Northern BC • Wildfires • Making Cider • Erin Dale • Sean Hoyne • West Coast trail • Montréal • Shanghai • BC Beer Awards • gcbf 25
free BC'S AL OF N R U O THE J
VEME R MO E E B T F
it's our Fall Harvest issue: 13 pages of Craft Cider! Q & A with bc hop Farmers
RISING STARS OF BC CRAFT How new media boosts BC's beer scene vol.27 issue 3 fall 2017 KE VIN SINGH, HOST OF THE BEERD SHOW
Hop growing: A Primer Tasting Panel: Cider Edition a BC Hop meet: w/ John Mitchell+ Rick Knight
Of fe r in g o n e o f B C ’ s l a r g e s t s e l e c t i o n s o f b e e r.
P R O U D S P O N S O R S O F T H E W H AT ’ S B R E W I N G TA S T I N G P A N E L LO CAT E D I N T H E H E A R T O F T H E V I LL AG E I N FA LS E C R E E K , VA N C O U V E R
find your fall favourite. ferniebrewing.com
THE JOURNAL OF BC'S CRAFT BEER MOVEMENT
The Fall Harvest Issue COMMUNITY 6
Event Spotlight: BC Beer Awards
COVER: New Faces of BC's Beer Media
HARVEST ISSUE: BC HOP FARMING What's Brewing Magazine by Line49 Design Group Inc. 300-1275 West 6th Avenue Vancouver BC V6H 1A6 firstname.lastname@example.org www.whatsbrewing.ca Social Web: @whatsbrewingbc
Hops Canary: A BC Hop Farming Primer
BC Hop Growers Speak Up
Hopping Up in Wine Country
Brewtiful BC: Growth of Orchard Cideries
Editorial Group Editor & Publisher: Dave Smith Associate Editors: Paul Morris, Navin Autar Copy Editor: Wendy Barron Proofreader: Ivana Smith Contact: email@example.com
The State of Craft Cider in BC
Tasting Panel: Cider Edition
Homebrew Happenin's: Making Cider
Team & Contributors: Warren Boyer, Adam Chatburn, Ted Child, Lundy Dale, Jack Enwright, Kim Lawton, Chelsea McDowell, Ligia Margaritescu, Lynn McIlwee, Stewart 'Scottie' McLellan, Monica Frost, J. Random, J. Thunderfoot, John Rowling, Rick Green, Susan Jones, Brian K. Smith, Paddy Treavor, Joe Wiebe
Brew Club Corner
Women In Beer: Erin Dale
View From The Cellar: reader mailbag
Books In Review: My Beer Year
Northern BC: the Beer Frontier
Chief Photographer: Brian K. Smith Illustrations: Emile Compion @ montevarious
Ullage & Spillage
Great Hop Forward
Hopline E-Newsletter Associate Editor: Mallory O'Neil Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have Camera Will Travel
Advertising & Corporate Sales: email@example.com Â© 2017 What's Brewing
HARVEST ISSUE: BC CIDER
BEER IQ & BREWING
TRAVEL & TOURING
BC BEER BEAT 16
Beers, Beaches & Breweries
The Hopbine: Sean Hoyne
Out & About: Summer 2017 Illustrations: montevarious
CAMRA Vancouver executive at their #BeerOnTheBeach "drink-in" protest in late August.
A Picnic Protest Perhaps you’ve heard that there was a ‘Picnic Protest’ at Vancouver’s English Bay on August 27th, organized by CAMRA YVR.. We tip our hat to President David Perry and his executive for planning and executing an orderly demonstration. Find out more about what we think about it on our website, at whatsbrewing.ca/stories
Our harvest issue: hops and cider WB celebrates the season of gathering crops with a special hop farming section, and another look at BC craft cider.
Thanks Navin! Many thanks to craft fan and new WB team member Navin Autar for his significant assistance in preparing this issue. Good to have you on board, Navin!
Dave Smith, Editor
This Halloween: Keep it Craft. Don't let Big Beer get you!
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: Support our cause, and help us support yours. Benefits: whatsbrewing.ca/corporate
POWELL RIVER’S FRIENDLY NEIGHBOURHOOD BREWERY
• 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
We Live Great Beer In a world filled with mass-produced stuff, being connected with the things we consume brings us joy. Distinct, local, and our commitment to never cut corners on quality, character or style.
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EVENT SPOTLIGHT: BC BEER AWARDS
New format, new awards! T
he 8th Annual BC Beer Awards and Festival is set to return to Vancouver on Saturday, October 21, 2017, from 4–10 p.m., at the Croatian Cultural Centre.
The Details When: Saturday, October 21st, 2017 Time: 4pm - 10pm Where: Croatian Cultural Centre 3250 Commercial Drive Vancouver, BC V5N 4E4 Tickets & Info: www.bcbeerawards.com
Photos: Brian K. Smith
New Format BC Beer Awards & Festival is pleased to announce a new format this year! Ticket holders now have a choice between two ticket types: VIP Awards Hour and General Admission. The awards ceremony is a special time for industry folks and other interested people, but not everyone wants to pause to watch it in the middle of a beer festival. VIP Awards Hour will appeal to craft beer fans who want to hang out with the industry folks and see their favourite breweries win awards. General admission is for those who just want to sip from the 60+ breweries at the festival. Find more details about inclusions on our website.
Thanks to Gerry BCBA bids a fond farewell to Gerry Erith, who has left BC Beer Awards. Gerry was one of the original founders of BCBA and a true visionary and supporter of the craft beer industry. Cheers to you!
>> monica frost New Awards We are adding a few awards to our slate of 30 beer categories this year. By popular demand, we now have a Brewery of the Year award, presented by Tap & Barrel and based on a simple points system. And it doesn’t end there! We thought it time to recognize excellence in many other aspects of the craft beer industry, too.
Creative Industry Awards • Best Beer Can Design (Presented by West Coast Canning) • Best Beer Bottle Design (Presented by Great Little Box Company) • Best Packaging - Boxes & Carriers (Presented by Great Little Box Company) • Best Tap Handle (Presented by Smooth Edge Design) • Best Website (Presented by MyZone Media) • Best Social Media Presence (Presented by Agency Media) • Innovator of the Year (Presented by Newlands) 9
BC CRAFT HISTORY ONLINE
Great Canadian Beer Festival: The untold story Continuing the 'Greatest' Story Ever In our last issue, we dug up a unique set of What's Brewing archives in our quest to unearth stories that people wouldn't know about Canada's greatest beer festival. We found so much we couldn't fit it all in. Fortunately it's all online. In addition to our own history, which goes back right to the beginning of planning the first event, we also reached out to GCBF directors Gerry Hieter, John Rowling and Phil Atkinson for even more memories from a quarter century ago. Where we left off last issue, the lads (well, they sort of were, back then) were sneaking beer into BC via their diplomatic immunity connections. But we promised not to say that.
The Big Day Arrives Read what the fellows have to say about the very first event.
Year Two: The Rebrand 1993's debut event was called the Victoria Microbrewery Festival. Beginning the next year, the sights were set much higher, thanks to a fearless new name asserting the fest's greatness.
2003: The Move Outdoors GCBF took a big step forward when it became an outdoor festival on real green grass. It's a template others have tried to emulate, but it comes with risk. Relive the first year as the organizers looked to the skies and wondered if they'd made the right move. Read the full story: whatsbrewing.ca/gcbf-history
legend Meets legend: John Mitchell & Rick Knight Pioneers of BC brewing and BC hop farming meet up It's a conversation between two elder statesmen, captured on video by What's Brewing. Rick Knight of Knight Hop Consulting is well known as the long-time foreman at the last of BC’s original hop farms, the John I. Haas Hop Company, John Mitchell, meanwhile, as founder of Horseshoe Bay Brewing, Canada's first "cottage brewery", is known as the father of BC 's craft brewing industry. Thanks to a meetup organized by BC Hop Co. General Manager Dwayne Stewart, John and Rick made acquaintance, decades after their two companies did business. Watch to see: •
John recalls stuffing a 200 lb hop bale in his pickup truck, then getting tourists to help unload it at Horseshoe Bay!
John talks about the "true father of BC craft": Peter Hyndman of the Social Credit party--for all the wrong reasons.
Rick talks about starting at Haas in 1968 as a tractor driver, working his way up to manager of the entire operation.
Rick remembers how the emerging microbrewing industry was viewed as a potential market by the BC hops industry--but not in time to save Haas.
John talks about the origin of the microbrewing revolution as a reaction to big beer, and credits CAMRA UK.
Watch the video (length: 15 min): whatsbrewing.ca/legends
25th Annual Great Canadian Beer Festival
3rd Annual BC Hop Festival
Day 1: Friday, September 8th, 4PM - 9PM Day 2: Saturday, September 9th, 12PM - 5PM www.gcbf.com
1893 Cole Rd, Abbotsford BC Saturday, September 30th, 1PM - 5PM www.bchop.ca
Royal Athletic Park, 1014 Caledonia Ave, Victoria, BC
Presented by BC Hop Co.
PRODUCT SELECTION MAY VARY
PLEASE ENJOY RESPONSIBLY
FRESH LOCALLY BREWED HAND CRAFTED BEER NOW AVAILABLE IN STORES
new faces join the beer media scene BC Craft Beer Superfans bring new sights and sounds to the 'independent beer journalism' landscape
>> Story: Dave Smith
w narcissistic is it for a BC beer journal to present a cover story about beer media? Just think: only now, at the height of the current craft beer wave, could we have a conversation about the local “craft beer press” as if it was a thing. But it’s true: there’s a cottage industry built around the BC beer scene, and this very magazine is part of it. There are dozens of players in this little arena, and if you like What’s Brewing (presumably you’re not scanning these pages in sneering disdain), you might like their work, too.
As a publication dedicated not only to BC beer but to BC beer writing, we’re fans of anyone who decides they like craft beer so much that they just have to dedicate countless waking hours to telling the world about it. For most of the craft evangelists that eventually cross over to become “beer media”, the hobby (as it almost always is) comes with a price. Sneaking in blogging time at work, negotiating with the spouse, spending one’s free time checking out new beers or far-flung breweries all sounds fine, but only the truly dedicated can keep it up. If you’re one of the above, What’s Brewing salutes you. A goodly number of these sort of BC beer bloggers and writers have popped up in the past decade, complementing the 12
>> Images: brian K. smith explosion of interest in learning about, sharing, and choosing craft beer. But hey, a decade is a long time, and journalism is a “what have you done for me lately?” proposition. So today we’re going to meet a few folks from the very newest generation of beer media, and learn what makes them compelling.
The Beerd Show www.thebeerdshow.com Host/Producer: Kevin Singh DOP/Producer: Steve Murray Photographer: Francis Santos Editor: Bradley Stewart This issue’s cover model, Kevin Singh, drinks all he wants and doesn’t gain an ounce--as evidenced by our photo shoot (so jealous). But of course, that’s not the first thing people notice about him. It might sound shallow or cosmetic to talk about Kevin’s beard (and it is), but, as the story goes: if there weren’t no beard, there would be no show.
Some may feel it's cutesy to name a video series The Beerd Show, after the front man’s facial hair. I think Kevin and the crew would admit that the name isn’t meant to be deep. But then, “What’s Brewing” is not particularly existential either. The Beerd Show brand artwork, which is pretty slick, is right up front about the role Kevin’s appearance played in the origin of their video series, which profiles local breweries. Before this talk of cosmetics causes you to conclude that the show is superficial, consider the work that goes into it. One reason I respect The Beerd Show is that it’s a team effort, and there are a few minds contributing to what’s going on. Also, the technical talent of the crew is beyond dispute. Steve Murray is the show’s Director of Photography, aka the guy who comes to your brewery with a giant video camera. He tells the show’s origin story just as well as Kevin, and their recollections match bang-on. In my opinion, that’s a great indicator of friendship, and it so happens their bond is where the story starts. “I work in television”, he relates. “Kevin and I hang out together, drinking beers. Everywhere we go, people come up and talk to him about his beard. ‘Can I touch it?’, ‘How long have you been growing it?’--he gets it all the time. One day over beers, I said ‘you know, we should put together my skills as a camera operator with your beard and love of beer.’" Kevin and Steve share the Producer role. Creating the first episode around Vancouver Craft Beer Week 2016, they had to consider length and format. By the second show (shot at R&B Ale & Pizza House), they got their formula down. Each brewery profile features shots with the brewer, staff and front of house. Then they toss in some ‘Beer Facts’: trivia on cue cards read out by willing tasting room patrons. Along with Steve, who works at CTV, the very respectable crew includes Bradley Stewart of CBC, a Jack Webster award-winning video editor, and Francis Santos, their ace photographer.
beer media: a who and what primer As you may have gathered from our masthead, What’s Brewing is a senior member of the BC beer writing club, continuing a tradition initiated by members of CAMRA BC in 1990. Beer journalism was established outside BC well before then. Michael Jackson popularized craft beer books and films in the late 1970s, and CAMRA U.K. (home of the original What’s Brewing) begat other celebrated writers. In the late 1990s and early 2000s there were a handful of beer books in BC, mostly about touring breweries and pubs around BC or the Northwest. There was occasional press coverage from the mainstream BC press about the “microbrewery” trend, not specifically from any one reporter like Eckhardt (though if you were a CAMRA member, you had regular What’s Brewing columns by John Rowling and Scottie McLellan, still contributing today). In the 2000s, changes in technology induced beer enthusiasts to share their thoughts and discoveries about the rising craft wave using new, modern methods such as social media and blogs. Certain early examples such as John Yuill’s BC Beer Guide (1997), Rick Green’s BC Beer Blog (2008) and Chuck Hallett’s Barley Mowat (2010) started to gain a significant following. In December 2010, CAMRA Vancouver's weekly e-newsletter (think: Hopline precursor) listed a dozen blogs of interest. Beer Me BC debuted in 2011, raising the bar for BC beer resources to a whole new level. Then in 2012, Mike’s Craft Beer launched the first of a trillion product reviews, then later with friends, started the Pacific Beer Chat. Suddenly there was a mass of beer bloggers competing for clicks, posting their thoughts for the evaluation of the masses (including some of the bright folks contributing to this very magazine).
