Graystone Brewing announces a community brew titled United Hops

img_1827Graystone Brewing announces their first community brew titled United Hops, in support of United Way of Central New Brunswick.

Since opening July 1st, Graystone Brewing has had its own hurdles but with help from the local beer lover/brewing community it’s seen a great response and it’s created an amazing experience. As of late September the brewery is fully functioning, offering pints in house, filling Growlers, Crowlers and soon supplying orders to local restaurants/pubs and bars including The Capital Complex.

United Hops will be Graystone Brewing’s 4th brew being brought to life with the help of everyday beer lovers and hop growers. One Sunday afternoon a handful of helpful folks donated a portion of their NB grown hops to help create this Harvest IPA. Hops include Summit, Perle, El Dorado, Cascade, Idaho 7, and a small amount of mystery donations. This beer is earthy with notes of grapefruit, and pine with an ABV of 6% and IBU of 82.

United Hops’ is one of the most fun surprises our United Way has received! The recipe mirrors what United Way is trying to do: bring our community together to support our neighbours.  Helping the community out with a community-sourced beer is such a creative way for Graystone Brewing to pitch in.  We can’t wait to try it!

– Jeff Richardson Executive Director for United Way of Central NB

Join us Wednesday October 12, from 12:30-1:30pm at Graystone Brewing, chat with owner Wes Ward, Jeff Richardson from United Way and brewer Ian DeMerchant. Have a taste of United Hops. A Portion of proceeds from sales go to support United Way.

Fredericton’s newest brewery enjoying brisk sales

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Fredericton’s latest craft brewery is enjoying brisk business since opening its doors to customers on Canada Day and it expects to ramp up production considerably once some delayed brewery equipment arrives later this month.

Local beer fans have found a new downtown hangout at Gray Stone Brewing’s 221 King St. location, a classy, modern-looking space where people can sample the company’s hand-crafted West Coast-style ales along with 18 full-flavoured beers from other New Brunswick craft breweries and two ciders from Red Rover Brewing.

So far Gray Stone’s Devil’s Peak Black IPA and the Patagonia Pale Ale have been popular. In fact, the brewery briefly sold out of its Pale Ale, though the supply has since been replenished.

Wes Ward, the owner and operator of Gray Stone Brewing, said that after months of hard labour and planning, he’s pleased to see so many people enjoying the new space.

“It’s been unbelievable. We’ve had a great response. People are coming in and giving us lots of good comments,” he said. “We’re really pleased.”

For now, the brewery isn’t offering patrons growler fills. Instead, it’s selling beers by the glass, or to go in the form of 32-ounce crowlers – portable cans that are filled with draught and sealed at the counter for home enjoyment.

In order to maintain a steady supply, Ward is trying to limit the volume of beer leaving the premises until he’s able to obtain all of his brewing equipment.

“That’s definitely our biggest challenge right now, keeping up with the demand,” he said.

“That’s why we’re only selling crowlers, not growlers. We don’t want to turn people away. But we do want to limit what’s going out. We want everyone to be able to taste our beer and we’re trying to manage our supply a little bit. That’ll change once we get our full system in place and we can up our production.”

So when will his new tanks arrive?

Canada Day here we come!

It’s official! Gray Stone Brewing launches downtown Fredericton’s first Brewery & Taphouse experience, showcasing over 20 different New Brunswick brews starting Canada Day 2016.

Gray Stone will be brewing small batches of hand crafted, west coast style ales. In the new building you’ll be able to hang out at the Taphouse or lounge around on one of the patios enjoying a pint of Gray Stone or another 20+ New Brunswick craft brews available, while you get your growler filled to go.

After 3 years of development and hard work, we are finally opening our doors and we couldn’t be more excited for the city of Fredericton to stop in and try a pint of Gray Stone.” Wes Ward, Owner/Operator

The idea of Gray Stone was first conceived on a hiking trip, one of many for Ward with close friend and work college Fergus Breen. While standing atop the Patagonia mountains back in 2005, the first concept for this downtown brewery was discussed. Traveling, hiking, mountains and sampling different beer from across the globe all helped shape the identity for Gray Stone Brewing.

 

We have been very fortunate to have some local breweries like Trailway, Maybee and Grimross step up and offer access to their systems. As a result, we will be able open Gray Stone earlier and the transition to our new equipment should be much less bumpy. The brewing community is very collaborative as opposed to competitive and they have been awesome to work with.Ian DeMerchant, Brewer

It’s this kind of support that has given Fredericton a place on the map for craft brewing in Canada. We hope to continue this trend and work with young brewers and organizations over time to support their needs through Gray Stone Brewing.

Gray Stone Brewing’s onsite team include local brewers Ian DeMerchant, Mark Budd, Steve Christie and Ryan Placktis. With a range of experience and knowledge these individuals will truly help create delicious NB craft beer in this grain to tap facility.

Please, join us Canada Day from 11am to midnight for a full day of delicious New Brunswick beer, summer foods and games.

 

Gray Stone Brewery expected to launch in Fredericton early in 2016

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In the spring of 2016, yet another new entry to the city’s exploding craft-beer business will give local beer fans the chance to wet their whistles.

