What's Brewing Summer 2017

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GCBF: An Untold Story • White Labs • Comic Book Story of Beer • Pink Boots • Brewing Saisons • Mayne Island Brewing • The B Word





Gulf Island Getaways vernon bc's hidden jewel Bellingham boomtown modern times in san diego


Plus: 7 great summer & fall beer holiday destinations showcased vol.27 issue 2 summer 2017 MATTHEW DE AN AT WHISTLER BREWING

also: asheville nc Costa rica south korea Tasting Panel: saison vs. saison



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Some of BC's CBAC 2017 winners in Ottawa, May 27. See page 8.


Opening Remarks


Untold Stories of Beerfest: Part I


Hitching Their Wagons to Beer Tourism


Marten Brewing: Blood, Sweat & Biers in Vernon, BC


Sipping Beer in Bellingham


Gulf Island Beer Hopping


Spotlight: Mayne Island Brewing


Beer Seekers in San Diego: Part I


Costa Rica: Craft Beer in Paradise


Instinctual Beer Tourism in Seoul


Asheville, NC: The Booming Southern Beer Scene


Tasting Panel: Saison vs. Saison


Summer is the Season for Brewing Saisons


Brew Club Corner: in the North Okanagan


A View From The Cellar: Reclaiming the 'B Word'


Books In Review: The Comic Book Story of Beer


What's Brewing Magazine by Line49 Design Group Inc. 300-1275 West 6th Avenue Vancouver BC V6H 1A6 info@whatsbrewing.ca www.whatsbrewing.ca Social Web: @whatsbrewingbc Editor & Publisher: Dave Smith Associate Editor: Paul Morris Copy Editors: Ivana Smith, Wendy Barron Contact: editor@whatsbrewing.ca Hopline E-Newsletter Associate Editor: Mallory O'Neil Contact: hopline@whatsbrewing.ca Team & Contributors: Warren Boyer, Adam Chatburn, Ted Child, Lundy Dale, Jack Enwright, Kim Lawton, Chelsea McDowell, Lynn McIlwee, Stewart 'Scottie' McLellan, Monica Frost, Navin Autar, J. Random, J. Thunderfoot, John Rowling, Susan Jones, Brian K. Smith, Paddy Treavor, Joe Wiebe


Beers, Beaches & Breweries: Okanagan Update


Women In Beer: Pink Boots Brew Day 2017

Chief Photographer: Brian K. Smith Illustrations: Emile Compion @montevarious


The Hopbine: Island Beer Festival

Advertising & Corporate Sales: sales@whatsbrewing.ca


Out & About: Spring Events Roundup

© 2017 What's Brewing

• beer inspired pub fare at big rock urban eatery • brewery tours, tastings and private events • grab some beer to go at our big rock beer shop

310 West 4th Avenue | Vancouver, BC


Craft Beer


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Tasting glass and 10 tokens

Casks to sample!

june 24, 2017 queens Street Plaza, Port Moody tickets at tricitiescaskfestival.com

Noon to 4pm

OPENING REMARKS Travel & tourism: good for you, good for BC beer Summer 2017 is our annual Travel-themed issue. Our writers have ferreted out craft beer in locations from Seoul to Costa Rica to the Gulf Islands. Meanwhile, our lead story touches on an overlooked facet of craft beer tourism: brew bus tour firms. When we were planning the cover, we looked a numerous gorgeous shots of BC landscapes.. But we just couldn't overlook the magical photo of happy brewer Matt Dean that you see on the front page. That shot by ace photog Brian K. Smith captures the joy of sharing and discovering beer, even if it is indoors.

Come home to BC's original beer fest As detailed in a story in this issue: this September marks the 25th edition of the granddaddy of BC beer events, the Great Canadian Beer Festival in Victoria. If you've been away for a while, this is the year to come home to the Festival. We have a feeling that many others will do the same, and that this 25th Annual event will be special.

CAMRA BC: the beer enthusiast's society Speaking of remembering where things began: if you're a craft beer enthusiast, in the industry or not, there's another thing we think you should do if you haven't already. Join CAMRA BC, the Campaign For Real Ale Society of British Columbia. There's a lot to like about CAMRA. One way to find out for yourself is follow their events calendars (or ours) and keep an eye out for an opportunity to meet like-minded craft beer lovers. CAMRA has accomplished a lot over the years. Matter of fact, the festival I just wrote about above, and this very magazine, are projects that sprang forth from CAMRA's illustrious past. There are chapters in Vancouver, Victoria, the South of Fraser region (including the Fraser Valley), the South Okanagan, and the Sunshine Coast (Powell River), Visit the CAMRA branch listing here to get started: camrabc.ca/branches

CBAC 2017 Congratulations to Mt. Begbie, who was recognized as Brewery of the Year at the Canadian Brewing Awards & Conference, held the last weekend of May in Ottawa this year. Another good year for BC breweries. Full winners' listing is here.

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VCBW 2017 At publication date, the 8th annual Vancouver Craft Beer Week had kicked off and events were well underway. Perhaps you're reading this at BC's largest beer festival. Enjoy!

Dave Smith, Editor

COMMUNITY PARTNERS Thanks to our Community Partners!

• beer inspired pub fare at big rock urban eatery • brewery tours, tastings and private events • grab some beer to go at our big rock beer shop

310 West 4th Avenue | Vancouver, BC

Be in good company. Take out a corporate membership and enjoy benefits like a Community Profile web page on WhatsBrewing.ca, HopLine spotlights, free and discounted advertising, plus printed magazines with complimentary shipping anywhere in BC. Find out more here: whatsbrewing.ca/corporate


for Watch rails le T A w e n hing launc ! mmer u s is th

The BC Ale Trail is the definitive online resource for lovers of BC craft beer, offering touring itineraries that connect breweries with restaurants, tap-houses, cafes, hotels and activities in communities across the province.

#ExploreBC #BCAleTrail #BCCraftBeer


Hitching their Wagons to Beer Tourism


f you consider yourself a craft beer tourist, you’re probably familiar with researching your holiday by Googling the breweries, beer bars and brewpubs available in some beer-soaked city. You’re looking for map pins within proximity of each other, so as to enable the most efficient and safe passage from one beer outlet to the next.

out calling a series of cabs (or sourcing out a teetotaling, minivan-owning friend with a clear calendar and a high tolerance for beer breath). Today, a small handful of touring companies operate regularly around BC. This being the Travel & Tourism issue, let’s jump into the garage with a few of them for a peek under the hood. Our guests are:

In recent years, it’s become a simple matter for beer travellers visiting certain areas in BC to string together a satisfying walking or cycling tour of craft outlets. Breweries popping up like mushrooms in East Van and Port Moody have enabled those neighbourhoods to join venerable Victoria as craft crawl destinations. But back when BC’s first beer tour bus launched, there weren’t quite as many pins on the map.

Ryan Mackey, Owner, Vancouver Brewery Tours www.vancouverbrewerytours.com

Vancouver Brewery Tours fired up its engines in 2013, allowing Lotusland foamy fans to get from one location to another with-

Jayden Grundy, Owner/Operator, Vine&hops Wine & Craft Beer Tours www.vineandhops.ca

Elton Walker, Owner, West Coast Brewery Tours www.westcoastbrewerytours.com Brandon Moscrip, Marketing Manager, Canadian Craft Tours www.canadiancrafttours.ca


Photo: Vancouver Brewery Tours

Four of BC’s brew touring companies talk about beer tourism in their businesses

What drew you into this beer tourismoriented venture? Jayden Grundy: I personally love people, travel and beer, so it was a no brainer. Who wouldn’t want to be part of a community supporting farmers, creating more local jobs and bringing a sustainable product to market. The industry as a whole is so inviting! What’s not to love? Elton Walker: A love for all things local & craft combined with some of the nicest people on the planet. Brandon Moscrip: People want to spend time with friends, drink and not have to worry about the driving. Ryan Mackey: It really started from a passion for craft beer. After doing a self-guided brewery tour in 2012, I asked myself, “if I enjoyed a brewery tour this much, maybe others would too?”. The idea for Vancouver Brewery Tours was born, and I launched the company a few months later in 2013, so I could share this experience with others.

Which existing beer tour companies did you look to for inspiration at the time? JG: Definitely Brewvana in Portland. Ashley and her team have been doing it very well for a long time. EW: Brewvana out of Portland, Road Dogs out of Seattle and BC’s own Vancouver Brewery Tours.

Dessert at the Guild Freehouse, with West Coast Brewery Tours RM: I didn’t even know brewery tour companies existed back when I had the idea! After a quick search I realized no one was doing this in BC, so I looked around the world for inspiration. Our friends at Brewvana Portland Brewery Tours were a big inspiration. Road Dogs Seattle Brewery Tours and a few others scattered around the US helped shape my understanding of this emerging industry.

Which are your busiest routes? EW: Our “Definitive Craft Brewery Tour” which tours 3 breweries in 3 hours is the most popular to date. However, our newest tour, “Craft Beer Food Pair”, has really hit the ground running


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with foodies looking to branch out into the world of craft beer. JG: The breweries a little further out of the city that are harder for the locals to reach. We like to #drinkoutside the box! BM: Our “Sea to Sky brewery tour” “Vancouver to Victoria Brewery Tour”, Kelowna Brewery Tour and anything in East Vancouver are the most popular routes.

What proportion of your business comes from out-of-province (or town) tourists? EW: 72% percent of our business in 2016 came from out of town, the majority of which was from the West Coast of the US. JG: About 50% are from across the border. A big portion from the UK, Europe and the States. A good mix from the other provinces as well.

Where do you think BC's beer tourism industry will be in a few years? JG: At the top of the food chain! I think we have the density of breweries and the talent in brewers to become a craft brewing mecca. I feel the breweries that stand out in this regard will thrive! EW: I think it will continue to grow and prosper with an emerging interest from consumers in the joys of pairing good food & craft beer. RM: With government, private sector companies, tourism organizations and more all working together, BC’s beer tourism industry is well positioned to continue growing and attracting record numbers of craft beer travelers.

RM: Many seem to think that as a tour company we cater to mostly tourists. While we always have a healthy contingent of tourists on our tours, most of our business comes from locals wanting to learn more and experience Vancouver’s thriving craft beer scene. Overall, our out-of-town guests are impressed with the quality of Vancouver beer, including level of experimentation. When it comes to a standout brewery, it’s Storm Brewing. I’ve heard guests talk about breweries they’ve visited from all over the world, and Storm is by far the most unique space they’ve ever visited!

Happy visitors with Canadian Craft Tours

BC Beer Tours Cont'd That’s why we hosted a special tour a few years back, organized by the BC Craft Brewers Guild and filled with BC Ministers and VIPs, to showcase the incredible potential that the craft industry could have on job creation and tourism. BM: The BC craft beer tap room tourism industry seems to be following a growth model similar to that which BC wineries experienced. With over 250 wineries, 145 Breweries, 35 Distilleries and 15 Cideries, BC would be my number one choice to host any social event or work party. Even if we hit a saturation point in terms of number of breweries, there will still be an opportunity for each to thrive by offering product samplings and great service.

Kevin Winter welcomes a visitor to Coast Mountain Brewing

For a craft brewery, showcasing those products and that service is where working with tour companies comes in. Many thanks to our four guest contributors. Choose any BC beer or wine tour operator for a great trip this summer.

BC craft History: Great Canadian Beer Festival

Untold stories of Beerfest: Part 1


he 25th Annual Great Canadian Beer Festival

will take place on Friday/Saturday, September 8th & 9th, 2017. BC’s longest-running beer festival is fortunate to have had amazingly stable leadership over the years. Founding organizers like industry veteran Gerry Hieter, original CAMRA Victoria President John Rowling, and former CAMRA BC President Phil Atkinson all still serve as directors of the Great Canadian Beer Festival Society, which is respected internationally.

What’s Brewing Volume 3, No. 4, July 1992

In advance of this year’s auspicious occasion, What's Brewing made contact with the three gentlemen to pull a few stories out of their memory banks. To accompany this interview, we took the opportunity to flip through some back issues of WB (which has been around a few years longer than GCBF) for coverage of BC’s premier beer festival, going back to before it was first held in 1993.