Francis Santos , Kevin Singh, Steve Murray and Brad Stewart
Media on Media
I had the opportunity to try out the Beerd Show experience myself, as the subject of an interview by Kevin. We all headed to Vancouver’s Steel Toad Brewing, where COO Richard Goodine was kind enough to host a beer media powwow. While What’s Brewing Chief Photographer Brian K. Smith shot the cover of this issue, Steve fitted me with a clip-on mic and set up his wide-angle shot. He then recorded his single shots on his main rig, as Francis captured some photos. I had a bit of fun and turned the tables on Kevin midway through the interview, asking him a few questions myself.
Some BC writers have carved out a beer platform in mainstream media that has given them access to more than just the craft beer community. Take Jan Zeschky, former beer columnist with the Province, now with Glacier Media. Or Joe Wiebe, author of Craft Beer Revolution and, like his chum Rebecca Whyman, a regular CBC Radio columnist. Also on radio is Just Here For The Beer, founded by Colin Jack and Rick Mohabir and hosted by Joe Leary, who also hosts a TV show. Online video series have included Beer! The Show (2013), hosted by Strathcona Brewing owner Michael “Fezz” Nazarec, and Flights Series (2016) from Vancouver Is Awesome! In 2013, Julia Chalifoux and Kenn Dubeau launched an entire newspaper called BC Craft Beer News which had a fondly-remembered two-year run. In late 2014, Glacier/Westender staff, including Stephen Smysnuik and Rob Mangelsdorf, created The Growler, a regular column plus a ground-breaking periodical. Barring the obligatory unintentional omissions and factoring in space constraints, there's your BC Beer Media community primer. 13
During our taping, Kevin mentioned that it would take about 3 years to get to his level of follicular development. I quietly mused that 3 years of beard on my face would look a lot less like ZZ Top, and a lot more like scraggly gold rush prospector. That’s OK; it’s not my job to be the eye-catching front man—I work behind the scenes in What’s Brewing. But I can vouch for the nervous fun of being on camera, and The Beerd Show team’s professionality. I certainly see why they have no problem getting tasting room patrons to join in.
Cascadian Beer Podcast
How does the BC beer scene compare to the US? It’s exciting times everywhere in the Pacific Northwest, but it still seems very “new” in BC. When I visit places in WA and OR they feel established, even if they’ve just opened up. I feel BC is coming along well when it comes to awareness of craft beer, but there is still room to grow.
Tell me about some of the special moments you›ve had while talking to people. With each guest, I’ve discovered something new. I love exploring our Cascadian backyard, and I’ve found some great brewers in the process. I’m grateful for their time, as I know it’s not easy running a brewery, at any scale.
Host/Producer: Aaron Johnson
aron Johnson introduced himself at the What’s Brewing booth during an event at Central City’s Red Racer location in Vancouver. We chatted briefly, but I was focussed elsewhere. Later on, I remembered him and took a moment to look up his podcast website. I was stunned. Not by what I saw, but by what I heard.
Aaron started in radio when he was 15 years old. Originally from Bellingham, he moved to New Zealand to study Audio Engineering then landed a job there with a national TV station. Also working the occasional radio program, he eventually earned a weekly national radio show. He’s also worked at Bellingham’s major FM radio station. He has chops. Along with his experience as an on-air talent, he’s an accomplished audio technician. It all shows in his podcasts, which are at a level of production well above what most of us beer bloggers with sound recorders could achieve.
It’s a secret [grin]. There is a level of planning and thought beforehand. I can’t pinpoint it for myself, it just kind of comes naturally I guess.
Your brand includes the word ‘Podcast’, but your skills and connections could also translate to blogging or video. I would like to get into writing a bit more. Video, however, needs to be done right. Anybody can stick a camera on a tripod or prop their smartphone up in a corner, but it’s all the details that the average person doesn’t think about that makes a great video: the lighting, cutaways, editing, and the audio. It’s a lot less forgiving; it’s really easy to make a boring, uninteresting clip. Personally, audio is what I know and what I love doing. I have a face for radio, so I’m happy sticking to sound, ha ha. I also feel the people you interview are a lot more relaxed with just an audio recording rather than having a camera present.
How would you like your work to benefit or serve the craft fan community?
In the summer of 2016 I had a recording of Spinnakers’ Paul Hadfield kicking around that I had captured at a beer conference. It was of mediocre quality but the keynote address Paul had given was great, and I was considering publishing it on What’s Brewing as a an audio post. Then I listened to Aaron’s in- r o n Jo terview with Paul and I was knocked out. I starth ns on ed telling people about Aaron. Clearly, I still am!
What’s your secret for approaching all the interesting people you interview?
Here are a few thoughts from the man himself.
What got you into beer, and the craft scene? While I was in New Zealand, craft beer was really starting to take off. One of the first NZ beers that really got me was Epic Pale Ale. I then started to learn more about beer and got into homebrewing.
Your brand is distinguished by its inclusion of the word ‘Cascadia’. Tell me about your nationality. While traveling and living overseas I’ve been asked a lot if I’m either an American or Canadian. Growing up with family on both sides of the border, I really feel at home on either side. “Cascadian” is the best way to describe my regional identity.
I want the listeners to understand that what they are drinking is indeed a crafted beer. Somebody has (hopefully) spent a lot of time learning the ins and outs of brewing, and fine tuning their product. They didn’t just wake up one morning and create an amazing IPA in a matter of hours. Also, I want them to have an appreciation for the small business owners that most craft brewers are. They probably haven’t had a day off in months, maybe years, so when people are enjoying an amazing beer, I hope that feedback gets to the brewer. Beer is meant to be fun.
im "10 K" LaHay (nickname courtesy me) is an interesting individual. In a short time, he’s morphed from your average craft hobbyist to the owner of a minor social media empire, all based around BC beer. Tim, who works in hospitality as a manager by day, has demonstrated mastery of a very modern media space: Instagram.
#BCCraftBreweries Tim LaHay, Social Media Producer CraftBeerTourist.com & @bccraftbreweries
Tim’s approach is to act as a content aggregator, repeating the feeds of BC’s many social-media-conscious breweries in one concentrated stream. Within the space of just this year 2017, Tim has managed to capture over 10,000 followers of his BC Craft Breweries account, which is noteworthy. However, he made our spotlight because he’s shown that he’s about more than just click and eyeballs. Tim’s become a bit of a leader within the craft beer community. It began with his interest in hiking, leading to a well-attended group outing to Buntzen Lake organized via his Craft Beer Tourist account. Recently, Tim focussed on raising funds for wildfire relief. The #BCCraftCares campaign raised over $11,000 in Canadian Red Cross donations during August 2017. For that Tim made the news--not just the craft beer kind like us, but the ‘mainstream media’ as well. Here’s what Tim has to say about the sudden attention.
When did you start up Craft Beer Tourist, then BCCBM? I first registered the domain name craftbeertourist.com after a road trip to Portland in October of 2016. I had planned on focusing primarily on blogging about my travels, hikes and craft beer adventures, but once I started the Instagram account to complement the blog, it kind of took off and I ended up making it my primary focus. The @bccraftbreweries account was created in January of 2017 with the intent of building as local of a craft beer audience as possible by focusing strictly on BC craft beer.
What’s the secret to gaining the support of all those breweries that donate prizes etc? I work hard to create a single stream of exciting BC craft beer news, releases, tap takeovers, tap list updates, festivals, cask nights etc. and I do it all as it happens, as best I can. I have never asked for anything from the breweries other than to tag me in posts that they want shared. Some breweries have small accounts and they appreciate the larger audience, others just seem to enjoy the idea of a repost to an extended audience beyond those that follow them.
Is it all done by good old-fashioned manual labour? Yes. 100% I use the Repost app. I have a private account that only follows the breweries. I copy the link to Repost, then drop it into Instagram and add a headline.
How do these breweries feel about having their content used on your Instagram account? I haven’t heard a single negative response to what I’m doing.
From a business standpoint, I think the primary goal of Instagram is to be visible, create engagement, and to drive business. Everyone that I have spoken to from the breweries has been thrilled with my efforts and I think the quick response to the requests for prize donations speaks volumes to that.
Are you trying to repeat all posts possible, or do you consider your work to be more ‘curated’? I set out criteria for what gets reposted and it’s been the same since the beginning. As a business it’s good to create a vibe or theme with your Instagram feed. They can’t just be sell, sell, sell all the time so they mix in a lot of feel good posts. “Hey it’s Friday, you deserve a beer” with a nice picture of a flight on the bar and a smiling staff member. I like to refer to those as “jabs.” I look for the “right hooks.” Like when they put up a post of a brand new beer release that is exclusive to a festival in a couple weeks, or announce a tap takeover at a local pub. Those are the ones that I want on my feed.
How would you like your work to benefit or serve the BC craft beer industry and/or fan community? On my Craft Beer Tourist account, I have a global following of 14.4K people that love craft beer and the outdoors like I do. I want to promote BC to them as a travel destination for craft beer tourism as well as a great place to experience nature! Much like the recently-launched BC Ale Trail campaign. As for the @bccraftbreweries account, I want to provide the most up-to-date, centralized source for BC craft beer info available for the entire province. I also hope to continue on with the #bccraftcares initiative that I started with my Red Cross Fundraiser. I hope to find ways to work with other charities a couple of times a year and give back to our community.
Do you think you’re becoming fairly well recognized at this point? Do you get positive feedback? For only having been at it for less than a year, I would say I have made a bit of a name for myself. I love hearing that people check my feed before going out with their friends on a Friday night or that they love discovering all the new beer releases as well as breweries that they haven’t experienced.
When all is said and done, what would you like people to think of when they see your brand? I want my @CraftTourist account to inspire people to get outside and explore this beautiful province of ours as well as visit their local breweries. To find the same joy I do when I summit a mountain and then reward myself with a delicious BC craft beer! 15
BEERS, BEACHES & BREWERIES
Okanagan Summer Update >> KIM lawton
t was an interesting summer in the Okanagan. First we had floods, then fires, then smoke. Like many locations around the province, people had to change summer vacation plans to deal with road closures, wildfires, evacuations and incoming evacuees. However, as I write this column, the sun is shining brightly, the sky is blue and there are white fluffy clouds in the sky. Fingers crossed that the difficulties of the summer are now behind us and we can get back to enjoying travel in our beautiful province.
While all of that was going on, the craft beer scene in the South Okanagan continued to heat up. We were stoked to launch the Penticton Ale Trail this summer, and many tourists visited all five Penticton breweries, as well as breweries in neighbouring Oliver, Summerland, West Kelowna, Kelowna and Vernon. The Kelowna Ale Trail also launched this summer.
Tattoo Brewing. At the event, they will also launch the third vintage of La Resurrección, last year’s Cerveza Fuerte that has been aging in brandy barrels. Keep an eye on Bad Tattoo’s Facebook page for details on ticket availability. If you can’t visit in person, enjoy a taste of the South Okanagan wherever you are, with some great fall seasonals from our breweries. Oliver’s Firehall Brewery will be releasing an as-yetunnamed seasonal low-hop Amber-style beer brewed with Alaric Family cherries, grown and harvested in Oliver. They’ll also be harvesting local wild hops again for a fresh-hopped Harvest Ale, their Annual Memorial "Wind & Fire", which will be released in October.
The good news about enjoying craft beer is that you can do it anytime. If your summer holiday plans to the Okanagan got cancelled, this may be the year to start a new tradition to visit during the fall. Our craft beer scene in the Okanagan is vibrant and exciting all year long.
The popular Okanagan Fall Wine Festival runs September 28 to October 8. As craft beer explodes in the Okanagan, more wine events include craft beer. One such event is the Oliver Cask & Keg Festival, which will be held on September 30. This celebration of breweries, cideries, and distilleries kicks off the 21st annual Festival of the Grape weekend. October 21 marks the date of the 8th annual Penticton Oktoberfest. Put on your lederhosen or your dirndl and bring your dancing shoes. Enjoy local Cannery Brewing beers, German beers, mouth-watering German food, and entertainment including The Alpen Plattlers, traditional Bavarian dancers. Early-bird tickets are on sale now, and remember to check the website for great accommodation and ticket packages. Plan to head to Penticton for the 4th annual Dia de Los Muertos Cerveza Fuerte launch party on November 1 at Bad 16
CAMRA SO at Square One Hop Farms In September, watch for a new beer from the assistant brewer team at Bad Tattoo Brewing. Conceived by their “brew boyz”, this New England American Pale Ale is made with Azacca hops and is called Azacca What You Want. This is the first of their Blank Canvas, Small Lot – Short Run series. This limited release series will feature a Blank Canvas label with just the beer name on it. Customers are invited to draw inspiration from the beer and draw their own label, then post a photo on social media with the hashtag #badtattoolabel for a chance to win prizes. We owe a debt of gratitude and appreciation to the firefighters and emergency service workers who have worked tirelessly to manage and extinguish the BC wildfires this summer. As a tribute to those fighting the fires, Cannery Brewing’s limited release Wildfire IPA will be back in September. This is a great beer that supports a great cause; a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this beer supports the great work of the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
Kim Lawton is President of CAMRA South Okanagan and the Marketing Director at Cannery Brewing. Kim can be reached via Twitter @DogLegMarketing.
Photo: Kim Lawton
After a very successful inaugural event last fall, Campaign for Real Ale South Okanagan (CAMRA SO) is hosting its second annual Home Brewers Competition on September 16. Home brewers from around the Okanagan are creating their best beers to showcase at the event. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet the home brewers, try the beers, and vote for their favourites. The top three brewers will win prizes and bragging rights. The event will be held at Square One Hop Growers, where there will also be a chance to tour the hopyard, see a harvester demo, and pick some hops. For more info, visit www.camraso.ca or the Facebook event.
>> lynn mcilwee
A BC Hop Farming Primer
ate summer is hop harvest season, when your favourite brewers grab as many fresh hops as they can get their lupulin-stained hands on to brew a variety of IPAs and other hoppy ales. Seven years ago, BC had only three hop farms; today there are close to fifty. That’s 25 percent of Canada’s total number of hop farms, and undoubtedly, BC’s share is still growing.
