Kimberley’s Grist & Mash Brewery hits all the right notes
The city’s newest brewery is home to good beer, good art and good music on the Pine Box Stage
A simple wooden structure—dubbed the “Pine Box Stage”—is tucked away in the corner of the Grist & Mash Brewery in Kimberley. Since it was added last fall, the stage has become a welcome addition to the local music scene, attracting a wide range of talented musicians to the new venue.
According to brewery owner Tyrone Reitman, “The Pine Box Stage was one of those things on our “to do” list that just needed to be done. It's been a great mix of really outstanding local talent and musicians on tour through our area.”
Reitman, along with his wife Natalie, opened the Grist & Mash in March 2021. No strangers to the world of craft-beer brewing, the couple also own the Freehand Brewery in Eugene, Oregon. Now full-time Kootenay residents, the Reitmans are a year-and-a-half into their new venture and are excited to continue their brewing adventures and collaborations with the community. Speciality bottled beer, Belgian styles and wild ales created from local ingredients are the current focus at the Grist & Mash, and they also host guest taps from other local breweries in the region.
KootenayBiz wanted to know more about this up-and-coming Kimberley brewery and their focus on good beer, good art and good music. Here’s what owner Tyrone had to say:
Why did you start the Grist & Mash Brewery? Why did you pick the name and why Kimberley?
Grist & Mash was a natural next step in my journey as a brewer and entrepreneur. My first brewery focused exclusively on specialty barrel-aged sour beer—super fun, but really hard to “control” as they take a year to two to make correctly (to the degree that you can “control” the yeast that makes good beer). When the opportunity arose to make the big move to Kimberley (a plan my wife Natalie and I had been working toward for some time), it was also to start a brewery focused on other styles of beer near-and-dear to me. I’m someone that likes to create, and gets excited by the rhythm and repetition of refining what I work on. Grist & Mash lets me do that in spades given I’m no longer making beer that can take a year or two to complete.
The name? The “grist” are the ingredients and the “mash” is the process of transforming those ingredients (the first big step in turning barley into beer). So “Grist & Mash” is really just my way of relating to the ever-evolving cycle of brewing and learning.
Why Kimberley? Looking around, it just about explains itself—the mountains, the woods, the people, the town. It’s a really special place. It was clear from the start. I’m one lucky guy to be here making beer.
What sets you apart from other breweries in the Kootenays?
I had a plan when we started to dive straight into the deep end: specialty bottled beer, Belgian styles, wild ales, beers made from ingredients in the woods. It’s great to be running traditionally-made Belgian beers again—we’ll have six ready by the holidays. Beers from the woods, those will have to wait until next spring though as winter is coming. Making traditional Belgian styles (or at least our version of them) and specialty beers that can be aged and enjoyed from the bottle now—or cellared away for a while—is where we’re heading. These are beers meant to be savoured.
Do you think the addition of the Pine Box Stage as a live music venue has enhanced the local community and tourism?
I sure hope so. It’s been great. The quality of musicianship has been stellar. It's been a great mix of really outstanding local talent and musicians on tour through our area. We’ve also been having local visual artists put up their art in the brewery, which is something we’re going to focus on further this winter as well.
Guest brews on tap, featured artist showcases and playing host to local and indie musicians—collaboration is obviously important to you. What do you feel are the benefits of this approach to business?
Collaboration is a goal for sure. On one hand, yes, it is certainly good for business to be involved and invested in collaboration and sharing with the local community. It’s of mutual benefit. On the other hand, it’s also just a great way to be—period. Being part of the community and the arts, honestly, that’s where our motivation comes from. I have to battle my inner leanings toward being a hermit brewer tinkering with various fermentations (just kidding—kind of), but being able to share what we enjoy with others and seeing the enjoyment our patrons get from the brewery, it’s a wonderful reward in its own right.
The Grist & Mash celebrated its first anniversary earlier this year. What are you most excited about for the future?
Personally settling down a bit! The brewery though, I’m excited to continue to refine what we do. Good beer, good art, good music, a family-friendly place—that was most of our business model check-list. And food! Our menu is expanding as we plan next steps for the tap room.
It’s a blast to be making so many styles of beer, and finally getting down to pushing some brewing boundaries with specialty bottled ales. I’m a bit of a beer history buff, and reinterpreting the past with a present twist is a joy. Creating beers specific to where we live, getting really local, that’s another thing. We chose a brewery size that allows me to go solo and follow my inspiration—that’s pretty much where this endeavor continues to go.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
A heart-felt “thank you” to all of our wonderful patrons and the community of Kimberley for its warmth and support. We’re off to a great start because of you all. Prost!