LAWRENCETOWN, NS - It's no real surprise that the brewmaster at Lunn's Mill Beer Company in Lawrencetown loves craft beer.
Whether it's drinking it or making it, Sean Ebert is a big fan. In fact, that's what prompted him to abandon a career out west, where he worked in the oil and gas industry and did geological and geophysical work as a technician, in favour of following his passion.
The first steps of the 36-year-old Calgary native’s journey to becoming a brewmaster began in 2013 when he and his wife Megan decided to move to Nova Scotia. The following year, he had his first all-grain brewing experience when he and his friend Mark Reid decided to make a batch of homebrew.
Ebert says that the initial idea to open a brewery came immediately after finishing that first session.
“After we made our first batch, I had so much fun that I immediately messaged and asked if he ever thought about making a brewery. He said, 'All the time',” says Ebert.
“After that, we kept brewing and getting more and more creative and playing around with different ingredients.”
Fast forward a few years and Ebert and Reid were still brewing together. They entered Boxing Rock’s Black Box Challenge in 2016, where they came in second place and were invited to a brew day with Boxing Rock brewery in Shelburne, where they had the opportunity to make their first commercial beer – Hop Springs Eternal.
“That was the one that really made us think that we could make a go of it,” says Ebert. “They gave us the bug for sure, and so we decided that’s what we wanted to do for a living.”
They are now two of the four partners in Lunn's Mill.
From geoscience to brew-science
Ebert says that while his old job was fun, and something he enjoyed, it ended up not being something he wanted to do for the rest of his life. There’s just something he gets from brewing that he was missing from his previous work.
“There’s a lot of creativity in it. I enjoy the challenge, and having something tangible at the end of the day that you can touch, taste or feel is really cool,” says Ebert.
“It’s like, what I used to do, sit at a computer, I would end up with a project that at the end of the day I could be proud of, but I couldn’t pick it up and physically share it with people. It’s that whole tangible thing, right?”
When it comes to his favourite part about brewing beer, Ebert says that aside from getting to enjoy his own work, it’s sharing it with others.
“It’s watching people enjoy it,” says Ebert. “Because otherwise, what’s the point?”
As someone who’s still relatively new to the craft beer industry, Ebert's biggest advice for anyone looking to start brewing is not to be afraid to contact other breweries - and when you do, make sure you ask a lot of questions.
“When I started, I was a fairly introverted person, I still am, and right off the bat, I didn’t like going and asking questions because I didn’t want to sound stupid,” says Ebert.
“But everyone in this industry is so welcoming and they’re all in it for the same reason - they want to see good beer - and if they can help, if we can help an up and coming brewery, even one that’s been around for a while, we will."
Try craft beer
For those who might be looking to enter the industry on the opposite side - as a consumer - Ebert offers similar advice: don’t be afraid to go out, explore, and ask questions.
“I want people to get out there and not be afraid of craft beer. I mean, I know a lot of people that aren’t in our world maybe feel intimidated or feel that we’re beer snobs or stuff like that, and I want that myth to kind of be broken,” says Ebert.
“You know, just come in, we’re very welcoming if you have any questions, I’m sure any of the brewers around the province, or really in the industry as a whole, would be more than willing to talk about the product, we’re all really proud of it. I just want people to get out there and try it.”
Ebert adds that ultimately, his best advice for craft beer newbies is “keep an open mind, try something, try something different, and be a little adventurous.”
Five facts about Sean Ebert:
- If a magical craft beer genie cursed Ebert, causing him to only be able to drink one beer for the rest of his life, he would choose to drink Tatamagouche’s Cellar Slammer. “It’s super delicious and low ABV so you can have a few and still get up the next morning,” says Ebert.
- If he could have a beer with anyone, dead or alive, he would choose either Bill Murray or Dave Grohl. “They both seem so down to earth and I feel the conversation would be both entertaining and enlightening,” says Ebert.
- In the great and eternal debate between craft and corporate beer, Ebert says, while he could never look down on anyone simply for choosing to drink what they enjoy, he personally gravitates towards the small, local producers and entrepreneurs.
- Ebert enjoys listening to a wide array of music, including punk rock, metal and 90s hip-hop.
- His first homebrew was a black IPA still made seasonally at Lunn’s Mill, called Eclipse.
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