SPECIAL EDITION Volume 30 Issue 2: Summer 2020
TAP HANDLES BEER & CIDER FLIGHTS SERVING BOARDS
n 3 0 y ears
rat s 路 g n o
Cover Illustration: Emile Compion @montevarious
SUMMER 2020 VOL.30 ISSUE 2
OPENING REMARKS: A TIME OF LOSS, A TIME TO REMEMBER
HISTORY: THE MANY LIVES OF WHAT'S BREWING
OUT & ABOUT: 30 YEARS OF WHAT'S BREWING
1980s: WHAT WAS BREWIN’ IN THE '80s
1990: CAMRA VICTORIA: THE FIRST YEAR
THE HOPBINE: 30 YEARS ON
1992-96: BC'S FIRST GREAT BEER FESTIVALS
1994: A BRAVE NEW WAVE IN THE 1990s
TASTING PANEL: BEYOND THE PALE: WEST COAST PALE ALES
1997: GOLD RUSH: THE NEW WAVE PEAKS
1999: THE LOST DECADE BEGINS: THE 2000s PLATEAU
2003: PLANTING A SEED IN LOTUSLAND: CAMRA VANCOUVER
2005: HOMEBREW HAPPENIN'S: WHEN HOPS POPPED UP IN YVR
2006: ULLAGE & SPILLAGE: A VANCOUVER BEER GEEK’S DIARY
2008-15: SPREADING THE WORD: CRAFT BEER JOURNALISM
2010-11: GATHERING AN AUDIENCE: BEER FESTIVALS
2012-13: CRAFT GETS THE GREEN LIGHT: LIQUOR LEGISLATION
2012-15: EAST VANCOUVER TAKES OFF
2014-19: AN UNSTOPPABLE FORCE
2010s: SPREADING THROUGHOUT BC
SOUTH OKANAGAN: THE BIRTH OF BEERTOWN BC
NORTHERN NOTES: A REVOLUTION IN NORTHERN BC
BOOKS IN REVIEW: DRINKING FICTION II: THE LAGER QUEEN
2020: COMING BACK STRONG, AGAIN
REFERENCES USED IN THE MAKING OF THIS MAGAZINE: WWW.WHATSBREWING.CA/REFERENCES ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS TO: HIRED GUNS CREATIVE (BC BREWERY LOGOS) AND BEERCOAST.COM (BC BREWERY COASTERS)
Produced by Line49 Design Group Inc. 300-1275 West 6th Avenue Vancouver BC V6H 1A6 firstname.lastname@example.org www.whatsbrewing.ca Social: @whatsbrewingbc Editorial Group Editor & Publisher: Dave Smith Co-Editor: Paul Morris Associate Production Editor and Timeline design: Navin Autar Copy Editors: Wendy Barron, Ivana Smith Contact: email@example.com Hopline & Newsroom Associate Editor, Events: Edward Kaye Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Associate Editor, Newsroom: Navin Autar Contact: email@example.com Contributors: Abby Wiseman, Adam Arthur, Adam Chatburn, Amanda Barry-Butchart, Brian K Smith, Carnell Turton, Chloe Smith, Darren Adam, Dave Smith, Dustan Sept, Ed Kaye, Gary Lindsay, Gary Lohin, Gerry Hieter, Graham With, Iain Hill, Ian Lloyd, J. Random, Jan Zeschky, Jeff Nairn, Jim Dodds, Joe Wiebe, John Cruickshank, John Rowling, Jorden Foss, Kim Lawton, Kori Wyborn, Leah Heneghan, Lorraine Nagy, Lundy Dale, Monica Frost, Paul Pyne, Rebecca Whyman, Rick Dellow, Rick Green, Scottie McLellan, Stephen Smysnuik, Ted Child, Warren Boyer Chief Photographer: Brian K. Smith Illustrator: Emile Compion @montevarious Web & Admin: Navin Autar, Ligia Margaritescu, Susan Jones Advertising & Corporate Sales firstname.lastname@example.org © 2020 What's Brewing
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A TIME OF LOSS...AND A TIME TO REMEMBER
or those, like me, who are fond of round numbers, 2020 promised to be a banner year. To understate things, it has been a genuine disappointment that the year completely went off the rails, causing devastation in BC's hospitality sector, which most craft breweries are now a de facto part of. This topic, it goes without saying, is a sensitive matter. For owners unable to ramp back up to profitability at 50% capacity, those losses could become permanent, with personal financial ramifications— which is not good. But more than money, that would represent the loss of a dream. The loss of many years of work. There's also been the loss of the ability to employ people, which is something the industry has taken pride in. For some team members, there's been the loss of employment. Many fans and customers feel the loss too. There's no way to make that all better. But perhaps it helps to add some perspective. For the time a brewery is in operation, it brings that employment, that sense of value, that happiness within its community (whether local or province-wide). Each brewery creates fans. Each engenders stories that are captured on so many people's personal timelines. Those memories and stories are not lost. Neither is the triumph of opening that brewery or cidery business in the first place: the enormous investment of effort and overcoming of obstacles, resulting in something most people will never experience: owning their own business, in an industry that many would love to be part of. As a project operated by some of BC's longtime beer fans, What's Brewing has had the privilege of capturing both the good and the bad over the years. Sometimes it's been bad. Take, for instance, 1998–99, when a mid-90s gold rush of brewery openings crashed, and left a crater in the graphs and charts you will see in these pages. Before 2013, the biggest year for BC microbrewery openings was 1997, when the province gained a then-amazing 11 breweries. But in the next two years we lost nine, representing our worst mortality period to date. The pages of this publication rang out the death toll, issue after issue. Many beer watchers have predicted for years that this type of "correction" could be coming again at any time. Of course, they had no idea that the Spring of 2020 might effectively be a hidden cliff at the end of what has been a superhighway of brewery openings in North America. How many victims go hurtling into the canyon remains to be seen. What we do know is that there have been over 55 businesses lost to date during BC's 38-year microbrewing renaissance—Canada's longest such history. This special timeline issue has inspired a new project: a future, online BC Beer Archives where we can keep that history and remember those pioneers. Meanwhile, as long as we can, we'll support the new ones that make it past all the hurdles and challenges to see the light of day in Canada's best and proudest craft beer community. Now, onward...to the past.
Dave Smith, Editor email@example.com
COMMUNITY SUPPORTERS COULDN'T DO THIS WITHOUT YOU Since 1990, What's Brewing has been sponsored by industry members like these. Here's a very special tip of the hat to these recent corporate supporters.
The Many Lives of
>> DAVE SMITH
elcome to a special edition of What's Brewing magazine. We bill ourselves as 'The Journal of BC's Craft Beer Movement'. We also claim, in some versions of our logo, to be around 'since 1990'. By doing those things, we have confused, and occasionally alarmed, some observers. For instance, we've only been conspicuous to most of our current audience since 2015. So who was our original audience? A special group of beer enthusiasts comprising the BC version of a society known as 'CAMRA' (short for CAMpaign for Real Ale). Founded in the UK in 1971, the original organization with that name became the most influential consumer advocacy group in history, gaining hundreds of thousands of members over time based on a specific initial interest: saving good beer (let's not get into the aftermath of that). One of the key principles of CAMRA UK membership was that your dues entitled you to a private newsletter known as 'What's Brewing'. When a version of CAMRA came to Canada in 1981, the Canadians (Camra Canada Brewers Co-operative Inc., based in Ottawa) used the same name for their newsletter. During the 1980s, a BC chapter of this national group existed, with a membership of about 30 people, mostly around Vancouver. In 1985, they registered as a BC society, and for a while there was a BC Beerfront News. What happened next—the rise of Victoria as a hub of craft beer culture—will be described by John Rowling on page 14. Suffice to say, after a quarter century of serving a growing CAMRA membership, followed by a lapse of about a year starting in 2014, the BC version of What's Brewing came under the care of a new generation of beer fans...many of whom had made their acquaintance via CAMRA's Vancouver branch during the 2000s. What's Brewing BC "Mark II" launched in 2015 and became a freely public beer news service. (You can read more about the story of that transition on our website, including a profile by then-CAMRA Vancouver branch president David Perry.) What's Brewing is no longer a CAMRA publication, but we like to joke that it's the unofficial CAMRA executive retirement club. We've been fortunate over the past five years that our news streams (and those of our
What's Brewing from the UK (1970s) Ontario (1980s) and BC (1990s to date): separate but similar publications by and for supporters of good beer
friends at The Growler) have been adopted by a new generation of followers who are just as passionate as we are.
Gathering 30 Years of BC Beer Stories For this special retrospective edition, we reached out to many members of BC's beer community. One magazine is hardly enough room to pay tribute to BC's rich story of microbrewing. So there has been considerable abbreviation of submitted content, with some of it in full form online. Reading on digital? Look for the links.
Tip of the hat to 'Uncle Phil' In this issue, alongside the breweries and cideries we're always here to support, we also pay tribute to the pioneers like What's Brewing's founder and "Editor Emeritus", Phil Atkinson (Past President of CAMRA BC, longtime Director of Great Canadian Beer Festival, and co-founder of BC Craft Beer Month). Yours truly became a WB contributor in 2013 by humbly submitting articles to Phil during one of his long tours of duty (see Scottie's column). After Phil retired, longtime Victoria beer blogger Ian Lloyd picked up the reins. Ian recalls, "I was passed the honour of being editor of WB by Phil in late 2013. I briefly held the role until mid 2014. During that time I had the pleasure to get to know many of the authors in CAMRA (John Rowling, Scottie McLellan, Paddy Treavor, Paul Morris and many more). Phil was always available to help with technical questions and introduce me to the right people." He further notes, "I always liked Phil’s signoff: Cell phone: no. Texting: no. Face: yes, Book: yes. Facebook: no." That sounds exactly like Phil. When, in 2015, I decided to pick up where Phil and Ian left off, they both generously assisted me in getting started. WB Co-editor Paul Morris and I owe a debt of gratitude to Phil for the privilege. Now, let me hand the mic over to someone who started submitting stories to Phil back in 1991, and is now in his 30th year as a contributor. Take it away Scottie!