25 years ago this summer This year’s milestone has been referred to in some marketing materials as a 25th Anniversary. To a stickler that’s a misnomer; after all, 25 years ago, it was 1992. However, there’s a little-known reason why that year actually saw the genesis of the festival we know and love. Here’s an ad that appeared in the July 1992 issue of What's Brewing.

Complimentary souvenir glass! Two tasters! Does the basic format seem strikingly similar to that of today's festivals? 15

Actually, the history of beer festivals in BC predates this watershed event. There was a significant interest in “non-commercial beer” that even preceded the registration of CAMRA as we know it now, back in 1990. As documented on the CAMRA BC website: by the mid-1980s, the consumer group CAMRA UK had propagated its message to Canada via the creation of a national organization based in Ontario, of which there were a few dozen members in Vancouver and around BC. Early Victoria member and and founding What's Brewing editor Phil Atkinson helped create a separate Great Western Beer Festival that ran during the late 80s, featuring homebrew and beer food. He looked forward to the day there would be something better. Coming back to the 1992 event, here’s a recap from the subsequent issue of WB:

What’s Brewing Volume 3, No. 6, September 1992 July 12 [sic], 1992, saw the first microbrewery beer tasting in British Columbia. Held at the George Pearkes arena in Saanich, the event attracted Victoria’s beer lovers to sample an array of fresh, local beers and several Real Ales. Participating breweries were Vancouver Island, Okanagan Springs, Whistler, Shaftebury, Sunshine Coast, Horseshoe Bay, Swans and Spinnakers. The other two microbreweries, Granville Island and the Nelson Brewing Company, were unable to make it. This festival was not GCBF; it was actually a spinoff event from a Caribbean music festival called Sunfest. However, it involved the participation of a recently-incorporated beer enthusiasts’ group, CAMRA Victoria, whose founding President John Rowling—soon to co-found GCBF—learned immensely from the experience. We asked the gentlemen the following.

What did you gain from that precursor event presented by Van Isle Productions (VIP)?

who are already at work planning the details of the festival. Publicity and communications are being looked after by a sub-committee comprising Lou Garraway, Phil Atkinson, Dave Preston, and George Baker. Finances are the bailiwick of Dale Reynolds, and Darlene Ross is coordinating the entertainment with members of UVic’s music education department. If you wish to have a booth at the festival, or are interested in volunteering, please contact Brian Wigen.

What’s Brewing Volume 4, No. 3, June 1993 Approval has been received from the City of Victoria and the festival is set to go. Gerry Hieter and John Rowling are co-chairing the festival. Gerry is perhaps best known as the founding president of Whistler Brewing Company. He has enjoyed homebrewing ales and lagers for the past ten years… John has been a beer enthusiast since 1953.

John suggested we open a brewery. I knew my wife would kill me if I proposed such a thing. I said, ”Let’s start a beer festival”. He liked the idea and the rest is history. Gerry: After the 1992 festival, John and I were having beers at the old Fogg and Suds, and John suggested we open a brewery. I had only been out of Whistler Brewing for a few years, and I knew my wife would kill me if I suggested such a thing after what we had been through. I said to John, “Let’s start a beer festival”. He liked the idea and the rest is history. I don’t know if that story is printed anywhere but that’s what happened. John: My wife Carol would have killed me too!

John Rowling: The original Sunfest was held at Elk Lake, North of Victoria. Irwin Rodgers (VIP) asked CAMRA to help, so I phoned all 10 BC breweries to get them to come, and several members helped organize. Only 150 tickets sold, which is what happens when you don’t advertise!

Gerry was working as the Island sales rep for Shaftebury, and I had been on a couple of sales trips with him. I watched how he would give a consumer a sample, and they would, to their surprise, actually like it. I admired his technique [as a craft beer evangelist].

Gerry Hieter: I would have to say that it showed us what not to do, which is: announce an event, and then hope someone comes out for it. I’m afraid that the majority of brewers who attended that event said they would not support another CAMRA-run festival. I conveyed this to John who knew what I was talking about and agreed.

We were selfish in that we wanted to go into any bar and find a beer from a “microbrewery”, which you could not do very often in 1992. So, we decided that we would not allow any of the “factory breweries” into the festival. The idea was that people would buy tickets to a beer festival, come in, and finding none of the old familiar favourites, would try these strange micro beers and get hooked.

John: VIP and CAMRA were to split the proceeds after expenses. CAMRA got a cheque for $19 from Irwin. I remember Phil saying “We can do a lot better than this!” Phil Atkinson: Of course, I wasn’t referring only to the money. We learned quite a lot from that first attempt. Not long after this first event, the topic of holding another event came up at a CAMRA Victoria meeting.

1993: The Festival gets off the ground What’s Brewing Volume 4, No. 2, April 1993 All systems are go for CAMRA Victoria’s Microbrewery Festival on October 23 at the Victoria Conference Centre. Gerry Hieter and John Rowling are assembling a keen team of volunteers 16

As noted in a 1993 issue of What's Brewing, you had some festival experience. Would you say it prepared you for the experience of creating a major new festival from scratch? Gerry: At that time, I had been to the Great American Beer Festival (Denver, est. 1982) and the Oregon Brewer’s Festival (Portland, est. 1988) which both had good and bad things about them. We sort of took the best elements from both of these festivals and others (eg, CAMRA UK’s Great British Beer Festival, est. 1977) and created our own version. John: We also went to the Northwest Invitational Beer Festival in Seattle in September 1992 and saw that they gave each brewery an individual booth. Brilliant! Customers could talk to brewery staff about the beer, buy shirts from their favourite

brewery, and other stuff.

You canvassed people you knew not only in BC but in WA, OR and AB. Can you recall the stress involved in the lead-up to the event? Gerry: After we decided to go ahead, John was brilliant. He and Carol allowed us to use his home, his phone, and everything else he had. We got the media behind us and were able to get the word out early. All the local breweries cooperated with us to get tickets sold, etc. I don’t recall too much pressure at that point as we weren’t sure what to expect anyway. John: We hustled and went to a lot of meetings: Victoria AM, etc. We were trying hard to raise some money and find a suitable location. Gerry spent hours looking at halls, etc. Then we ran into Lou Garraway, the sales manager at the Harbour Towers Hotel. Lou told us that the Victoria hotel business badly needed a “shoulder season” [non-summer tourism] event, so we chose October 23rd 1993. Lou also happened to be Chairman of the Victoria Athletic Association, who had a fund for supporting worthy causes. Lou reckoned that since athletes drink beer, we could get a loan from the VAA of $5000. The deal was that we paid back the VAA first out of revenues. The next $2000 of revenues would be split 50/50 and the rest was ours. So, Lou took a risk, but in the end the VAA earned $1000 on a six month loan! Phil: As government employees, we were fortunate to be able to use “taxpayer-funded” administrative resources such as photocopying at work.

bers was friendly with political connections who ultimately included the US Consul. For years, we took advantage of their diplomatic immunity to get US beer brought into the country without the standard red tape.

Next issue The big day arrives! Then, the Year Two rebrand, and the move outdoors in 2003. Read the full story now with more images and features: whatsbrewing.ca/gcbf-history

25th Great Canadian Beer Festival Royal Athletic Park 1014 Caledonia Ave, Victoria, BC www.gcbf.com

Day 1: Friday, September 8 4 PM - 9 PM Day 2: Saturday, September 9 12 PM - 5 PM For updates: instagram.com/GreatCanadianBeerFest twitter.com/GrCanBeerFest facebook.com/GreatCanadianBeerFestival

Being in Victoria could be handy. One of the committee mem-

...and refreshing: the perfect beer with which to rejuvenate as weather turns warmer. Light aroma and strong orange peel flavors give this brew a unique flavor that screams refreshment at the beach, the golf course or anywhere in the summer sun.

Four packs of 473ml tall cans at most private liquor stores throughout B.C. For growler fills & off-sales, visit Moon Under Water 350B Bay St. Victoria


Beers, Beaches & Breweries >> Kim Lawton

Okanagan Update


hile spring has been a bit elusive this year in the South Okanagan, the craft beer scene is blossoming at record high rates. In April, we celebrated the 22nd Annual Okanagan Fest of Ale with a record 65 breweries and cideries in attendance, and over 5,000 attendees from the Okanagan, around the province and beyond. We’re thrilled that we will be launching a Penticton Trail, as part of the BC Ale Trail. We welcomed the BC Ale Trail team to Penticton for a few days last month. They were able to see and enjoy all the adventures that a craft beer traveller would enjoy partaking in, along with a pint. The Penticton Trail will be launched by early June, so keep your eyes peeled. We warmly welcomed the opening of two new breweries in the South Okanagan: Detonate Brewing, situated in beautiful Summerland, just a few minutes north of Penticton, and Highway 97 Brewery, located in Penticton. Detonate Brewing is Summerland’s first brewery. They opened in February. They are surrounded by wineries and cideries and have already become a key part of Summerland’s community. Since opening, they’ve already expanded their beer offerings and are now producing 650ml bottles. They’re open from 2-7pm, Thursday through Sunday. Try their Citra Station Pale Ale, which predominantly features Citra hops, as the perfect Summerland summer seasonal. Highway 97 Brewery is Penticton’s 5th brewery. They opened in March, and are situated… wait for it…. on Highway 97! They are in the former location of Tin Whistle Brewing, which moved last year into the Cannery Trade Centre, taking over the space vacated by Cannery Brewing when they moved downtown into their new brewery. Highway 97 is now open 7 days a week for the summer season from 11am-9pm. They are easy walking distance from the Penticton Ramada, Coast Penticton, the South Okanagan Events Centre, the Penticton Golf & Country Club and the new Cascades Casino Penticton. They are launching two summer beers, an Apricot Hefeweizen, which will be released on June 21st for Summer Solstice, and Okanagan Summer Weiss for the Canada Day long weekend. Cannery Brewing has two delicious summer offerings. Hop Chowdah is a hazy new England IPA that is juicy and soft with polished bitterness. This limited release features citrus and tropical fruit flavours from the Amarillo and Mosaic hops. It is available in 4x355ml cans and on tap. The Drupaceous Apricot Wheat Ale is also back for the summer! This Canadian Wheat Ale has notes of citrus and stone fruit. The brewers added apricots after fermentation to give this beer an Okanagan twist. It's available now in 650ml bottles, 6x355ml cans, and on tap. Penticton’s Tin Whistle Brewing has a limited release Summertime Coconut Hopfenweisse coming for summer. With a predominately Mosaic hop profile, this unfiltered wheat ale has


Nathan Rosin from Summerland's Detonate Brewing tropical, bright, hoppy notes with coconut and banana on the finish. It’s available in 650ml bottles in private liquor stores in BC and in draft. Head down south to Oliver where the folks from Firehall Brewery are getting ready for their summer Back Alley Concert Series. They’ve got music events lined up on June 10th, July 15th and August 12th. Bring a picnic meal and enjoy a craft beer from Firehall or local wine or spirits while checking out the art of a different featured artist for each music night. Be sure to give their 2nd Table Beer Series offering a try. This barrel-aged sparkling ale is available in 650ml bottles for a limited time. If you are driving up north to the Central Okanagan, watch for the opening of Kind Brewing in West Kelowna and Red Bird Brewing in Kelowna. Then keep going north to Marten Brewing in Vernon. Learn more about Marten Brewing in my feature article on them, up next.