The history of hops in BC dates back to 1862, but the hopfarming community started to decline after World War II. Competition from the colossal hop farms in the Yakima and Willamette Valleys proved too great for BC, and the decline continued until the late 1990s, when hop farms essentially became extinct in BC. The resurgence of hop farms in BC was launched by Rebecca Kneen co-founder of Crannóg Ales and Left Fields in 2001. In 2009, Chris Sartori started Sartori Hop Ranch. The dearth of quality hops in both the international and local markets created room for growth and in 2010, John Lawrence started Chilliwack Hop Farms as a retirement project. What started as a three-acre hobby for John has grown to 305 acres. You read that right: it has grown one hundredfold in seven years and is technically the largest hop farm in Canada. Chilliwack Hop Farms’ acreage is a mix of their own fields and crop-share agreements with local dairy farms. Three hundred acres is a drop in the bucket compared to the operations in the hop mecca in the Willamette and Yakima valleys of Washington State, but BC farm hops are sought after worldwide. Hops impart a variety of flavours and aromas to beer—floral, herbal, citrus, spice, grass, pine, earthy, pepper, and many more. To achieve these distinct profiles, hop growers cultivate a variety of hops to satisfy the market. Chilliwack Hop Farms currently grow 23 varieties and import another 110 from around the world, including the Czech Republic, Slovenia, United Kingdom, Poland, New Zealand, Australia and the aforementioned behemoth, Yakima Valley. Their client list has grown beyond Canada (300 clients) and the USA (250) to
include large and surprising markets such as Russia (who receive a container every two months), Hong Kong, China, Philippines, and Taiwan. John Briner, sales rep for Chilliwack Hop Farms, sees a lot of room for growth and potential in the industry. New and trendy novelty hop varietals (e.g., Medusa, Denali, Cashmere, Jester) will always find demand. Then there’s hop oils. He sees potential in exploring how hundreds of essential oils found in hops can be experimented with. He also wonders what could happen if more brewers dry-hopped during primary fermentation, and whether combining various yeast strains and hop oils might become a trend. Zero-IBU beers were probably not a consideration a couple of years ago, and yet they exist now. The possibilities are endless. I have a backyard hop growing hobby, which I love. It’s an understatement to say that John has a vast knowledge of hops. and I could have asked him many, many more questions. I refrained and asked about Yakima Valley hops versus BC hops instead. Do ours have the potential to be the same quality? He says yes, they really do. The terroir of Chilliwack and Yakima are similar but regional anomalies can arise due to weather spikes or other forces of nature. For instance, last year’s Yakima alpha acid measurements were lower in range than normal for Cascade and Centennial, but were within range in BC. Hop harvest is beginning about a week early this season at Chilliwack Hop Farms. Hops are being picked starting August 17th for local fresh hop brewing, and will be picked for commercial use the following week. For Chilliwack Hop Farms, an average harvest is 1,800 pounds per acre for Cascade and Centennial, and about 2,200 pounds per acre for Nugget. With 305 acres, harvest is a massive undertaking. I asked John what was in store for 2018. As the demand for local product keeps increasing, including requests for organic hops, they have expanded the farm to include 50 acres of organic production. Fifteen acres are second-year plants and 35 acres are first-year. Other expansion plans include adding more varietals and possibly growing Amarillo for their Yakima Valley client. With the growing craft beer industry in BC, hop growers are facing increasing demand for quality local hops, and they seem to be succeeding. BC’s hop farms have an unprecedented opportunity to supply hops to local, national, and international markets, with no end in sight. Go BC!
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, events and more. 17
BC Hop Growers Speak Up Four of BC's hop growers talk about the industry
dition, we were encouraged by Rick Knight, long-time Chilliwack resident and the former general manager for the John I. Haas Company’s Chilliwack operations, to help rebuild the BC hop growing industry. [Ed. Note: see the feature on Rick in our coverage of his summit with John Mitchell].
ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS
In the last seven years, we have expanded to 305 acres (and counting) to keep up with demand from the craft brewing industry around the world.
s part of our Harvest Issue coverage, What’s Brewing invited a handful of BC hop growers to answer questions about their operations. The respondents range from a boutique startup to Canada’s largest hop business. Here’s what they had to say about their situations and the realities of the BC hop industry.
What drew you/your company into this industry? John Briner, Sales Chilliwack Hop Farms
Dwayne Stewart, General Manager BC Hop Co. (Abbotsford) I was having breakfast with the owner of Ravens Brewing, and he mentioned that he was looking for a place to grow hops. I knew our family farm was looking for a new crop, and that conversation started our journey.
It started with three acres planted in 2010 with the intention of growing hops for Molson. Ultimately, the craft beer boom in BC meant that by the time our first commercial harvest was ready, there was sufficient local demand to sell our entire harvest to the craft industry!
Sue Handel, Owner Vancouver Island Hop Co.
Initially, our interest in hop growing came from being home brewers and home distillers, catching the excitement from the craft brewing revolution when it first began, and being intrigued by Chilliwack’s long history of hop growing. In ad-
I was interested in having a vineyard, but after researching the climatic preferences of hops, decided hops was the way to go. That, and the huge explosion of craft breweries in BC, made hops the obvious choice.
Chilliwack Hop Farms. Photo: D. Smith
HARVEST ISSUE: HOPS SPOTLIGHT
VIHC: I started with rhizomes from Oregon and will continue to expand from my own hops. CHF: This year, we will have shipped approximately 1.3 million pounds of hops across North America and around the world. Of this, 300,000 pounds of hops are grown locally, and a million pounds are imported. We are a vertically integrated hop farm—we are growers, processors, importers, merchants, and brokers combined into one operation. We grow 24 varieties and import another 100 or so varieties from around the world, including Europe, the Southern Hemisphere, and the U.S.
ABOUT THE BC INDUSTRY Ian Matthews of Big Horn Hops Ian Matthews, General Manager Big Horn Hops (Kamloops)
What type of reaction do you get when approaching BC brewers to talk about your locally grown products for the first time?
My wife responded to an ad in the spring of 2015 to help plant some hops. I joined her the next day and never left. It seemed like such a cool idea, I was immediately captivated.
VIHC: Lots of encouragement and support. Local breweries know they have a strong market for beer made with locally-sourced ingredients. There are only a few Vancouver Island-based hop growers, so we all have a healthy customer base.
Also, I felt that our hop yard was a real innovation in First Nations agricultural development, and wanted to be on board. There is a little-known but lengthy history between First Nations and the BC hops industry: many were hired as labour. Now, in our case, they own it.
BHH: It’s generally positive. Breweries are generally very supportive. We work with many breweries across the country, and even if we cannot supply every request, they will often buy Canadian when they can.
Is your hop acreage owned by your company, or is it a co-op / arrangement with other farmers?
BCHC: We get: “Cool. Tell me about your quality.” For brewers, quality, consistency, and reliability are their main concerns. Then comes price, and then locality. One very well-know brewer told me that they love to support local. “But if it is local shit, well then it is still shit, and I won’t use shit in my beer.”
BHH: The acreage and company is wholly owned and operated by Tk’emlups te Secwepemc (Kamloops Indian Band). VIHC: I rent one acre in Cedar, and have 15 acres (yet to be planted) on Gabriola Island. BCHC: All our acreage is owned by the partner farmers that we work with. Land in the Fraser Valley is incredibly expensive, so we partner with existing landowners who want to do something more with their acreage. CHF: Part of our hop acreage is owned by Chilliwack Hop Farms itself. The remaining acreage is operated under a joint venture with farmers in the area with whom we have a crop-sharing arrangement. The acreage we operate under a joint-venture arrangement are spread out across the Fraser Valley from Agassiz to Langley. Our acreage consists of 255 acres grown conventionally and 50 acres of organic hops.
Are you importing / brokering US or international hops as part of your business? BCHC: We only sell what our partner farmers grow.
CHF: There is an initial stigma to overcome with being a Canadian hop farmer as opposed to being a Canadian hop merchant. For many years, there were no real commercial farming operations operating in BC/Canada like there were in Yakima. So the perception of BC hop farming was “hobby farmer.” This perception has slowly changed, but there still is a sense out there with Canadian breweries that Canadian hop farmers are for “fresh hops”, and that everyday “real hops” come from Yakima. If you look at equipment, growing practices and processes, many of the larger commercial operators in (for instance) the Fraser Valley (e.g., BC Hop Co., Topp’s Hops, Bredenhof Farms, and ourselves) are on par with our Yakima counterparts.
Do you feel that BC farmers can eventually compete with Northwest US hops for the attention of BC brewers? CHF: Yes, we feel that BC farmers are already competing with Northwest US hops in BC. We supply many breweries that use BC growers exclusively, not just because they want to support local, but because they believe BC products are just as good as products grown in the US.
BHH: Our business sells more varieties and volume than our farm can produce. By necessity, we import a lot from the USA and Europe, as well as smaller amounts from South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. We expect that we will eventually be producing enough to not import as much.
There is always room for more awareness and education, and the BC Hop Growers Association is playing an important role in sending out this message.
We are doing experimental plantings at the moment with some European types to see how they fare in our climate. But we will always be doing some importing for sure.
BCHC: We are competing now. The area that is a challenge is in the category of US proprietary hops. We have trademarked Lumberjack in an effort to respond to the unique varieties you 19
LAB TESTED NITROGEN FLUSHED VACUUM SEALED VA
www.islandhopco.com firstname.lastname@example.org I 250-740-5713
Sue Handel at Vancouver Island Hop Co. can only get from certain parts of the world. VIHC: I think it will take time to understand the demands of brewers in terms of processing and packaging. Growing hops is fairly straightforward. It’s the processing side that we need to better understand. We’re getting there. BHH: Eventually yes, to an extent, with certain varieties only. Innovation is required, and we are accomplishing that through our own blends and varieties. It all takes time, as well as the creation of demand through marketing and provision of a solid product. It’s important to remember that farming is a long game. Most of the US growers have been in the game for generations. Some of them came to the USA from BC’s Lower Mainland in search of climates more favourable to hops cultivation.
Will there be enough business from BC brewers to help sustain a BC hop industry? VIHC: Absolutely. Like many breweries, I want to keep things local. I want to produce a high-quality product on a small scale, and supply hops to breweries that are close by. It’s good for the environment, it benefits the local economy, and it encourages sustainable agriculture. CHF: We really believe the evidence is in, and that the BC craft industry can sustain the BC hop industry. There are approximately 50 hop growers in the province now, and we firmly believe there is strong market support for each of them, whether through fresh hop sales, or as a processed product. However, our current market consists of around 300 breweries across Canada, approximately 250 breweries in the US, and breweries in 16 other countries around the world, predominantly in Eastern Europe and Asia. BHH: I wouldn’t farm hops relying solely on the BC market. It’s saturated with breweries now, but not all will survive. Similarly, the BC hops market is robust but is already levelling off; there is a glut driving prices downward and creating a backlog of unsold stock from last year’s harvest. Smaller farms may have issues unless they’re well positioned or have clients who will pay more than current market rates to get local products. BCHC: There are already more hops in the ground than can possibly be supported by the BC craft beer industry alone. Export is and was always the requirement for a sustainable BC hop industry. The only way we can compete on the world stage is to produce world class hops. This was true in 1905, and is true in 2017.
Brent and Kari Tarasoff in Square One's hopyard
Hopping Up in Wine Country When we think of Naramata, we think first of premium grapes and award-winning wine. But Kari and Brent Tarasoff decided to go in a different direction and plant a new crop— hops—on the Naramata Bench. Kari and Brent bought their land in November 2014. They first considered planting either grapes or apples, but felt the land was better suited to growing hops. Kari explained, “we love craft beer, and we decided to start where beer begins and plant hops.” Square One Hop Growers was born shortly thereafter. They have about 1.75 acres planted with just over 2,000 plants. They grow more than 15 varieties of hops including Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Super Alpha and Willamette. This September, they will harvest Crystal, Triple Pearl and Sterling for the first time. Square One is able to provide brewers with fresh hops during harvest, which will begin in early September this year. They bought a pelletizer last year, so they are also able to provide brewers with hop pellets year-round. “Hop growing is magical,” Kari says. “The plants change daily. It’s an amazing thing to watch. These plants go from nothing to 22 feet, growing a foot a day in June. After the summer solstice on June 21, the plants stop growing up and start growing out and growing cones. It’s really magical. With every hop variety, the hops look different and the cones look different. When you look in the hopyard, it’s like a forest; it’s a wall of green. Then you get close and smell. You can smell characteristics in the hops that you can smell later in the beer.” There’s a saying in the Okanagan that it takes a lot of great beer to make fine wine. As hop growers, the Tarasoffs have learned that it also takes a lot of great hops to make great craft beer. “They go hand in hand. It’s all craft. Craft hops for craft beer.”
- Kim Lawton 21
Brewtiful BC >> chelsea mcdowell
Cider Saved Our Farm: The Growth of Orchard Cideries in BC
ike many people of my generation, I first encountered cider in two-litre bottles of syrupy, fizzy, boozy stuff. The equivalent of macro beer, its relation to fruit was all but obliterated by artificial flavours, colours, and sweeteners. There was zero relation to the authentic cider that had been made in Europe for centuries and also had a long history in North America. Not long after I traded in my Lucky Lager for the new wave of craft beers, I was introduced to the delightfully dry, tannic, tart golden liquid known as Merridale’s Scrumpy Cider. It was a revelation. Merridale’s product wasn’t distributed beyond the Lower Mainland, so I would beg Island friends to bring cases of Merridale when they visited me in the Okanagan. Flash forward 10 years and you’d have to be living under a rock not to have noticed the apple infiltration at craft beverage events, liquor stores, and even farmer’s markets. Roughly 30 cideries currently operate in the province, with more slated to open in the next year. In step with the modern craft beer wave but with a history linked to BC’s wine industry, the growing cider category in BC is beset by the challenge of clearly defining its own distinct genre.