8 WHAT'S BREWING S U M M E R 2020
>> SCOTTIE MCLELLAN
look back at our publication’s evolution starts with it as a leaflet-style newsletter delivered to some pubs, restaurants, brew-on-premises outlets and other businesses friendly towards CAMRA BC. This began in 1990 on the Island, then expanded to the Lower Mainland. As our name grew, people looked for it. The newsletter had its own holder where folks could grab one, read it and leave it for others. Usually, we left 10 to 40 copies in each business. This dispensing method stayed the same for well over 20 years. By the time What’s Brewing came to life, some early micro-breweries had started up and we were ready to explode into the community. A special 30-year salute to Spinnakers Brewpub, which was in the middle of everything, year after year, promoting the craft beer movement.
Scottie and Dave: two of WB's many contributors. Photo: Brian K. Smith
CAMRA's Role in the BC Revolution The importance of the Campaign For Real Ale Society of British Columbia in the development of BC craft beer culture cannot be overstated. Material examples of its impact on the BC beer community abound: Great Canadian Beer Festival: founded by CAMRA Victoria members, Canada's longest-running Beerfest became the annual event for the BC beer community. BC Craft Beer Month: founded by veteran CAMRA executives Vancouver Craft Beer Week: initiated by a former CAMRA Vancouver president, who invited key contacts from same BC Beer Awards: with a team of directors whose roots go back in part to CAMRA Vancouver Craft Brewers Association of BC: more than one past Executive Director of this industry body founded an aforementioned event and was a CAMRA member at some point. Today's BC Craft Brewers Guild and BC Ale Trail count a former CAMRA Vancouver communications co-ordinator as a key manager. CAMRA has served as a focal point in BC beer, fostering the cooperation that led to many key developments. This continues today. For instance, CAMRA BC's South Okanagan branch (centred in beer-friendly Penticton) has engendered support for homebrew contests, hop growers and so on during the past half decade. Learn more at www.camrabc.ca
The publication grew under the editorship of a few real beer people with the dedication and vision to keep it going. It took hard work and long hours in layout of the mockup, getting the ad copy in from the supporters, then fitting it into place and getting it to the printer. Plus, everything in between that came up. Mailing lists, stamps, envelope stuffers, drop-offs at the post office, all had to be organized. The many people involved include these Editors who kept it moving forward: Phil Atkinson (1990 to 1994/95, then circa 1997, then again 2003-2013!) Steve Fudge (circa 1995-96) Dave Preston (circa 1998-2002) Ian Lloyd (2014) Dave Smith & Paul Morris (2015 to date) [All dates above are approximate based on copies of WB in Editor’s possession] I have covered so much for What’s Brewing over many time periods during the rise of the beer movement, with many themes and subjects and in many places. I have covered festivals around the island in Victoria, Nanaimo, Chemainus, Port Alberni, Parksville, Qualicum; Galiano Island, Gabriola Island, Crofton, Salt Spring Island, and Tofino. I’ve been on the beat from BC, across Canada, the USA, Mexico and Europe. Let’s just say What’s Brewing has been represented in a vast range of places across the three decade span. What’s Brewing gave me a chance to do unending beer-related things and share it with all of you over these past decades. I am thankful for these times in life. To all the previous people I came in contact and shared beers and beer moments with, thanks for the memories. “I was having a real ale in this pub in…” Scottie McLellan, 30 Year Contributor of "Out And About" 30T H A N N I V E R S A RY S P E C I A L | 1990-2020 | WHAT'S BREWING 9
Congratulations to What’s Brewing on 30 years of reporting BC’s craft beer news!
IN THE BEGINNING
What Was Brewin’ in the ’80s
>> GERRY HIETER t’s hard to imagine that it was 38 years ago when the first ‘micro-breweries' in BC began operation. A lot of the consumers, brewers and brewery owners of today are not even that old!
1982 was, of course, the year Horseshoe Bay Brewing opened its “cottage brewery” doors down the hill from the Troller Pub. Since this has been chronicled in detail elsewhere, I will not dwell on this most important event. Having said that, here is a shout-out to beer pioneers Frank Appleton, and the late John Mitchell, for their efforts.
BC's second brewery, in Saanichton, copied Horseshoe Bay. They brewed 1983-1995 Victoria Times-Colonist, Dec 1983
1983 was a busy year for brewery start-ups here in BC, as a number opened their doors in order to capitalize on the success of Horseshoe Bay. It is particularly important to mention that Saanichton’s Prairie Inn Neighbourhood Pub & Cottage Brewery began brewing that year [with the “cottage brewery” operation in a separate building from the Pub, just like Horseshoe Bay - Ed.]. Although this was an extract brewery suffering from infections, the timing of their venture makes this a significant point in our brewing history. Brian Mayzes brewed there for many years.
Bryant’s Brewery (1983) in Maple Ridge was the brainchild of Peter Bryant who hired Peter Haupenthal as his brew master. Haupenthal later brewed at Dockside Brewpub in Vancouver where he brewed the first hibiscus lager in BC. They brewed Bryant’s Lager and an ale called Bullfrog Bitter, and tried to sell kegs to bars and pubs with little success. Bryant sold the brewery in 1984, then brewing stopped two years later. Mountain Ales (1983) was founded by Frank Berezan, who hired Frank Appleton for his expertise to set up an ale-focused facility
in Surrey. Expecting the beer to sell itself, Berezan found out that wasn’t going to happen, so he applied for an export licence and sold his beer in Seattle and Portland, beginning in 1984. Roger Thirkell was the original brewer and later his assistant Geoff Boraston took over to brew two ales: Mountain Malt (dark ale) and Mountain Premium Ale which it was hoped would be the flagship beer. The brewery closed in 1987 due to lack of sales. Similar marketing problems plagued Island Pacific Brewing (now Vancouver Island Brewing). The fledgling brewery in Saanichton had hired Frank Appleton to locate the equipment and commission the brewery in 1984. They also struggled with several infections, causing sales to suffer. Fortunately, they brought in Bavarian brew master Hermann Hoerterer whose recipes and procedures were responsible for a 750% increase in sales in one year. Hermann was also instrumental in creating recipes for Okanagan Spring Brewing and was my partner in the original Whistler Brewing crew (locating equipment in Germany and creating the Premium Lager and Black Tusk Ale). Hermann remains one of the least known and under-rated brewmasters in BC craft beer history. Spinnakers Brewpub, founded in 1984 by John Mitchell and Paul Hadfield, has had more than a dozen The original Vancouver Island Brewing, also in great brewers over the years Saanichton: Victoria Times-Colonist, Nov 1984 including Lon Ladell and Matt Phillips. Notwithstanding a few hiccups along the way (like franchising brewpubs in Seattle) this stalwart is still thriving today. Aside from Mitchell and Hadfield, another important figure at the time was Mitch Taylor, the founder of Granville Island Brewing (1984). Mitch advanced the cause of every craft brewery of the time with his lengthy negotiations with the BC Liquor Distribution Branch. GIB went on to produce one of the best German-style lagers ever made in BC. Continued on page 13
HORSESHOE BAY BREWERY (TROLLER PUB)
PRAIRIE INN PUB & COTTAGE BREWERY
BRYANT BREWERIES (BRYANT'S)
TERMINAL HOTEL BREWPUB (CHEERS)
GRANVILLE ISLAND BREWING COMPANY
ISLAND PACIFIC BREWING CO. (VIB, 1991)
LEEWARD PUB & BREWERY
SPINNAKERS GASTRO BREWPUB
30T H A N N I V E R S A RY S P E C I A L | 1990-2020 | WHAT'S BREWING 11
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Continued from page 11
Founded in 1985, Okanagan Spring Brewing is now shunned by craft beer enthusiasts, but back in the day, their Old Munich Dunkel-weizen and Old English Porter were unequalled in quality and flavour. The brewery was sold to Sleeman Breweries Ltd in the 90s and has never been the same since. Shaftebury Brewing (1986) was started by the now-famous duo of Tim Wittig and Paul Beaton in 1988 and was the original East Van brewery, located on Pandora Street. They were the first ale-only brewing operation to succeed and many now-famous brewers have emerged from their ranks. These include Barry Benson, Iain Hill and Michael Stewart, who have all gone on to become household names in BC brewing. The brewery eventually moved to Delta but was sold to Sleeman, who shut the brewery down and moved production to the Okanagan Spring plant in Vernon. North Island Brewing started up in Campbell River in 1986, and brewer Erik Mairs produced two lagers. One was an adjunct beer while the other was an all-malt lager with a reddish tinge and very nice flavour. The North Island market wasn’t ready for these beers, and the brewery closed in ’87.
Swans Brewpub was opened in Victoria in 1989 by Michael Williams. He employed Frank Appleton to secure equipment and hire their first head brewer, Sean Hoyne, now an industry giant with his own successful Hoyne Brewing Company. Swans remains a beautiful and successful operation today. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that my own Whistler Brewing Company made the '80s list by opening on Thanksgiving Day, 1989. Whistler found a brewhouse and bottling line in Germany and fermentation tanks in BC to brew a lager, an ale and a dark ale in its first years. The 80s were an incredible time for growth, but back then, smallscale brewing equipment was hard to find, and raw materials could not be purchased in smaller amounts to match the production capabilities of the many new breweries in the province. It was hard to source proper brewing equipment at all in North America. One manufacturer was convinced that selling systems that only used malt extracts would be more attractive to microbrewery investors. They pitched extract-based systems as “easy to make beer as it is to make soup.” Lots of entrepreneurs fell for this nonsense so Continued on page 45
OKANAGAN SPRING VICTORIA BREWING BREWERY AND MALTING
NORTH ISLAND BREWING
MARINE PUB & BREW HOUSE
STEVESTON BREWING COMPANY
SUNSHINE COAST BREWING
SWANS PUB (BUCKERFIELD BREWERY)
WHISTLER BREWING COMPANY V.1
30T H A N N I V E R S A RY S P E C I A L | 1990-2020 | WHAT'S BREWING 13
John Rowling, Phil Cottrell, Carol Rowling & Dave Preston at Spinnakers
A MOVEMENT TAKES ROOT
Dave Preston with Phil Atkinson: CAMRA Victoria 10 Year party, April 10th 2000
Spinnakers' Paul Hadfield accepts yet another CAMRA award
BC BEER ENTHUSIASTS BAND TOGETHER On the founding of CAMRA Victoria and What's Brewing
John spent his youth in the suburbs of London, England. In 1962, he emigrated to Canada, then in 1987, a government position brought him to Victoria. This would be a fateful move for BC beer enthusiasts.
