A Nanaimo family weathered a year of construction, red tape and a break-in theft, and was able to open the city’s newest microbrewery.
Cliffside Brewing Co. hosted its official public opening Friday at 11 Cliff St. in downtown Nanaimo.
The microbrewery is a family operation started by Andrew Eubank, head brewer, his father Jack and brother Mike.
The establishment has a tasting room with tables and a bar and currently serves a selection of six beers. It doesn’t have a kitchen, but does serve specialty meats and other snacks, including locally made chips and taquitos and other ready-made items will be added to the menu too.
The idea to open a microbrewery bubbled to the surface when the family was visiting together on holidays.
“[Andrew] has been, what we call, basement brewing for years now,” said Mike. “He lived in Port Moody and was brewing in his living room in his condo and, surprisingly, it went really well.”
The hobby led to investing in better-quality brewing equipment, which helped produce even better-tasting beer.
“I lived in Vancouver as well and I watched all the microbreweries pop up in my neighbourhood – one actually popped up in my apartment building – and the when I moved back to Nanaimo I realized there aren’t very many of them here,” Mike said. “So we looked at my brother’s ability to brew and we looked at what he thought was a need for another microbrewery in Nanaimo and we thought, ‘Let’s take a crack at it.’”
Family members each brought their skills together in creating the brewery, which took about a year of getting through obtaining permits and licensing and construction to complete.
“It’s a total family operation,” Mike said. “We have done almost everything involved with this ourselves.”
Andrew has created six brews ranging from light lager styles to a dark, sweet porter, and plans to have eight recipes on tap.
“Our mantra here and the styles that I do is, ‘beer that’s accessible to everybody,’ so there’ll be something that everybody can find that they enjoy in a beer … whether you’re a seasoned taster or brand new to it. You’ll be able to find something and you’ll enjoy most of the beers that we have here,” Andrew said.
He describes his brews as West Coast style.
“Inclusive under the West Coast, some of the tones they use are citrus, earthy, smooth and fruity, I guess you could say … there’s a lot of trademark flavours that are associated with West Coast-style brewing. I just did that, but just dialed back what traditionally would be overwhelming intensity and made it accessible for everybody,” he said.
Cliffside brews in small batches, which allows for a short brewing time and ability to introduce a different brew almost daily. Being able to brew custom, small batches allows Andrew to quickly swap out a brew that isn’t selling well and introduce new recipes.
“I’ll have a bunch of mainstays, but what I want to say to people is we’re doing small-quantity, custom batches all the time,” he said.