The Halifax Seaport BeerFest returns on this weekend, promising a beery good time. Back on Marginal Road for its 5th …
Bridging the GapBy Nicole Trask | Feb 28, 2013
While it’s disheartening to witness so many small businesses closing downtown, I can’t help but notice that the North End seems to be blossoming. One of the latest ventures is Bridge Brewing Company, a micro-brewery located on Agricola Street conveniently across from the liquor store. I’ve been anticipating their opening for a while now so I was excited to pick up a growler and try a sample for myself.
The modern exterior of the building is simple and perhaps a little deceiving. The space boasts a surprisingly large cinderblock warehouse in the back which holds the on-site micro-brewery. Owner, Peter Burbridge, was behind the counter when I stopped by and kindly offered to give me an impromptu tour of the building. Burbridge completed his MBA at Dalhousie and has been plotting opening a small business (either in coffee or beer) ever since. He tells me that the idea for Bridge Brewing has been percolating for about three years now.
The brewing room is quite spacious and Burbridge says that they can hold up to 300 liters of beer at a time. Brew-master, Josh Herbin, uses a natural carbonation process instead of forced carbonation (which can create bigger bubbles with less of a refined taste). The recipes are Burbridge’s own and he tells me that once the beer is fermented, it’s primed with a precise amount of sugar. Gus’ and Farmhouse Ales are the two varieties currently available and I snapped up a Farmhouse growler to take home.
I’m impressed by the constant flow of customers and although the business is small in scale they’ve been steadily busy since opening on January 20th. With their ales on tap at Gus’ Pub, Brooklyn Warehouse and Chez Tess, Bridge Brewing Company is quietly gaining speed and recognition. As for their location on Agricola, Burbridge couldn’t be more pleased.
“This is exactly where we wanted to be located,” he says with a content smile. “And I can honestly say that there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”
Aside from my natural tendency to gravitate towards small businesses, there are a number of other reasons why I’m intrigued by Bridge Brewing. This grassroots business is striving to be a zero emissions brewery and they are also trying to source local ingredients whenever possible. Burbridge tells me that Herbin owns a hops farm in the Annapolis Valley and in the future they are planning to harvest these hops in new recipes. I’m also loving the simplicity of their logo and the quaint old-fashioned bottles.
Of course, the most important factor for most beer enthusiasts will be taste. Later that evening, my friend and I sampled the Farmhouse Ale, paired with sweet potato fries. This Belgian ale is crisp and unrefined and the little bubbles really gives way to a pure flavour of sweet malt and subtle fruits. Essentially, it’s a refreshing and slightly complex brew that we found to be memorable and delicious.
Needless to say, I will definitely be bringing my growler back for a refill. Bridge Brewing Company is another wonderful example of an ethical company helping to bridge the gap between big businesses and local start-ups… In the future, I will be happy to take a detour from the liquor store and visit this inspiring brewery instead.
Peter Burbridge proudly displays his ales.