isiting Spinnakers Brewpub in early 1988, I asked if the “Real Ale” sign behind the bar meant what it said. I was told about their regular Friday cask program. On the bar were application forms for CAMRA Canada [which was based back East], so my wife Carol and I quickly joined. For a while, all went well. I even wrote a report on what was happening in Victoria for CAMRA Canada’s version of What’s Brewing. But by late 1989, things were not going too well for the society, and we wondered what had happened to our memberships. CAMRA Canada faded away a few years later. Early in 1990 I stopped in at Gavin Welch’s Hobby Beer and Wines in Shelbourne Plaza out of curiosity. He mentioned that another
CAMRA UK member was interested in getting CAMRA started in Victoria and so I met Phil Cottrell. He was also an unhappy CAMRA Canada member, so Phil and I spent an evening on the phone to the President trying to persuade him that sending money to Ontario didn’t do anything for us. We decided to go it alone. Phil invited [future CAMRA Victoria president and Great Canadian Beer Festival chief] Dave Preston, Carol and me, and a couple of friends for a meeting at Spinnakers on the evening of April 7th, 1990, and that was the start. Nobody wanted to be president so I got stuck with the job! The second meeting was in May at Swan’s Hotel & Brewpub. About 25 came, including [future CAMRA BC president and GCBF director] Phil Atkinson and wife Darlene. (Swans owner, Michael Williams, stuck his head in to find out what we were doing.) We formed an executive of me and the two Phils. We also collected a dollar from all present so we could mail out a newsletter. Shortly after this, Phil Atkinson took over the newsletter and christened it “What’s Brewing”. The first issue under that name was June 1990.
We decided to incorporate as a BC society, and while we were discussing this, Phil Atkinson pointed out that there had been a Vancouver-based CAMRA BC incorporated in 1985, but that it was no longer in existence. We therefore went ahead and applied for incorporation and it was approved September 24th, 1990.
The First Year Victoria was the only branch at first, and for a while. For several years, we distributed free copies of What’s Brewing in pubs and homebrew shops. Some members were of the opinion that this was allowing the public to get a membership benefit without actually joining. I felt that this was an advertising device to get new members, so I exercised presidential authority and for two years we continued to give out free copies. For the most part we were a harmonious and enthusiastic group brought together by our passion for all things beer. Don Harms was the bar manager at the old Fogg N’Suds on Broughton Street. We haunted that place as it really did have
NELSON BREWING COMPANY
BOWEN ISLAND BREWING
SAILOR HAGAR'S BREWPUB
TALL SHIP BREWING
YALETOWN BREWING CO.
BASTION CITY BREWERY
14 WHAT'S BREWING S U M M E R 2020
Matt Phillips provides a character reference
John Rowling is co-founder of The Campaign For Real Ale Society of BC and the Great Canadian Beer Festival, and long-time BC correspondent for the 'brewspaper' Celebrator.
>> JOHN ROWLING
BEAR BREWING CO. RUSSELL BREWING COMPANY
ol. WB V
7 No. 1,
. 2, M 17 No
WB Vol. 4
No. 5, Oct
80 Beers from Around the World; some lunch hours we’d try three or four : d bear o n American or Belgian h wit 2007 mith . 2, Mar S beers. Don suggested y e l Har l. 17 No o that we hold the third meeting V B W at Vancouver Island Brewing [its original location out in Saanichton, not far from where Category 12 Brewing is today - Ed.]. The brewery had just changed its name from Island Pacific Brewing. Dave Preston’s friend Graig Piprell wrote a great article in Monday Magazine and promoted our meeting. To our delight and astonishment, 70 people showed up. For most of us, it was our first visit to a real brewery. Incidentally, we were told that VIB was brewing 10,000 barrels a year of draught, and that year had just obtained a bottling line. We were, for the first time in nearly a decade, going to be able to drink locally-brewed bottled beer! John owns one of the most revered names amongst long-time BC beer "insiders". Last October, alongside his pal Gerry Hieter, he became one of the first few recipients of a BC Beer Awards 'Legend' plaque, a form of lifetime achievement award for serving BC craft beer (see overleaf). Full Story
McLellan. John Mitchell & Scottie 2008 July 4, . WB Vol. 18 No
Sean H oyne to as Pub Of The Yea ts Canoe's thir d straig r award ht .W July 20 B Vol. 15 No. 05 4,
The Hopbine, 30 Years On In past issues of What's Brewing, you'd find a column by John Rowling called (eventually) The Hopbine, subtitled "A fresh gathering of news and gossip." It contained brews news, brewery openings, and countless tiny factoids thanks to Rowling's ability to dig up beerrelated miscellany. Here, from the veteran columnist's point of view, is a description of his ongoing contribution, which was a sort of precursor to our current weekly newsletter The Hopline.
wrote a column for our first issue of What’s Brewing, and needed a name for it. I was growing a hop bine [as the vine of the hop plant is known] in the garden, and I realised that its twisted stem just about described the twisted content of what I was writing. I was writing about any item to do with beer that didn’t warrant a full article. I covered everything from, say, a new beer at a brewery (not very frequent 30 years ago!) to a ragbag of trivia news from around the world, beer book announcements (also rare) and new brewer appointments (even rarer), all scattered with my own opinions and comments.
Sometimes I’d report sales figures when available (mostly to do with what were called microbreweries in those days). By the way, in 1989, the per capita consumption of all beer in BC was 79.2 litres, and by 2019 it had dropped to 60.6 litres per person. See, I can still find these useless little gems. When we started, there was room for lots of trivia and snippets of international news. I had a full-time government job, and there were so few breweries and brewpubs in the province that it was easy to keep up. If I was expected to write a monthly version of The Hopbine with today’s BC brewery numbers, it would fill What’s Brewing and I think I’d be overwhelmed! - John Rowling [Editor’s Note: John, you only have to ask current Hopline editor Edward Kaye, also a Victoria native, to find out!]
STEAMWORKS BREWING COMPANY
TIN WHISTLE BREWING COMPANY
BLACK MOUNTAIN SCHOOLHOUSE BREWPUB
HOWE SOUND INN & BREWING COMPANY
MISSION SPRINGS BREWING COMPANY
MT. BEGBIE BREWING COMPANY
TREE BREWING (FIREWEED)
WHISTLER BREWHOUSE (HIGH MOUNTAIN)
30T H A N N I V E R S A RY S P E C I A L | 1990-2020 | WHAT'S BREWING 15
BC'S FIRST GREAT BEER FESTIVALS
Phil Atkinson shares, "We learned quite a lot from that first attempt. Not long after this first event, the topic of holding another event came up at a CAMRA Victoria meeting." Gerry Hieter elaborates: "After the 1992 festival, John and I were having beers at the old Fogg and Suds, and John suggested we open a brewery. I had only been out of Whistler Brewing for a few years, and I knew my wife would kill me if I suggested such a thing after what we had been through. I said to John, 'Let’s start a beer festival'. He liked the idea and the rest is history."
Rowling remembers, "Gerry was working as the Island sales rep for Shaftebury, and I had been on a couple of sales trips with him. I watched how he would give a consumer a sample, and they would, to their surprise, actually like it."
n 1992, what might be BC's first full-on craft beer festival, with "souvenir glass and two tasters!" included, was held in Victoria. It was not Great Canadian Beer Festival; it was actually a spinoff event from a Caribbean music event called Sunfest. More importantly, it involved the participation of CAMRA Victoria, whose founding President John Rowling—soon to co-found GCBF—learned immensely from the experience. What's Brewing reported the following:
"We were selfish in that we wanted to go into any bar and find a beer from a microbrewery, which you could not do very often in 1992", Rowling continues. "So, we decided that we would not allow any “factory breweries” into the festival. People would buy tickets to a beer festival, and finding none of the old familiar favourites, would try these strange micro beers and get hooked."
A Good Festival Becomes Great Eventually, it was agreed that a new brand was needed, so What's Brewing held a logo design contest. The winning entry here is the first official marketing material to sport the name "Great Canadian Beer Festival".
WB reports on the precursor event
BACKWOODS BREWING (DEAD FROG)
BIG RIVER BREW PUB & RESTAURANT
BIG RIVER RESTAURANT (COQUITLAM)
BUFFALO BREWING CO. (BUFFALO HEAD)
KIMBERLEY BREWING CO.
COG & KETTLE (RIPPLE ROCK, MERECROFT)
R & B BREWING
THE BARLEY MILL
THE CREEK RESTAURANT (DOCKSIDE, 2001)
16 WHAT'S BREWING S U M M E R 2020
SETTING THE BAR
OKANAGAN GETS ITS OWN BEER FESTIVAL
By making their festival "microbrewery only", GCBF's founders created a standard that would be hard to follow.
What's Brewing was there to cover the story when the first Okanagan Fest of Ale was in its planning stages:
However, like Horseshoe Bay Brewing, the pioneering event encouraged others to work on their own beer festivals, often as fundraisers. One such 1990s event was the International Brewmasters Festival at the Plaza of Nations in Vancouver each June. However, it would be in Penticton that BC's second-longest running beer festival would become a tradition.
The classic Fest Of Ale motif: driving tourism traffic GCBF 1994 & OFOA 1997 posters courtesy Dave Preston
Beer Culture Comes to Wine Country
Okanagan Fest Of Ale would become a massive fundraiser for its community. Its focus on "micros only" wasn't quite as strict to begin with, but it made up for that over time not only in terms of the attending vendors, but also by adding a judging component to its mix.
GCBF founders Gerry Hieter and John Rowling receive Legend honours at BC Beer Awards 2019.
Advance press for the first annual OFOA WB Volume 7 Issue 2, April 1996
Also, OFOA's timing was good. As we'll see in the next chapter, what would soon become known as "craft beer" was on the rise, and the Okanagan fest became established and known throughout the Pacific Northwest beer community. The new Penticton event makes the news: Vernon Morning Star April 1996
Review of the second annual OFOA WB Volume 8 Issue 2, June 1997
WILD HORSE BREWING CO.