Kim Lawton is a craft beer fan, a longtime supporter of the craft beer movement, President of CAMRA South Okanagan and the Marketing Director at Cannery Brewing in Penticton. Kim can be reached via Twitter @DogLegMarketing

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Joe Strickland

Blood, Sweat & Biers in Vernon, BC


he South Okanagan has been my home for over a decade. I’ve explored many iconic and hidden gems within the South and Central Okanagan, but generally the furthest north I’ve gone is to the Kelowna airport. Until recently, when I thought of Vernon, I pictured lakes and golfing, farms and ranches (including the Historic O’Keefe Ranch), and mountain biking and skiing at SilverStar Mountain Resort. And then I met Stefan and Pearl Marten from Marten Brewing at the 2016 Okanagan Fest of Ale, and we stayed in touch. They kept me updated on their news for my regular What’s Brewing column, and invited me to come to the brewery. The drive into and around Vernon is gorgeous. My partner, John, and I enjoyed breathtaking views of the lakes and rolling hills and stopped often to take photos along the way. We finally put our cameras away and drove to Marten Brewing, whose welcoming corner building in downtown Vernon has entrances to both the brewery and the Naked Pig BBQ. Stefan and Pearl spent seven months renovating both sides of the building before opening the Naked Pig BBQ in 2014, next door to the planned brewery. The renovation was substantial, and they did most of the work themselves. We had lunch and a visit over a flight of beer at a table that they built by hand.

>> Kim Lawton

Before Stefan and Pearl bought the space, a variety of nightclubs and restaurants operated, mostly briefly, in this location. It was known as “the cursed building” because nothing seemed to succeed in it. Vernon residents for eleven years, the Martens watched as one business after another failed in that location. They, however, had a vision for a different future. Despite their vision, they met a lot of opposition; many in the community expected them to fail. In fact, they struggled to even get a loan for the building because of the line of failures in that location. Their vision involved creating a space that the locals would be proud to show off to their friends and family. “We built it for Vernon,” explained Pearl. Stefan agreed, “We’re paving the way for craft beer here.” Okanagan Springs is also in Vernon, and Stefan and Pearl wanted Marten Brewing to really showcase craft beer. In November 2015, Marten Brewing finally opened up, right next to the Naked Pig.

While we enjoyed lunch, people soaked up sunshine on the patio, couples and groups chatted over beers and BBQ delights, and solo visitors typed on their keyboards while sipping Naked Pig Roast Coffee. The vibe in the Naked Pig side is super-chill and very inviting for solo travellers, couples, groups and families. Our outstanding meal started with pork rinds with four different house-made BBQ sauces. The beer mac and cheese with cornbread was delicious. It featured their Zephyr Hefeweizen, which I also happened to love in my glass. The cornbread was excellent, with just a hint of sweetness. We also loved the pork sliders with coleslaw on a pretzel bun. The Naked Pig features beer from Marten Brewing, of course, including their nitro beer line, plus one guest tap. 20

John, Kim, Pearl & Stefan

The Marten Brewing side of the building is beautifully laid out over two floors, with most of the primary seating featuring a view of the brewing area. Whether you are looking for a seat at the bar, a booth, or a table overlooking the street and the brewhouse, there is something for everyone. To help create the community hub they envisioned, they also have meeting rooms and they offer their space for conventions, Christmas parties, weddings, art nights, trivia nights, and lots of community events. About their craft beer vision, Stefan said, “We created five flagship beers with drinkability in mind, beers with lots of flavour. We brought in longtime friend Stefan Buhl, who had finished his role at Tree Brewing. He started as our brewmaster and mentor, to help us develop our first beers. “For our flagship beers, we wanted beers that people could enjoy. But we also like experimenting. In our Pale Ale, we changed up the dry hops and asked our guests for their feedback.” To continue their experimentation, they brought Joe Strickland to the team as head brewer. “It was pretty exciting coming in from the beginning,” Joe told me. They have come a long way, and celebrated a major milestone the day we were there. Joe took a break to tell us that the beer he was creating that day would be called “The Hundy”, because it was their one-hundredth brew. The Hundy is an Imperial IPA, 10% alc./vol. with 100 IBUs. I also got a peek at their brand-new canning line, and was assured they have some big news coming in the months ahead. The crowds filling both sides of the building indicate that they have rounded the corner and created a success, breaking the curse of “the cursed building”. Pearl noted, “We have built a really loyal following. And we believe we are on the right track. Vernon has embraced what we are doing. The community has embraced us. We have 55 to 70 staff, which really supports the community. This includes lots of jobs for youth, which has helped keep a number of younger families in Vernon.” Pearl, Stefan, Joe and the entire team at Marten Brewing and the Naked Pig BBQ have a lot to be proud of. They have beaten the odds. They have become a hub in the community and they are supporting and contributing to the community that also supports them. Well fed, refreshed, and inspired by their vision and all Stefan and Pearl are doing in town, we traveled to our next Vernon destination, the fabulous Sparkling Hill Resort, for two fabulous days and nights of R&R. We soaked in the gorgeous infinity pool overlooking breathtaking lake views, hiked the trails, read in comfy chairs in the tea room, and, of course, we enjoyed every single moment of relaxation in the saunas. But that’s another story for another day. This year, as Canada celebrates its 150th birthday, Vernon celebrates its 125th birthday. Put it on your bucket list to wish Vernon happy birthday in person. While you are there, be sure to stop in for some delicious food and beer at Marten Brewing and the Naked Pig BBQ, and some time relaxing in the saunas at Sparkling Hill Resort.

How Marten's beer lineup got its german accent Stefan and Pearl both hail from Williams Lake, but Stefan's family has German roots, and that has influenced the development of Marten Brewing. At the urging of a Canadian education system that mandated English learning, German was not spoken in the household when Stefan grew up. To learn Deutsche, he attended language classes, and as a young adult headed to Bavaria to work for a year and soak up the culture. Stefan worked at a "huge beer garden in Munich, with a whole list of lagers." He also spent time at a ski resort in the Alps. "Everybody drank Weizen there; even the kids", he relates. According to Stefan, "When you pour a Pilsner in Bavaria, with the perfect head and presentation, it takes about four minutes." Pearl, like Stefan, has a hospitality and bartending background. She already had a taste for lagers, especially Pilsners, but developed her palate even more after opening the Naked Pig. The two of them think of their amazing hand-built facility as a brewer’s playground. There are typically 6 to 8 house brews on tap, plus a couple of guest taps. The core beers are German styles: Lunkhead Lager and Jefe Hefe(weizen). Lager is often ignored by craft fans like us because it’s the drink we came to craft beer to get away from. But theirs is a lager from a brewery with German roots and sensibilities. My wife Ivana and I were stunned by it. Marten is not just about German styles; they consistently also have their BC Bud IPA on regular and nitro taps. When we were there, brewer Joe had created a Session Rye Lager; currently they have Cookie Monster Stout on. The brewery has the space and capacity to brew for a market beyond the Okanagan. They’d eventually like to be able to serve the Coast as well. We have a feeling their creations would be welcomed there. - Dave Smith 21

Saison vs. Saison

Beer photography by Lynn McIlwee

Warm Weather Beers part II






This issue's Tasting Panel is: Our five volunteer beer experts are: Warren Boyer, BJCP-Certified home and commercial brewer Mike Garson, aka Mike's Craft Beer: an experienced beer event judge and tireless beer reviewer

Lynn McIlwee of Hops Canary: experienced beer event judge and homebrewer Chelsea McDowell of Brewtiful BC: experienced beer event judge and homebrewer Paul Pyne of DrinkSmarter: Certified CiceroneÂŽ and beer tutor

Note: neither What’s Brewing nor Legacy Liquor Store bear responsibility for the opinions expressed within, which are solely those of the individual panelists..

presented by

What is a saison?


raditionally, saison is a rustic, artisanal ale made with local farm-grown ingredients, brewed for consumption during the active farming season in the French-speaking area of Belgium. Because these beers were made from whatever happened to be on hand, it was not unusual to have grains such as wheat, rye, oats, or spelt in the grist bill. Sugar or honey could be added to provide complexity and dry out the flavour. In North America, we often refer to saisons as farmhouse ales. This is the perfect beer to make during the summer months; see my Homebrew Happenin's column for more about that.

- Warren Boyer

How judging is done Our unsanctioned competition uses a Zagat-like 30-point rating with a weighted scale based loosely on the BJCP Scoresheet. Panellists are instructed to give an honest rating, so don't expect a sugar-coating.

First Pour

The Beers ABV Four Winds: La Maison 4.5% Dageraad: Randonneur 6.4% Driftwood: Farmhand 5.0% Parallel 49: Brett Saison 7.3% Strange Fellows: Bayard 5.5% Moon Under Water: Hip as Funk 7.0%

Beers evaluated include:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

And the winner is: We have a tie game! As seen overleaf, both Four Winds and Strange Fellows averaged exactly 25 out of 30. Bayard got the Panel's only unanimous perfect ratings for Stylistic Accuracy and Appearance. Meanwhile, La Maison scored highest for Flavour and Aroma. Happily, all the beers did well this round.

overall category scores To match up the pie charts at left in grayscale: start at top of legend and work clockwise from 45 degree mark (3 o'clock).



Meet Jordan Knott, craft beer expert at Legacy Liquor Store Enjoyment

Got questions about craft beer? Talk to Jordan!

Legacy Liquor Store 1633 Manitoba St, Vancouver, BC 604.331.7900 info@legacyliquorstore.com

Online Order Desk


Four Winds La Maison 2.6/3

21 24 26 28 26


25/30 2.4/3

While the carbonation is very low on this beer for the style, it does not hurt this very well rounded, enjoyable beer. Love the tropical fruit notes. Tons of fruit - mango, orange, grapefruit An easy-drinking and refreshing beer. I do usually enjoy a more robustly flavoured Saison, but as a light beer this is delightful. This is a great choice for summer. A refreshing and fun twist on the style. Hits the mark and is not your typical Saison. Tacos are an obvious friend to this brew.


18 21 26 16 24


21/30 2.6/3


The style does allow phenols, but the band-aid is a bit too strong for my taste. It is enjoyable but would be nice to have more of the fruit notes and funk. The wood notes overpower the rest of the beer. Nice Brett saison, great funk, citrus and spice. Earthy, moderate spice, funky Brett with a horse blanket tossed on it This is on the wrong side of funk for me. Smells a bit metallic, a lot like gym socks. Missing the spicy, fruity Saison aroma I love. Fruity, light and funky, just the way I like it. Still a little fresh. I look forward to trying it again in 6 months.

See www.whatsbrewing.ca/tasting-panel for full set of scores



Not as crisp as some examples of this style. A bit more sweet and balanced than I would like in this style.

Parallel 49 Brett Saison

Dageraad Randonneur

25 18 26 23 22


Delicious. Crisp without b dium bitter finish.

Holy citrus rind Batman! herbal notes. Billowing he

Highly carbonated, with biscuity notes. Well-balan seeking out.

I liked this, but it's not the b ly dominate the flavour,

A great example of the st voury foods will make a g

Strange Fellows Baya 3.0/3

26 22 25 27 25


Very nice interpretation like it should be. Just eno some complexity.

I enjoyed this beer, but overpowered the fruit no

Nice earthy saison, brea esters, bready after-taste

True to style with plenty ing light and refreshing great with spicy food!

A great example of a cla a dense, rocky head.


22.8/30 2.4/3

Driftwood Farmhand 2.2/3


being tart. Fruity and refreshing with me-

Lemon, grain, bitterness, lots of pepper, ead but not much lacing.

spice, pepper, orange rind and a bit of nced, solid saison. True to style and worth

best example of a Saison. The hops slight-

tyle. Fruity/Spicy and complex. Fatty, sagood match for this.

25/30 2.8/3

Not quite complex enough for me, a bit too clean. Subdued belgian yeast character could be more predominant. Nice cloudy orange white head that disappeared quickly. Not perfect to style but quite drinkable. Could use more carbonation Subtle spice and pepper notes. Body a bit thin, carbonation very low for a saision. Rating would be higher with more body & carb. I don't mind this beer, but I don't love it. There's nothing to really draw me in. A thirst quenching, refreshing, example of the style. Drinkable and friendly. Light fish with lemon sauce, or even a fruit salad.