Cider Primer Cider can be made from different varieties of apples, but must contain 90% apple juice to be labelled as cider; other fruit additions can make up the remaining 10%. While technically a hard cider can be produced from water, apple concentrate, sugar and yeast, the prevailing definition of craft cider is a product made from fresh-pressed juice with minimal additives. 22
Organic cider takes this definition even further and uses pasteurization rather than chemicals to kill bacteria or wild yeasts in the juice before fermentation, and yeast is the only non-fruit addition. While we see one category of apple in the grocery store—sweet apples cultivated for fresh eating or cooking there are three further classifications used in cider production—bittersweets, sharps and bittersharps. Centuries of cider production in Europe let to the development of varieties prized for their tannic and acid profiles, such as Yarlington Mill, Winesap, and Porter’s Perfection. Cider can be made from a single varietal or a blend of apples from any of the four categories to come up with endless variations on flavour, aroma, sweetness, and acidity. Cider production was an important tradition brought over to the new world, with immigrants establishing cider apple orchards from old-world stock. Johnny Appleseed of the familiar legend planted cider apples, not sweet eating apples, as he journeyed west across America. Cider made it possible to preserve the apple harvest without modern refrigeration techniques, and offered a safe alternative to contaminated drinking water sources. In the 1920s, under Prohibition, many cider-apple orchards across North America were destroyed and the traditional beverage declined as a result. Cidercraft Magazine’s book, Tasting Cider, gives a great overview of the history of cider, traditional and modern cider production, and suggestions for recipes and cocktails using cider. See the sidebar in this issue’s Tasting Panel section to learn what to look for when tasting cider.
Preserving Family Orchards The Okanagan Valley’s long history of tree fruit production is evident in community names like Peachland and Summerland. In the late 1990s, competition from international orchards, changing consumer tastes, and growing conditions caused fruit values to tank, adversely affecting the livelihoods of many orchardist families. My family bought an apple orchard in the early 2000’s, when the value of apple production was abysmal. Like many other orchard owners in the area, we tore out the trees and replaced them with grapevines, which offered a much higher production value per acre due to the burgeoning local wine industry. A handful of visionaries in the late 2000s saw the returning potential for cider production, likely inspired by the resurgence of popularity of the beverage sweeping across the United States and Eastern Canada. In the Okanagan, the pioneers of this movement were Twisted Hills Craft Cider in Cawston, BX Press Cidery & Orchard in Vernon, and Summerland Heritage Cider in Summerland. In Cawston, under the shadow of Fairview Mountain, lies the sprawling orchard estate where Jo Schneider’s family has been farming for generations. His father originally planted heritage cider apples in 2007 with the intention of selling the fruit to cider producers elsewhere. A short time after Jo met Kaylan Madeira, the couple planted their own orchard nearby, and Kaylan began experimenting with making cider to add value and diversify their farm-based lifestyle. The tricky thing about starting a farm-based cidery is that the initial investment in planting and maintaining the orchard and purchasing equipment for pressing, fermenting and packaging product, is significant. Then the apple trees take
Bottles at BX Press several years to mature. Even when the juice is pressed, the cider isn’t ready for sale until spring of the following year. Anyone can buy pressed juice and add yeast to make cider, but the land-based producer has a more complex and costly relationship with their product. Twisted Hills released its first cider in 2013, and has been a runaway success since, winning several awards. Kaylan is grateful to the experienced cider producers who gave them a hand in learning about cider, and that the atmosphere of the industry is collaborative and inclusive. Now that she and Jo have mastered the art, they have in turn mentored several new startups in orchard management and cider production. The family farm continues to provide juice to other BC cideries, helping farmers fill the gap between planting their cider apples and having a large enough crop for production.
Best enjoyed any day of the week:
The South Okanagan’s original craft cider.
Find it at SummerlandCider.com/locations
At BX Press Cidery in Vernon, the Dobernigg family has been operating their farm for three generations. In the early 2000s, Missy and Dave became concerned about their ability to continue to maintain their agricultural lifestyle based on fruit sales alone. After weighing different options, they chose cider as a way to add value without having to deviate from apple production. Dave looks after the orchard, and Missy runs the cidery. Missy’s passion for cider shone through as she spoke about her journey to start a cidery. She spent her days looking after their three children (all under the age of 5 at the time) and her nights intently researching cider production methods. Family and friends helped with batch testing to figure out the core brands. They released 6,000 litres in the first year, which sold out in just two and a half months. They have doubled production each year since, and will hold steady this year at 40,000 litres. Blending cider apples, dessert apples, and crabapples [for additional tannin] has allowed BX Press to produce a variety of different styles, including a line featuring botanical additions like lavender-raspberry and cardamom-blackcurrant. Summerland Heritage Cider developed out of a project between three long-time orchardists, Bob, Ron and Tom, who made cider from apples that did not meet the strict criteria for sale as eating apples. They added cider apples to their orchards to have a more complex flavour, and soon their hobby cider had such a good reputation that they decided to launch a commercial cidery. They joined the game a bit later in life, and stepped back from the business after a few years. In 2016, Ron’s son, Ted Vollo, took over operations of the cidery along with his girlfriend, Lauren Wilson. Both also work as geologists while overseeing operations at Summerland Heritage, with lots of help from the original trio. Ted grew up on the family farm but wasn’t all that into the idea of farming, having seen the difficulties caused by bad growing seasons and market fluctuations. As with Twisted Hills and BX Press, making cider allows them to carry on with the family farm while adding value to their products to help ensure they can maintain the family orchard for years to come. Lauren explains that they are also able to add their own spin to the original brand. They are both really into craft beer and she thinks this will help them market their product better to that demographic while maintaining their well-established core ciders.
The Elephant in the Room Most farm-based cideries operate on a year-to-year basis, relying on hard work and their reputation to sell their products. Being small-batch, artisan producers, their love of their cider is noticeable in the quality of their product. Larger producers of cider can take advantage of shifts in the apple market and massive production methods that small producers can’t compete with. Labelling both products as craft cider does a disservice to both the consumer and the producer. The larger producer has a bigger marketing budget, as well as a lower production cost, resulting in a widely available and less expensive product on the market, though sometimes taking shortcuts on quality as well. That doesn’t mean all non-farm-based cideries have big budgets; there are smaller urban cideries that do not qualify for tax breaks offered to land-based cideries—which creates a further rift in defining and protecting craft cider. 24
Kaylan at Twisted Hills The BC Farm Crafted Cider Association represents 20 cideries with a united voice for land-based cider production. All the cider producers I spoke with this summer said that, so far, competition from new farm-based startups is not an issue. Even in the relatively small community of Summerland, where they have recently been joined by Dominion and Nomad, Ted and Lauren feel that they are all working different angles of the market and are supportive of each other. The main obstacles to success are presenting a united front against larger producers masquerading as craft and educating the consumer; the stigma of alco-pop remains strong.
The Future of Cider in BC Kaylan thinks Twisted Hills’ designation as the only organic estate cidery in BC will help the brand stay strong in the face of increased competition in the market. They, like BX Press and Summerland Heritage, have no trouble selling out every year; the main challenge is staying on top of demand. Ted and Lauren, inspired by the local wine and beer industry, are planning farm tours where visitors can learn more about cider production and make on-site purchases, as well as participating in events around the province. Missy at BX Press is expanding the boundaries of cider, looking at playing with fermentation using beer yeasts, and even wild fermentation. Market saturation could become an issue in the future, but the ingenuity of the cider market in North America—the revival of traditional methods like Rose, Pommeau, and Perry and creative experimentation with fermentation methods and additions of hops and botanicals—leaves a lot of room for further expansion in British Columbia. So let’s raise a glass of the golden nectar and toast to cider’s rich agricultural history and building a new legacy for future generations of farming families!
Chelsea McDowell is the communications manager for CAMRA South Okanagan; more of her writing can be found at www.brewtifulbc.ca.
Lauren Wilson & Ted Vollo, Summerland Heritage Cider Company. Photo: Chelsea McDowell
HARVEST ISSUE: CIDER SPOTLIGHT
The State of BC Craft Cider Five of BC's orchard cideries talk about their businesses
s part of this special Harvest issue, the mighty WB is happy to spotlight BC’s craft cider industry again. Now that you’ve read Chelsea McDowell's ’ fantastic opening piece, it’s time to dive more deeply into some cider industry insights. We’ll top things off with our special Cider edition of the What’s Brewing Tasting Panel, immediately following this article.
But first: as we did in Fall 2016, we’ve reached out to a number of cider makers to learn what’s happening in their world. This time around, we’ve let a handful of them take the microphone to tell you more about themselves. The participating respondents range from relative newcomer Fraser Valley Cider to the granddaddy of them all, Merridale. All of the invited respondents are members (and a couple are leaders/founders) of the BC Farm Crafted Cider Association, which tells you that they are orchard-based businesses. There are also a number of craft cideries in BC that don’t own orchards (i.e., they purchase 100% of the juice needed to make their cider). What’s Brewing supports the independent owners using either model, although it’s clear that the government doesn’t treat them equally. See last year’s story for more on that. 26
ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS What drew you/your company into this industry? Kristen Needham, Owner/Cidermaster Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse (Saanich Peninsula) I am a fifth-generation farmer, having inherited a sixty-yearold family orchard on Shuswap Lake. That, along with my taste for cider, eventually merged into a business idea about 15 years ago. I saw an opportunity to bring my family background together with my interests in environmental sustainability and community development. Rachel Bolongaro, Owner Fraser Valley Cider Co. (Langley) I’ve always loved good cider—part of my youth growing up in the U.K. On coming to Canada, we couldn’t really find a great cider. As I was having my mid-life career crisis, I happened to be visiting a beautiful orchard cidery and thought to myself “maybe Vancouver is ready for one of these”.
Chris Schmidt, Owner Tod Creek Craft Cider (South Island) I purchased an ALR farm property which used to be a dairy farm. After extensive research, I realized that an orchard and cidery would be a great fit for both my business life and for the community. Lauren Wilson & Ted Vollo, Owners Summerland Heritage Cider Company (South Okanagan) The original three orchardists that started the company were looking to add value to existing agricultural land, and starting a cidery was a good way to do it. Janet Docherty and Rick Pipes, Owners Merridale Cidery & Distillery (Cowichan Valley) Coming from professional backgrounds, we were looking for a business that we could do together and a lifestyle change. When we found the property at Merridale, we thought, “perfect; how hard can it be?” Then we discovered that our newly-chosen path was a seven-day-a-week lifestyle, and much more difficult than originally anticipated! However, 18 years later, we’re still a family-run company and passionate about what we do.
How much of your product do you grow yourself? Is your acreage owned by your company, or is it a cooperative / arrangement with other farmers? MC&D: We own the farm where it all started! The apples are the most important ingredient in our cider, so we aim to ensure that all the apples are ours or specifically grown for us. We grow English and French cider apples; the other apples we use come mostly from farmers growing for us with grafted cuttings from our trees. We work with farmers in different areas of BC, but our best apples come from here in the Cowichan. The growing climate in this area is perfect for cider apples. SHCC: We grow about 90% of our apples (all our own cider varieties) on orchards owned by the original three farmers who founded our company. We supply additional cider apples to other craft cideries within BC. TCCC: About 90% of my apples come from orchards I own or lease. The best I can hope for is about 30% from my own land near Victoria, which is in its fourth or fifth year of growing; farmland is too expensive on the Island to rely 100 percent on one’s own land. My main orchard is in Kelowna, which is a lease. FVCC: We have a 12-acre site, of which four acres are planted with 1500 trees representing 27 different varieties of heritage cider apple. Our goal is to produce at least 25% of the apples we need on our own site, but our trees won’t be in full production for another couple of years, so we also lease an orchard in Kelowna. We’ve expanded to work with several other farmers over our past couple of seasons and we feel good that, by buying directly from them, we can offer them a fair price for all the hard work they put into their fruit. SCFC: Most of our product is made either from apples we grow ourselves, or from specific varietals grown for us. Some of our ciders, such as Bittersweet, are 100 percent estate-grown. Other ciders, such as Wild English, Pippins, and Rumrunner, use a combination of our apples and those grown for us under long-term grower agreements. One exception is Kings & Spies,
Fresh and local which is a “crowd-sourced” cider we’ve been making for over a decade, using apples sourced from the Greater Victoria community. We grow the apples we need, and we think it’s important to do business with other organic BC orchardists. Working together, we have been able to build the certified organic cider apple supply in BC.
ABOUT THE BC INDUSTRY Cider seems like the product that is perennially about to “break through”. Do you think BC craft cider has gone mainstream yet? SHCC: We don’t think the market has gone fully mainstream yet; there is definitely room for growth. FVCC: I think we are a long way away from mainstream. It’s like the craft beer scene of 10 years ago right now. At the farmer’s markets, a lot of our customers do not even know what cider is, and even those that are familiar with cider as a concept have never tasted an authentic, full-juice, craft-made cider. All the time we get “I don’t really like cider but I do like this one.” Progressive liquor stores are starting to seek out a range of locally produced craft ciders, so I think the industry will take off. MC&D: I would not call it mainstream, but given so many of the large companies have jumped on the cider wagon, I would say that it’s getting close. I think there is tremendous growth potential. There are so many interesting things one can create with cider, so many different blends with beer, spirits, and even wine. TCCC: It’s still a growing market. One of the challenges is differentiating farm-crafted cider (orchardists who make cider) and commercial-style cider (large scale cider production with purchased apple juice). Both are excellent choices for cider, and the market is happy to buy both. I think we have a few more years of consumer education, with more small-scale cideries opening, to help expand the ‘craft’ cider market. 27
SCFC: Cider awareness is approaching “mainstream”, although—similar to craft beer—craft cider only accounts for a minor share of the total volume of cider available in BC. We are mindful of this competitive cider environment, and so we helped found the BC Farm Crafted Cider Association, whose members are all farm-based cideries growing their own apples for cider. I think we can all benefit from working together as an industry to promote BC cider. We grow the best apples in the world, and have shown the world that we can produce some of the best cider as well.
