LAWRENCETOWN - While the New Year may bring a lot of uncertainty, two things are for sure -- a brewery is opening in Lawrencetown and there will be beer deliveries right to your door.
Mark Reid is one of four partners in a new venture called Lunn’s Mill Beer Company that is expected to be up and running sometime early in the New Year at the old Carleton Road Industries property on Highway 201 in Lawrencetown.
Reid likes beer – and he’s turning a hobby into a business. So is partner Sean Ebert. They’ve made the stovetop beer from scratch and even cleaned up the mess. But now it’s time to get serious.
Chad Graves and Chantelle Webb are the other partners and their excitement is obvious as they show off the large industrial space where Webb can visualize a chef’s kitchen, a dining area for more than 70 people, and all that outdoor dining space in the warm months. Seven rural acres almost across the road from Beavercreek Winery.
They’re positively brimming with ideas. And excitement. And anticipation. And they’re waiting for equipment to arrive.
What to expect? Good, handcrafted beer in small batches and a chef-run kitchen preparing good food on-site for some sit-down or stand-up eating. There’s talk of beer festivals, and seminars and workshops.
“Travelling around you get to try all different kinds of beer from elsewhere and you say ‘wow this is really amazing’ and then you go home and you can’t necessarily find that kind,” said Reid. “You say ‘maybe I can make something like that.’”
That’s one of the things that got him started.
“The other thing is that I started growing my own hops,” he said. “Let’s see what happens if I can actually make something out of something I grew myself. That got me pretty excited about it too. But mostly it’s just making something you can’t easily get premade for you.”
His beer of choice is a hoppy IPA.
“One of my favourite things is trying a beer I’ve never tried before,” he said. “I like experimenting with what I drink and I like experimenting with what I make. But IPAs are the thing I need to perfect.”
“Mark kind of gave me the bug about two-and-a-half years ago,” said Ebert. “We got together and made our first recipe together – stovetop – basically big lobster boil pots and coolers. And I’ve been hooked ever since. I absolutely love making new recipes and experimenting and seeing what the different ingredients do.”
Like the new brewery, those stovetop sessions were all from scratch.
“We really enjoy educating on what real beer tastes like,” he said.
“We’re noticing the selection (at NSLCs), especially in Kingston, has gotten a lot better, and a lot of that really good selection is actually from other Nova Scotia breweries or from Ontario, or New Brunswick,” Ebert said, noting that is an indication there is a demand for handcrafted beers.
They’ve talked with a number of different brewers, and one of the points they made is the more Nova Scotia craft beer in that little section at the liquor store the better they are all going to do.
“So they want to see more variety and more different kinds available to, I think, grow the overall appetite for craft beer,” Reid said.
Graves and Webb are getting into the food side of it.
Graves is a well-known local business person. While he may have been brought in for his business smarts, he’s certainly interested in the product.
“I’m becoming a craft beer drinker,” he said. “To me it’s like I see the opportunity. I want to get in on the food part of it – the business side of it. I want to bring people here. See what everything’s about. Good, delicious, simple food with a good beer. I find craft beer drinkers don’t drink a lot of beer. They like to drink one or two, or maybe three beer and they want to have it with a meal.”
“We will be hopefully doing, like Chad says, really simple local food (always something that is important to me), pairing with the beers for sure, and basically something that is tasty,” said Webb.
She’s experimenting with menus – from carnival food, to cliché Nova Scotia. And she’s famous for changing menus, so it will be seasonal, themes based on ingredients and season. And Reid says they can do seasonal beers as well.
Webb said it’s a good looking building from the outside – lots of trees, grass, a pond that lends to their ‘Mill’ background. The inside will be industrial warm. “We’ll keep the good bones of this space and warm it up with lots of wood and things like that,” Webb said, adding they are working off the concept of a bar they all like in Halifax called Stillwell. There will be tall communal tables with stools, booths. She said it will be more about the mingling and less about the sit-down coursed meal – more sharing food.
Lunn’s Mill is starting out small, brewing 150 litres at a time until their larger capacity equipment arrives sometime in the early spring. Beer will be available in growlers – screw-top jugs – and they are taking pre-orders now. And yes, they will be making deliveries. They will also be set up at farm markets and someday down the road they’ll be in that ever-growing section at the NSCL.
Where does the name come from? Lawrencetown used to be known as Lunn’s Mill.
Follow them on Facebook at Lunn’s Mill Beer Co. https://www.facebook.com/LunnsMill/?fref=ts
Or go to their website at https://lunnsmill.beer/