Greg Nash has left his mark on just about every microbrewery and brewpub in the province. So while it's no surprise Nova Scotia's undisputed king of hops is finally opening his own brewery, it's pretty damn exciting.
"It's been something I've been trying to do for, like, 12 years," says Nash over an IPA. "I have a reputation [for] pushing high hop levels over the top, brewing with different spices and weird ingredients. At heart, that's not what I do. I like to experiment, and it was fun but at the end of the day it's not what beer geeks really want...they also want to be able to grab their favourite beer at any time."
They also want quality. "The new brewery won't be nearly as experimental. That's not how you make good beer," he says. "What I mean by that is, with all these experimental beers, they're mostly one-offs. If I brewed 100 beers, 94 would never be brewed again." What Unfiltered Brewing brings to the table is a serious long-term relationship with beer.
"It'll be good solid beer—I want people to be able to depend on it.... I just won't be coming out with a fuckin' new beer every month. That's not what I want."
As for what to expect, Nash puts it simply: "A lot of fuckin' hops and a lot of f-bombs." Though he's mum on specifics, the brewery will feature flagship beers and seasonals. "I'm most well known for hops obviously, so most of the stuff I make is probably going to be hoppy," he laughs. "That's no surprise obviously."
Because he owns his Hart & Thistle recipes, you could see the return of a few favourites, but otherwise Unfiltered Brewing is a blank slate. "Everyone is going to have a lot of fun with some of the stuff we're doing," he says. "We're bringing some new ideas to the area that nobody's done before."
As for the name, it's more than snappy branding—Nash doesn't filter his beer, and never will. "I hate everything about filtration," he says. "You lose flavour, you lose body, you lose nutrients. A lot of craft breweries filter their beer, and they are of the belief that it makes better beer, it makes cleaner beer...and to me, it's an unnatural process that's not required. I want my beer raw; I want people to have it in the raw."
Nash compares it to seeing a musician play in a tiny pub versus the stage production. With Unfiltered, Nash is offering the unplugged version. He's also "all about being local." He sees the brewery as a community hub where people can stop in and fill a growler of "the usual"—he won't be bottling. "So...if you want my fucking beer, you're coming to me."
At 1,200 square feet, the brewery—which will open at 6041 North Street—is small, but Nash designed it for efficiency. "The overall capacity for throughput is really fuckin' high for a space that size," he says. "We've got a lot of specialized equipment in there. I'm skeptical you'll find a brewery as highly customized in eastern Canada...I'm setting it up to put an awful lot of fluid through there."
Attached to the brewery will be a small (800 square feet) taproom where beer lovers can grab a pint and snacks. Nash's business partner Andrew Murphy, a professional photographer, requested "epic natural lighting." So the space will be a reflection of the beer: natural, functional.
While Unfiltered will open by June 1, the taproom will follow a few months later, to allow Andrew Flood of Five by Five Renovations time to revamp the space.
For Nash, it's worth the wait. "The day we open, I'm gonna be prepared for a big fuckin' lineup," he says. "It's been a long-time source of frustration for me, working for other people. Well now, I'm doin' it fuckin' my way."
6041 North Street, opens June 1