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Craft club

Garrison and Propeller are expanding, Bridge Brewing is settling in and Whitney Moran has a case of the winter brews.


How you brewin’? - WHITNEY MORAN

The post-holiday season can be one of frigid temperatures, resolution rejection and those pesky winter blues. Luckily, a surefire Band-Aid solution can be found in our friend, beer. And just in time, there are big things a-brewing in the Halifax micro scene. For a city with an already stellar lineup, the continued growth of Halifax's craft beer producers is a testament to the quality of both the product and the taste buds of our drinkers.

Last week we opened our hearts (and gullets) to Bridge Brewing Company (2576 Agricola Street). With a tiny but adorably cabin-like storefront and smaller-but-prettier-than-average growlers (750ml), this brewery is a welcome addition to the north end and should attract true brew lovers.

But while one brewery is still in its infancy, its predecessors are growing up. Propeller and Garrison Brewing Company will both be expanding operations in the coming weeks. The two breweries, both launched just weeks apart in 1997, have both seen steady growth over their tenure, and demand—locally and nationally—has exceeded supply for some time. Propeller recently made public its expansion to 617 Windmill Road in Dartmouth, along with plans to keep its Gottingen Street location open. And, just as fate would have it, Garrison also has an expansion in the works.

Although Garrison is currently hush-hush on the details, owner Brian Titus reveals a teaser: "I can say that we've signed a lease and are going to stay in the port area and should be up and running by early summer."

The award-winning brewery will release a public statement on the particulars in the next few weeks, but like Propeller's John Allen, Titus sees the importance in keeping its popular storefront and original brewery alive.

"We'll never leave this footprint—it totally just shows the face of the company," he says. "There will always be a functioning brewery here...what we'll end up with is a much better production footprint."

Ultimately, Garrison is looking to enhance its current location by moving certain logistical and brewing operations offsite, which ultimately means more beer for you and me. But not to worry, the tanks are still full steam ahead.

Just a few weeks ago Garrison launched its "one-hop" series, beginning with Comet, resulting in what Titus refers to as a "proper, hop-fuelled American IPA." "It's all about putting one hop out there, and profiling what that one hop can do," he explains, comparing this one-off experiment to single-malt whiskeys and varietal wines. The series has proven a success, with Comet selling out in just a few days. (An emergency second batch was brewing as we spoke.)

While there's no definitive plan for the series, Titus promises that each beer "will be in the same vein so you can really compare." I joke that it sounds like an educational pursuit and Titus admits, "We're as curious as any beer geek or hophead how this is going to turn out."

As for what these long, salty months have in store, Garrison has quite a lineup, including the popular Pils, set to hit shelves this week, Grand Baltic Porter, Ol' Fog Burner barley wine and a one-off batch of barrel-aged 15 Malt, which uses hot barrels from the Glenora distillery. Other seasonals to help you hibernate from the inside out include Propeller's Revolution Imperial Stout, lush with a potpourri of fruit and dark chocolate malt; RockBottom's DIPA, Hoppelganger and Balticus, a beechwood smoked Baltic Porter; and Rogues' Russian Imperial Stout.

All told, if seen through a glass of fresh beer, these winter months won't look so gloomy after all.

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