Moon Hip as Funk Farmhouse IPA 2.6/3










18 21 18 18 27



6.0/8 Lynn

found that the rind flavour and pepper otes. I like a more fruity saison.

y of depth and complexity while remaing. An excellent beer for hot weather, and

assic style. Golden with some clarity and


Decent sized white head. Spicy phenols are acceptable for this style, but this is too plasticy for me Some funk, citrus rind, pepper, tropical, citrus, Pretty much nails it for the crossover style of IPA and saison Well-made saison with pleasant spice notes. A little orange rind, pepper Slight astringency on the finish. Perfect carbonation. Moon seems to have a knack for unusual yet balanced beers. There is enough IPA in this beer to satisfy a hop head, but not enough to scare away someone who is not A fun take on the style with the Brett adding some extra funk and fruitiness to its juicy mouthfeel. Great with some mussels.





ady finish, spice notes and funk. Banana e, grapefruit rind

15 22 24 27 26


of the saison style. Crisp and refreshing ough funk to make it interesting and add

The Thirsty Writer >> Joe Wiebe

Sipping Beer in Bellingham


ust south of White Rock, BC, across the border in the state of Washington, sits the city of Bellingham. With about 85,000 residents, many of them students attending Western Washington University, it is home to a thriving and dynamic craft beer scene. Bellingham Beer Week launched in September 2012, and ran in the early fall time for several years. Organizers moved it to April 21-29 for 2017, in response to feedback from local breweries that they were quite busy in September and tired from the hectic summer workload. In conjunction with the relaunched Bellingham Beer Week, I was invited to speak at Chuckanut Brewery about British Columbia’s beer scene; my book, Craft Beer Revolution: The Insider’s Guide to BC Breweries; and the BC Ale Trail project. Bellingham Tourism put me up in the brand-new Holiday Inn & Suites at Bellingham International Airport for a couple of nights, and toured me and two American writers around the local breweries. I was also hosted the last time I visited Bellingham in September 2013, and comparing the two experiences speaks volumes about the growth of the craft beer scene there. On my first visit, the tourism folks arranged for us writers to go on various hikes and visit other interesting local attractions during the day before attending beer events in the evening. This time around, the days were entirely filled with brewery visits, with no time for hikes or sightseeing. There were only three breweries in Bellingham back in 2013: Boundary Bay Brewery, Chuckanut Brewery, and Kulshan Brewing, which had just opened. Today there are ten breweries, including a second Kulshan location and a raft of others that have opened since 2013: Aslan Brewing, Gruff Brewing, Menace Brewing, Stones Throw Brewing, Structures Brewing, and Wander Brewing. Also due to open soon is a local outlet for Melvin Brewing, which is based in Jackson, Wyoming. On both my visits, I found Bellingham to be welcoming and charming. The fact that locals refer to themselves as “Bellinghamsters” says something about how laid back they are. About the same size as Nanaimo, the city shares a similar layout, sprawled along the coast with easy access to wilderness and lots of great mountain biking trails nearby. The similarities to Nanaimo continue when you look at Bellingham’s historical industries, which included forestry, coal mining, and ship-building. But, on the ground, Bellingham feels like it has more going on, which is also reflected in the size of its beer scene compared to Nanaimo, which has only four breweries. Perhaps it is the proximity to Seattle, two hours south, that gives Bellingham more energy. Most of the people involved in the breweries in Bellingham fall into one of two camps. One group grew up there, went away to


school or to work in Seattle, perhaps, but eventually returned to Bellingham to open their dream brewery. The other group grew up elsewhere, discovered Bellingham, and decided it was the place they wanted to set up shop. In either case, most people cite the easy access to the wilderness and the quieter pace of life compared to Seattle as reasons to settle there. Bellingham is an appealing destination for BC beer lovers, both because of its proximity to the Lower Mainland and Victoria (whether you take the Sidney-Anacortes ferry or just cross from Swartz Bay and then drive down from Tsawwassen) and for its dynamic beer scene. There are plenty of options for all sorts of beer lovers. And it doesn’t hurt that you can shop at Trader Joe’s too! If you’re worried about higher costs due to the exchange rate, keep in mind that beer is generally cheaper there than here. Pints sell for $5-6 and it’s unusual to see a sixpack go for more than $10. Just remember if you are bringing beer back across the border you need to stay for at least 48 hours if you don’t want to pay duty on it. Bellingham Beer Week is obviously an ideal time to visit, but there is lots going on in the city year-round. The following is a primer on B-Town’s beer scene to help you plan your getaway.

Aslan Brewing 1330 N. Forest Street www.aslanbrewing.com Bellingham’s only all-organic brewery, Aslan started in the summer of 2012 as a pilot brewery where its founders conducted hands-on research on operating a commercial brewery. A year later they opened the full-scale operation. Aslan’s beers are delicious, with the organic certification being a nice bonus that certainly doesn’t reflect any reduction in quality. The brewery has a big family-friendly restaurant with an excellent kitchen.

Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro 1107 Railway Ave www.bbaybrewery.com Bellingham’s oldest craft brewery, Boundary Bay opened in 1995 in a restored, historic warehouse (built in 1922) located downtown across from the Saturday Farmer’s Market. It’s essentially a big brewpub with a restaurant and an outdoor beer garden that hosts lots of events, including barbecues and concerts. The tap list covers the gamut of beer styles, including a barrel-aged series, sour beers, and some experimental brews fermented with mixed cultures.

1. StonesThrow Brewing 2. Gruff Brewing beers 3. Chuckanut poster, featuring the author 4. Structures Brewing 5. Aslan Brewing's shop 6. Mari and Will Kemper at Chuckanut 7. Aslan Brewing flight 8.Wander Brewing flight 9. Wander Brewing taps 10. Kulshan Brewing's original location 11. Wander Brewing's front door



3 4

5 6

8 7




Menace Brewing 2529 Meridian Street facebook.com/MenaceBrewing

The Bellingham Tap Trail Launched in 2014, the Bellingham Tap Trail can help visitors locate Bellingham’s many breweries, pubs, and beer events. Use the website to plan your trip and thenpick up a copy of the print map/brochure at the Bellingham Visitor Center when you arrive. Collect stamps as you visit the breweries, and then redeem them for a parting gift at the end of your trip.

www.bellinghamtaptrail.com Chuckanut Brewery & Kitchen 601 Holly Street chuckanutbreweryandkitchen.com Named for the nearby Chuckanut Mountains, this brewery was founded by a couple of Washington State craft beer pioneers, Mari and Will Kemper, who co-founded Thomas Kemper Brewing in Seattle back in 1984. After that, Will became an itinerant brewery consultant, designing and building breweries around the world for two decades before returning to Washington to open Chuckanut in 2008. The brewery is renowned for its wide range of European-style lagers, but it does brew excellent ales as well. A second Chuckanut location lovingly referred to as “South Nut” opened near the Skagit Regional Airport in Burlington, Washington last year.

Gruff Brewing 104 E. Maple Street #101 www.gruff-brewing.com Founded in 2014, Gruff is based in the historic Buzzard Iron Works building that has housed numerous industrial businesses since it was built in 1902. The taproom shows off the original rafters and rough wood floors, and there is also a gravel beer garden out back. Located around the corner from Boundary Bay Brewing, Gruff offers a solid range of beers with food available from nearby restaurants or food trucks.

Kulshan Brewing 2238 James Street K2 Brewery & Taproom: 1538 Kentucky Street www.kulshanbrewery.com On my previous visit in 2013, Kulshan was the new brewery on the scene, having just joined Bellingham’s two founder breweries, Boundary Bay and Chuckanut, in 2012. Since then, Kulshan has added a second location called K2. The original spot focuses more on specialty styles now, while the new brewery handles big production runs of Kulshan’s core beers. 28

Technically the newest brewery to open in Bellingham earlier this year, Menace actually relocated from its original location in Ferndale, where it opened in 2015. It’s a small operation based in an old auto shop in the Fountain neighbourhood, which has long been devoid of a local pub or bar. Menace is happy to fill that role, and soon it will have company there when Melvin opens its new brewery nearby.

Stones Throw Brewing 1009 Larrabee Ave www.stonesthrowbrewco.com This is the first brewery to open in the Fairhaven neighbourhood to the south of downtown Bellingham. With its historic Victoria-era brick buildings, it feels like a separate town— and that’s because it was a separate town, which eventually joined with three other towns to form Bellingham in 1904. Stones Throw has a unique setup integrated into a residential location: the brewing equipment is housed in four repurposed shipping containers stacked between the house, which holds offices and a rentable suite (https://www.airbnb.ca/rooms/15339273 -- only $100 CAD/night), and the detached garage, which has been converted into the taproom. The backyard has a cozy fire pit, perfect for sipping a brew on a cool evening. The name, Stones Throw, refers to the abundance of trails and outdoor activities available within a stone’s throw of the brewery.

Structures Brewing 1420 N. State Street www.structuresbrewing.com Founded by two brewers who met while working together in the north-eastern U.S., Structures is a small operation with a very cool vibe. The brewery does not package much of its beer so you have to visit to taste it. Along with some cutting-edge IPAs and other more standard styles, Structures also has a barrel program. I tasted a delicious beer called Focus, which was a Biere de Miel aged in French oak barrels for 7 months and then blended with a wheat Saison brewed with a mixed culture of lactic acid, bacteria and brett. Delicious!

Wander Brewing 1807 Dean Ave wanderbrewing.com Founded in 2014 by a husband and wife who had travelled the world extensively before settling down in Bellingham, Wander is housed in a 1920s-era shipbuilding warehouse with a soaring ceiling. It’s an awe-inspiring space, with a matching beer lineup that includes a range of global styles like Belgian blonde, Baltic porter, Wee Heavy, and California Common (which they call Washington Uncommon). Perhaps most exciting is the coolship fermentation tank which they use to brew a very tasty beer using wild yeasts called Wild Warehouse. Food can be obtained from food trucks parked outside the brewery.

Beer jounalist Joe Wiebe is the author of Craft Beer Revolution: The Insider’s Guide to B.C. Breweries.

Have Camera, Will Travel


Gulf Island Beer Hopping on a Hybrid E-Bike >> Brian K. Smith

n this age of technology, coinciding with the modern abundance of great beers in this province, one can combine both to create a special BC getaway. Doing so can be an experience that allows one to enjoy a wide variety of craft beers while smelling the wild roses along the way. Picture leaving your car behind and enjoying a low-key vacation with travel powered by your own legs (and a little “E” assistance), allowing you to arrive at ferries just before departure and still get on. That's the story of my recent seven-day trip to the Southern Gulf Islands.

Day 1: Salt Spring Island These days, walk-on passengers can travel to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal with relative ease from Vancouver using bus/ train service at a lower cost than driving. The ferry trip across the Strait of Georgia to the Gulf Islands is one of my favourites. Once you arrive on Salt Spring Island, the adventure begins! Arranging your bike pickup with David Elderton, owner/distributor of Hill Eater E Bikes, you are ready to go moments after stepping off the ferry. The first stop in the quest for craft beer is Salt Spring Island Ales. On the hybrid E bike, the small hill up to the brewery is a breeze. With a new tasting room and a great selection of craft beer, this is the perfect starting point. Be sure to keep some space in your panniers for a few bomber bottles. The team has been busy expanding their brewery and beer lineup in the past year. Less than an hour away is Ganges. Being the largest town of the five islands, it boasts lots of galleries, eateries and coffee shops. For dinner, check out Moby’s Pub. Owner Dale Swaggart has added a number of craft beers from Vancouver Island, in addition to Salt Spring Island Ales. The pub menu has a great selection of local food delicacies. Spring through Fall, the outdoor patio offers a postcard view of Ganges Harbour.

Day 2: Pender Island Owner/host Cheryl cooked up an excellent home style breakfast to get me ready for another day of biking. Before leaving, I got a tour of the farm. I had a wonderful sweet, sun-warmed fig straight from the branches of her extensive orchard. Be sure to stop in at Salt Spring Wild Cider. Now in their third year, high demand for many of their ciders has them regularly sold out. Mid day, it is off to the Long Harbour Ferry for a 45 minute trip to Pender Island (North and South). Although it is an island without breweries, it still has craft beer. This is a place where the hybrid E-bike shines. There are lots of short, steep hills that would be exhausting without the little power lever to help get up them. Right in the middle of the two islands is the Browning Harbour Marina with the Bridgemans Pub & Bistro. Along with a great selection of gourmet food on menu, there is a wonderful selection of beers for food pairing. Recently renovated, this gem offers 15+ taps of craft beer. Head Chef Jonathan Duquette comes from a high-end cuisine background, so food quality is well above expectations for a semi-isolated pub. After dinner, an 8km ride across South Pender Island takes you to the wonderful Salmonberry Inn, overlooking a serene view of the green/blue Plumper Sound. The inn’s luxurious rooms are very warm and cozy. It is all about comfort in a soothing atmosphere. The icing on the cake is the knock on your door in the morning, with the best breakfast in all of the Southern Gulf Islands being served right to your suite.