WINDERMERE VALLEY BREWING
DIX BARBECUE & BREWERY
GULF ISLANDS (SALT SPRING ISLAND ALES)
HARBOUR CANOE CLUB
HUGOâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S GRILL AND BREWHOUSE
LIGHTHOUSE BREWING COMPANY
RIDGE BREW HOUSE
BIG RIDGE BREWING CO.
30T H A N N I V E R S A RY S P E C I A L | 1990-2020 | WHAT'S BREWING 17
A BRAVE NEW WAVE 0s Sampler
Four examples of BC brewers whose reputations were defined during the 1990s by then-ambitious creations such as those shown at right: Gary Lohin, Bill Herdman, James Walton and Iain Hill
t the root of the 1980s craft beer revolution was a desire to restore traditional beer styles. Case in point: CAMRA's stated focus on 'real ale', and UK expat John Mitchell's interest in serving a "proper pint" with help from Frank Appleton. Over at Granville Island Brewing, and especially Okanagan Spring with brewer Stefan Tobler, 1980s brewers would pay respect to German traditions as well. In the 1990s, a new generation who had learned their skills both as homebrewers and on the job at 1980s-era breweries broke away from those traditions. They followed trends coming from the increasingly hops-centric Northwest USA, experimented with stronger UK and Belgian beer styles, and pushed the limits of brewing long before the craft beer audience was ready to support them. Compare the sampler pack above with what most breweries and brewpubs were turning out during this era, when Pale Ale was still adventurous for the general public. Like listening to Hendrix 50 years later, it's easy to underestimate just how ahead of the curve these beers were in context; many would have been downright commercially unadvisable to brew. However, a key definition of this sampler listing is that these now-celebrated creations were not just obscure, forgotten one-off brewpub experiments. Certain brewers had the freedom in their workplace to run more adventurous brews on a somewhat regular basis, and they pushed their management, staff and clientele toward accepting new styles. For that reason, most of the examples above were "committed to" (released for sale in packaged or kegged form, or put into recurring taproom rotation) and many are still being made today in the same or reworked form.
COQUITLAM BREWING CO (LEGENDS, 2000)
FAT CAT BREWERY
LONGWOOD BREW PUB
OLD YALE BREWING COMPANY
18 WHAT'S BREWING S U M M E R 2020
Tall Ship IPA Bengal IPA A Hurricane IP eam IPA B d an ck ri B Coffee Ale Continental oked Por ter Tall Ship Sm e Stout Black Plagu Stout sian Imperial us R Tall Ship l Wheat Hill's Specia ream Ale Raspberry C ur Ale ders Red So Imperial Flan bic Storm Lam Oud Bruin Ale age Strong Storm Dam ine W y 1 Barle Tall Ship No. ine W y le mer Bar Thor's Ham Iain ill, James & xoxo Gary, B
Who else is somewhere on this mountain? It is exceptionally bold to paste these four heads on a photo of Mount Rushmore when there are dozens of other highly skilled and motivated BC brewmasters of this era who could be recognized. There were other '90s brewers who could push the envelope, but some will not have had the opportunity to be as widely celebrated for it. Nevertheless, the list of outstanding '90s BC brewers includes respected names such as David Beardsell, Shirley Warne, Harley Smith, Barry and Lon Ladell, Sean Hoyne, Bart Larsen, Mike Kelly, Don Moore, Michael Stewart and Rick Dellow. Around the turn of the century, Matt Phillips, Conrad Gmoser, Derrick Franche, Tony Dewald, Tim Brown and many others were becoming known to their breweries' fans. Victoria's brewpubsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Spinnakers, Swans and Canoeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;turned out numerous great brewers, as did the Mark James platoon on the mainland. However, we'll have to save the comprehensive list for the coffee table book version of this retrospective. For now, accept the disclaimer that our mountain is limited to a very specific and sparsely documented moment in BC beer history. Now, let's hear what a few of the aforementioned brewers can tell us about working in the 1990s.
BIG RIVER KELOWNA (FREDDY'S, 2001; MILL CREEK)
PHILLIPS BREWING COMPANY
THE CANNERY BREWING COMPANY
CENTRAL CITY BREW PUB
FERNIE BREWING COMPANY
Toasting Metro Vancouver's first real brewpub: Gary Lohin on right. Vancouver Sun May 4, 1994
Gary Lohin: Sailor Hagar's Heyday
In the Tall Ship front room, Squamish BC. Pictured right: Bill Herdman's wife-to-be, Shannon.
'Wild' Bill Herdman: Tall Ship Ales
opened Sailor Hagar’s Brewpub in 1994 with a 10HL Specific Mechanical system. I remember christening the mash tun by turning it in to a hot tub for an evening, complete with scotch and cigars. The brewhouse got so hot in summer that I often brewed in only shorts and gumboots. No shirt! I don’t think that would fly today. The brewery was in a small stand-alone building separated from the pub [Ed. Note: this technically puts the Hagar's into the rare ‘Offsite Cottage Brewery’ category, alongside pioneers Horseshoe Bay Brewing and Saanichton’s Prairie Inn]. We were, however, attached by draft lines that ran in a conduit through an underground parkade. I’m glad no one ever found out about that! We opened up with five beer engines pouring nitrogenated ales, plus other craft taps. British and German brewing influences were big at the time, but I was very experimental back in those days. I once brewed and served three different pale ales at the same time, alternating only the base malts (English varieties Maris Otter, Golden Promise and Pipkin). People were amazed at the differences in the beer.
he story of Bill Herdman, idiosyncratic BC brewer, dates back to 1979 in North Vancouver when 17-year-old Bill had a friend whose father had a homebrewing hobby. Also in North Vancouver: Gary Lohin, a classmate of Bill’s brother Tom, both a year ahead of Bill at Handsworth Secondary. When Gary got married, the Herdman boys were in the wedding party. From time to time, Gary and Bill would compare notes as homebrewers. In 1993, after working at Horseshoe Bay Brewing since 1989, Bill and his friend David Philp started creating test batches and branding materials for a new brewery named Tall Ship Ales. Its planned location was at 221 West 1st Street in North Vancouver, right next to a pub named Sailor Hagar’s. They printed coasters with that address. But Sailor Hagar's was about to open their own brewery. Suffice to say the location didn't work out. Bill landed in Squamish in 1994. “We felt at the time that it would be pretty easy to make better beer than what was available,” he recalls. “We felt that if we made something better, it would sell better. That was the basis of our marketing plan. When I look back, it was incredibly naive.”
It also took a long time to get the average consumer to like some styles. After meeting Pierre Celis of Hoegaarden at a craft conference, I decided to brew a cloudy Belgian Witbier. The beer turned out great, so I put it on tap. Waitresses would take this cloudy wheat beer to tables, and a lot of customers would send it back because it wasn’t clear. It took time, but we educated our customers regarding its opaqueness, and it became popular.
"We bottle-conditioned all of our products, and we used the 355 ml US-style bottle (a more squat shape than the default 12oz tallneck)", Bill reveals. "The beers could last a really long time.” Lohin recalls how Bill pushed the envelope with his recipes. “All his beers were super-alcoholic," Gary muses. “He had an 8% raspberry beer.” Yes, actually the Raspberry Cream Ale was 8.5% ABV, an insane number for a standard bottled fruit beer then and now.
Then one day I was tweaking again and unintentionally made the wheat beer clear. The servers took this clear Witbier out to our newly-educated customers, and a lot of them sent it back because it wasn’t cloudy. Be careful of what you wish for, I guess.
How did he get the nickname 'Wild Bill'? “Maybe because of my affinity for wild fermentation and wild yeasts,” Herdman says coyly.
In 2003, Gary took his talents to Surrey, and Central City Brew Pub was born. Full Story Online
AVALON (TAYLORS CROSSING, ~2005)
KAMLOOPS BREWING (NORTHAM GROUP)
BARLEY STATION (SHUSWAP LAKE BREWING)
Here's to a brewer who pushed the envelope a couple of decades before most of us were ready for him. Full Story
CRAIG STREET BREWING COMPANY
PAT'S PUB (HASTINGS MILL, 2016)
DEAD FROG BREWERY
TURNING POINT BREWERY
SURGENOR BREWING CO.
WHISTLER BREWING (FUNCTION JUNCTION)
30T H A N N I V E R S A RY S P E C I A L | 1990-2020 | WHAT'S BREWING 19
Iain Hill in the brewhouse at Yaletown, 1996. Photo: John Gaucher
Storm Brewing Opening Day party, 1994
The Early Days of Storm Brewing
Iain Hill: from Shaftebury to Yaletown
hen Storm Brewing opened in 1994, craft beer was a largely unknown commodity in the restaurant and bar scene across Vancouver. James Walton—owner, brewer, and character—always had to explain that his beer was unfiltered so it would not be 100% clear. After a year of taking the product, one of his customers called up and said “We must have given you $10,000 worth of business. You should be able to buy a filter by now.”
Shaftebury Brewing Company, located close to where Parallel 49 is now, became East Vancouver’s first microbrewery back in 1986. Meet Strange Fellows’ Iain Hill, who worked there in the 1990s, until late 1994.
Unfortunately, James loved brewing but hated sales and marketing. Fortunately, as he tells us, a friend stepped in to help. This guy was a highpressure salesman extraordinaire. He would call and call a prospect until they agreed to meet. His trick was to pour two beers in front of himself then talk and talk and talk about the beer without giving one to the poor victim. The prospective customer was too polite to reach across for it. "By the time it was offered, he or she was really dying for that beer so it tasted amazingly good. Sale closed", Walton shares.
he neighbourhoods where Vancouver’s small breweries have grown up have changed over the past couple of decades, partly because of the people that visit those breweries and the culture that has arisen around them.