Beer fans will soon be able to sample the fine flavours of the Gray Stone Brewery, a new venture from local businessman Wes Ward, who also owns the multi-bar establishment The Capital Complex in the downtown business district: The Tannery.

With pub and restaurant rails across the city already stocked with high-quality, locally produced suds by Picaroons Traditional Ales, the Grimross Brewing Co., Half Cut Brewing, Big Axe Brewing, and the Trailway Brewing Co., beer enthusiasts will soon be able to sample new suds from Gray Stone Brewery and the soon-to-launch Maybee Brewing Co.

Ward had initially planned to build the brewery onto his existing business, a tall, slick-looking structure that would have been constructed atop what is now the business’s patio.

However, those plans have changed.

“The design and the engineering of the building was the toughest part of the whole project,” he said, explaining that the design was approved after two years of work between his team and representatives from the city.

“When we finally had a plan that everyone agreed on, and we started to get new quotes, the price was probably almost double what we had budgeted for this project.”

So negotiations are currently underway to acquire and renovate a former yoga studio in the downtown core that could become the site of the Gray Stone Brewery.

The goal, said Ward, is to have the business up and running by March of 2016 and open to the public by the beginning of May.

“The logistics of building something back here were an absolute nightmare,” he said.

“And there were logistical issues with adding a fourth business to a three-bar complex. At the end of the day, this is a much better option. It can stand alone and we’ll still have our product (at The Capital Complex). At some point down the road, maybe if some things change in The Tannery, we might be in a better situation to do something like this again.”

By next spring Ward is hoping to have Gray Stone Brewery ready to launch, giving the city a second downtown brewtique to complement the bustling business done by Picaroons Traditional Ales on Queen Street.

Reviewing plans on Tuesday, the new business is expected to house a working brewery, a growler- filling station, and a comfortable tasting lounge.

“We’re looking at doing, comfortably, about 2,000 barrels a year, which is roughly about 4,000 kegs,” he said.

“That’ll be in the back-half. In the front, we’ll have a tap-house. We’ll probably have seating for maybe 40 people. We want it to be a community-oriented space, where people can come in and spend the afternoon – have a coffee or have a beer, maybe do some work, and then buy a growler

and go home.”

Ward has been in the bar business since 1998, when he landed a job behind the countertop at The Capital Bar.

He learned a lot about the bar-business from owner Ted Beach, until his mentor one day made him a proposition.

“One day he said, just out of the blue, ‘Are you going to buy the bar from me?’”

The two eventually decided on a mutually beneficial arrangement, which involved Ward managing the bar for four years until he was ready to take over the entire operation.

“It was a great opportunity. I basically grew up here, growing up with the patrons and the staff. I’ve evolved from the bartender to the manager to the owner. Everything really happened naturally. People say, ‘You must be proud of what you’ve done here,’ and, obviously, I am, but really I’ve just enjoyed my time here and allowed my staff, guys like (my friend and bartender) Fergus Breen and (music and promotions manager) Zach Atkinson drive this place,” he said.

“I try to steer things a bit, but they’re the ones that have made this place.” Now that he’s 38, and a father, working at the bar each night isn’t always ideal.

“My wife and I have a young daughter and things have changed. So it’d be nice to have another venture that won’t be as heavily dependent on staying out late,” he said.

“The brewery will be different from the bar.”
Ward said he’s been thinking about starting his own brewery since 2004.

“Fergus and I were travelling in Patagonia and we were hiking one day and it was miserable. The wind was blowing and you couldn’t see what you were supposed to be seeing. We’d wanted to come up with something besides the bar and the whole trip ended up with us talking about a brewery,” he said.

“When we got home, we found out how much it would cost to start a brewery. That sort of put that vision on hold.”

Now that he’s ready to tackle his dream, who’s actually brewing the new beer? Ward approached three local home-brewers – Ian DeMerchant, Mark Budd, and Steve Christie – and asked them if they’d like to be part of this venture. They accepted the challenge and they’ve been making beer under the Gray Stone Brewery label ever since.

“We’ve been brewing for two years in December. We start out with a beer and we just keep tweaking it, tweaking it, tweaking it,” he said.

“I think we have like six recipes absolutely dialled in. Once we move on to the larger brewing system, we’ll be able to do some more experimentation. They’re very excited to start brewing on a big system, instead of in my basement with a bunch of buckets.”

To start, he said, Gray Stone Brewery will offer a pale ale, a brown ale, an IPA, and a stout. Beer fans can also expect to try a black IPA, a Russian imperial stout, and a light, summery session ale.

He said he’s excited to be part of the craft-beer explosion happening in Fredericton and across New Brunswick at the moment, noting there are now 23 craft alcohol producers currently scattered across the province.

“I like that there are two or three other breweries in the process of opening right now. I think all of the breweries can complement each other. We’re not really doing the same styles of beers. We may have one or two beers that are close, but we’ll still have our own flavours,” he said.

“There’ll be something for everyone in the city. Hopefully, people will soon be coming to Fredericton because of the selection of beers available.”