Day 3: Saturna Island

I stayed at the cottage on Sugerland Farm. Situated on the west side of the island, its five acres are full of fruit trees and bushes, including fig, apple, plum, pear, blueberry and raspberry—hence the name.

After an amazing breakfast and a wonderful conversation with Mamie, the manager/owner of Salmonberry Inn, I saddled up my bike for another day of adventure. I could easily have stayed in the care of this wonderful host for a week or two! The morning was cool and damp as I headed off on a 12km ride and glide to Hope Bay on North Pender, to meet my 29

water taxi to Saturna Island. On the way, I stopped in at Jo’s Place to check out the menu and craft beer. I was glad I had some distance to ride, as I could not resist the all-in-one cast iron skillet “Hangover Hash” breakfast dish for an early lunch. A number of craft beers from Vancouver are available at Jo’s. Continuing on to Hope Bay, rain and blowing wind were lashing at me by the time I arrived at the dock for my water taxi. We loaded my bike and panniers onto the back deck, then I took shelter as first mate, sitting beside Ron, the captain. The small boat tossed and bounced across the straight in the grey stormy seas. We arrived in Boot Cove one hour later and tied the taxi to a float in the middle of the bay. Captain Ron pulled a small row boat up beside us. I awkwardly lowered my bike into the front of the wobbling craft. It was very tippy and I was glad to get safely seated in the middle with Ron rowing in the back. As we approached the shore, a cheerfully loud voice greeted us. It was Laura Swan, owner of Saturna Lodge. With a bubbly, laughing personality, she makes a perect host!

Owner/Brewer Michael invited me into the 800 sq ft brewery. There was a farewell party for some overseas guest the night before, so Michael started off a little rough. I managed to coax him to open a few sample bottles. After an hour or so, beer was flowing freely and the damage from the night before had slipped away. The beers were wonderful and Michael was full of passion and information. I checked in to a wonderful beach front suite at the Mayne Island Resort. In the late afternoon, an easy ride took me to the local jazz cafe, the Groove Island Kitchen, a hub for local live music in the centre of the island. There is a wonderful selection of craft beer on tap, along with an extensive gourmet menu. If you can budget a two-night stay on Mayne Island, be sure to spend an evening here.

After an orientation and tour of the eclectic inn, I was taken on a driving trip around the island. We drove up through the coastal rain forest to an amazing view atop Mount Warburton Pike, overlooking the southern Gulf and US San Juan Islands. After our descent, we drove to East Point Lighthouse at the end of the island. A large family of Island deer greeted us in the grassy field. Killer whales are a common sight from this vantage point. All this fresh air in paradise made me feel the need for some craft beer. The Lighthouse Pub beside the BC Ferries dock has a wonderful selection of Lighthouse Brewing beers from Victoria. The pub’s cozy ’70s feel with friendly staff makes you feel like a regular on your first visit.

Day 4: Mayne Island

Day 5: Galiano Island Straight across Active Pass from Mayne is Galiano Island, home to Sturdies Bay and the Galiano Inn and Spa. The lush garden entrance and wonderful lobby, with the Kunamokst Mural Mosaic, sets the tone for this gem on Galiano. My oceanfront villa suite had a clear view out to Active Pass and the Strait of Georgia. Galiano is quite a long island, with a rolling, hilly roadway. On a regular bike you'd need to be at the top of your game for a full day of riding; the E-bike makes it easy. On the way, near the Inn are a couple of parks that overlook Active Pass. Matthews Point offers great opportunities to see Killer Whales. Further along at Bluffs Park, there are expansive views of the Islands and the waterways I had travelled through in the past few days.

Boarding the first ferry in the morning (the so-called "milk run"), my next stop was a Saturday farmer's market in the centre of Mayne Island. There were lots of organic fruits and vegetables, including squash, tomatoes, beets and shallots. There was also an enticing assortment of savoury and sweet baking, warm out of the oven. Artisans displayed their hand-made crafts. Soon I was ready for an exciting day searching out the newest craft brewery in the Islands: Mayne Island Brewing. I asked around about the brewery, and found out that the brewmaster's daughter was right there at the market! She directed me up the road a kilometre or so. After a few wrong turns, I found the entrance to a long driveway up a mossy road, where sat a painted sky blue bike. I arrived at the top of a hill and saw the rock sign above. 30

After 40 km of riding and sightseeing, including some beautiful naturally sculpted sandstone caves, I found myself at the Hummingbird Pub. The craft beer on tap was a little sparse, but according to management that will change this year. Back at the Galiano Inn, bottled craft beer was in abundance. During summer months local craft draft is available in the gazebo. If you are there on Sunday, be sure to have the Prime Rib Dinner with Yorkshire pudding.

Day 6: back at Salt Spring I completed the tour by returning to Salt Spring Island. This time I stayed at the Salt Spring Inn in the centre of Ganges. With a very generous selection of craft beer and a great menu, getting comfortable at this historic hotel is easy. The character rooms from the 1950’s are wonderful.

Spotlight on: Mayne Island Brewing In my perfect world, each of BC’s Southern Gulf Islands would be home to its own unique craft brewery. Just imagine what it would be like to explore the idyllic Salish Sea archipelago and visit a brewery on each one. Heaven! And in this imagined utopia, of course, the ferries would also be free. Hey, a guy can dream, right? Until recently, Salt Spring Island Ales was the only example I could point to, but my island-hopping craft beer dream tour recently took one step closer to becoming reality when Mayne Island Brewing opened last December. I checked it out while on a family getaway there in late March. Located right at the centre of the island, in a building that was originally a pottery studio, the brewery is a home-based business. It’s managed by Michael Garratt, who brews the beer, and his wife, artist Annette Witteman, who designs the brewery’s labels and does whatever else needs to be done. They have two teenagers, who also help out. The family moved to the island from the Okanagan several years ago. Originally from England, Garratt has a day job that involves selling wine throughout the Lower Mainland during the week, so the brewery is only open to the public at limited times (see below). It’s a nanobrewery with a small capacity. With only about a thousand year-round residents on Mayne Island and the busy summer tourist season yet to come, the brewery has not yet needed a “sold out!” sign. Mayne Island Owner/Brewer Michael Garratt

Day 7: heading home Breakfast out on the porch of the Salt Spring Inn was wonderful. In my last few hours before heading home I decided to try to locate another rumoured brewery. Along the way, I found lots of beautiful countryside scenery and wonderful beaches at Ruckle Provincial Park. Next time I'll find more micro breweries in the beer-fertile Southern Gulf Islands. This was a trip I can highly recommend. You can do the whole package, or just pick a section and get away for a few days. Life in our backyard in the Southern Gulf Islands is full of adventure and craft beer. For bike arrangements, contact David Elderton at: Hill Eater E-Bikes david@hilleater.ca 250-538-0911 juicedriders.ca.

Brian K. Smith, MPA is an accredited member of the BC Association of Travel Writers, and is Chief Photographer for What's Brewing.

Garratt home-brewed beer as a hobby for a while before the couple decided to convert Witteman’s art studio into a brewery. The beer is produced on a small system with the beer fermenting in glass carboys. Garratt makes four core styles: brown ale, blonde ale, single-hop IPA, and Forager, a saison that features a different locally harvested ingredient in each batch, including (so far) juniper, blackberries, nettles, and salal berries. A Kölsch was also in the works for the summer. Garratt produces gluten-reduced versions of some of these beers using an enzyme that lowers gluten levels to below the required limit of 20 parts per million. Growler fills are not available and samples are restricted to small plastic cups due to unique water restrictions on the island that forbid the brewery from operating a commercial dishwasher. However, you can buy 330 ml and 750 ml bottles at the brewery. Mayne Island’s few restaurants have the beers on tap, and several restaurants in Vancouver and Whistler also serve Mayne Island Brewing’s products. Currently, the brewery is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 1-5 p.m. Check the website or Facebook page for additional Sunday openings on long weekends. - Joe Wiebe 31

Beer seekers Modern Times in Lomaland

>> Ivana Smith they had more on tap than we had time to try. Modern Times opened with a 12-barrel system; they have grown to a 30-barrel brewhouse with another warehouse down the street to house their barreling program. The premises house an on-site lab which, among other things, does some quality control to keep their beers top notch. We were shown around the brewery by Justin Holmes, who is mostly involved in the special barreling projects at the brewery. They definitely like to experiment and can have up to 2000 barrels on the go at any one time. In addition, they do a lot of fruited beers and kettle souring.


trip to sunny San Diego would be incomplete without a stop at Modern Times Brewing, a short walk from the Old Town transit centre, in the Lomaland district of San Diego. Opened in 2014, they are somewhat well known in B.C., as their beer is imported and available at local liquor stores. Like many breweries in San Diego, they have more than one location. We visited their large, esoteric warehouse brewery which features a modern tasting room and some uniquely nerdy touches. Front and centre in the tasting room is the unusual bar set atop of piles of books. Although I suspect the book base is held to-

A unique feature of Modern Times is the in-house coffee roaster. Amy, who happens to be the girlfriend of Modern Times’ founder and CEO Jacob, runs the coffee portion of the business. They buy the best green coffee beans that they can lay their hands on and then throw the beans into a first-run, usually Bourbon, barrel for a month or two. The beans are then taken out and roasted on the premises. The resulting coffee is smooth and balanced, with barrel flavour notes. The coffee was so good that I didn’t even need to add my usual cream and sugar!

Justin Holmes at Modern Times gether by some form of adhesive, as a confirmed bibliophile I really wanted to pull one out and do some reading! Around the corner, on your way to the restroom, is a whole wall filled with books, just waiting to be explored! However, their main purpose is to brew beer, and to that extent, they do an awesome job! The beer list is extensive and 32

In addition to the brewery and tasting room near Old Town, they have a second location in the trendy North Park section of San Diego, which is strictly a tasting room with no brewing capacity. We were, unfortunately, not able to manage a visit to that location. However, we enjoyed our visit to their brewing location and only wish that we could have stayed longer to sample the extensive offerings they have on tap.

Nickie Peña and Erik Fowler of White Labs


vana and Dave Smith recently visited San Diego for a week of relentless beer research. Many dozens of breweries, bars and/or interviews later, they are ready to share what they know about this massive constellation of craft outlets. San Diego has the same number of breweries and craft outlets in one county as we have in our entire province. In Part I, Ivana looks at two great places to visit.

White Labs 9495 Candida Street San Diego, CA 92126 888.593.2785 www.whitelabs.com

San Diego, pt I The Joy of White Labs When we consider the taste or characteristics of a particular beer, we generally refer to the malt or hops as the defining factors that affect the beer. Sure, we all know that there are tiny microscopic fungi called yeast busily converting sugar into alcohol during the beer-making process, but we rarely consider how important yeast is to the final product we love to drink. Enter White Labs in San Diego. Chris White started White Labs back in 1995. He was a PhD student, a beer lover, and a homebrewer who began growing yeast on the side (and trading it for pizza, rumour has it—sssh!). The first location was in San Diego because that's where Chris went to school, and it’s likely that the presence of White Labs helped to fuel the beer explosion in San Diego. Conversely, the beer explosion helped White Labs expand to five more locations, including one in Copenhagen and one in Hong Kong. White Labs San Diego now comprises three extensive buildings. BeerSeekers were lucky enough to get a tour from two enthusiastic guides: marketing communications specialist Nickie Peña and education and engagement curator Erik Fowler. White Labs has three main functions. The first, of course, is to grow and propagate yeast and send it to brewers around the world. The second is to offer support for breweries through their analytical lab. Because they have a lot of expensive equipment that smaller breweries cannot afford, White Labs can help with quality control and other analytical services. Their most popular service in this sphere is ABV testing, because this information must be accurate on labels. They can also test IBU and factors like flavour and contamination. Their services are not used only by breweries; wineries and other beverage makers also make use of their expertise. White Labs’ third and perhaps most interesting function is education. They offer technical support and host educational workshops for industry people. They also have a 20-barrel brewhouse and a new, open-to-the-public tasting room. Nickie says the point of the brewhouse and tasting room is not “to make the best beer ever,” but rather to support their yeast propagation activities. They make two runs of wort a day just for yeast propagation. Brewing beer on the premises also lets them see how the yeast performs, so that professional brewers can benefit from their experience. They can divide a batch of beer into two, three, or four parts, and inoculate each with a different yeast.