It seems like not much has changed since we ran a story about the state of cider regulations last year. Is there anything you’d like improved about the way Victoria handles cider? MC&D: Not much has changed in the last year. The main issues that need attention going forward relate to access to consumers. Grocery stores will always prefer the high volume lowered priced SKU’s if given the opportunity, and consumers like the convenience of the one-stop shopping. Because most of us are small niche producers with more intimate distribution chains, we need some assistance to ensure that retailers avoid favouring the large commercial cider companies. FVCC: Obtaining my licence was not onerous. But I do wonder about the complexity of the operating system. There are so many rules about how much cider we can serve for a tasting, where we can serve it, what we can charge for it, how we can operate our space in terms of providing snacks or entertainment or even a second glass of cider! I would like to think that, as long as we are being responsible businesses, serving our clients safely and not disturbing our neighbours, the government shouldn’t be getting too involved.
Grafting TCCC: I’m pretty happy with the LDB and liquor licensing setup, and personally don’t have any requests for improvement. As the President of the BC Farm Crafted Cider Association, I know that the majority of our members are also fairly happy with the current status, and are not in favour of any changes to the land-based cidery license structure. SCFC: The regulatory environment is evolving, but I think it’s important for them to recognize the importance of BC’s farmbased cideries and their contribution to BC’s cider industry and agricultural economy—as well as the overall authenticity and quality of BC craft cider. I hope they will always support those tenets.
Fun question: Cider: more like beer, or like wine? MC&D: It’s more like wine. No, maybe beer. No, make that wine. Actually, it draws the best from each. It can be cold, refreshing, and quaffable like beer, but without the glutens or the bloating. It can be full of body and tannins and very food-friendly like wine. It is best when fermented slowly at lower temperatures and sometimes even aged, as a wine. But it is lower alcohol and often carbonated to make it enjoyable in multiple pints!
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FVCC: Definitely more like wine! The process is the same and the resulting cider can taste like a fine champagne if done right. Did you know: the English originally invented the “methode champenoise” to produce their cider and perry in the 1600s. The French saw it, thought it was a great idea, and look what they’ve done with it! SHCC: Crafted like wine, consumed like beer... SCFC: Cider deserves its own place on the shelf! Finer than beer, more robust than wine, I think cider offers a contrast to both that makes it unique and awesome in its own right. TCCC: Cider is like cider. It's made like wine, drunk like beer, and is really like neither. I think it’s time that cider is recognized for what it is: another level of fabulous beverages for adults to enjoy. But in the interest of fun, I think cider can be grouped with beer more than wine. My basis for that theory: bigger lineups for cider at beer festivals than wine festivals :)
Cider vs. cider the what's brewing tasting panel
Meet the Panel:
BJCP-Certified home and commercial brewer, and past President of CAMRA Vancouver
aka The Beer Rater, offering an unfiltered view on the world of craft beer
of Hops Canary: experienced beer event judge and homebrewer
Chelsea McDowell of Brewtiful BC: experienced beer event judge and homebrewer
Adam Chatburn owner of Real Cask Brewing: brewer, cellarman, and past President of CAMRA Vancouver
Our 30-point weighted scale Appearance: 3 points
How we do it
Colour, Clarity, Turbidity, Legs
Body: 4 points
Our beer community panellists were recruited to informally judge these beverages, and instructed to give an honest rating, so don't expect a sugar-coating. Our unsanctioned competition uses a Zagat-like 30-point rating including a weighted scale based loosely on the BJCP Scoresheet,
Flavour: 10 points
Adjusting for cider
Overall impression: 10 points Enjoyment, flaws
Rating cider rather than beer means deviating from our regular criteria. This time round, instead of, say, Hoppy vs Malty, we've keyed in on Dry vs Sweet.
Total: 30 points!
Panelist Chelsea has provided the sidebar summary to use when planning to do your own cider tasting at home! -->
Nose: 3 points
Aroma of fruit, etc Mouthfeel, Texture, Carbonation, Astringency Sweetness, Fruitiness, Tartness, etc
Note: neither Whatâ€™s Brewing nor Legacy Liquor Store bear responsibility for the opinions expressed within, which are solely those of the individual panelists..
Meet Miles Michaelis, craft cider expert at Legacy Liquor Store Got questions about craft cider? Talk to Miles!
Online Order Desk www.legacyliquorstore.com/shop
Legacy Liquor Store 1633 Manitoba St, Vancouver, BC 604.331.7900 email@example.com www. legacyliquorstore.com
What We Drank The Ciders 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
>> Chelsea McDowell
There is no one model cider against which to measure all others; rather, there is a wide range of styles within both the modern and traditional categories of cider. One common way to categorize cider is by sweetness. •
Dry has less than 0.5% residual sugar and more pronounced acidic and tannic flavours that enhance the astringent effect. Pair these ciders with pungent cheese or spicy dishes.
Off-dry also has some acidic and tannic flavours, but with 1 to 2% sugar, it has a more balanced mouthfeel and complements a wider range of food, especially pork dishes and mild cheeses.
Semi-dry and semi-sweet have sugar levels above 2% and can have strong fruit flavours, along with elements of caramel or honey and warming alcohol. Pair these with earthy dishes or blend into cider-based cocktails.
Cider category: Impressions Here are some stats pulled from the entire panel's overall scores. Turns out the ciders trended more towards dry than sweet.
Sweet vs. Dry
Most ciders we are familiar with are carbonated, but still ciders, common in Europe, are poured from a height above the glass to induce a natural effervescence. Some ciders can be funky, with notes of vinegar or barnyard, and there are barrel-aged, hopped, spiced, and even ice ciders. Keep temperature in mind when serving cider; higher-alcohol varieties benefit from a lower serving temperature, but lowABV cider will be lackluster in aroma and flavor if served too cold. •
Appearance: note the colour, carbonation level, and presence of any sediment (in bottle-fermented ciders this will be naturally occurring)
Aroma: cider aromas may include fresh orchard fruit, honey/caramel, nutty, grassy, spicy, or even smoky, depending on the yeast, fermentation methods, and apple variety used.
Mouthfeel: roll the cider around in your mouth, experiencing the level of carbonation, density of the body, and level of astringency (a dry, puckering sensation).
Taste: pay attention to sweetness, tartness, acidity, warmth (alcohol), caramel, astringency, and bitterness. The taste will evolve from the first sensation on the tongue to a lingering finish after swallowing.
To match up the pie chart in grayscale: start at top of legend and work clockwise from 45 degree mark (3 o'clock).
And the "winner" is: The highest score went to Central City's Imperial Cider. Somehow our panel, a group of beer drinkers, picked the cider from a beer company; go figure. It also happens to be the most expensive product in our list. It's worth noting that this wasn't a true "apples to apples" comparison because there was a range of cider styles involved. Sea Cider Pippins and Merridale's Scrumpy in particular are known to be aimed at a specialty audience. Factoring that in, all products did quite well. See next page for summary scores.
A note on Perry: This popular beverage, similar to cider, is made from at least 90% pears. It has a slightly sweeter flavour profile because some of its sugars are indigestible by yeast.
Cider photography by Lynn McIlwee
ABV Central City Imperial 11.0% Left Field Big Dry 6.4% Merridale Scrumpy 11.0% Scenic Road Nearly Dry 7.3% Sea Cider Pippins 5.5% Tod Creek Bamfield Bound 6.0%
Products evaluated include:
Central City Imperial 3.0/3
25 26 25 26 28
Pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this. Obviously made by a brewery - very obvious flavours, much like how Central City brews their beer. Enjoyed this one. The oak added some flavour and complexity. Different than most other ciders, I couldn't finish a whole bottle on my own but this is great for sharing with friends! Like a perfect apple vanilla cream soda with a shot of quality bourbon on the sidecar.. Perhaps a little too sweet but it does a beautiful job of hiding the alcohol.
28 26 26 23 20
Very Bubbly/Sparkling. Somewhat Aromatic Really enjoyable cider, could sit on a patio and drink this all weekend then call in sick on Monday to drink a little bit more Prominent apple aroma whereas other ciders were very minimal and more earthy-sweatsox. Crisp, flavourful, not too sweet. A well-rounded cider, excellent for someone getting into craft ciders. It has a good balance between sweet and tart elements with minimal astringency. Nice apple aroma and flavour. Straw in colour, clear/transparent
See www.whatsbrewing.ca/tasting-panel for full set of scores
A bit on the sweet side with a warmth from the 11%
Scenic Road Nearly Dry
Left Field Big Dry
21 26 27 28 21
I like dry but this is a bit ta
Going to grab more of this
Dry and tart with body. En
A very lovely cider, well lik vour, "you can actually ta and dry finish.
A solid quaffable dry cide consumable in multiple b
Sea Cider Pippins 2.8/3
18 20 23 25 26
Somewhat Aromatic. Too
Sugary Sweet, Fruity/App
Sweeter, prominent appl a friend
A great cider overall, ver on the sweet side for my to the full apple flavour.
Citrusy, honey. Somewh mend this to a friend
Merridale Scrumpy 2.6/3
ked by everyone at my tasting. Great flaaste the apples" well balanced with body
er that would be a great summer sipper, bottles.
Big flavours w/ alcohol warmth. I would pay money for this Fruit, Floral or Herbal, Piney or Woody Heavily oaked, which overtakes the apples on the nose and taste. But I would recommend this to a friend A bit of an acquired taste. The table of friends I was tasting this with said this one wasn't their "cup of cider". Not a true scrumpy but a cracking cider none the less. I would recommend this to a friend
Tod Creek Bamfield Bound 3.0/3
23 16 23 20 25
art for me.
Very approachable - not too sweet or tart, well balanced. Doing this blind - when told this had maple syrup I was surprised as I would have expected sweeter and perhaps too sweet.
ery well rounded and easy drinking. A bit own taste, but that can also be attributed
My group liked this one the best. The maple is well played with having enough of a presence without overwhelming the delicate apple flavour. So good! I'm hooked!
hat Astringent / Dry Feel. I would recom-
A divisive cider, I was a fan but others I was with found it tough to finish.
o sweet for me.
pple, Stone Fruit (eg, Peach, Plum).
le, nice body. I would recommend this to
Generally not a fan of maple in alcohol. I wouldn't have picked out the maple if I hadn't seen it on the bottle.
Apple with maple syrup. Somewhat Astringent / Dry Feel. I would pay money for this
Making Hard Cider From Juice >> warren boyer
ast summer, many new BC craft ciders appeared on the market. My wife isn't fond of beer but she enjoys a nice cider, so I bought many bottles over the summer. It got me thinking about making some cider of my own. I had heard of some Vanbrewers members making cider from store-bought apple juice and decided to try it. I found a downloadable PDF from Northern Brewer, “A basic overview of making hard cider from juice”, that gave me enough information to feel comfortable.
In September, I bought 20 litres of SunRype blue label apple juice on sale, a litre of pear juice, and some yeast nutrient and dry English cider yeast. Straight apple juice will give you a cider with about 4.5% to 5%; if you like it stronger, you can add corn sugar. One pound to five gallons adds about 1% alcohol. On the day, I mixed a pound of corn sugar with a few cups of boiling water and left it covered to cool. I cleaned and sanitized a carboy, my scissors, and each box of juice. I carefully filled the carboy with the juice, added about a teaspoon
Our cider was dry, the way we like it. If you prefer a sweeter cider, I recommend filtering and back-sweetening with apple juice or frozen concentrate before force-carbonating.
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of yeast nutrient, poured in the sugar water, and pitched the yeast. Finally, I fitted the carboy with an airlock. Two weeks later, we bottled in one-litre swing tops with 3/4 cup of priming sugar and some gelatin. Two weeks after that, we anxiously poured samples. I was pleasantly surprised by how delicious our cider was; I preferred it over some of the commercial stuff. I was also surprised how economical it was to produce, in time and money; it took a fraction of the time needed for a batch of homebrew, and cost about $1.50 per litre!
OOL BEER SCH
E ING CAN H NAL TAST IO S S ! E F Y O A PR US TOD CONTACT astings orporate T Private & C Classes Education ing Outlet Train Hospitality
Delicious when fermented
The finished cider was a little bit hazy. I have since learned that a bit of pectin will help clear that up. It is not necessary to have cider yeast. I know Cider Riot! in Portland uses ale yeasts to create their products, so whatever yeast you have on hand will do just fine. The one thing you will need, though, is yeast nutrient, because apple juice does not provide everything your yeast needs to be healthy. In the future I may try adding other juices, such as raspberry or lemon, to the apple juice. I have sampled some dry-hopped ciders that were quite good, so I may try that as well. As with brewing beer, there is plenty of room for experimentation and exploration. Try something different and go make some cider!
Warren Boyer is an award-winning home and professional brewer, Certified Beer Judge, and Past President of CAMRA Vancouver. Reach Warren at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brew Club Corner
Homebrew Club Listing Tri-Cities Cask Festival Presents Bursary for Female Brewing Student Back in July, the Tri-Cities Cask Festival Association, billed as the organizers of the largest cask beer festivals in Western Canada, presented Kwantlen Polytechnic University Foundation with a $7500 donation to provide bursaries for female students of the KPU Brewing and Brewery Operations program. The bursary will go to qualified second-year female students of the KPU brewing program, to help them complete their studies. The TCCFA has committed to increase their support of women in brewing, with plans to offer internships and opportunities for graduates of the program. Well done TCCFA on this amazing accomplishment!
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.
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profiles: women in beer
Erin Dale: Barkerville Brewing Co.
arkerville Brewing is a name with history, having originally been applied to a brewery built in Barkerville BC in 1865. Nicolas Cunio, an Italian immigrant, made its natural-spring-water beer popular during the gold rush period. But two fires in 20 years forced closure. Now, over 150 years later, the name has been re-established by a craft brewery in picturesque Quesnel, BC. I have been interviewing women in the beer industry for almost five years. Many I have met by fluke when at an event or brewery tour, and we strike up a friendship. But I have never met Erin Dale, or been to her brewery; we were connected by Dave Smith, publisher of What’s Brewing. I am looking forward to meeting her in the near future, but until then, let’s get to know a bit more about her together!
>> lundy dale
I think a bit of both. Before the brewery was pouring beer, they were open for merchandise sales. I found out what job opportunities were available, geared my cover letter for those, and it worked! It seems that people who get into the microbrewery business have passion; how did you discover your passion for beer? I’ve always liked beer. I used to think I was a picky beer drinker before working here (I probably wasn’t that picky). I think having a hand in something fosters passion. Knowing how much work, and how careful and intentional people are every step of the way, really makes me appreciate beer a lot more than I did before. Do you feel respected in your role?