Back in 1994, there were generally a lot of sketchy people around Shaftebury’s 1973 Pandora Street location. Close to midnight on Thanksgiving, I left work after a late brew and headed for the bus stop at Victoria and Hastings. When I arrived, there was a very tall guy with a big backpack that looked like it might hold everything he owned. Eventually, he pulled out a big hunting knife and a can of beans, which he began stabbing as he made growling noises and tomato sauce oozed down his arm. Slowly, I started to back away down the hill, but like a hungry bear tired of beans he descended after me. At some point, he slowed and I got away. Thankfully, soon after that, I managed to get the job at Vancouver’s first brewpub, Yaletown Brewing! After 27 years of professional brewing, the thing I’m struck by is the amount of change. We take for granted now the ever-increasing types of beer available, and it’s easy to underestimate the scarcity of people interested and thirsty enough to try craft beer back then. It took me a few years of determined experimentation at Yaletown to develop my Oud Bruin into a beer I would become known for. Our customer demographic was not well-suited to that tart and complex barrel-aged beer. That’s how Nigel Springthorpe of Alibi Room came into my life. When I received a call one day asking for Oud Bruin in kegs, I knew there was a chance that Nigel’s clientele would appreciate my beer. They did, and the rest is history.
The Province: Dec 5, 1999 When Dan’s Homebrew Supplies was attached to the brewery, 2000-01
PLAN B BREWERY
RIM ROCK BREWPUB
THE NOBLE BREWING CO. (NOBLE PIG)
WOLF BREWING COMPANY
COAL HARBOUR BREWING COMPANY
HOYNE BREWING COMPANY
THE MOON UNDER WATER BREWERY
TOFINO BREWING COMPANY
ARROWHEAD BREWING COMPANY
20 WHAT'S BREWING S U M M E R 2020
Shirley Warne (right) with sister Pat (left) and Mary from Tailout Brewing (middle) for International Women’s Day brew 2020
Shirley Warne lands at Steamworks What began as a homebrewing hobby ended up as a rewarding career in brewing, and consulting for start-up breweries across the country, until Shirley Warne made her home at Kaslo, BC's Angry Hen - Lundy Dale
y parents were homebrewers, so I started brewing in my family’s basement. My sister Pat and I carried on the tradition in university...but our beer was pretty bad. After moving to Toronto in the late 80s, I started my professional career with Conners Brewery. I started in the cellar, and within a year I was working in the brewhouse under Paul Hoyne (brother of Sean Hoyne and now an industry consultant). I didn’t enjoy production brewing, so when I heard there was an opening at the Amsterdam Brew Pub I went in and asked for an interview with Joel Manning. After a bit I asked to taste his beer, and it was so delicious I told him outright that I wanted the job. I followed Joel to the Rotterdam Brewery and became his lead assistant. A year later I went back to the Amsterdam as Head Brewer. It was there that Harley Smith (now owner/brewer at Longwood Brewery) became my assistant and lifelong friend. In 1991, Pat and I moved to Vancouver and took up homebrewing again. This time the beer was much better. We would get our brewing supplies from the one-and-only Dan Small. When the owners of Steamworks Brew Pub asked if he knew any local brewers, he mentioned my name. I went to that interview with a six-pack of homebrew and was hired that day. The place was not quite finished, so I started brewing with a shroud of plastic around the brewhouse. It was 'steamy' alright. The ownership structure at Angry Hen has evolved to include three women and two men. It is amusing and annoying that people often assume I’m an employee because I’m a woman. The amusing part comes when they realize I’m an owner. Full Story
BRIDGE BREWING COMPANY
MOZART HOUSE INN
PARALLEL 49 BREWING COMPANY
POWELL STREET ROSSLAND BEER CRAFT BREWERY COMPANY (POWELL BREWERY, 2016)
Rick Dellow during a break in the action while setting up a brewery in Texas, circa 1994
Rick Dellow: starting up R&B Brewing
efore starting R&B in 1997, Barry Benson and I worked at Newlands Systems Inc. in Abbotsford. One of the things we did was set up breweries as required. The above pic was taken at now-defunct Houston Brewing Co. At the time, NSI was experimenting with inflatable paper bags to keep equipment safe during transport; they came in handy for other things too. My standout memory of that install was arguing with the architect who had designed the second floor tank room as if the weight of the tanks and beer was spread evenly like a swimming pool. He went quiet when I found a tank drawing in his own pile of paperwork showing the point load per tank leg. It still amazes me that we were able to brew our first R&B batch just five months after signing the lease for the building. We did all our own permit applications, obtained our approvals and even received our business license while the city staff were on strike. The landscape was very different in those days. We didn't bother to brew an IPA because hoppy beers were an impossible sell at the time. We also had our Boundary Road rule; we learned the hard way that it was a waste of time trying to sell craft beer east of that. I recall pubs in Surrey where customers would turn down a free sample of beer because it was"too dark".
Rick & Barry's first brew, Aug 1997
33 ACRES BREWING COMPANY
THE BRASSNECK BREWERY
CENTRAL CITY BREWERS & DISTILLERS (BRIDGEVIEW)
30T H A N N I V E R S A RY S P E C I A L | 1990-2020 | WHAT'S BREWING 21
Photo: Lundy Dale
Beyond the Pale
A West Coast Pale Ale Roundup
Rum, consequam, cum que dipidel iquodis aut qui alibus et magniscia delici quist, to In the spirit our BC ovidebis retrospective, we have a invexped queofverferr dit ullestibus Northwest takeelestium on a traditional style. Pale Ale is a el et volupid quatusa pores eosam, name that BCnonsequis beer drinkers learned in the 1990s quo quiam dignatur?
cilibus, aperum ratquis cuptiam nis ma consequi vitat audaerum as autem est iur? Quis With some beer styles,cumque like fruity wheats nusam esti omnis nos quiandofficie sours, you don't notice the beer'sut core indredients, nducimos aspiet et, voluptat oditatur?
eari volupta none et et ea con es et apelibu santium voluptatqui ad minvenia sequas dit as you canblaborum see by the fugiat chart it's the comque qui etnot autto veni aut am plete obscurity of the underpinning brew, as itnem. remporit, et occum sim reruntiaecus namely malted barley and hops. But with good old would withmaximus a double IPA. Pale eos Ale isdolum a signature In cusbe vero doloris iust, loremqui solores et as as reptae non coremquibus faccull uptaepe reius, to make it) thanks to Okanagan Spring and others, but toEnglish pale ales, you get both. Of course, since style thataut every brewer (who chooses Itionsequat. Dae nobis excepratem. Uptas es- quae laborerrum a quid ma volum nulparum day's NW Pales have considerably more flavour.
we're doing West Coast, you get more hops, but
should be able to do well.
JAK'S BEER • WINE • SPIRITS
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MEET THIS ISSUE'S TASTING PANEL
Lundy Dale: Founder, BC Craft Beer Month, Pink Pints Vancouver, CAMRA Vancouver. Past President, CAMRA BC Adam Chatburn: professional brewer, cellarman and educator. Past President, CAMRA Vancouver and WB columnist
Paul Pyne of Drink Smarter: Certified Cicerone® & beer tutor Abby Wiseman of Small Batch Magazine reviews food & drink around Vancouver Carnell Turton of Breward Inlet: if the beer isn’t good he’ll say it
Note: neither What’s Brewing nor JAK’S Liquor Stores bear responsibility for the opinions expressed within, which are solely those of the individual panelists.
What We Reviewed The beers evaluated this round:
33 Acres of Ocean Pale Ale
Persephone Pale Ale
R&B Dude Chilling Pale Ale
Steamworks Pale Ale
Strange Fellows Talisman
Yellow Dog Chase My Tail
Overall Category Notes For this group as a whole. For individual scores, turn to next page.
There were some exceptions in beers selected, including ABV and style. Not every beer included was a true West Coast Pale Ale, so factor that in when digesting the comments and results.
And the winner is... Sipping
Yellow Dog might not be a surprise winner for those who appreciate their hoppy beers. However it was close, and the competition this round was absolutely chasing their tail.
WB SPRING TASTING PANEL RESULTS. MAXIMUM SCORE = 30
SELECTED PANEL SCORES SHOWN. SUMMAR
33 Acres of Ocean Pale Ale 5.0/6
Persephone Pale Ale
Photos: Beer Me BC
Note: neither What’s Brewing nor JAK’S Liquor Stores bear responsibility for the opinions expressed within, which are solely those of the individual panelists.
27 25 19 27 22
Slightly dank with citrus layers. Malt bill still shines through, slight honey note, and bitterness is soft but present. I usually drink this beer, but I found it all bitter without the citrus notes that would round it out better. A hop forward West Coast IPA that nails the style and makes you forget about the malt when faced with the delicious citrus hop profile. A pretty solid pale ale; the only one from a bottle in this collection. Some good malt flavour and a pretty good hop balance, well carbed, perfect brightness. Will order again.
Steamworks Pale Ale 2.0/3
20 22 16 16 12 Lundy
22 25 21 25 24
I had forgotten how tasty this beer is. The combination of Galena, Cascade and Citra hops really provide a true West Coast feel.
It’s pretty boring. It's absolutely craft beer, but this beer just tastes like 'beer'. It's too subdued to be considered hop- or malt-forward. Disappointing pale ale with light colour and very little malt body; tastes more like a lager. "Light copper" on the label, but that's not what came out of the bottle. One-note hop profile and no ale yeast character; a missed opportunity. Carnell
18 22 19 25
Crisp and fresh feeling. Slight citrus nose, light bread, caramel profile.
Nice and crisp, with a dry fi citrus and slight pine. Bitte
Highly crushable and a sol
A hoppy pale ale. While be that the "malt-forward Briti
Persephone rarely puts a wish it came in tall-boys be
Strange Fellows Talis
Nice balance of hops and malt.
A bit darker in colour, but n
Just a bit too caramel malt-
I’ve always been fond of th than hoppy. Nice bready n
A bit flat in flavour and tex
Lighter in body yet more fla crisp, and flavourful.
We are lucky to have an exc the lower ABV and the bala bonation might be a little h fully. Over the last 5 years,
RY IS AVERAGE OF ALL PANELISTS' SCORES
SEE WWW.WHATSBREWING.CA/TASTING-PANEL FOR FULL SET OF SCORES
R&B Dude Chilling Pale Ale 2.6/3
15 26 23
Maybe I had a bad can, as I have had plenty of Dude in the past and loved it. This can was sadly lacking in hop flavour or aroma :-(
eing decidedly West Coast, it reminds you ish pale ale" still does exist.