Modern Times Lomaland Fermentorium 3725 Greenwood St. San Diego, CA 92110 (619) 546-9694 moderntimesbeer.com

What this means for you, dear beer geek, is that you can visit the tasting room and try two, three, or four versions of the same beer, each with a different yeast strain, and see if you can detect any differences. The differences are usually very subtle, but they are there. We tried two versions of the same Breakfast Stout: one had a definite coffee aroma, and the other did not. And both had a chocolate taste, but one had it at the beginning while the other had it at the end. Comparing beer samples whose only difference is the yeast used certainly brings home the idea that the yeast is as important as all the other ingredients. They may be tiny, but they are mighty indeed. As Erik said, "Yeast matters. Brewers make wort, yeast makes beer".

Costa Rica

Craft Beer in Paradise >> Chelsea McDowell​


here may be few places left in the world that haven’t seen an explosion of interest in craft brew. For beer-minded travellers like me, it’s nice that we now have international options other than classic pale lagers. During my recent visit to Costa Rica I drank an awful lot of Pilsen and Imperial, but was pleasantly surprised to see craft (albeit at rather inflated prices) in the beer fridges of the Mini Supers around the country. A number of craft breweries are popping up in Costa Rica. Many of them were initiated by expats relocating to this Paradise, and their growth is assisted by the tastes and expectations of tourists. Festival Cerveza Artesanal has been celebrating Costa Rican craft beer since 2012; over 30 breweries participated in 2016. Abroad, like at home, it is difficult to discern true craft from “crafty.” Seeking the real stuff, I was told to visit La Selva Cerveza Artesanal in Cabuya, a community at the tip of the Nicoya peninsula whose only road requires an off-road–capable vehicle. La Selva is quite a success story considering it started in home brewing less than 5 years ago.

nities are quite spread out and taxis can be expensive. When Google Maps announced that we had arrived, all I could see was a dusty gravel road and a few scattered houses. A second look revealed a larger outbuilding behind one of the homes. We went closer. A wooden bar with tap handles stood right out front. It was more hot and humid than I believed possible, and I wondered if the tasting room was a mirage brought on by heat-induced delirium. Re’em Jacob, the owner, spotted us and exclaimed, “It looks like you could use a cold beer!” Truer words were never spoken. In moments, I had Zubia, a Belgian golden ale, and my sister had Naranja, a reddish ale. The restorative effects of a ceiling fan and a cold beer are remarkable. I asked Jacob if it was unusually hot out that day and he laughed. “It’s like this every day here!” Formerly an engineer in Israel, Jacob came to Costa Rica 15 years ago looking for a different way of life for his family. Wanting to limit government and corporate influence, he setted in Cabuya. Good-humoured and lighthearted, he still has an intensity about him; he sets the bar high and is driven to achieve.

For this quest, from the capital San José I took a bus, ferry, and another bus to Montezuma, where I took an all-wheel-drive taxi to Cabuya. The trip took about 5 hours, and only cost about $20 USD. Most of the prices quoted to tourists are in US dollars. The local currency, colones, can also be used, but it doesn’t really make a difference to prices or the Canadian exchange rate. Having cash is essential in Costa Rica, so visit the ATM before you completely run out. We had a bit of a scramble one weekend when a machine ran out of money and wasn’t topped up again until the following week.

“Everything happened out of necessity,” he says when I asked why he started a brewery. When he arrived, he had to learn how to build his own house, because there was no construction company locally. This developed into starting his own construction company with a specialty in concrete, which was the only material reliably available in such a remote area. Brewing began with a friend bringing over a kit and some equipment. “At first we tried it and thought something was wrong with it. I wasn’t much of a beer drinker to start with, but it didn’t taste like what we were used to. We tried it again a few days later and realized there wasn’t anything wrong with it. Maybe this was what beer is supposed to taste like.” Jacob was hooked. Living in such an isolated area, the only way to discover the flavours of beer was to experiment with brewing his own, which he did extensively over the course of the next two years, in his small kitchen.

La Selva was within walking distance of our beachside hotel, but a rental car is desirable in this area, because the commu-

His wife tired of having to share her kitchen with a brewer and told him he either needed to get serious and build a brewery


or stop altogether. “So out of necessity, I had to start La Selva.” The process to get licensed was lengthy, because the system just wasn’t set up for brewing at such a small level. It took a lot of patience and advocacy, but they finally got the government on board with their ideas. They have been using a one-barrel system, and have recently expanded their space and ordered a full brewhouse and several stainless tanks. It’s a good thing they have invested in building community relationships; with no forklifts in the Cabuya area, it will take a lot of friends to help move the new equipment off the truck and into the building. Necessit y is also the mother of c re a t iv i t y and sustainability at La Selva. Their practices are environmentally friendly because there are no other systems in place for dealing with waste or easily obtaining new materials . Bottles are Re’em Jacob of La Selva Cerveza Artesanal returned to the brewery for reuse, because shipping glass is expensive and difficult. Water for brewing is heated by the sun, which is more reliable than electrical power as power outages are frequent in the area. The heavily insulated coolers are shaded and can maintain proper temperature for up to 12 hours without power. The brewery’s spent grain goes to a farm nearby, in exchange for the local sugar used in brewing their Belgian beer. They have had to invent and adapt brewing techniques to suit their unique and challenging environment.

find a way to get some back home. Around the same time, Jacob was approached by the tourism board about becoming the official craft beer of Costa Rica, to promote their culture abroad. This, combined with the support of his Canadian business partner, means La Selva can start exporting beer to BC and Ontario in a few months’ time.

Proudly holding his BC book Necessity, and being in the right place at the right time, has played a major part in La Selva’s creation and success to date. It’s serendipitous, indeed, for a BC beer writer researching a piece on beer-related travel to turn up in a small community whose craft beer is soon to be exported to BC! When you travel to Costa Rica, take the time to go to the Nicoya Peninsula. The area offers a multitude of activities for both jungle and water, and you’ll love the excellent beer being made in this tropical paradise.

Chelsea McDowell is the communications manager for CAMRA South Okanagan; more of her writing can be found at www.brewtifulbc.ca.

People have asked what makes their beer truly Costa Rican, given that many of the ingredients need to be imported. Jacob says, “our location in Cabuya is very special, as we have the right to draw water from Cabo Blanco National Park.” The water from Cabo Blanco has a unique mineral profile, and is used unfiltered and untreated, giving La Selva beer a special element that cannot be reproduced elsewhere. La Selva has six beers in production, and isn’t planning on changing that for now. They are focused on continually refining their current recipes rather than playing around with what is popular at the moment. The lineup includes brown ale, IPA, porter, amber ale, reddish ale, and Belgian golden ale. All the beers are described as “living ales” because they are unpasteurized, unfiltered, and naturally carbonated. Joe Wiebe’s book, The Craft Beer Revolution, was on the shelf in Jacob’s office. I told him that I had been a judge at a festival in BC with Joe a few weeks earlier, and he told me he got the book from his business partner, a former visitor from Squamish who fell in love with La Selva’s beer and was determined to 35

>> J. Random


Ullage & Spillage

Instinctual Beer Tourism in Seoul

o, the Daedonggang that this British-Canadian was sipping in an Italian restaurant in D-Cube City was not produced by the North Korean regime as Google had suggested. In fact, it’s a Danish-Belgian collaboration brewed in Seoul. And the question would be, Alex: “what is globalization?” In the spring of 2017, South Korea was near the bottom of my list of tourism destinations, just above Syria. The president had recently been ousted for corruption, Kim Jong Un was playing with his newest missiles, and Japan was running missile-attack drills. China was protesting the installation of a US anti-missile system that does not blow up the target, just knocks it to pieces with a loud “THAAD” (not sure South Koreans know this). The aircraft carrier USS Vinson was moored in Pusan naval base, making a big fat target, and the US Secretary of State implied military action was under consideration. For these and other reasons, I had booked the shortest possible trip.

was a Belgian Pale Ale produced in collaboration with the Booth Brewery at Mikkeller’s Seoul brewery. Not to my taste, but a good example of the type. It was a big step up to the Ark Be High IPA from Korea Craft Brewery in Eumsung. Very much a Northwest IPA with all the citrusy notes one would expect, and 7% alcohol. The dessert beer was The Hand and Malt’s Mocha Stout (from Namyang-ju). Yes, I did order the combo platter. The menu seemed to be New York Italian. I tell you, I really should learn to chill out and rely on my nose for craft beer. Next day, I was faced with a similar situation. The official dinner after the seminar at which I was presenting finished at 7:30 p.m. Again, I could not face heading downtown. In the hotel elevator, I looked closer at the advert for the lobby bar. Those three glasses looked suspiciously like a dark, an amber, and a light-coloured beer. There was also one English word on the ad: “paired.” Surely not? But worth a look.

Sure enough, the lobby bar The day started at 5:00 of the Sheraton D-Cube a.m., with a flight to Jinju was showcasing a taster (close to Pusan), followed bat of four craft beers. The by a day’s work and first taster was an excellent a three-hour train ride Czech Pilsner with a nice back to Seoul. I was still little hop bite to it from disoriented from eleven Jang and Craft Brewery hours on a plane and in Sunchang. The second, two hours on a bus the from the same brewery, previous day. I got back was listed as a “Rauchbeer to my hotel around 6:30 Bamburg Dunkel,” with a p.m. and showered, but relatively subtle smokiness, had no energy for taking Is that a taster bat in the corner? Why yes! thankfully not the “who put their cigathe subway downtown to find the rette out in my beer” style. I was not at all disappointed to find brewpubs and beer bars I had scoped out on the internet. I the third was Ark Be High IPA. The fourth was billed as a “Sweet looked for craft beer close to the hotel, but no joy. So I headed Stout” also from Jang and Craft brewery. The description clearout to find food. ly stated “complete lack of residual sweetness” on one line and D-Cube City is a residential/hotel/mall/department store com“the fruity creamy sweet stout” on the next. I would have to plex so the options were limited, unless your idea of local food agree with two out of these three descriptions. Another great everywhere is McDonalds and Starbucks. The Hyundai Dedessert beer. partment Store had a food court but, strangely, no car department. However, the food options looked suspiciously like the I should not have been surprised, but I did not expect craft Japanese, Chinese, Thai, etc., we would find in any Canadian beer to be so much a part of Korean culture that it has made food court. I really wanted Korean. Signs seemed to say there it into an Italian restaurant and the bar of a major hotel chain. were restaurants on the fifth floor. I am not competent in KoreI suggest waiting until the political situation is a little less an—not even a little competent—but I dragged my appetite fraught, but if you are thinking of going to Seoul, there is some up there hopefully. A sign for “Asian cuisine” pointed outside pretty decent craft beer to be found. For more information the store. I had already avoided generic “Asian.” LaGrillia next door was not appealing, until I looked more closely at the food check out craftbeerasia.com/korea pictures. Was I losing my mind from jet lag and hunger? Was I just imagining I saw a craft beer taster bat? Apparently not. The Weizen and Honey Brown from the Table Brewpub in Seoul were very passable, if you like those styles. The Daidonggang 36

