stumped with anything beer related.

ACBB: What breweries have you worked at over the years?

Nash:  I apprenticed in three breweries in the Sacramento, Ca area (‘The Rubicon’, ‘Sunrise At The Oasis’ and ‘Sacramento Brewing Co.’) before moving to Green Bay for a couple years to work at a small microbrewery with a pub attached: Egan Brewing Company.  I made it to Lambeau Field a few times. The owner of the brewery held multiple season passes and I was lucky to get the leftovers! The games were amazing as is the city particularly on game day, a city-wide tailgate party ensues.

I also worked at the River City Brewing Company in  Winnipeg Manitoba, before moving to John Shippey’s Brewery in  Halifax, followed by Propeller, Garrison, Pump House, the Hart &  Thistle, Rockbottom Brewpub also did stints at ‘The Queen Molly’ in Yarmouth (now Rudders) as well as a few others as consultant for staff training, brewing technique, recipe formulation etc.

ACBB: You’re a member of what beer related groups / associations?

Nash:  I’m a member of several home-brewing clubs including the local Brewnosers. I’m also a member of the Brewer’s Association and the American Brewer’s Guild.

ACBB: How do you juggle your time as Brewmaster between Hart & Thistle and Rockbottom Brewpub?  Do you know of anyone else who is Brewmaster at two different microbreweries?

Nash: There has to be other brewers out there working for more than one brewery, how they handle is a good question! So far it’s been fairly easy to manage but summer is approaching, I have been training a couple local brewers to step in and help with the workload on the soon-to-be busy waterfront. Working weekends is getting old quick!

ACBB: What are your future plans for your brews / career ?

Nash:  My only plans are to keep on brewing good beer covering all the flaws with hops for as long as I can! 0_o

‘Day of Wreckoning’ is fast approaching which is the release of our Imperial Stout at Rockbottom Brewpub on March 8th at 5:00 PM. I’m sure there will be more fun beers and collaborations at some point in the not-so-distant future.

ACBB:  How do you come up with your ideas for new beers?

Nash:  I draw a ton of inspiration from the home-brewing community, once a homebrewer always a homebrewer! There’s a ton of online resources to peruse as well but when I want to brew something different with herbs, spices, fruits or other odd ingredients I think of how the flavours interact more from a food standpoint. Most people don’t think of Brewers as Chefs but really that’s what we do: we’re liquid Chefs.

ACBB:  Are you planning on being at any beer festivals / conferences this year?

Nash:  I will but I’m still on the fence as to which ones!

ACBB:  How many different brews would you say you’ve brewed professionally and as an amateur?

Nash:  As a homebrewer with a ton of thirsty friends in rural Nova Scotia I logged close to 600 batches before I finally packed up to head to brewing school. Since then I brewed somewhere around 1000 – 1100 batches professionally. As for how many different styles of beer I have made, I’m not sure really. There’s 30 or more style categories, I’m sure I’ve hit most of them and several of their sub-categories over the years.

ACBB: Are there any awards you wanted to mention regarding your brews?

Nash:  Awards can be rewarding and I have won several but at the end of the day the real reward and satisfaction is in watching people enjoy the product, they are effectively voting with their wallet.

ACBB: What do you like to do in your spare time?

Nash:  Currently most of my time is spent working in one way or another but when I have spare time I relax with the culinary arts. I cook, often, usually with beer or hops infused somehow. Charcuterie, coffee roasting, espresso making, BBQ. Mmmmmm. Okay ya got me, I love food. And beer.

What happens when you mix the world’s second and third most popular beverages (tea and beer)?  Find out this Saturday as Greg Nash’s latest creation dubbed Tippy Mao Feng Pin Cask is available at Rockbottom Brewpub.  They’ll be cracking a pin (which is about 21 litres) of cask ale which is made up of their Deadwood Wheat beer infused with Yunnan Tippy Mao Feng Black Tea.

Check out the second link above to get a 101 of brewer measuring terminology.  Impress your friends by throwing in terms like “kilderkins”, “puncheons”, “hogshead” and “butts” next time you discuss beer quantities.