More old school than the other entrants, with a distinct bitterness. Even though this is one of the more bitter pale ales, it's still fairly balanced for the style.
foot wrong with a really crushable can! I ecause you can't stop with 12oz.
Classic pale ale. Dude Chilling has a nice hop balance and very easy to drink. A definite go to!
not reflected in a heavier malt feel.
finish. Not overly hoppy, but still get some erness is mild but lengthy.
lid representation of the style.
-forward for me; takes away from the hops.
his beer. I do find it more malty and yeasty notes, and fruity esters. Very drinkable.
avourful than some of the other ales. Bright,
cellent pale like this widely available. I love ance of the malt to a clean hop profile. Carhigh for me, but it retains that head beautiStrange Fellows have dialed this one in!
Floral and resinous, with some pine. Rich, grainy malt bill to balance out the bitterness. Definitely the more malty beer of the bunch. Nice and bright with just a little bit of funk in aroma. Not sure I could drink many, but good for a park sip.
Yellow Dog Chase My Tail 2.8/3
22 27 21 26 25 Appearance
Easy drinking and refreshing; nice balance of hops and malt. Well balanced. Malts are biscuity and grainy with a hint of sweetness. Good hop presence to carry the flavour throughout. Nice representation of the style. Bitter but balanced, and good for a slow sip. I don't remember this beer as a hazy pale ale, but my sample poured hazy and juicy. Great mouth feel and flavour. I'll have to grab this again. This is my regular pint at the local pub. Love that maltiness and great for a sessioner. Aroma
GOLD RUSH: CHAPTER THE NEW NAMEWAVE HEREPEAKS
After five years of decline, industry beer sales show the first signs of growth - largely from the microbrewery segment.
New BC Microbreweries The first drought
The 2000s plateau
- Brewed in Canada, The Untold Story of Canada's 350-Year-Old Brewing Industry Mainstream beer in the mainstream media: toasting growth in the 1990s. Macleans, June 17 1996
Granville Island Hotel want ad for a new brewery in its Creek restaurant. In 2001 it would be renamed "Dockside." The Province, Aug 18, 1997
'Craft Beer' Gets A Name
Newspaper usage of term "microbrewery"
Newspaper usage of term "craft beer" 1991-2005
FROM A DROUGHT...
TO A DELUGE!
s Gerry Hieter outlines on page 11, during the 1980s, a number of BC breweries had opened following the lead of Horseshoe Bay Brewing. Some may have tried to capitalize on what they perceived as a great business ideaâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;cut out the middleman and make your own beer. They found out it's not that easy.
In the mid-1990s, growth in the beer category began again, and this time it came with bigger numbers from the microbrewing sector. From 1994 to 1999, BC would gain a staggering 40 "craft breweries" (as only the most savvy had begun calling them), peaking in 1997 with 11 opened that year (not counting contract brands or start-ups that failed to open). A now-forgotten boom ensued that Big Beer noticed; it almost brought craft beer into the mainstream.
Of the 18 breweries opened in the 1980s, 11 closed and five were acquired. Only two still exist independently today (see pp. 11, 13). Despite the founding of CAMRA BC and Great Canadian Beer Festival, the first half of the 1990s was marked by an almost complete absence of growth in BC microbreweries. From the time that Hieter's Whistler Brewing opened its doors in October 1989, all the way into 1994, only a single one was born: Nelson Brewing Co. in 1991. Thanks to attrition, there were fewer breweries to begin 1994 than 1989. In the macrobrewing sector, the same prevailed: beer was in decline overall.
Most microbrewery businesses are opened by people who care about beer. But it was clear that, following the trend, some were getting into the business for the business itself. Would they learn a hard lesson?
In the 1990s, annual beer festivals, brewmaster's dinners and beer education seminars debuted in Vancouver.
Newspaper usage of term "craft beer" 2007-2020 The term "Craft Beer" appears in journalism around 1996, declines in usage in 2000 as the beer wave ends, then begins growing again from 2007-2009. Usage then goes off the charts, growing massively until 2015. It falls off in 2016-2017 as the novelty of the movement diminishes...but then rises again in 2020 as COVID-19 brings craft breweries back into the mainstream news.
Black Mountain Schoolhouse Brewpub Kelowna area, 1996-97
When the wave subsided, much would be forgotten.
DEEP COVE BREWERS
FISHER PEAK BREWING (THE HEID OUT)
FOUR WINDS BREWING COMPANY
GREEN LEAF BREWING CO.
PERSEPHONE BREWING COMPANY
THREE RANGES BREWING COMPANY
WHEELHOUSE BREWING COMPANY
WHITE ROCK BEACH BEER COMPANY
BAD TATTOO BREWING
26 WHAT'S BREWING S U M M E R 2020
0000 THE LOST DECADE BEGINS
The 2000s plateau
Active BC Microbreweries
BACK TO A DROUGHT
One In Three BC Breweries Dead
A Second Plateau Commences
In 1999, the five-year "gold rush" of brewery openings came to an end. At the end of the year, there was actually one fewer brewery in operation than there was at the beginning. As John Rowling reported in What's Brewing and The Province, BC held the dubious distinction of being the only province with more brewery closings (7) than openings (5) that year. It wasn't the first time. The same kind of backwards momentum had taken place in 1987.
Those discovering craft beer in 1999 would find hardscrabble for the next dozen years, as BC brewery growth plateaued at an average of one outlet per year during the 2000s.
After gaining 40 microbreweries in five years, totalling 60 since the revolution began, BC was left with only 39 active locations. 21 breweries—more than one in three businesses—had been lost since 1982, and many others had changed hands. Of the 40 gained in the late '90s wave, only 13 are still operating in the same hands today, and eight of those are brewpubs.
Looking back at the 1990s, one sees some of the same patterns that would be echoed in the early 2010s. Things like annual beer festivals, brewmaster's dinners and beer education seminars debuted...traditions that largely went dormant when the "microbrewing fad" died down. It all hadn't quite reached the mainstream, but if you were a keener you might have picked up on it. Keeners in the Victoria area could of course join CAMRA. Victoria leaders realized that they would need to begin recruiting and granting branches in other parts of BC. Those plans would soon come to fruition. Vancouver Sun Aug 30, 2003. Pictured: Mission Springs' Tim Brown
BC Microbreweries: Gained vs. Lost
The 1990s wave came with its own Vancouver beer writer. Stuart Derdeyn regularly covered beer for The Province, submitting a cutting-edge column each Sunday until the wave subsided in 2001. A decade later, Jan Zeschky would take up the mantle.
The Province Nov 4, 1999: Dead breweries remembered at GCBF
BARKERVILLE BREWING CO.
BLACK KETTLE BREWING COMPANY
CATEGORY 12 BREWING
CUMBERLAND BREWING COMPANY
FOUR MILE BREWING CO.
MAIN STREET BREWING COMPANY
30T H A N N I V E R S A RY S P E C I A L | 1990-2020 | WHAT'S BREWING 27
PLANTING CHAPTER A SEED NAME IN LOTUSLAND HERE CAMRA EXPANDS
WB Vol. 13 No. 2 Mar 2003
In 2001, CAMRA Victoria would finally become CAMRA BC in earnest, as it gained a total of six new branches. Most were quickly lost, but for a time there was a CAMRA Nanaimo, Peachland, Osoyoos, Prince George, Prince Rupert (!) and Richmond (Steveston).
WB Vol. 18 No. 4 July/Aug 2008
The latter would prove the most consequential when two key members defected to found the first viable Vancouver group named CAMRA since the 1980s.
Iain Hill, Pat Warne and James Walton at DIX for a CAMRA cask event, 2003
Vancouver gets a CAMRA Branch
t the turn of the millennium, the new version of the Campaign For Real Ale Society of BC had been going for 10 years, but was very much a Victoria group. Only a few Lower Mainlanders had signed up. The Great Canadian Beer Festival was the big draw, and members had preferential access to tickets. A Richmond branch was formed, primarily for that access. It held one memorable event at the Britannia Shipyards: a talk on the history of brewing and distilling in BC by Greg Evans with a cask from Howe Sound Brewing, served by owner Dave Fenn. Other than that, it was meeting in a coffee shop (!) in Steveston. After the surge of brewpub construction in the 90s, Vancouverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s downtown finally had a small craft beer scene. Cask-conditioned beer became regularly available in July 2002 when Bar Manager Mark Andrewski and Brewer Stefan Arneson started monthly cask nights at DIX BBQ & Brewery. That summer, Paul Morris and Lundy Dale, Richmond members, Vancouverites, and avid DIX patrons, decided to break away and set up a Vancouver Branch. They attended a CAMRA Continued on page 45
The end of DIX: Four Beers & A Funeral parade, May 15th 2010. Photo: Warren Boyer
RED COLLAR BREWING
SHERWOOD MOUNTAIN BREWHOUSE
SPENCER HILL COTTAGE BREWERY
STEEL & OAK BREWING CO.
STRANGE FELLOWS BREWING
TORCHLIGHT BREWING CO.
TREE BREWING BEER INSTITUTE
YELLOW DOG BREWING COMPANY
28 WHAT'S BREWING S U M M E R 2020
ULLAGE & SPILLAGE
A Vancouver Beer Geek’s Diary: NOVEMBER 2006 >> J. RANDOM
bout 20 CAMRA Vancouver Branch members showed up for a tour and tasting at Yaletown Brewpub. Brewer Iain Hill ran us through his range of beers and kindly laid on appetizers to soak up the alcohol. We took a taste-bud tour from Hill’s Special Wheat through Brick and Beam IPA to Velvet Stout, with a few others en route. He then gave us a look at his brewery, soon to be rather more cramped with the carving out of a beer and wine store from the existing space. Like most brewers, Iain loves to talk about his art, and relishes the type of questions the odd CAMRA member is likely to throw at him (not to say only one of our members is odd).
There was a Canucks home game, so no cask night at Dix BBQ & Brewery, but The Whip Restaurant & Gallery stepped in with an alternative cask night. With R&B Brewing’s Hopgoblin IPA on handpump, there were a heck of a lot of people, but who was counting? Certainly not me. I was also there for the food, which was excellent, as always. Thankfully, Rick Dellow, Aly Tomlin and Barry Benson have truly brought Hopgoblin back to its former glory. It was all the better for cask conditioning. Sadly, I somehow got one of those defective glasses which don’t hold beer very well. It just kept ending up empty.
