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'It’s been steady and crazy'
TATAMAGOUCHE – A new micro-brewery business in Tatamagouche is exceeding early expectations.
The Tatamagouche Brewing Company has only been open for a week on Main Street and already demand is high for the locally homemade beer.
“It’s been steady and crazy. On opening day (June 17) there was a lineup and a lineup on Saturday and the other days have been steady,” said Christiane Jost, one of the general managers. “It’s even busier than we expected.”
Matt Kenny, the other general manager, added, “people are coming from all over Nova Scotia and visitors” beyond the Maritimes as well.
The brewery’s concept was created by Hans Christian Jost and wife Karen, following the sale of the family business Jost Vineyards two years ago in Malagash. They purchased Houston’s Butcher Shop in Tatamagouche and the library next door. Christiane is their daughter and she, along with partner Kenny, have very specific goals about the new venture, which they believe is the only micro-brewery in Colchester County.
Currently, two beers – Butcher Block red ale and Hippie Dippie pale ale – are brewed, bottled and sold at the site, which is the village’s former butcher shop.
Customers pay $5 for a one-litre growler, or refillable bottle, which is exchanged when they purchase Hippie Dippie ($7) or Butcher Block ($7.50).
“Hippie Dippie is more mainstream, pale in colour and unfiltered. It’s five per cent alcohol and hoppy,” described Jost.
The Butcher Block ale is six per cent alcohol, “even more hoppy, more bitter and smooth,” she added.
“They have a different taste and no additives,” said Kenny.
One aspect of the newly renovated building the duo wanted to keep alive is the original butcher’s block and floors to “keep the character of the building to honour the history and what’s been here,” including a former restaurant, dance hall and tire shop, Kenny said.
Educating the public on how a micro-brewery operates is also important to Kenny. He said the business’s main, garage door remains open and residents are welcome to watch the process.
That process is a lengthy one, from start to finish. It takes from 10 to 14 from brew to serve, said Kenny, of the grain that goes into the hopper, which is then added to hot water and reducts sugar. The sugar and water are transferred to a kettle mash tun and hops are added before the five-day fermenting process, in which yeast is added and the mixture is turned to alcohol. The product is then stored in a cold room for about five days to mature.
As for the future, there are a few ideas brewing.
The launch of 650 ml bottles of the beer will be available, for the first time, this Saturday at the Truro Farmers’ Market.
In addition, “we hope to have three beers and a seasonal one,” said Jost.
The third one may be a stout beer, which would be “darker, smoother and one that we are still working on a recipe for,” she said.
Ideas are still being contemplated for the seasonal beer.
The next-door former library building, which is now used as storage, should be transformed into a special project “hopefully this time next year,” said Jost. She said it’s too early to specify what the site will become.
New business: Tatamagouche Brewing Company
Where: Main Street, Tatamagouche
Opened: June 17, 2014
Idea of: Hans Christian Jost and wife Karen
Hours of operation: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week
The business has suppliers from: Canada and the hops come from the United States
The business delivers its products to: 10 businesses in Tatamagouche
Grand opening: Is expected to occur in the fall