I was doing some beer-research prior to a recent business trip to Halifax and stumbled upon Bridge Brewing Company. I was quite intrigued by their unique beer line-up and goals for becoming a Zero Emissions brewery. Due to meetings and a lack of transportation, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to make it to the brewery prior to closing. So instead I mapped out locations where the beer was listed to be on tap and set out on foot. The first place I tried was packed and extremely noisy. I was pretty happy when I was told they had just cashed their barrel. Fortunately there was another place right around the corner. I crept in to the dim lit joint called, The Argyle. There were a few people having dinner and an older gentleman at the bar who was schmoozing the bartender. I quickly browsed through their list and didn’t see any Bridge brews, but decided to ask before I moved on. I was in luck and the bartender poured me a Farmhouse Ale into a snifter! I was definitely giddy to find out they even poured into proper glassware. I sat at the quiet bar and really got to take in this interpretation of a Belgian Farmhouse ale.
I usually don’t care too much about appearance, but this orange, almost red clouded beauty really caught my eye. It was interesting that you get so many different fruit notes throughout this beer. The nose carries the most prominent notes of tartness with hints of raspberry and a tiny bit of funk. Other citrus and mild fruit notes sneak through the nose as the beer progresses. The Belgian yeast comes through strong in the front of the mouth with a ruby sweetness that spills over into more sugary fruit notes like strawberry and maraschino cherry as the profile progresses. The alcohol is very subtle, but definitely noticeable in the back. Also loved the carb, which was just a tad heavy and perfect for this style. The sweetness carried a bit too far into the back for my liking, but overall a complex and amazing ride.
After learning a bit more about the brewery and loving their beer so much, I had to connect with these guys. I got in touch with Peter Burbridge, the owner/operator to learn more about Bridge Brewing Company.
One of your long term goals is to reach Zero Emissions. Why is this so important for you?
Striving for zero emissions just makes sense to us. We see it as the direction that businesses must go to be able to survive for the long term. Everyone knows that current business practices are extremely wasteful and that change is needed, we want to be a small part of that change and we want to challenge ourselves to see what we can achieve.
Your line-up of brews is pretty unique. Can you tell me about some of your inspirations or what pushed you towards some of these great Belgian styles?
Belgian beers are my favourite beer styles and there was nothing being produced locally. Since we started our brewery on such a small scale we figured we could take the risk of introducing different beer styles to the local market and slowly grow with the demand. So far our customers have been very receptive to the styles and we are planning our first expansion.
What are some of the new beers that you and brewer, Josh Herbin, are working on?
We have a barrel aged version of our Strong Dark Belgian, aged for two months in a Glenora Whiskey barrel. We are also working on a coffee beer in collaboration with Java Blend Coffee Roasters, but that is not finalized yet.
What are your long term goals for Bridge Brewing?
Our long term goals are to buy a 15 HL brew house and move production to a location that will allow us to pursue our zero emission goals. We don’t have aspirations to grow continually just for the sake of growth, we would like to be able to distribute our beer throughout the Maritimes. 15 HL is a very profitable scale for a microbrewery and will allow us to sell what we can produce and then invest profits into other projects, growing mushrooms on spent grain and other agricultural endeavours.
I loved everything about Halifax. Is there anything else the readers should know about the city?
Halifax is a great place to live and work. The North End, where we are located, is fast becoming the hub for young entrepreneurs opening artisan businesses. It’s a great vibe and a fun scene to be a part of. I would recommend that anyone visiting Halifax come up to Agricola St., the Hydrostone market and Gottigen St. and not just spend all of your trip downtown.
What are the 3 best beers you drank in 2013?
1. Houblon Chouffee double IPA tripel
2. Westvleteren 12
3 Our Belgian IPA