Gray Stone Brewing already making beer thanks to help from fellow brewer

Fredericton’s latest craft brewery, Gray Stone Brewing, should be ready to open by the end of June. For now, Wes Ward, the new brewery’s owner and operator, is pleased to have his first two commercial-sized batches of beer fermenting at his new 221 King St. location.

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Photo: Sean McCullum/Daily Gleaner Archive

If all goes according to plan, Fredericton’s latest craft brewery, Gray Stone Brewing, will be ready

to open by the end of June, giving local beer fans a new line of flavour-filled suds to sample.

However, there’s much to be done between now and then. For now, Wes Ward, the new brewery’s owner and operator, is pleased to have his first two commercial-sized batches of beer fermenting at his new 221 King St. location.

“Our equipment, which was supposed to be here in March, got delayed until July. So we basically had to come up with a new plan. Our building is going to be ready in about three weeks. We wanted to find a way to have some beer earlier,” he said.

“So we went out and bought a couple of fermenters from a company in Prince Edward Island.”

Ward said Fredericton craft brewer Paul Maybee allowed him to use his hot-liquor tank, mash tun and boil kettle to complete the brewery’s first commercial-sized batch on a day the Maybee Brewing Co. wasn’t using its brewing equipment.

When the batch was completed, they moved the wort down to the new Gray Stone site, where it will soon be ready for the required testing process.

“We wouldn’t be able to do this without them,” he said.

“For them to allow us to come in and invade their space for a full day is asking a lot, but they’ve been very accommodating. It’s an industry where everybody seems to be willing to help others out. Obviously, the more craft beer that’s out there, the more people are going to try it, the more people who are going to get turned on to craft beer, the more potential customers. It’s sort of a ‘rising-tide-floats-all-boats’ kind of thing. I hope to repay them somehow, someday.”

Maybee said he was pleased to offer a helping hand, explaining that he had the gear available and wanted to help them get a jump on their production cycle.

“With any business – but especially this kind of business, which has a high start-up cost – cash- flow is critical in the early stages,” he said.

“There are various delays and that’s why we wanted to help them get going. They brewed a batch of beer here and then pumped it into their truck and fermented it at their place. I got a lot of help from the other brewers in town – both Picaroons [Traditional Ales] and the Grimross [Brewing Co.] were a big help to me and others around the province. So I’m paying it forward to the next guys coming down the line. I really want to see them succeed. It’s great to be part of such a generous, collegial industry. I’m glad I can be part of that as well.”

Ward said that in order for local beer fans to wet their whistle with an ice, cold Gray Stone, he has a number of things to accomplish over the next few weeks.

“We have two brews on right now. The first one will be done, probably, in the next seven to 10 days. We have to send it away to get tested in order to be able to sell it in New Brunswick,” he said.

“That process takes about two weeks. With all of this, we’re hoping to get beer ready by the end of [June]. That’s when we’ll have some product ready. We also have to make sure the building is ready, the licenses are in order. A lot of things have to come together, but so far we’re on the right track.”

When the project wraps, the new Gray Stone Brewing facility will house a craft brewery, a retail counter where people can fill growlers for take-home enjoyment and a tasting lounge, where people can wrap their lips around the business’s latest brews or hang out with friends.

“We’re looking at doing, comfortably, about 2,000 barrels a year, which is roughly about 4,000 kegs,” he said.

“That’ll be in the back-half. In the front, we’ll have a tap-house. We’ll probably have seating for maybe 40 people. We want it to be a community-oriented space, where people can come in and spend the afternoon – have a coffee or have a beer, maybe do some work, and then buy a growler and go home.”

Through it all, Ward, who also owns The Capital Complex in the Tannery, has been juggling this project and the daily operations of a bustling nightclub simultaneously.

“Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed, but I have a great team down at The Capital [Complex] that are looking after things while my focus is here,” he said.

“And I have a great crew here, helping me get this place ready. It can be overwhelming, but you’re into it now. You just kind of put your head down and keep going. The next month will be big, when everything that we’ve planned over the last year will come together.”

This new brewery will create some new jobs in the Fredericton area.
“We’ll probably be hiring front of house staff in the next couple of weeks,” he said.

“Between the brewers, the front of house staff, and support staff, right off the ripper we’ll probably be looking at eight to 12 people. We’re putting in 24 taps. When we’re up and running at full capacity, we hope to have anywhere from eight to 12 beers of ours on tap. And then we plan to offer 12 other beers from local brewers. Hopefully, we’ll be busy.”

Down the road, after the business is fully open to the public, patrons will be able to tour the brewery, and see how the magic happens.

“I’m planting 60 hops plants beside the patio out there,” he said.

“The idea is that once they mature, we’ll be able to use them in our beer. But we also figured that’d be great for brewery tours, where we can show people what we’re using. A lot of people haven’t seen a hops plant. We will be giving tours at some point, but they probably won’t start until we get everything situated. Obviously, we’re still getting up and running and getting our beer out there.”

It’s an exciting time for fans of craft beer, he said.

“With the [Trailway Brewing Co.] opening this weekend, and us not far behind, there’s lots of good things happening,” he said.