J. Random has been writing from Vancouver for What's Brewing since 2003. He otherwise does exist, but only randomly.

Hops Canary

>> Lynn McIlwee

Asheville NC: The Booming South


any beer conferences are heading to North Carolina, and the state’s 200+ breweries and brewpubs might be why. Asheville, Charlotte, and Raleigh boast the highest percentage of breweries in the state, with a few outliers to the east and south. And damn, son, they make some fine beers in the South. A recent conference took me to Asheville, which has more breweries per capita than any other U.S. city. With more than 30 breweries in the city, I knew I’d be well-hydrated. And then I fell in love with the cuisine: fried green tomatoes, house-made jams, fried chicken, biscuits, country ham, cheesy grits, Andouille sausage—all of it so good that I’ll forgive them for not having Tater Tots anywhere. Then there’s the city and its people. The town centre is Hollywood-style quaint, small-town USA: independent shops and restaurants, genuinely friendly people, and clean, tree-lined streets. It was lovely. But back to the beer. Craft beer behemoths New Belgium (of Colorado) and Sierra Nevada (California) have set up Eastern operations amongst the growing crop of breweries here. Opened in the spring of 2016, New Belgium’s spacious tasting room and patio on the 17.5 acres that house their 200 bbl brewery quickly became a local favourite. New Belgium is employee-owned and operated, and the owners are proud that they make a living wage and do not rely on tips (those received are donated to charity). Sierra Nevada is technically in Mills River, NC, near the airport, because they wanted to be at least 50 miles away from the smaller craft breweries. Kudos to them for not overshadowing the existing breweries with their 200+ acre brewery plan. In addition to the brewhouse, Sierra Nevada’s site hosts a massive 400-seat taproom/restaurant where you can drink beers brewed on their pilot system and enjoy amazing Southern farm-to-table cooking. They have set a high bar for a taproom restaurant. We had lamb tartare with a quail egg, thrice-

cooked duck-fat fries with duck confit, and an IPA-braised pig cheek pizza. Hooah! Before the food coma sets in, take a self-guided tour of the copper-clad brewhouse and watch the open-fermented beer bubble away. Don’t forget to bring your beer. Take a left at the top of the stairs to browse the brewhouse, or turn right to go to another bar area, High Gravity, where you can play corn hole inside. That done, relax with a beer in a rocking chair up on the deck, or down in the impressive garden and sitting area. Everything is done well at Sierra Nevada; it's a must-visit if you’re in the area. Back in town, a good collection of smaller breweries are all within short walking distance, including Hi-Wire, Asheville Brewing, Bhramari, Wicked Weed, Twin Leaf, The Funkatorium, Catawba, Green Man, and Burial. Most had well-made beers and unique tasting rooms, and I would gladly visit often. In fact, I did visit a couple of them twice during the week. There is more to tell than we have room for here, so look for the in-depth discussion including even more NC breweries, bars, bottle shops, and restaurants on my blog, hopscanary.com. If you’re planning a trip to Asheville, stay for three to four days. They have an impressive food scene, so do some research and work a couple of nice meals into your agenda. Tupelo Honey and Biscuit Head should be on your list. When you’re looking for a fast burger, Farm Burger will hit the spot. Cúrate was recommended to us by multiple people but was closed for renovations during our visit. And if you fancy some pinball, visit the Asheville Pinball Museum where, for $15, you can play all day. They have pinball machines from as far back as the 1960s as well as classic arcade games for pinheads to exercise their fingers on.

Lynn McIlwee is an experienced beer event judge and homebrewer. On HopsCanary.com, Lynn writes about our beer related travel around the world, beer festivals, local beer events and other beer topics of interest. 37

Homebrew Happenin's Summer is the season for saisons >> Warren Boyer


with what I have on hand. Those of you who may not have the experience to know what 10 pounds of malt looks like, or are scientific in your brewing, can follow this recipe, which is the one I will keep in the back of my head when brewing my saison. This recipe is for 20 litres of a mid-strength saison, aiming for 6.5% to 7% ABV.

s I noted in our Tasting Panel feature: saison is a rustic, artisanal ale made with local farm-grown ingredients. Because these beers were made from whatever happened to be on hand, it was not unusual to have grains such as wheat, rye, oats, or spelt in the grist bill. Sugar or honey could be added to provide complexity and dry out the flavour. Spices and herbs could also find their way in.

Diviner Saison

A typical table saison would be around 5% ABV, a tavern version could be as high as 7%, and special saisons can reach as high as 9.5%, though the stronger versions are a more modern interpretation. Comparatively, this beer resembles a Belgian blonde ale with higher attenuation, more hop presence, and a stronger yeast character.

Mash at 148 to 150 degrees F for 60 to 90 minutes. Collect a bit more into the kettle that you normally would, as you may want to boil for 90 minutes to ensure DMS has been driven off.

In North America, we often refer to saisons as farmhouse ales. The beer tends to be refreshing, dry, highly attenuated, and highly carbonated. Most saison yeasts ferment at higher temperatures than standard ale yeasts. To get the unique yeast character, start fermentation at a normal ale temperature, 18 to 20 degrees C, and ramp the temperature up to as high as 35 degrees C. You may want a larger starter than normal. Some more common commercial saison yeasts are White Labs WLP 565 Dupont or Wyeast 3724 Dupont 1, Wyeast 3522 Ardennes, and Wyeast 3711 Bertus. There are several others available, like 3463, 3725, or 3726. As these yeasts are quite happy to work away at temperatures as high as 35 degrees C, this is the perfect beer to make during the summer months if you don’t have fermentation temperature control. The Dupont yeasts are well known for stalling out during fermentation. It is believed that this is caused by back pressure from the CO2 being produced and an airlock or blow off tube. Replacing the airlock with a piece of tinfoil crimped over the top of your carboy should eliminate the issue, or you can just be patient and wait it out. The grain bill for a saison should use mainly lighter base malt with small amounts of caramel malts for balance. You can add raw grains, malted wheat, flaked barley, or other adjuncts. Adding table sugar or other fermentable sugars is quite common and will help create a drier beer. I intend to brew a saison this summer. This recipe is only a guideline for the beer I will make. I had an interesting conversation with Dave Henry from Full Barrel homebrew club, who told me about his recent saison brew, and it made a ton of sense to me. Instead of measuring out ingredients for a recipe worked out in advance, he simply eyed out the ingredients adding a bit of this and a bit of that by the handful. This is right up my alley; I often decide to make a beer and just work 38

10.5 pounds Pilsner malt

1 pound wheat malt

0.75 pound Munich light

0.5 pound flaked rye

Add 1.75 ounces of 3.9% Hallertau for 60 minutes and 0.75 ounces at flame out. IBU target is 24. Chill to 64 degrees F and pitch with White Labs 565 or Wyeast 3724. Ramp up temperature over the first day or two to end up at 95 degrees F. (I will be brewing when the weather will provide the warm temperature.) Fit a tinfoil cover instead of an airlock to prevent back pressure. When terminal gravity has been reached (could be below 1.010), bottle, and condition for up to three months. You may want to add a bit more priming sugar than usual to ensure a lively sparkling level of carbonation. Just a bit, though; we don’t want any bottle bombs. This is an all-grain recipe but you could very easily add table sugar to increase the strength, or swap out some sugar for a bit of the base malt. You can add coriander or black pepper for another level of complexity. As this style has a fairly wide set of parameters, there is plenty of room for playing around, so have fun with it. Cheers. Now go make some saison!

Warren Boyer is an award winning homebrewer, Certified Beer Judge, former President of CAMRA Vancouver, and and occasional Professional Brewer. Reach Warren at homebrewboy@shaw.ca

Brew Club Corner

Brewing in the North Okanagan

Homebrew Club Listing OkBrewers at their first club invite to Bad Tattoo in Penticton. OkBrewers started in 2012, when a few enthusiasts met in Mark O’Brien’s garage on a brewday, and Kelowna’s homebrewers built on that foundation. Derek Hyde and Ian Courtney started the OkBrewers Facebook page shortly thereafter, and it has grown to 153 members, mostly from the Okanagan. We are not a registered society, but we are a very active club. Members post questions, provide info about what they’re brewing, and share items of interest to homebrewers, including group-buys of hops and malts. We hold Christmas and summertime beer exchanges, and many members also compete in events hosted just for OkBrewers by Bad Tattoo Brewing and Kettle River Brewing. Many members also invite people to drop by on their brewdays. Anyone interested is welcome to join the OkBrewers Facebook group. It’s free! Our informal organization seems to work well to keep everyone enthusiastic about brewing! - Gary Schwartz, OkBrewers Homebrew Club


Brew Westminster (Google Group)


BrewVic: Website | FB Group


BruBC (FB Group)


Cranbrook Brewing Culture (FB Group)


Fraser Valley Fermentalists (FB Group)


Full Barrel Homebrew Club, Langley (FB Group)


Ok Brewers, North Okanagan (FB Group)


Royal Canadian Malted Patrol (FB Group)


Stonehouse Brew Club, Maple Ridge (FB Group)

10. Ten Corners Homebrew Club, Fraser Valley (FB Group) 11. Tricities Brew Club (FB Group) 12. UVic Wizards of Beer (FB Group) 13. VanBrewers: Website | FB Page | FB Group

If we missed your club: write editor@whatsbrewing.ca

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A View From The Cellar Reclaiming the 'B Word' >> Adam Chatburn


his ongoing series aims to broaden readers’ knowledge of the history, practice, and relevance of real ale. In this article, I demystify my favourite beer style: Bitter.

The term “Bitter” covers a family of similar styles: Best, Special, Extra Special (ESB), Premium, Golden Ale, Copper Ale, English Style Ale, and more. These are all slight variations on a theme: pale ale. That’s right, these terms are all generic terms for a British pale ale. That’s all; nothing to be scared of! The BJCP Style Guidelines distinguish slightly between some of the terms, but like most of their guidelines, the differences are fairly arbitrary and don’t reflect the true history of the names or style. Bitters are simple versatile beers that pair well with food, are great in the summer or winter, at the start or end of a session, and are more accessible to craftbeer neophytes than heavy IPAs or paint-stripping sours. The name comes from the English pub, and refers to beer that is bitter compared with mild or porter, which tend to have a higher finishing gravity and smaller hop bill. Drinkers ordering a Bitter would be served whichever pale ale they usually ordered, or one the landlord chose. Breweries didn’t use the B-word until comparatively recently, so the term is mostly absent from the historical record.

But what makes Bitter so interesting? In my view: malt. Using a high quality pale malt base is key. I use Marris Otter Pale, the classic British malt from Crisp, Simpsons, or Thomas Fawcett. Many breweries do the same, but many others use cheaper, inferior, North American malt. I find Golden Promise (another British malt) a little too fruity for traditional Bitter and basic Canadian Two-Row lacking depth of flavour. A touch of caramel malt (or even caramel, traditionally) and maybe some wheat for head retention, and that’s your malt bill. Hops are trickier. My Blackburn Best Bitter uses two classic British hops and a more recent variety—Fuggles, East Kent Goldings, and Challenger—added throughout the boil to give a deep floral bitterness that balances out the remaining malt sweetness. UK brewers have recently been experimenting with North American hops like Citra and Centennial, but in small amounts. North American brewers tend to use West Coast hops, meaning that their “Bitter” just comes across as West Coast pale ale. Many just can’t break out of their obsession with over-hopping (if I hear “West Coast spin” one more time…), or they just use the hops they already have in stock. As you would expect, this unbalances a very simple beer. Balance is key to a great Bitter and, in my view, great beers in general.

