On Wednesday evening, the new Brassneck Brewery & Tasting Room opened quietly at 7 pm, the twitter feed went out and I’m sure by closing time they had a happy bunch of friends and fans with big smiles on their faces. The next day, my friend John and I were two of the first four people in the door at 2 pm (their regular weekday opening time). It wasn’t long, it seemed, before most of the tasting room tables were occupied and the bar stools were fairly full, not to mention the constant traffic in the front – lots of people were coming in to buy growlers.
The room is comfortably done over with lots of reclaimed wood, some beautifully finished large tables and an interestingly thrown together wood wall, complete with knot holes where one can sneak a peak at the brewery beyond. Nigel Springthorpe was barely recognizable with his new clean shave marking the opening of Brassneck Brewery. Head brewer Conrad Gmoser also went to the barber, but kept some massive mutton chops. Nigel said they delayed the opening to wait for and fit in a couple of more beers into the line up. The opening day taps featured 8 distinct brews:
No Brainer Corn Lager 4.5%
Brassneck’s tribute to the ubiquitous Canadian lager; straw coloured, light in body, clean, no hop, light malt, medium carbonation. It’s true, you can make a clean, tasty session lager without unpleasant off flavours and over carbonation.
Brassneck Ale 5% a ‘no nonsense pale ale ‘
Amber coloured, malty nose, fruity pale ale, well balanced, straight up a very drinkable session brew, with enough hops to ride the biscuity palate, somewhat moreish.
Multiweizen 5 Grain Weisse 5% Now, this is a lovely beer, caught me a bit by surprise actully. Made with 5 grains: barley, rye, wheat, oats and corn – amber, cloudy, interesting blend of grains, somehow warm & inviting, with maybe some subtle spice (?), but very smooth, no hop bitterness, but balanced.
Free Radical White IPA 6.6%
(Galaxy hop) It starts with a small grapefruit hop bite, then hints of peach and apricot leads to the wheaty base. This style seems overly popular of late, another hoppy trend on the hoppy West Coast and I’m not sure I am one of those who can appreciate a very hoppy wheat. This one is very pleasant, big hop character, clean, slight haze, some herbal aromatics, long finish.
Passive Aggressive Extra Pale Ale 7% ‘single hop, dry hopped’
Gold coloured, floral nose, hop forward, good bitterness on the palate, balanced against a solid malt base, it is bright, citrusy, with hints of pine, perhaps some toasted malt notes, all working together in this lovely extra pale ale. I forgot to ask what the hop is, but it’s bitter appeal lengthens this brew to a long, dry finish.
Conrad vs Cowboy Dan wet hopped Belgian IPA 6%
Another popular style big on the West Coast: Belgian IPA here is given an added dimension by being ‘wet-hopped’ – tis the season after all. There is an almost smokey aroma to this coppery coloured ambrosia, plus some spicy aromatics and good hops fall all over this brew, from a deep bitterness to flavourful acrobatics and the wonderful nose, all compliment the malt underbelly, some caramel sweetness helping to balance this brew.
Inertia Imperial Stout 9%
Deep black, definitely coffee up front, plus a little chocolate, roasty, toasty notes, hides its strength well with its smooth and complex palate, so well balanced and full flavoured, the biggest brew on the chalk board today, yet eminently drinkable.
6 oz glasses are $2.50
12 oz glasses are $5.00
Brass Bat Flights of 4 are $8.00
Brassneck’s is located at 2148 Main Street (near 6th Ave.)