Opening a brewery in their old North Street apartment used to be a running joke for Shean Higgins and Peter Lionais. Now, a decade later, the pair of friends (and homebrewers) are bringing their beer to Halifax via Tidehouse Brewing Company, a small-batch brewery slated to start pouring downtown this fall. “It’s been years of ridiculous beers and over the top stuff—a lot of nonsense— and we really honed in over the last few years,” says Higgins. “[Lionais] has always been a step up from my game when it comes to brewing. He’s the wizard and I’m the student. He really makes some banging beer.”
Tidehouse’s little 550 square feet brewery and retail shop will debut at 2-5187 Salter Street (two floors down from 2 Doors Down), filling up one-litre growlers and distributing to local bars and restaurants. Its starting lineup will include four traditional ales—including a black ale called Like A Motocyc-ale and Mild Thing, an English mild ale—but the pair have around 10 other ideas to play with in the future.
“We’re fans of a lot of different saisons and stranger flavour profiles, but to start we’ll come out with some easy-breezy kinds of beers,” says Higgins, adding that the small, indie setup allows he and Lionais the freedom to try weird and experimental one-offs while still satisfying the average beer drinker.
With an aim to open up shop in late October, Tidehouse is a hat-tip to the exploding craft beer scene. “Truly it was kind of a nod to ‘rising tide floats all boats’—we’re kind of just this little shack being lifted up by everyone around us,” says Higgins. “Fifteen years ago if we tried to launch this little thing, we would have sunk.”