Thursday, September 28, 2017

Godspeed Brewery Godspeed Brewery podcast Non-Flash version of the podcast

Luc "Bim" Lafontaine, a native of Gatineau, Quebec, worked his way up from apprentice to head brewer at the Dieu du Ciel brewpub in Montréal, where he crafted incredibly interesting and technically excellent beers for about twelve years. Eventually, the dream of owning his own brewery became irresistible. So, in 2012 he opened up a new brewery just outside of Tokyo, Japan, where is wife Kuramasu is from. It was called Ushitora (cow tiger) for the horoscope animals of him and wife.

Ramon serving the beer at Proletariate, with Luc and B.R.
But before long, business complications (it's not so easy to operate a small brewery in Japan) made him look back towards home, to try again there. Thus was conceived Luc's Godspeed Brewery in Toronto (not quite Gatineau)! The brewery auspiciously opened to the public on Canada Day, July 1, 2017. It's located east of downtown at 242 Coxwell Ave. in the Greenwood-Coxwell neighborhood of Toronto, near Little India and the Upper Beaches neighborhoods. It's four blocks from Lake Ontario, right by the Coxwell Ave. stop on the 306 streetcar line, and walking distance from the Coxwell station on the 2-line subway.

Kim at Brouwerij Lane between Luc and Jason
On a recent trip to New York with his fellow brewery owner Jason Fisher, we got to hang out and talk with both brewers. Justin's Indie Ale House is located at 2876 Dundas St. West at Keele St., in The Junction neighborhood. It's on the other side of town from Godspeed, by the Keele station on the 2-line, 18 stops west of GodspeedGodspeed is a brewpub with a full food menu, and licensed to sell beer retail to the public.
At Spuyten Duyvil with Jason, Luc, Cory (Beer Street),
Alex (Spuyten Duyvil), and B.R.
We're most definitely going to visit Toronto soon to check out Luc's Godspeed Brewery, Jason's Indie Ale House, and all the other interesting beer developments in the old T-Dot.

The Godspeed crew

The flagship beer is a Dortmunder style


Kim pours some Suarez Family Merkel

Godspeed Brewery

Luc and BR in NYC's Fur District

Matt and Paul of Spuyten Duyvil

The raw space before Godspeed was built

Friday, September 15, 2017

Lithermans Limited Lithermans Limited podcast Non-Flash version of the podcast

Lithermans Limited opened in April of 2016 in a somewhat industrial looking commercial complex by the lovely Merrimack River in New Hampshire's capitol, Concord, spitting distance from Bow, NH, the hometown of Beer Hear co-writer Bob. It's about a half mile from the intersection of two interstate highways, Rt. 93 and Rt. 89. It looks a lot like the complex where Smuttynose began in Portsmouth. By the way, if you're curious about the name...

Brewing partners Michael Hauptly-Pierce and Stephen Bradbury met around 2002 when Michael was a manager at Home Depot and Stephen was one of his customers. They connected over music, jamming and recording some tunes, and eventually Stephen introduced Michael to homebrewing. They then went from jam buddies to brew pals, and it wasn't long before they pondered the idea of making it more than a hobby.
Brewers Michael and Stephen, and bartender Jen
Michael explained that small breweries in New Hampshire have a lot of advantages, such as being allowed to self distribute, sell samples to the public at their breweries, and sell beer at their brewery to the public to go, among other benefits. With a 3-barrel brewhouse in their 1500 square foot space, Lithermans most certainly qualifies as small! But the size of their brewhouse means that variety wins out over quantity. In their first year, they brewed about 70 different recipes. On the day we visited, they had just tapped an IPA, which was dry hopped with hops grown in Michael's yard. It was only 8 gallons, or about a quarter barrel.


We tried the "Misguided Angel", a hazy New England style IPA with a clean, assertive bitterness, which is one of the most popular in the current line up. Another popular IPA, the "Bow Wow Yippie Yo IPA", wasn't overly bitter and had a slight sweet malt note mixing with the hops. Their "This Is How We Guit!" had a murky light brown color with a faint sour note in the nose and mild sourness in the flavor, mixing with a light herbaceous note. The sour peach ale had a delicate peach aroma, a light body, tangy fruit flavor, and was mildly sour with a bit of a cereal grain note. The "Back 40 to Freedom" wet hopped rustic IPA had a most unusual hop quality, hinting at an almost pickle-like note in the flavor. The "Raspberry Beret" had a pale straw color, a faint fruit nose, and assertive bitterness over a gentle raspberry flavor.
Many of the bar stools have 7" records polyurethaned to them 
The brewery has a strong local following. They sell beer to accounts mainly between Concord and Manchester, where you can find it often on tap at good beer bars like True Brew Barista, and only within New Hampshire. Their cosy tasting room bar is often packed to capacity. They're open from 4pm to 7pm on Thursdays and Fridays, and from noon to 5pm on Saturdays, offering 8 or more different brews on tap, as well as cans and bottles, and a light food menu.
They're currently working on expanding the tasting room capacity to about 100 people, as well as upping the brewing capacity with the addition of two 7-barrel conical fermentors and a 7-barrel uni-tank which can be used as a fermentor or a bright tank. Currently brewing 6-7 barrels a week in two brewing sessions, they're planning on going to 3 sessions a week doing double batches to fill the new fermentors. The next step will be to upgrade the brewhouse to a 7-barrel system. That will be a bit easier as they increase their size to 3,000 square feet.
Their brewery utilizes an electric brewhouse, but they'll likely need to switch to a gas fired system if they want to get larger than 7 barrels. And it's not out of the question that it'll happen in a brewing facility that they own sometime down the road. Given their growth and their loyal customer base, maybe it could happen sometime soon!


The expanded brewhouse build out
Looking into the current brewhouse

Improvised beer garden

And while in New Hampshire...
BR de tracteur at the Hopkinton State Fair
The biggest pumpkin in NH, along with BR and the original BobW