Meet the Brewmaster: Bridge Brewing's Hamish MacRae

Jun 17 2016, 12:35 am

Bridge Brewing has been on a growth spurt since they started as a small nano-brewery in 2012. Since then they’ve increased size and production, and even moved locations to support the steady demand.

With excellent releases like the Bourbon Blood Orange Wheat Ale and Elderflower Kettle Sour, Bridge has solidified a strong foothold in the craft beer scene, and that has gotten even stronger with the recent addition of Brewmaster Hamish MacRae.

We sat down with Hamish for a one-on-one conversation about joining the Bridge team.


Photo courtesy Bridge Brewing

Hamish, you’ve recently joined the Bridge team, what drew you to come over?

It was kind of serendipitous. I had started to think about where I was going and where I wanted to be in my career when I heard that Jason and Leigh [Stratton] were looking for someone. I reached out to Leigh, who I have known in the industry for couple of years, met up with Jason and then had a long conversation about beer. Essentially, I am excited about the direction Bridge Brewing is heading and want to be a part of it.

You’ve had an extensive career in local brewing so far; what is your take on the BC craft beer scene and its growth?

It is so different from when I started out. In Vancouver there was only R&B, Storm, and the Mark James brew pubs. Now, it’s hard to keep track. East Van has gotten thick with breweries, which I think is great. There has never been so many amazing options for beer in the province as there is now.

What are you hoping to accomplish now that you are at Bridge?

I want to keep producing quality beer in our core line up that people can rely on and keep coming back to again and again….and again! Then I want to stretch out with our seasonals, like the Iron Workers series, and make creative and fun beers that push our technique and skills as a brewery. I want our beers to run the gamut from tasty to complex.

Where do you see tastes and trends moving to in the next few years?

There are a bunch of trends down south that are taking off and starting to make there way up here. The one that is exciting me the most is spontaneous fermentation…it’s really wild!

We’re reaching 130 breweries across the province, at what point do you feel we are “saturated”?

BC is a thirsty province. I am not sure what the saturation point is, or even if there is one. What I think will happen is that breweries will have to diversify. Not every brewery can be regional sized and produce a lager. Every Brewery will have to find their niche, like in an ecological/economic sense. A forest is made up of large trees and small ferns all growing in the same zone, aka market. Some places will be very small selling exclusively out the front door and others will distribute out to Mars, with everything in between. Everyone will need to have a different business plan to survive, but I don’t think we are anywhere close to being saturated.

List three of your favourite beers at the moment (not including Bridge)

  • Talisman Pale @ Strangefellows
  • Burnabarian @ Dageraad
  • Any Saisons @ Four Winds

Do you have a particular style that is your favourite?

For me everything is about seasonality. When the weather changes what I want to drink changes. At the moment I have been crushing Saisons, but I also got back into IPAs recently. I am sure when the heat hits I’ll be knocking back the lagers.

Any upcoming beer you’re excited to be releasing?

Right now, we are super busy with summer production and expanding our brew house, so our next full seasonal release probably won’t be until the fall. But if you come down to the brewery tasting room we have a variety of tasty one off beers available for growler sales.

Anything else you’d like to share?

A brewery is only as good as its people. Great beer is made by a happy team. I am lucky to be working with a really solid team at Bridge Brewing.

Bridge Brewing

Address: 1448 Charlotte Road, North Vancouver
Phone: 604-770-BREW (2739)

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