by Chuck Hallett | When Nigel Springthorpe and Conrad Gmoser decided to start Brassneck Brewery at 2148 Main Street, they also decided to start growing out their beards as living emblems of their common endeavour. What initially seemed like a bit of a lark turned into well over a year’s worth of untrimmed facial hair as delays and setbacks repeatedly pushed the opening date ever into the future. Thus the gag evolved from a joke into a symbol of their struggle, commitment and perseverance.
Well, the wait is almost over. Only two inspections remain (fire and health), and then Brassneck will be open for business. Nigel and Conrad’s promise of a dozen or so beers on tap likely won’t be realized on day one, as it takes quite a bit of time to fill thirteen cellar tanks, not to mention to work out all the kinks and quirks of a brand new brewing system.
However, there will be a few options to try out, all holding a bit of a view into future brews from Brewmaster Gmoser. Rumour has it that some or all of the following might be on the opening day menu: A straight up single-hopped pale (“Brassneck Ale”), a low ABV session lager (“No Brainer”), a Falconer’s Flight dry-hopped pale (“Passive Aggressive”), an orange-hued 5 grain weisse beer (“Multiweizen”), a White IPA w/ Galaxy hops, and an unnamed Russian Imperial Stout. The good looking bottles/growlers see straight-forward minimalist branding treatments from the young team at Post Projects (see also Revolver Coffee) with darling brew-specific motifs by local ceramicist Maggie Boyd, the same artist who made the cool plates at Bestie.
The first brews will all be small batch experiments, as the brewing team tries to learn what each fermenter can bring to the party. Unlike pretty much every other brewery in Vancouver, Brassneck will have five different types of systems on which to brew beer. What fails in one system might work beautifully in another. Figuring this out takes time, experimentation, and tasting, and boy am I willing to help out with that last part!
Don’t expect a big announcement or a launch party. Nigel wants to avoid the first day crush experienced recently by other breweries. When the beers are ready (but not before), he will quietly take down the paper covering the windows, open the door, and welcome his first customer. No fanfare, no lineups (at least at first); just great beer and his vision of what a brewery tasting room should be. We can expect 45-50 seats altogether in a room that is enlivened by 100 year old wooden framing planks reclaimed (Craigslisted!) from a Vancouver mill.
I suppose the only question that remains is whether or not Conrad and Nigel will shave their beards for opening day. [ed. note: they’ve promised]
Chuck Hallett lives and works in downtown Vancouver. His passionate obsession with craft beer borders on insanity. When not attempting to single-handedly financially support the local brewing industry through personal consumption, he spouts off on his award-winning beer-themed blog: BarleyMowat.com. If you’re in a good beer bar reading this, odds are he’s sitting next to you. Be polite and say hi.