So now you know, Bitters are great! They aren’t as “bitter” as West Coast IPA and pale ale, and they have a touch of malt caramel that balances out the IBU. So why don’t they get any love? There are breweries making ESB but why use the initials? Do they Another style that generA personal favourite from Liverpool (see Web version of story for more) hide the “Bitter” because ally gets lumped in with some market research panBitter is IPA; very little distinguishes the true British India Pale el somewhere found that the word scares people? Do people Ales from any other Bitter. IPA is mostly a brand name used by just prefer esoteric initials? Some breweries that have abanbreweries, so a request for a pint of Bitter in a British pub may get you an IPA, an ESB, or a Best Bitter. IPA in Britain is generaldoned the name have found that sales jumped once they rely maltier than North American IPA. This is because they use branded, so there must be something to it. Whatever the reaquality pale malts rather than Pilsen malt, dextrose, lactose, son, do yourself a favour this summer: cut back on those sours corn, rice, and other gimmicks that are currently in vogue in and get yourself a nice session Bitter. North American IPA. They also have lower ABV (3.7–4.0% is common for UK IPA) and use far fewer hops than their profligate colonial cousins. It’s strange to me when people come Adam Chatburn is a former professional cellarman, a past President of into the tasting room looking for big IBU beers, but get frightened off by the name “Bitter.” CAMRA Vancouver and owner of Real Cask Brewing. 42

women in Beer Pink Boots Brew Day 2017


he first Pink Boots/Big Boots Brew happened on International Women’s Day in 2015. The Pink Boots Society provided a basic Red Ale recipe, then regional groups of women in beer brewed together.

In BC, Claire Wilson, owner and head brewer of Dogwood Brewing, hosted the women of BC craft beer who came together to create the brew. The beer was such a success and the experience so rewarding for the women involved (worldwide) that it became an annual event. This March, for Year 3, the brew was hosted by Ashley Brooks (then Head Brewer at Big Ridge Brewing, and now at Four Winds). Ashley said of that first brew, “It was great to come together with other local women in the industry with more experience than me. At the time, I had a lot to learn.” About hosting this year, Ashley said, “I wanted to be a part of bringing everyone together to work, talk, and learn with each other, meet more women coming into the industry and form some strong bonds. I was inspired to teach and pass on my knowledge in the brewery, as other women had done in my previous years.”

>> Lundy dale WHO/WHAT IS PINK BOOTS? “We are the female movers and shakers in the beer industry. We get the beer brewed and fermented with the highest possible quality. We also own breweries, package the beer, design beers, serve beers, write about beer, and cover just about any aspect of beer, and we are all women. Most importantly, we teach each other what we know through our own seminar programs, and we help each other advance our beer careers by raising money for educational scholarships.” - Pink Boots Society

WHAT IS BIG BOOTS BREW? Big Boots Brew Day was born from Pink Boots Society members’ desire to do something on International Women’s Day to raise the profile of women in the beer industry and to raise women’s awareness of craft beer. On Big Boots Brew Day, Pink Boots chapters, members, and breweries around the world grab their pink boots, collect local ingredients, and work together on a brew. It’s no longer a brewers-only thing, either; owners, sales reps, marketing and social media teams, production teams, cellar workers, students—all women in the brewing world are included. Profits from Big Boots Brew Day help fund the Pink Boots Society’s scholarships and educational opportunities.


Ashley Brooks, head brewer, Big Ridge Brewing (host) Claire Wilson, owner/operator/head brewer, Dogwood Kat Cronin, production, Dogwood Brewing Lundy Dale, Pink Boots Society – Vancouver Chapter Carly Hase, assistant brewer/ production, R&B Brewing Rachel Young, assistant brewer/ cellar dweller, Bomber Sarah Polkinghorne, assistant brewer, Foamers’ Folly Kristy Mosher, student, KPU Brewing school, Year 1 Sandra Hoffman, alumna, KPU Brewing school Steph Jones, brewer, Red Truck Brewing Diana McKenzie, owner, Callister Brewing Julia Hanlon, head brewer, Steamworks

The beer recipe this year is Pink Boots Unite Golden Honey Ale, a historical honey ale. This light, easy drinking ale perfect for spring was inspired by Amy Newell-Large, brewer at Avery Brewing.

WHERE CAN I GET SOME? Big Ridge Brewing has the majority of the brew. $1 from the sale of each pint goes back to the Pink Boots Society. All participating breweries can also serve it in their taproom. Are you a woman who studies or works in the beer industry? Check out the Pink Boots Society, join up and be counted! For more information, check out the website: www.pinkbootssociety.org.

Among other contributions to the BC beer scene, Lundy is a founder of CAMRA BC's Vancouver chapter, Barley's Angels' Pink Pints Chapter and BC Craft Beer Month, and Past President of CAMRA BC. 43

>> John Rowling

The Hopbine Island Beer Festival


he sixth annual Island Beer Festival, this past February 25th, was once again held at Distrikt, the basement nightclub at the Strathcona Hotel in Victoria. The festival featured 17 Vancouver Island breweries and three cideries this year. I really like this festival, because it is an opportunity to focus on local breweries and their beers. So many festivals try to impress by having beers from all over, and one runs around trying not to miss the best of the best. At this one, attendees can focus on the familiar. Although 98 percent of the crowd are regulars at the Strath, we are all there to see what is new in February and get a preview of what beers are coming down the pipe for the summer.

with Mosaic, Cascade, and Dr. Rudi. Specht came from Central City Brewing, by way of Howe Sound Brewing and Sailor Hagar's Brew Pub.

Many of the brewers brought something special to dazzle the attendees (and their fellow brewers) with. Phillips poured its full-flavoured Space Goat Oat Pale Ale, dry-hopped to give it a great tropical aroma. They also poured their pilsner, made with in-house malted barley, and the amazing Hammer OakAged Imperial Stout.

Other great IPAs were Graffiti IPA by newcomer Parkside Brewery in Port Moody; Punch Bowl Grapefruit IPA by Russell Brewing; and the prize-winning Flagship IPA by Steamworks. If l had to pick a favourite, though, it would be Talisman West Coast Pale Ale by Vancouver's Strange Fellows Brewing.

Riot Brewing of Chemainus (80 kilometres north of Victoria), open only for three months, brought some great beers. Especially popular was Junk Punch IPA. This beer definitely bore the stamp of head brewer Fabian ("Fab") Specht, being hopped

John and Carol Rowling of Real Ale Productions are pioneers of the BC craft beer movement and founding members of CAMRA BC. Read John's full column in Celebrator magazine.

You can always rely on Vancouver's Parallel 49 Brewing to try something out of the ordinary. This year it was Mystic Skull #5, a spicy lager brewed with cumin, ancho chilies, cinnamon, and cocoa nibs. The beer was fermented with a Mexican yeast, and finished up mostly as a cumin bomb! Hoyne Brewing's Hard Rain is a delicious dry-hopped double IPA made with Mosaic, Mandarina, Zythos, and about half a dozen other hop varieties.

the climb is always worth the reward.

ferniebrewing.com 44

Out and about

>> Scottie McLellan

Spring Events Roundup Okanagan Fest of Ale, Penticton, April 7 & 8 This is one of BC’s premier and longest-running festivals. The people are hospitable and community pride is everywhere. The event space is massive, filling the convention centre inside and out. What’s Brewing had a booth this year, with several of the team in attendance. The music crossed styles and genres. Food trucks offered a variety of interesting food at fair prices. It’s never a hassle to get food or beer, and everyone is full of good cheer and enthusiasm. The Okanagan has a good cross section of people in the beer movement, from old hands like me to the youngsters and newcomers. Lots of stories being told and passed on. And plenty of beer and especially cider in that part of the province. The varieties of craft beer and cider seem endless. Welcome to Penticton; they’re happy to see you. Even after two days of intense beer partying, there is very little bad behaviour. Thanks to all who said they knew us. We love being in the scene where it’s happening. The Friday Brewers after party

The WB booth at Victoria Beer Week


e continue to hit the trail, going to local, regional, and provincial beer events. What’s Brewing cares about the movement more than ever. We get a rush doing our thing; it’s always cool for whatsbrewing.ca. Of course, we’ve been in this beer movement from the beginning. Beer is and has always been social. Thanks for all the great comments on whatsbrewing.ca when you see us around in our yellow shirts. Look for our display at events, and come say hi!

Annual Alberni Valley Hops Festival, Port Alberni, March 18, 2017 We look forward to this event every year. Part of getting to Port Alberni every year is the beautiful drive; going through the majestic Cathedral Grove and over the Hump and back. Over the years, as beer has grown, so has the beer community and spirit in Port Alberni. I’m sure a bigger festival could fly there. Port Alberni has their own brewery, which creates an outpouring of good beer knowledge. We notice it when we talk to locals. People are friendly, and proud of the movement in their community. As at all smaller festivals, there is a good cross section of craft breweries and enthusiastic people staffing the booths. Great talking to all of you and telling you about us at whatsbrewing.ca. Good show, Alberni Valley beer folks.

This is always a smash hit at Cannery Brewery. The Cannery family has been friends to whatsbrewing.ca since they started. Thanks for having us at your very generous party. Part of the great experience for me is all the beer things on the road to the event itself. My most recent little beer discovery was the Hedley General store. I have no words to tell how sleepy-Canada-on-Sunday-morning this was. In BC, even in the tiniest places, good beer makes inroads. Breweries keep opening.

Saltspring Island, May 6, 2017 Saltspring has its own craft brewery and a strong fresh-and-local craft beer scene; the culture of supporting local has been alive here for decades. I was invited by some of my friends to Salt Spring Wild Cider, where a flight of offerings awaited. WB, which covers many cider events, was impressed at this local maker creating a cider culture for this thriving island. The cider house has a cooler full of their product; the traditional apple and pear ciders were just what we needed on a sunny sleepy day. It’s a great place for a visit: a lovely bucolic setting in which to savour the pleasures of the fermented fruit.

Scottie has written more columns for What's Brewing than anybody else. He is a longtime supporter of of BC’s Craft Beer Movement. 45

Books In Review The Comic Book Story of Beer >> Ted Child Book by Jonathan Hennessey and Mike Smith. Art by Aaron McConnell


hy read a comic book about beer, when there are already so many conventional books, magazines, blogs, documentaries, and YouTube channels about beer? Well, why not? A comic book about beer combines two great things—comics and beer—and offers something those other books and shows can’t: a fresh look at both. Reading The Comic Book Story of Beer (CBSB) is different from reading other books, even image-filled ones like The Illustrated Guide to Homebrewing. The combination of text and illustrations in a comic book works differently on a cognitive level. In This Book Contains Graphic Language: Comics as Literature, author Rocco Versaci discusses how comics are read or viewed differently from either a film or a photograph. You can’t take a photograph of the mythic goddess Ninaski, or of Shakespeare drinking an ale, but you can draw them both.

Public perception of both beer and comic books has long been rather negative. Comic books are seen as kid stuff, having an “ephemeral, throwaway nature” (Gene Kannenberg Jr., 500 Essential Graphic Novels, p. 6). Beer is also perceived as “nothing more than a throwaway consumer item” (CBSB, p. 6) and beer drinkers as loutish and coarse (CBSB, p. 25). But in recent decades, pioneers of both products have pushed to change perceptions and to show their endless possibilities. Hennessey, Smith, and McConnell use the comic book to quite profoundly show the deep history and possibilities of beer. A comic book can also be a history book, as with Larry Gonick’s popular and ground-breaking A Cartoon History of the Universe. Gonick refers to beer only once in the first volume—the Sumerians liked beer. To be fair, Gonick’s subject matter was rather broad. But the subject merits a more focused book. And now we have one.

The differences go deeper than that. Scott McCloud, in his seminal work on graphic narrative, Understanding Comics, argues that comics have both a unique grammar and a language all their own, and that “words and pictures can combine to create effects that neither could create separately” (p. 153-155). McCloud also discusses how a simple illustration, like a smiley face, is more recognizable than a photo or detailed illustration. He calls this process “amplification through simplification,” in which an artist isn’t “so much eliminating details as we are focusing on specific details” (p. 30). CBSB uses this technique, depicting yeast as a cartoon tractor to emphasize its industrious, hardworking role in the fermentation process. If this is too theoretical for you, look at this way: people learn in different ways, and reading a comic book about the brewing process might help some people retain the information better. 46

Yes, it’s a comic book. It’s also packed with information, much of it visual. Some of it is wellknown territory, but some is not, and the author both focuses on specific aspects of the history and integrates it into the wider context. CBSB is well researched, as its online bibliography demonstrates; only the medium is different. If you have ever dismissed beer as unsophisticated or comic books as kid stuff, I urge you to reconsider and give CBSB a read. After that, there are whole worlds of both beer and comic books to explore.

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