I am really not sure who was at the first regular Sunday cask night at The Whip. Certainly, Gary Lohin stood out, but then he always does. Gary’s Central City IPA was on top form. I think I was there, but nobody noticed. People drifted in. People drifted out. Everyone seemed to have a good time. Sundays will never be the same again. But then, they never were really the same. There were always slight, but perceptible differences.
Many of the usual crowd convincingly inform me they were present at the regular DIX Thursday cask night when Tony Dewald launched his Imperial Stout. For my part, I suspect it was the 8% alcohol that saved me from whatever bugs were lurking in the murk in our tap-water that week. On the other hand, it could have been the massive hop addition in the latest cask of IPA. Tony says beer was how we survived the boil-water advisories of the Middle Ages.
of torrential rain and a cloud base obscuring Vancouver highrises, forecasts were promising more of the same. Timmy Brown clearly had other ideas. I don’t know what First Nations rituals he performed all week, but just as the bus pulled into Mission, the sun broke through the clouds...just like 2005. We basked on the covered patio all afternoon, enjoying jugs of Timmy’s superb beers and platters of Jill’s excellent food. The main event was the launch of Timmy’s Winter Ale, quite different from last year but equally complex. A major contribution to the flavour was spiced and oven-roasted pumpkin in the mash, with added interest from liquorice and anise in the boil. Brewery tours were available for those that had not been before. Commemorative T shirts were provided by Mission Springs in sizes ranging from one-beergut, through two-beergut to three-beergut. I ended up with a two-beergut size, which means I have some serious drinking to do.
Was that the night DIX IPA and Taylor’s Crossing Pale Ale were on cask?
Planned to go to tasting of R&B’s Auld Nick Winter Ale at Brewery Creek Liquor Store. Not entirely sure if I went or not. One somewhat positive indication is shed-fulls of said brew in beer fridge on Saturday morning.
Who the heck would venture out in the middle of Vancouver’s worst November snowfall just to drink cask ale? Beats me but, rumour has it, certain persons, who shall remain nameless, nevertheless turned up at The Whip for Sunday cask night. Socks gently steamed on the radiator. North by Northwest Pale Ale from Steamworks Brew Pub was on tap. This time around it was less NW USA and more NW UK.
Canucks home game so no cask night at DIX. Went to see Borat. Clearly, brain now addled to level of 13-year old male. Dreaming about some unlikely future day when craft beer will become widely available in Vancouver (and while we're at it: caskconditioned beer on handpump every day of the week).
Two-thirds of a busload participated in 'CAMRA on a Mission To Mission' at Mission Springs Brewing. I can neither confirm nor deny the presence or absence of specific persons. After two weeks
BIG ROCK URBAN BREWERY (BRV)
Founding VP of CAMRA Vancouver, beer fan for 4 decades and occasional homebrewer. Has been penning the Ullage & Spillage column for What's Brewing since 2003.
BNA BREWING & EATERY
BRB CO. (BE RIGHT BACK BREWING)
CALLISTER BREWING COMPANY
DOAN’S CRAFT BREWING COMPANY
FIELD HOUSE BREWING CO.
FOAMERS' FOLLY BREWING CORP.
FORBIDDEN BREWING CO.
FUGGLES & WARLOCK CRAFTWORKS
30T H A N N I V E R S A RY S P E C I A L | 1990-2020 | WHAT'S BREWING 29
WE'RE OPEN IN OUR NEW LOCATION!
Same great prices and service, even better selection of grain, hops and yeast! Did we mention that real soon now you’ll be able to buy a beer while you’re here? And that there will always be at least two pro brewers around to answer questions—and sometimes as many as four or five? That’s because we’re also going to become (very soon!) Port Moody’s next Craft brewery, Fraser Mills Fermentation Co (FMFC). Our focus is going to be on making authentic, delicious beer, cider, mead, and wine. And if you like that beer you tried in the tasting room, why not pick up our recipe and ingredients and make it at home!
We are Northwest Hop Farms—a full-service hop farm and hop distribution company based in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. From our family farm in Chilliwack, we harvest, package, and ship hops to 17 countries worldwide. In addition to our own hops, we partner up with the best farmers in B.C., U.S.A., and around the world, to offer over 180 varieties of quality hops to the brewing industry. Our mission is to raise the profile of our many partner farmers in the area, as well as to promote the resurgence of hop farming in British Columbia. We are incredibly passionate about hops and the craft brewing industry and we are excited to share our passion with you!
NORTHWEST HOP FARMS
You’ll find us at 3044 St Johns Street (2 Buildings east of our former location)
Chilliwack, B.C. 604-845-7974 • firstname.lastname@example.org www.northwesthopfarms.com
Want to know more and check on our progress? Give us a Facebook like @frasermillsfc check out frasermillsfermentation.com or give us a call 604 461 8891
GET SIDETRACKED! COMMERCIAL DR
PREMIUM QUALITY | DOMESTIC VALUE | GREAT BEER! 1381 Adanac Street, Vancouver, BC | offtherailbrewing.com
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Please check the attached ad carefully. The Growler is not responsible for any errors unless you advise us now. Please reply by email with any changes or your approval.
p u d e p u p d p e p o p p o p s s p hhoop
n n e e h h WW
>> WARREN BOYER
hirty years of What's Brewing! Could Phil Atkinson ever have imagined his little newsletter would become the amazing province-wide publication it is today?
I have been involved with CAMRA BC, homebrewing, and our craft beer community for a large part of those 30 years. As I have divulged previously in this column, I started homebrewing in 1998 when I obtained my first mortgage. Due to a lack of funds I found a creative way to keep beer in stock while spending a fraction of what I would have laid out on commercial beer. It took a few years of brewing to perfect the process and make award-winning beers. In 2005 Tony Dewald (now of Trading Post Brewing) was the brewer at DIX BBQ & Brewery. Thursday evening was cask night and DIX was the location where all of the craft beer fans and brewers would hang out. Tony was changing his IPA recipe each brew based on feedback from his customers. Two beer fans that were regulars were Adam and Gillian Gile. They had moved to Vancouver from the San Diego area and brought with them an appreciation for over-the-top west-coast-style IPA. They were fans of Pizza Port, a small chain in the San Diego area offering pizza and craft beer made in-house. Tony decided to have a homebrew contest specifically for IPA. The winner would be given the opportunity to brew their winning recipe at DIX and have it served to DIX patrons. If memory serves, the contest was called the Ironbrew homebrew contest. I entered two beers into the contest. They placed first and second. The winning one had a single hop cone in each bottle. When the bottle was opened the carbonation would cling to the hop causing it to rise in the bottle and block the neck. After a small build up of pressure the hop would shoot out the top of the bottle. I dubbed this brew the Hop Poppin IPA. I brewed the beer at DIX with Tony and it was on tap for almost two months. It was delicious. I have recently seen a bit of a resurgence of West Coast IPA, which makes me very happy. To take you back to those days I have reworked that Hop Poppin IPA recipe to adjust for efficiency and hit the target gravity.
Hop Poppin’ IPA •
Original Gravity approx 1.062. Final Gravity approx 1.012. Aiming for 6.5% ABV and 90 IBU. ○ Mash: 60 minutes at 154 F ○ 5.8 kilos ESB malt for 82.4% of the malt bill (I used Gambrinus in 2005) ○ 280 grams Biscuit malt, 4% ○ 825 grams Carastan light, 11.7% ○ 130 grams flaked barley, 1.8%
Boil: 90 minutes ○ 56 grams (2 oz) of Centennial (10% AA) for 75 minutes. ○ 28 grams (1 oz) Cascade (7% AA) for 15 minutes.
Ferment with Wyeast 1318 at 20°C (substitute White Labs WLP002 or Omega Yeast British Ale VOYL-011)
For making this in the Lower Mainland, and for maximum accuracy, do not adjust the brewing water by adding salts or acid. For maximum authenticity place one single hop cone of Cascade in each bottle before capping and conditioning for six weeks. I am going to brew this recipe very soon. Likely it will be conditioning when this edition of the magazine is released. If you decide to brew it, please drop me a message letting me know how it turned out. As always if there is something specific that you would like to see in this column, just let me know. Now go make some old school West Coast IPA!
If there are any details missing here that you think you need to brew an accurate version, please send me an email or personal message and I would be happy to answer any questions. I am including percentages to make it easier to build a new recipe in your favourite brewing software. This recipe is for 20 litres at 60% efficiency.
GLADSTONE BREWING CO.
KPU BREW LAB
LOGHOUSE BREWPUB (AXE & BARREL, 2016)
MAPLE MEADOWS BREWING COMPANY
Keith Lemcke and Warren Boyer at DIX for the first CAMRA Vancouver Cask Festival, 2004
Warren Boyer of Fraser Mills Fermentation is an award winning homebrewer, Certified Beer Judge, former President of CAMRA Vancouver, and occasional Professional Brewer. E: email@example.com
MARTEN BREWING COMPANY
OFF THE RAIL BREWING
RAVENS BREWING COMPANY
RED ARROW BREWING COMPANY
RED TRUCK BEER COMPANY
RIDGE BREWING COMPANY
30T H A N N I V E R S A RY S P E C I A L | 1990-2020 | WHAT'S BREWING 31
GATHERING AN AUDIENCE
VCBW Fest Year 2 (at the time, known as the Brewery Creek Beer Festival): Beatty Street Drill Hall & Armory, May 2011
BREAKING THROUGH TO THE CROWD
y the late 2000s, it was clear that craft beer momentum was growing again in BC, especially in Vancouver. However, there wasn't a specific touchpoint to bring the movement into mainstream awareness. That would all change in 2010, when a series of annual events made its debut.