Name & position at brewery?
Erin Dale, Head Brewer, Barkerville Brewing Co.
How do you feel about being a minority female presence?
How long have you been in the position?
I don’t really think it’s a big deal. Among other brewers and people in the industry I feel like it’s a non-issue. When dealing with the public and shippers it’s just like everywhere else in life; the driver shows up and looks for a guy—any guy—to unload the truck. And then the next time, they look for me.
I have been the head brewer—which sounds funny because we only have one brewer—since October of 2016, and I’ve been at the brewery since the week we opened, so three and a half years. What brought you into the industry? I was working in the bush for a very long time and trying to get out. Someone in town told me that a brewery was going to open, and I decided that I was going to work there. Luckily for me, it actually happened. What brought you to this specific choice? Did you choose the job, or did the job choose you? 38
Are there advantages of being a woman in the industry? It’s a bit of a novelty, especially here in the North. Ours sales manager, Nolan, was at an event in the spring and he said he had multiple people come up and ask about it being all women at our brewery (it’s not all women, just mostly). Are there disadvantages of being a woman in the industry? I guess I don’t know. It’s kind of like being short. If you’re short Continued on p. 47
beer seekers on tour Northern BC: the Beer Frontier >> Ivana & Dave Smith
ast year, we did a really comprehensive tour of the Okanagan and Interior that we documented in a giant 3-part series called Staycation BC. At that point, we had been to most regions of BC for beer. This time we planned to cover the final frontier: Northern BC, home to a string of pearls along Yellowhead Highway 16.
Circumstances got in the way of our original plan, which was to cover all of the North. It began with wildfires, which almost eliminated the whole trip; more on that later. Here are the places we were able to get to on a brief long weekend trip.
Day 1: Kamloops Iron Road Brewing Kamloops is gearing up to become a craft beer destination. Along with Noble Pig, a well-established brewpub, and the redoubtable Red Collar Brewing, there is a new kid on the block. Iron Road opened their doors on Wednesday, August 2nd (only one month behind original plan!). As luck would have it, the BeerSeekers rolled into town the very next day. The brewery is located a little outside of downtown, across from the Thompson Rivers University campus. Owners Richard Phillips and Jared Tarswell are both geologists who were looking for a change of pace and wanted to start a small business together. The laid-back, outdoorsy, and affordable lifestyle in Kamloops drew them to the town. They relate that Kamloops is often considered to be wine territory, but people here really know their beer and have been very supportive of small local businesses like theirs. Head Brewer Aaron MacInnis, formerly of Main Street Brewing, has crafted five recipes to get things started. The lager, pale ale and IPA are projected to be the mainstays, while the summer ale and farmhouse ale are the current seasonals. In case you’re hungry, their kitchen specializes in light fare with a Mexican theme including various tacos. On the evening that we visited, the tasting room was jammed with happy patrons enjoying their first tastes of what this new brewery had to offer.
Day 2: Kamloops to Valemount Big Horn Hops Big Horn Hops, formerly Hops Canada, has undergone a change in ownership and management over the past year. We met up with Ian, who has been here since its start in the spring of 2015, and spent some time chatting with him about the operation. You can read about the new management in this magazine’s Harvest Issue Hops Spotlight Q&A with Ian.
Iron Road Head Brewer Aaron MacInnis The hop yard has 137 acres of growing space. The hop plants wind their way up 7,000 wooden posts that were all hand-set by Ian and a small team of helpers. They grow 20 varieties of hops, the main ones being the three Cs: Cascade, Centennial and Chinook. They also import and broker hop varieties from the USA. The company is constructing a processing building on the property that should be ready by harvest time this year.
Three Ranges Brewing A few hours’ drive northeast of Kamloops on scenic Highway 5, and just an hour west of Jasper, the small community of Valemount is nestled in a valley surrounded by three beautiful and majestic mountain peaks. There you will find Three Ranges Brewing, owned by the engaging and hospitable Michael Lewis. A Texan by birth, Michael is also a homebrewer and a retired military helicopter pilot. Asked what brought him to Canada, Michael smiled shyly and replied, “a girl...” Michael and his wife Rundi met while he was stationed in the Pacific Northwest. One thing led to another, and they ended up as co-owners (and Michael the head brewer) of this beloved little brewery. BeerSeekers luck was evident again; we were right on time for a rare Friday cask night. The night’s creation was a hibiscus blonde ale, complete with a Hawaiian lei on the cask. It was pink, light, and delicious (the beer, that is. The lei probably was too). The other bit of timing that Friday: it was assistant brewer Clayton Gee’s 50th birthday! We had a great time hanging out with them and closing the place down. The Three Ranges tap list includes four mainstays and a number of rotating seasonals, so there is something for every pal39
Day 3: Prince George Crossroads Brewing Crossroads is a beautiful brewery and tasting room rebuilt in place of an old car dealership building in downtown PG. It opened in March, but the easy atmosphere and smooth-running operation makes you think that it’s been around much longer. We met with local physician and co-owner Daryl Leiski, who showed us around the place with justified pride. Their brewhouse comes from Central City’s original Surrey brewpub. CC Brewmaster Gary Lohin served as consultant during Crossroads’ startup phase. The brewhouse area is large and spotless (brewers will appreciate its impressive, easy-toclean sloped floor). Credit for that no doubt goes to head brewer Patrick Moore, a very experienced beer man who hails from Howe Sound Brewing (and who gave considerable input at the revitalized R&B location).
Michael & Rundi Lewis of Three Ranges Brewing ate. Like many craft breweries, Three Ranges is a huge supporter of the community and believes in giving back, and Michael and Clayton are both former military men. As a result, every week ends with RED Friday (a military abbreviation for Remember Everyone Deployed). On that day, all the staff wear red shirts (again, the luck: we both happened to show up wearing red) and the proceeds from the day’s sales of Sacrifice Ale (and the contents of the tip jar, which the brewery matches) go to Communities for Veterans. In June, Michael and Three Ranges presented the first annual vALEmount Craft Beer Experience festival and fundraiser, an amazing success that has raised $25,000 for charity.
Crossroads boasts an extensive food menu including mouth-watering pizza made in a wood-fired Italian oven. An extensive beer list (nine beers on tap during our visit) ensures that there is a beverage for everyone. They are also beginning to package their product, so you may be lucky enough to find a can at your local liquor store one day.
Day 4: Quesnel to 100 Mile House Barkerville Brewing The last (planned) day on this brewery tour began in the city of Quesnel, home to Barkerville Brewing. We toured the back with Head Brewer Erin Dale. Erin is a local who, upon hearing
Smoked Out: A summer of fire Erin and Justine at Barkerville; Ashley hiding from camera
How BC’s worst-ever year for wildfires affected the North Central region's breweries
General Manager Justine Pelletier has a background in manufacturing and keeps the place running smoothly. We also met camera-shy Retail Manager Ashley Pooley running the tasting room, which was tidy, well-appointed and dog-friendly. Some of the team members are company shareholders--and they’re fully invested in the brewery emotionally as well. “We’ve all cried at work at least once”, Erin says.
Summer is usually the busiest season for a tasting room and brewery, but tourism-related visitor numbers in North Central BC took a hit in 2017 due to road closures and travel cancellations. The reason: the single worst year for forest fires in British Columbia’s history. As we toured the area, we couldn’t help but take note of the wildfires’ effect on local craft businesses. In Quesnel, Barkerville Brewing became an active leader for wildfire relief, donating proceeds from some of their sales to the Red Cross. As of late August, they were planning to continue doing so for some time. In addition, they made a collaboration beer with Crossroads (Community, appropriately a smoked alt), with 100% of the proceeds going to the Red Cross relief fund. Many of Barkerville's suppliers supported the cause by donating supplies used to make the beer.
A visit to the area is incomplete without a stop to the historic town of Barkerville, an hour’s drive east of Quesnel. When we made the trip there, BeerSeekers luck came into play yet again, as there was a major arts festival (ArtsWells) underway in nearby Wells BC that weekend.
Kamloops was not in the direct path of any fires, but the city was highly affected by smoke. On the day that we were there, air quality was rated at 47 on a warning scale that normally ranges from one to ten. The air felt thick and dirty, providing a good excuse to stay indoors with a pint.
Jackson’s Social Club and Brewhouse
Red Collar owners David, Annamarie, and Lara Beardsell all noted that they were escaping town to avoid getting smoked out that weekend (we didn’t take it personally). At the brewery, a wildfire relief campaign was underway, based on sales of certain beers. They had raised around $1,000 at the time of this writing.
there was a brewery opening in town, became determined to work there. Find out more in this issue’s Women In Beer spotlight by Lundy Dale (no relation!). The beer samples we had at the brewery, and at a couple of pubs around the area, were of a consistently high quality. Erin has it under control!
On Highway 97 you’ll find 100 Mile House, home to another new craft brewery. Jackson’s Social Club and Brewhouse, owned by local entrepreneur Keith Jackson, arose from the barely-warm ashes of 2016’s Broke’n’Rode Brewing Co. Keith bought the place in November 2016 and got straight to work applying for licenses and getting ready to brew some beer. With a small but welcoming car-themed tasting room and patio, Jackson’s qualifies as a nano-brewery. They have five beers on tap, plus wine, cider, and a small menu of snacks. The brewery also boasts an on-site coffee bar.
High 5 Craft Beer Tour The sense of community that is always present in craft brewing was evident with these northern breweries. Being far away from the Lower Mainland or the Okanagan, they have worked to create their own northern hub, manifesting itself in a travelling beer festival. Aside from Three Ranges, Crossroads and Barkerville, the "High Five" are Wheelhouse Brewing of Prince Rupert, and Terrace's Sherwood Mountain, all pouring beer at a set of Northern BC events along Highway 16 in mid-September. See the High 5 Tour on Facebook.
At the Big Horn Hops farmyard outside Kamloops, Ian noted some concern that the smokiness of the sky and lack of sunlight might affect their 2017 crop—a reminder that beer is an agricultural product beholden to mother nature. In 100 Mile House, Jackson's Social Club and Brewhouse was closed for two weeks in July when the town was evacuated. What did brewer Keith Jackson do? Why, he travelled up to Valemount and spent some time volunteering at Three Ranges! At Jackson’s we were greeted by Alanna, who works the tasting room part time. She noted that a lot of folks headed south to Kamloops, and even the Lower Mainland during the evacuation. She herself doesn't live in town and wasn't forced to leave, but she wasn't immune to the effects of the evac. Not only did her work shut down, but a good friend of her boyfriend lost his house. Craft breweries and related businesses all over BC made a point of getting involved in Wildfire fundraising in 2017. In addition to the efforts of Barkerville, Red Collar and others, Chilliwack's Old Yale Brewing announced $10,000 in donations at the beginning of September, and brewers gathered at Vancouver's 12 Kings Pub for a fundraiser in August. 41
ullage & Spillage
The Craft Beer is Out There >> j. random
am always delighted to hear of a new craft brewery opening in one of BC’s smaller towns, providing another place with a good selection of my favourite tipple (see the Beerseekers’ Central BC Beer Tour in this Issue for examples). Also it is usually an indication of the availability of other craft beers from the cities or, increasingly, other small towns that may have developed a local demand. I wonder if any readers can beat my tale for possibly the remotest establishment selling craft beer in BC.
My memories of the Port Renfrew Pub, at the southern end of The West Coast Trail, were pretty hazy, but I could have sworn that 23 years ago it was a low-ceilinged smoky dive offering cheap rooms for loggers, fishermen and hikers upstairs and a selection of mass-market lagers downstairs. Things have changed. I had a nasty feeling of jamais vu. The building looks the same—the original 1927 building burned down in 2003 and was rebuilt in the original exterior style—but the pub is now an open-plan room with a two-storey vaulted ceiling where the rooms used to be. The best news is the bar stocks a rather good selection of craft beer from Red Arrow Brewery in Duncan and R&B Brewing in Vancouver. The Red Arrow Midnight Umber Ale was very much to my taste.
two and half more hours’ drive to the west coast of Vancouver Island. Another fifteen minutes’ drive, plus a five-minute boat ride, will take you to the southern trailhead of the West Coast Trail. Then after three and a half days of backpacking a rough, muddy stretch of trail filled with protruding roots and blow-down, you reach Chez Monique’s at the north end of Carmanah Beach.
The beer selection on Chez Monique's liquor rack Now an institution on the West Coast Trail, Chez Monique’s started with burgers cooked on a propane barbeque and beers from a cooler, served in a rickety tent on Dididaht First Nation land. Monique, a Quebec Métis, had married into the band. Supplies were originally trucked in on an old logging road to the edge of the narrow coastal park then hand-bunked along a trail to the reserve. These days, supplies are brought in by boat, weather permitting.
Where to get Pale Ale on the West Coast Trail. Note white cooler. Man holding Cutthroat is NOT J. Random. (As an aside, I am calling an immediate halt to the establishment of any new craft breweries starting with the word red. We already have Red Racer, Red Truck, Red Collar and Red Arrow and I believe that is quite sufficient for one province.) Perhaps you were thinking that my story was focused on Port Renfrew, just because it does not have cellphone service. No, the place I want to take you is a little more remote than that. Port Renfrew is half a day’s travel from downtown Vancouver— half an hour’s drive to the ferry, a couple of hours on a ferry, and 42
The modern and much more famous Chez Monique’s boasts several tents, an industrial kitchen with a staff, multiple coolers, racks of drinks, and an array of covered tables and chairs. The beers have changed, too. In 1994, the least-worst available was Heineken. Mass-market lagers are still on offer, but so are several offerings from Stanley Park Brewery and Tree Brewing. Tree’s Cutthroat Westcoast Pale Ale went down very nicely, washing the sand and silt out of our throats in a way that filtered or purified creek water had not. Chez Monique’s is a great place to relax and enjoy the first meal in days that hasn’t been rehydrated over a tiny stove and raise a toast to completing the nasty half of one of the most dangerous hikes in the world. So what’s the most remote establishment that surprised you with its selection of craft beer?
J. Random has been writing from Vancouver for What's Brewing since 2003. He otherwise does exist, but only randomly.
great hop forward Cele-beer-ating Canada 150 in Shanghai >> Rick Green
henever I go abroad, I like to bring beer from home to share with strangers. Beer is a social lubricant that helps break down barriers and may even open doors to unexpected experiences. At the very least, it gives foreigners an opportunity to learn about our country and culture while tasting a brew that, even today, is rarely seen outside of BC.
This trip to China was the first research trip for writing my craft beer guide to the country. I started at the Craft Beer China Exhibition & Conference (CBCE) in Shanghai. Conveniently, many of the brewers I had connected with but never met in person would be there, and the conference would also give me an update on the state of the industry. And with 100 exhibitors from 14 countries, I would get a sense of outside interest in the local craft beer market.
You always dread that moment when your bag slides down the chute onto the airport luggage carousel, hoping there isn't that tell-tale stain which says you're SOL. No stain this time, but I wasn't completely out of the woods; a can of Parallel 49 Tricycle failed and permeated my belongings with eau de bière. C'est la vie. The usual solution to keeping beer cold in a hotel, the minibar, was not working. So, after CBCE wrapped up its second day, I carried the dozen Collaboration Across the Nation bottles to Goose Island in my backpack. I left them in the brewhouse cold room to chill while I joined the boisterous crowd enlivened by
Craft Beer China was first held last year at the Hotel Pullman Shanghai South. Its success prompted the organizers, The Beer Link and NürnbergMesse China, to move the 2017 conference to a larger space in the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Center. Bob Pease, President & CEO of the US-based Brewers Association, was tapped to give the keynote address. Two days of seminars were organized into two tracks, one covering the business of craft beer, the other concerned with the technical aspects of brewing. Mike Jordan, head brewer at Shanghai's Boxing Cat Brewery, had kindly invited me to Industry Night, a party for all the visitors in town, to be held at the new Goose Island Brewhouse in Fengsheng Li. The challenge was on to find a suitable beer to bring for sharing, and a solution soon presented itself. Back in January, Steve Beauchesne of Beau's All Natural Brewing contacted me in connection with a brewery project in China. He had bought my book, How to Drink Beer in Mandarin, and was hoping to gain some insight on China. We finally connected on March 2, when he was in Vancouver to do a collaboration brew with Gary Lohin at Central City. I met Steve at Central City Beatty Street, along with his brewer, Kevin James, Daniel Girard from Garrison Brewing, Central City's marketing guru, Dustan Sept and Gary. It was then that I found out about the Red Racer Collaboration Across the Nation project celebrating Canada 150. Gary thought the beer would be out in stores by May 15, the day I was leaving for Shanghai. Perfect! I picked up the Red Racer 12-pack from the brewery store on May 14. I discarded the paper box, wrapped the bottles individually, put them into two plastic bags, and packed them in my suitcase with my clothes as further padding. Experience told me this would do.
Canada 150 toast at the Goose Island Brewhouse free-flowing beer and finger food. Sonny Gyaltzur of Shangri-la Highland Brewery had come the furthest from within China. Ray Daniels of the Cicerone Certification Program probably flew the greatest distance to attend the conference. As the complimentary food and drink came to an end, the crowd thinned. I decided the Red Racer beer had chilled enough, gathered up some small glasses, and poured out samples of the Central City collaboration to the remaining revellers. We toasted to the brewers and (a little early) to Canada 150. Craft Beer China will be back at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Center from May 16–18, 2018. Now what will I share next year at Industry Night? Rick Green of Great Hop Forward is the author of How to Drink Beer in Mandarin. He is a former President of CAMRA Vancouver. 43
have camera, will travel
The Alchemy of Beer in Montréal >> brian K. smith
very two years, I visit Montreal to attend a conference as an Association member of MSF (Doctors Without Borders). The annual AGA (Annual General Assembly) alternates between Toronto and Montreal every year. I always book a couple of extra vacation days to check out each city in more depth. My first visit, 15 years ago, was very disappointing on the beer front; Molson and Labatt had a death grip on both cities. I would ask for craft beer and be told there were six different taps of Rickards, and Moosehead IPA to round things out. It seemed that there was very little progress in the craft beer scene. I love the culture and food of these two cities, but I always left with a bitter taste in my mouth from industrial beer.
Two days later, after my conference, I picked up on the trail of craft beer around the Ile de Montreal. Dan had invited me to come to the third location of Brouhaha, on the far side of the island, for a tap takeover between two of the largest craft breweries in Quebec. Similar beers were paired, for a total of twelve pairings in four-ounce taster glasses. The competitive whiskey–barrel-aged darks were pure nirvana!
This past June, I visited Montreal after a four-year absence. It was like an alchemist had been running around the city, turning bad beer into good! I discovered that Montreal, and Quebec as a whole, are experiencing a craft beer revolution possibly even larger than the one in BC. Every spare moment I had over my extended weekend in Montreal, I went out hunting for craft beer.
Fortunately, after a complete tasting, I was still in a good enough state to take public transit to Ile de Garde in Montreal’s Little Italy. Brewmaster Olivier Dupras gave me a tour of the compact brewery and then sat me down for some tastings of food and brews. This brewery is the first I have visited that has three different tap dispensing temperatures matched to different styles of beer on their 24 rotating taps.
My first night, I arrived late from Vancouver so I decided to just go for a walk and see what I might find. About eight blocks from my dorm at McGill University, I found Bier Markt on René Levèsque Blvd W. This is an upscale chain beer pub with an assortment of craft and industrial beers—a “something to please everyone” kind of place. I found some local craft beers on tap that were delicious: a hoppy IPA, complex Belgian triple, and a creamy fragrant stout. The decor and friendly staff made for a warm experience. Not bad for a random late-night walk in deserted streets. The weekend was off to a good start!
My final day started early with a 9 a.m. appointment with head brewer Sebastian Cadieux at HELM Microbrasserie (Helm Micro Brewery). HELM (an acronym for houblon (hops), eau (water), levure (yeast) & malt) is in a compact space with four fermenters and eight conditioning tanks serving fifteen taps in its pub. Sebastian states "there is still lots of room for more brew pubs. Currently in Montreal there 30 and in all of Quebec just under 200." I tried three of his beers: the flagship Bernard Pale Ale, Earl Grey IPA, and a Belgian-style Sour. All of them reflect Sebastian’s passion for craft beer.
The next day, I was free until 5:30 p.m. Before leaving Vancouver, I had contacted a number of craft brew pubs to arrange interviews with the manager/owners and brew masters during my four-night stay. The first was Broue Pub Brouhaha in the Rosemont district. Situated on a corner, it looked like one of the bars from the Nanaimo of my teens, a few (well, many) decades ago. The rustic interior was unpretentious and comfortable. Manager/owner Daniel Essiambre greeted me with a warm handshake and invited me to have a seat as he prepared a tray full of samplers. Enthusiasm spills out of Dan like a gurgling mountain spring. Be sure to ask for him if you visit any of their three establishments—yes, three! Five minutes away by car is their second location, MaBrasserie on Rue Holt. Brew Master Marc Belanger has been at the helm of this co-op brewery since it opened in 2015. Marc brews all of Brouhaha beers along with five other brewers who brew exclusively for their own brew pubs. Marc also teaches a beer school with courses for home brewers and entrepreneurs. Classes have eight to ten students and are held four times a year. All recipes are made by Marc. Belgian Quad is their showcase beer and is
The last stop was also in Little Italy, 12 blocks from HELM. I was given a warm welcome by Yan and Sebastion of Vice & Versa craft beer bar. Both take great pride in the selection of beers on their 40 taps. Four of the lines are dedicated to their own brewery, Denam. At the time of my visit, the beers from Denam were a dry and fruity saison, an American pale ale, a session ale with wild yeast, and a mango weiss.
rated in the top three in Quebec. Marc’s style is predominantly Belgian and his saisons and Belgian quad (12%) shine. At the end of the tasting, Marc and Dan shared a bottle of one-yearold barleywine (13%). Thick, creamy, fragrant and amazing ... and then I had to leave for the start of the MSF meeting.
About the fast-paced craft beer scene in Montreal, Yan said, "in the last two years, there has been a big jump in new breweries. Brew pubs will keep growing. In the next three years, there will be one to three new breweries per month. The craft beer revolution is spreading like wildfire. This is truly the golden age of beer in Quebec!
Brian K. Smith, MPA is an accredited member of the BC Association of Travel Writers, and is Chief Photographer for What's Brewing.
a view from the cellar
It's the Postbag, er Mailbag, Edition! >> adam chatburn fter my long series of articles about casks I have received a few messages from Cask lovers asking a few technical questions. I present them here in abridged form, with answers:
In your What's Brewing article you recommend leaving at least 1L of headspace in your casks. What's your favorite method for measuring that? I always thought that the headspace was crucial for the yeast to have enough oxygen during refermentation. I was surprised when I did some research and found lots of people saying not to leave headspace! Their reasoning seemed mostly to be that the headspace prevented them from accurately calculating CO2 vol/L. Am I completely wrong?
My views aren't really the accepted method. I do what works for me and what the customers seem to like, and I'm always happy to explain why I do what I do. To fill a cask to the appropriate level, I sort of roll the filled cask a few degrees to see when beer will come out a little. I know that seems vague but I kind of eyeball it these days. I've had sanitized things to dip in but if the beer is foamy the measurement is not clear, and dipping anything in risks contamination. My system means I usually overfill casks, then pour away the excess few ounces; this is a safer bet than trying to top up over and over, which can also lead to infection (I've been very lucky overall). I know this seems counterintuitive, but I honestly find this to be the best system. In the UK, underfilling casks was a serious offense that unscrupulous brewers could profit from. That isn't the same here; all my casks are listed with the LDB as 19L and 39L. The other reason is that over here, stillages tend to be built wrong. They are often pre-stooped so the casks are tapped at an angle; if beer fills the space under the shive hole, the compressed gas at the high end of the cask will push it out. Permanent stillages should be perfectly level for venting, spiling, tapping and serving; only as the cask gets low should it be chocked up. If you tap it on a perfectly level stillage, a cask can be full to the top. I don't concern myself with target volumes either. I honestly think that way madness lies for those who try to drill down the science on it. I've lost about 1% of my casks to popping and less than 1% have come out flat. I try to make sure that each cask is a little over-carbonated, because I'll be able to leave it cold stillaged and spiled to settle for a few days before serving. As long as the cask is kept at fridge temperature and isn’t moved unnecessarily, it'll happily maintain a carbonation of around 1.4 for a week, even without a breather— although I make sure my casks are blown through in a week at most. CAMRA UK recommends real ale be served at 1.2 volumes (if I recall correctly) but would accept anything up to 1.7! I wouldn't win many fans in BC selling beer at 1.2! Pop and most kegged beer is commonly carbonated to around 2.6 - 3.0 volumes. 46
Once I’ve left the cask to condition at room temperature, there’s CO2 built up inside the headspace. Moving the cask to the fridge causes more gas to absorb into the beer because of the chilling effect. Here are some of the factors that can affect CO2 volume calculations and the reasons I don't try to work them out: How attenuated is the beer? What's the exact degrees Plato of the beer? What am I priming it with? Is it pure? What blend of sugars does it contain? Did it mix well? What is the yeast count in each cask? Is it healthy? How much yest is dead? What type of yeast is in there? What generation? How long did you cold crash for? How flocculated was the yeast? Do I need to add fresh yeast? The same yeast? How much? Fruit? What types of fruit sugars are left? How does the yeast react to those sugars? Are there other yeasts? Is there enough oxygen to propagate healthy yeast? Do I need all that oxygen or is a small amount enough? Do I need any? How much residual CO2 is left in the beer? Did you rumble it? For how long? At what pressure? At what temperature? Have there been any additions such as dry hopping with pellets or leaf, flavourings? Do they have any sugar content? Any lees transferred from the fermenter? Proteins? Nucleation sites? Oils? Are there finings? What type? How much? Were they well mixed? Are they fresh? Do they react well with this yeast? How long will they take to clarify the beer and drop out the yeast? Will the cask be taken for walks, inverted, stillaged? How often? How long? What exact ambient temperature will it be stored at? For how long? How long in the fridge? Is it a pin, a firkin, a kilderkin? My head hurts. Do you ever use fruit sugars from purees or juices to fully or partially prime your casks? Yes but I tend to prime my firkins with 20 mL invert sugar, 7 to 10 mL of vegan Biofine finings (pins 10 mL/5 mL). After I fill them and clumsily roll them to the other side of the brewery floor, I leave them keystone up overnight to warm up, as labels don't stick well on cold metal. The next day I put a label on the face and a small label on the outer rim above the shive hole so that when stacked they can be identified from the side. Once labelled, I invert them so that the finings and lees travel the length of the cask and mix further. The next day I flip them back again for the same reason and then I start checking the keystones for signs of bulging. I leave them out of the fridge until I notice bubbling on one of the keystones, then immediately move them all into the fridge. In the summer I have to be more vigilant, because the higher ambient temperature can cause them to over-carbonate and explode. Priming with purees, juices, and syrups is a very risky proposition because the different sugars in different fruit can ferment in different ways and you'll often have to add so much to have flavour that there'll be far too much sugar. I suggest when doing this that you transfer to a clean carboy, add the puree, etc., wait a day or two for those easy sugars to be eaten, then chill before racking to the cask. This is why I sometimes use quality
WOMEN IN BEER continued from page 38
flavoured syrups or cocktail bitters; the flavour is strong and the sugar content is much more manageable. Juices are often too thin to have a noticeable effect; adding juice can water down the beer significantly. Watch for adding recently defrosted purees too. Let them get close to room temperature if you can; adding cold puree is like adding ice cubes, and it will adversely affect the yeast. Leave the cask to warm and condition for as long as possible. Similarly, if the yeast is active, dumping anything icy, sugary, or acidic in may cause some immediate foaming. There's enough ambient oxygen for the yeast after racking a cask, but I find they don't really need it; a small amount of yeast will make more than enough CO2. The bonus is that the yeast will grab most available oxygen, hopefully preventing the beer from becoming oxidized. How long can a cask be kept before going flat? How do you clean a cask? Once opened, a cask can go flat in a few hours. If it is kept still and cold, it will last several days, even a week or more. Temperature and stability are the keys. When one considers that CAMRA UK recommends a carbonation level of 1.2 in real ale it’s not difficult to retain sufficient residual CO2. If a cask is sealed it will, theoretically, keep indefinitely. Cleaning casks is a chore. They should be sealed or rinsed as soon as possible after use. Hop bags or any other item in the cask should be removed. They can be sealed using a tut and clip cork (a spile or tape can be used in a pinch) so they can be moved without making a mess. They can get pretty nasty if you don’t get to them quickly. Shine a light through the keystone end, and look in the shive hole. Remove any dried-on lees with a high-pressure hose or fill the cask with hot PBW (Oxy-Clean) and leave it overnight. When I’m ready to fill casks, I fill a large tub with a hot caustic cleaner mix—remember to wear industrial gloves, goggles and old clothes! I dip the whole cask, filling it up, leave it in the caustic for a few minutes, then drain it back into the tub. Then I dip it into a light acid or sanitizer mix to remove the caustic, and give it a sani bath immediately prior to racking. I tend to do a dozen at once so I can get a little production line going and a workout deadlifting 50k g casks, reusing the caustic and sanitizer as many times as possible. Forr cask questions or anything else, you can email me adam@ realcask.ca or catch me at any of the good beer festivals!
Adam Chatburn is a former professional cellarman, a past President of CAMRA Vancouver and owner of Real Cask Brewing. STAKE YOUR CLAIM™ TO THE QUESNEL CRAFT BREWERY WHOSE AWARD WINNING BEERS TELL THE STORY OF BC'S HISTORIC CARIBOO GOLD RUSH • • • •
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(and I am), you learn to deal with it because you don’t know what it’s like to be tall. What do you love about your job and the industry? I love that there is so, so much to learn. I could read about beer forever and never know it all. I love that there are so many cool and new/old things being experimented with. Old techniques with new twists. Still beer, sours, zero-IBU IPAs—so many fun things that stretch my ideas about beer. I love that everyone I’ve met in the industry is willing to share their knowledge and experiences. I love talking with other brewers. Everyone does things differently, and we all make beer! I also really appreciate that I feel good about what I spend my time doing to make a living. I think beer is a good thing to put into the world. How were you trained? Troy Rudolph was the original brewer; he taught me how to brew. We hired Bill Herdman to come in as a consultant when I took over. He came up for a week and analyzed how I was doing things. I feel like I’ve learned things just talking to the other brewers up here as well. I took the General Certificate in Brewing through the Institute of Brewing and Distilling this past year, and I’m going to continue the diploma program. What is your favourite beer of the brewery and why? 18 Karat. It’s a mildly hop-forward amber-coloured ale. I think it’s well-balanced and very drinkable at 5%. I like to be able to drink a few beers. It was also our first beer, which unfortunately alienated a lot of people in Quesnel, but it won a Canadian Brewing Award our first year, so it kind of put us on the map. It’s a conundrum, that beer. What is your favourite beer outside of your brewery and why? Red Collar’s Mild. I pretty much love every beer of theirs that I’ve tried, but the Mild started it for me. So much flavour and body. Chocolatey, delicious and under 3.5%; amazing. How does he do it? Favourite woman in the industry? Our General Manager, Justine Pelletier! She’s the only woman that I’ve known in the industry until recently, when we hired our retail manager, Ashley Pooley (who’s been a game changer for our business and a joy to be around). Justine is our anchor. She was in charge of the storefront until recently, as well as financials, payroll, LDB, chasing down missing shipments, so many things I don’t have the slightest clue about. She’s bottled, canned, and unloaded trucks with the forklift. Besides all of that, she is the glue that keeps us all together. Both Nolan (sales) and I are very passionate and emotional people who don’t always have the same ideas. Justine is the person who gets us to take a deep breath and focus. Your biggest achievement to date? Quite honestly, our owner Russ Ovans took a huge chance by hiring me for this position. A year ago, I was our cellar tech. I’d hardly ever brewed without Troy here. I wasn’t sure that I was going to be able to do this job, there were so many things I didn’t know (and still don’t). But I feel like I’ve learned a lot over the last eight or nine months, and I think that our continued growth shows that I haven’t failed, and that feels huge. Ed. Note: see the BeerSeekers story in this issue for more about the Barkerville team, and their impressions of Erin’s work.. 47
The Man Who Gave Away A Brewery >> john rowling
heard through the grapevine that Sean Hoyne had given away a brewery, so I went to Hoyne Brewing to find out the facts. Sean offered me a beer, and I asked if he had any special beer he wanted me to try. His eyes lit up. “I have two stories to tell you,” he said, “but first, I want you to try this beer. It’s called Carte Blanche White IPA.”
Sean’s first brewing job, in 1989, was at the new Swans Hotel and Brewpub in Victoria. The brewery was designed and installed by the legendary Frank Appleton, a Yorkshire-born international brewery consultant living in British Columbia. “I had the great honour of learning all that I know about brewing from Frank, and I’ll never be able to repay that debt, so I believe in passing on that knowledge,” he said. “Make great beer,” Frank told Sean. “The rest will follow.” Sean has taught four young assistant brewers about brewing and beer production. Dave McNaughton, Chris McCrodon, Antoine Foukal, and Dylan Hoyne have all completed five years’ apprenticeship to Sean, and this year he challenged them to create a new and unique beer without his involvement. He gave them carte blanche, and they had to plan the recipe, choose the name, design the label image, and decide which brewing processes to use. Their recipe called for specialty malts that had to be ordered in, and the yeast and hops came from Europe. Sean did not want to be involved at all, so he stayed out of the brew house on brew day. He is very pleased with the result, the first beer brewed at Hoyne Brewing by the “young lions”; the lovely subtle Belgian-style IPA with plenty of hops is selling so well that the batch is almost gone. And now the “giving away a brewery” story. Sean’s passion for all things beer includes the whole beer culture and community. While Sean was brewing at Canoe Brewpub, one of the servers, Ram McAllister, took a great interest in what was going on in the brewery, and helped Sean whenever he could. When Hoyne Brewing was being built six years ago, Ram helped set up the equipment. Sean leased-to-purchase the Newlands 10-barrel brew house from the defunct Hugo’s Brewhouse. This system worked well during startup, but as sales took off it became obvious it was too small. Sean replaced the 10-barrel system with a new Specific Mechanical 35-barrel system, and put the Newlands system into storage. Ram, meanwhile, had moved to Ontario. After graduating from the two-year Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program at Niagara College, he found it hard to find a good job. So Ram and a classmate drew up a business plan and found a couple of partners to open the Fairweather Brewing Company in Hamilton, Ontario. Sean heard about this, he believes in “paying it forward. People have helped me and I want to do the same for others.” He called them up and said “If you want to start up your own brewery, I have the equipment 48
Sean Hoyne and Young Lion Chris McCrodon at Hoyne Brewing for it.” Ram and the partners accepted, and Sean shipped the brewery to Hamilton and sent one of his assistant brewers to reassemble it and get it running. Last May, Fairweather’s first batches hit the streets to great acclaim. They are an ambitious brewery currently brewing saisons, a Grisette, kettle sours, and an IPA. Sean is so proud of what Ram is doing. “He’s got the passion to make great beer,” says Sean. “He’s got his head in the game.” And so, clearly, has Sean Hoyne, enough to give away a brewery to a friend!
John and Carol Rowling of Real Ale Productions are pioneers of the BC craft movement and founding members of CAMRA BC. Read John's column in Celebrator Beer News at celebrator.com.
out and about In the Summer of 2017 >> scottie mclellan
t’s excellent to get out to festivals and events and see the people who drive the movement of good beer in our grand province.
Okanagan Fest of Ale: May 12–13, Kelowna
What’s Brewing arrives the night before and visits the gathering spots frequented by breweries and their crews. The Curious Café is always involved, with featured and rotating taps, and lots of the participants visit there. We had a good visit with folks and enjoyed the atmosphere and anticipation of the coming festival day. Lots of beer talk all around the city. Out and about around Kelowna craft beer and breweries abound. You have your choice.
I enjoyed two fresh local brews on tap at the well-appointed waterfront lounge at the Qualicum Beach Inn, served by a knowledgeable barman. The festival was a small-town affair. It was a mixed crowd, both young and old, and a lot of new beer enthusiasts. The brewers fielded a lot of questions about the art and craft of beer. Good work, Rotary, on your first festival. Your intent is well appreciated by the locals.
Cowichan Beer and Food Festival: August 12 This year the event moved from downtown up the hill through the pink archway, a local landmark. The event was sold out, and the crowd had interesting questions and educated comments about breweries and their products.
What’s Brewing was a guest at Kelowna Yacht Club on the Friday, overlooking the festival grounds from the upstairs lounge. A good selection of smaller breweries on tap, and superb food including a fantastic kimchi with a twist. Thanks to lifetime friend and club member Brenda for the night and hospitality. This year, the festival was braced for flooding and the associated chaos, but the sun shone on the Saturday event; live music from the stage kept the vibe lively, and the field of breweries and cider was out of this world. Kelowna is a fun-loving, craft-educated city, with happy festival-goers enjoying the day. Thanks for your comments on What’s Brewing as we visited around the booths. Cheers to all in Kelowna.
Hopoxia: June 10, Victoria (Phillips) This annual event sells out every year. Phillips has fun doing this; brewers all get a summer catch-up day, and guests enjoy some hoppy brews covering a wide range of styles. It’s always great to be out and about in the hometown, yakking non-stop with friends of What’s Brewing and beer pioneers, and of course sampling a wide range of beers. Brewers were provided with a BBQ at Festival end and the music was jumping all afternoon. It was good to see Matt Phillips for a chat and catch up and hey Phillips team, you rock.
First Annual (Rotary) Beer Fest: June 30, Qualicum Beach As if getting out of Victoria early on a Friday for a long weekend isn’t slow enough, the added chaos of construction on the Malahat made for a leisurely drive up-island. Qualicum Beach is a peaceful spot to stay and enjoy good beer from a few local breweries, including Parksville’s Mount Arrowsmith Brewing and Courtenay’s Gladstone Brewing.
Cowichan Festival in Chemainus The local brewery, Riot Brewing, had a noticeable presence with huge crowd support and lots of fans wearing Riot T-shirts. There is no water on the site, but Riot provided water on tap throughout the festival. This immense undertaking was greatly appreciated. Scuttlebutt has it that they were very helpful to many of the other breweries coming to town, too, in addition to hosting the brewers’ after party. Good show there, Riot. There was a good selection of food on site, and the pizzeria at the bottom of the hill delivered some of the tastiest pizza I’ve had in a long while hot to the festival grounds. Fresh and local to the core. The music was entertaining, and everyone seemed to have a great time. No bad behavior was in evidence. Good job all round; a fun event with good vibes across the board. Scottie has written more columns for What's Brewing than anybody else. He is a longtime supporter of of BC’s Craft Beer Movement. 49
Books In Review My Beer Year by Lucy Burningham >> TED CHILD
Published by Roost Books, 2016 Paperback, 288 pages, $16.95 ISBN: 9781611802719
I can’t wait for this test to be over.”
— The author's husband. in My Beer Year
n preparing to take the Cicerone® exam, the author of My Beer Year spent her year of study cramming in as much beer-related adventure as possible, from visiting hop farms during the harvest, attending the Great American Beer Festival, even to traveling to Belgium and Germany. I recently passed my Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) exam and can relate; the BJCP is designed for homebrew competitions and the Cicerone program is industry and serving focused, but both tests uses the BJCP style guidelines. If you have ever read the style guidelines extensively (I won’t inflict a sample here), you might understand why I wish I had taken Burningham's approach rather than drinking and reading the style guidelines alone on my couch.
My Beer Year is a great read for anyone thinking of taking the Cicerone or BJCP exam or who has just finished. People in the vortex of studying for the exams might also enjoy it, whether as an adjunct to studying or just as a break from the style guidelines. Burningham’s approach to learning about beer meant she talked to lots of beer insiders, especially brewers. These industry pros, some famous and some not, gave her numerous golden nuggets about all things beer, its history, how to brew it better, how to be a better taster, how to prepare for the exam, and much else. Burningham's experience as a journalist clearly helped her access and compile the wealth of experience of so many giants of the beer world, and their opinions on so many diverse aspects of beer, into one book. Unlike many other beer books, this one openly addresses the darker side of beer. It is something of an open mystery how there can be so many beer books and so many pages of ink about alcohol without the slightest reference to even so much as hangovers. Burningham talks almost bittersweetly about her expectations changing as she learns, including her lack of concrete learning during the beer fest and the use of dextrose in craft beer, and discusses the changing but still-present 50
The author. Source: lucyburningham.com gender divide in the industry and within the beer nerd crowd with refreshing frankness. We need, as a culture, to overcome our gender stratification of beer drinking; women can and do love beer just as much as men. Port Moody on a Friday night is a great example of crowds of female beer drinkers without a single sugary, purple drink to be seen. It has never been quite clear to me what exactly “creative nonfiction” is. After reading My Beer Year, I think I have a clearer picture. Burningham, who has a masters degree in creative nonfiction from Portland State University, integrates herself, her life with her husband and young son, her love of beer, and her search for greater beer knowledge and adventures seamlessly and effortlessly. This book is eminently, almost compulsively readable—quaffable session reading whose pages, like a couple of pints, go down fast and easy. "The whole time, I was searching for one thing: evidence of beer. My world had become a place where beer was not just a drink delivered in strange glasses but something interwoven with religion, architecture, and mythology. In Europe I’d started to view beer as a thread through human history. Instead of creating access to new territory, like a ribbon of fresh asphalt, beer was a cobblestone street worn smooth by generations of feet and bicycle tires.” — p. 233 Beer pairing recommendations: Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA, Bale Breaker Brewing, Breakside Brewing Breakside IPA, Drie Fonteinen, Cantillon, anything brewed in Watou, such as Brouweij Van Eecke or St. Bernardus, and a kölsch.
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Published on Sep 1, 2017
Volume 27 Issue 3 is the Fall Harvest issue. Its 52 pages contain 24 stories and features, including a 13 page (!) section on Craft Cider, a...