Canada's First Craft Beer Week In conjunction with a growing number of events that CAMRA Vancouver hosted after I became President in 2008, membership expanded. The next step was to garner a higher profile for craft beer in the mainstream media. This finally came together when I established the Vancouver Craft Beer Week team in November 2009. With the first VCBW held the following May, we succeeded in achieving significant mainstream media exposure. Interest in craft beer in BC subsequently soared. - Rick Green When we started VCBW in 2010, it was truly a labour of love. Just a dream of our team of self-professed beer nerds hoping to change the beer culture of Vancouver—an idea first nurtured over pints at the Alibi Room. How perfect is that? I don't think any of us could have known how quickly the craft beer scene would explode in popularity, but it has been an incredible honour to be part of the history of craft beer in BC. - Leah Heneghan
A Decade of Recognizing Excellence For the past ten years, we've grown BC Beer Awards to accommodate the needs of the BC beer industry. My first event as an executive member was over seven years ago, hosting around 300 people. We nearly tripled that for our ten year anniversary. It's just wild! On top of all the amazing and well deserved wins, some key highlights include launching BCBA merchandise, presenting awards to our beer community Legends, our Starter Kit Collaboration Bursary Program, Kwantlen Polytechnic University winning Brewery of the Year...and, of course, attending every single event, even before I was an Owner and Director. Our community is full of incredible talent, creativity, compassion, collaboration and hard work. Being able to celebrate that through the BC Beer Awards is a true honour. I can't wait to see what each next year of craft beer has in store for us. - Amanda Barry-Butchart
The Year Two BC Beer Awards team, in 2011
TWIN SAILS BREWING
WHITE ROCK BREWING
WHITE SAILS BREWING
A FRAME BREWING COMPANY
AXE & BARREL BREWING COMPANY
BEACH FIRE BREWING
BOUNDARY BREWING COMPANY
BRITANNIA BREWING COMPANY
BROKE ‘N RODE BREWING CO.
CHAOS AND SOLACE CRAFT BREWING CO.
32 WHAT'S BREWING S U M M E R 2020
Power Trio: Vancouver women leading new BC beer events in the 2010s. Monica Frost, Leah Heneghan and Amanda Barry-Butchart in 2011
The original festival still beloved: Driftwood Brewery debuts at Great Canadian Beer Festival, 2008
Canada Cup Of Beer debuted in 2006, before Vancouver was ready
Kicking off BC Craft Beer Month in 2011: co-founder Lundy Dale, centre
Craft Beer Month in Year 10 In 2011, three CAMRA presidents—Phil Atkinson, Martin Williams and I—founded BC Craft Beer Month. Our idea was to designate October as a time to celebrate and raise awareness of BC Craft Beer and say thank you to the breweries creating those award-winning beers we all enjoy. I got the Society name approved and registered while Phil organized the official proclamation. A ceremony to welcome BCCBM was held at Steamworks with John Mitchell. At the time, Vancouver Craft Beer Week and BC Beer Awards were in year two, and CAMRA BC membership was growing. The BC Craft Brewers Guild still had under 30 members.
Mayor Gregor Robertson proclaims Vancouver Craft Beer Week in 2010
Now, as BCCBM enters its tenth year, there are two Beer Weeks during October: North Shore Beer Week and Penticton Beer Week. The Guild organizes an annual collaboration beer, and there is a Beer of the Day for each of October’s 31 days as BC Craft Beer Month continues to promote the BC craft beer industry annually. - Lundy Dale
COAST MOUNTAIN BREWING COMPANY
KETTLE RIVER BREWING COMPANY
LUPPOLO BREWING CO.
MAYNE ISLAND BREWING COMPANY
OVERTIME BEER WORKS
RIOT BREWING CO.
SAVOY BREWING (SAVOY HOTEL)
SOOKE OCEANSIDE BREWERY
30T H A N N I V E R S A RY S P E C I A L | 1990-2020 | WHAT'S BREWING 33
SPREADING THE WORD
BC CRAFT BEER MEDIA SPEAKS UP BC beer writers and bloggers stage a first ever general meetup in May 2016. Photo: Brian K. Smith
raft beer is a lifestyle pursuit. Once certain people make beer discoveries, they like to share their thoughts. Social media now makes this very accessible... but sometimes people want to go farther than a tweet or a post—perhaps in the form of beer reviews, events coverage, travel stories, business, political or community beer news. This could be called “beer journalism”, and it is one of the underestimated pillars of the beer revolution. During the 1990s wave, Victoria's pioneers were the first BC beer writers to make significant contributions. What's Brewing's own Phil Atkinson, John Rowling and Dave Preston, each of them at some point a leader of CAMRA and Great Canadian Beer Festival, were each respected writers outside that role—with Atkinson authoring a book, and Preston and Rowling writing for US beer magazines. By the 2010s, a new, younger wave of beer writers was documenting their passion in books, newspapers and online. Let's meet some of the people leading the way in this area and hear what they recall about their experiences.
A Revolutionary Feeling Joe Wiebe The publication of my book, Craft Beer Revolution: The Insider’s Guide to B.C. Breweries back in 2013 was a significant milestone for me, and it coincided with a major turning point in the timeline of BC’s craft beer industry. It was like a starter’s pistol had been shot—and the race to open new breweries hasn’t slowed since.
sending it to other publishers. In response, he suggested we produce a fancy coffeetable-style book with beautiful photography and graphic design throughout. The catch was we needed the breweries themselves to help fund it.
I take no credit for this (although more than a few people have told me they were inspired to open their brewery after reading Craft Beer Revolution). My book just happened to come out at exactly the right time, right after the provincial government had announced that breweries could open tasting rooms.
I reached out to several breweries and they said it was a great idea, but when we approached the whole brewing community I found out the smaller ones just couldn’t afford it. After weeks of flogging that dead horse, Chris and I had to concede the budget just wouldn’t fly. I was disappointed, but when Chris told his bosses about the outcome, they looked at all the work I had done and invited me to discuss other options. By the end of that meeting, I had a contract to write Craft Beer Revolution.
While it seems like a no-brainer now, the path to publishing wasn’t straightforward. By 2011, I’d been writing articles about beer for several years, and many colleagues and friends had suggested I should write a book about it. So I finally sat down and wrote out a book proposal, which I asked my friend Chris Labonté to read. He worked on the fiction side of things at publisher Douglas & McIntyre. I just wanted his feedback before
Since its release, I have been involved in several other exciting projects. I helped launch Victoria Beer Week and the BC Ale Trail; I emceed the Canadian Brewing Awards (and will again this year); I’ve hosted beer tastings, seminars, and panel discussions all around BC, and spoken on the radio dozens of times. But nothing quite beats the feeling I had when I opened that first box of books back in 2013.
STRATHCONA BEER COMPANY
TRADING POST BREWING
VICTORIA CALEDONIAN (TWA DOGS)
WHITETOOTH BREWING COMPANY
THE 101 BREWHOUSE & DISTILLERY
3 DOGS BREWING
ANGRY HEN BREWING COMPANY
BACKROADS BREWING COMPANY
34 WHAT'S BREWING S U M M E R 2020
The original Vancouver beer journalist: 1990s Province beer columnist Stuart Derdeyn. See p. 27
Dreaming Up A Digest
something they’ve worked so hard to build?
It’s impossible to crystallize 10 years into one event or moment, but perhaps I can focus briefly on a brewery. (Everyone rolls their eyes as they realize Jan is about to talk about Dageraad again.)
Biweekly beer on the radio: Rebecca Whyman (above) became On The Coast beer columnist at CBC Vancouver, while Joe Leary & Rick Mohabir have hosted Just Here For The Beer Radio since 2010
Having a local Burnaby brewery is a wonderful thing for me. Getting to know the people who work there, the people who drink there, and beer after fabulous beer it produces has been a dream. And seeing all the hard work and dedication pay off with a Canadian Brewing Awards Brewery of the Year award just made me so stupidly happy and proud to be part of this brilliant BC beer scene.
A Decade of Discovery
Becoming A Beer Writer
This year also marks an anniversary for me in the beer world: It’s 10 years since I first started writing about beer in The Province newspaper and online in the Brewed Awakening blog.
Lao Tzu once wrote, “The journey of a thousand li begins with a single step.” My first foray into beer writing was a What’s Brewing piece I wrote in 2006 about Amsterdam’s Bokbierfest, which I visited while working on a book about the global spread of coffee. Circumstances scuttled the coffee book project. Instead, the road to beer writing opened wider to me when I decided to run for the CAMRA Vancouver executive the next year.
It’s staggering to think back to how different things were in 2010, let alone 1990. There were no brewery lounges or growlers, and you could count the dedicated beer bars in Vancouver on one hand. But even when I went to my first Vancouver beer festival — the Canada Cup of Beer at UBC — I remember being surprised by the variety of beer that existed in B.C. as soon as you scratched the surface. There was obviously a very healthy seed of something which would bloom into what we have today. But while we’ve always gathered around the beer, it’s the people I’ve met along the way that come to mind the most: brewers, homebrewers, owners, employees, advocates, organizers, writers, all unfailingly passionate about what they do, who have all contributed in their own way to making B.C.’s beer scene great. It’s those people I think about in our current predicament, too; how many of them are fighting to preserve
When I became CAMRA YVR Secretary, the immediate challenge was its visibility. Having had a web development company in Hong Kong, I felt that disseminating local craft beer news electronically would provide a valuable service and attract new membership. I developed a weekly newsletter with an open subscription. The next step was to garner a higher profile for craft beer in the mainstream media. Media coverage had been rare, so I began with tools readily available: a blog, Facebook, Twitter. This led to beer writing for other publications, such as Northwest Brewing News and Urban Diner. It’s been an enlightening journey.
I was standing in line at Brassneck’s growler fill station shortly after the brewery had opened, completely overwhelmed by the beer options available. I was new to craft beer then and it struck me that, given how quickly new breweries were cropping up at that time, other people were probably overwhelmed (and confused and curious) as well. I thought, “Someone should make a magazine about all this.” And then I thought, “Oh, I should do that!” And that’s how The Growler came about. The magazine was the right idea at just the right time, as a critical mass of people were overwhelmed, confused, and curious about craft beer. What’s funny to me is that it became kind of a go-to for beer nerds, but I’d actually conceived it as a resource for newbies like me. I think that played to its success in the end – its simple format contained a complex amount of information that newbies could understand but that could also satisfy the fanatics. It was important to me that the magazine reflect the various experiences of craft beer culture – the brewing, the marketing, the consumption and so on. This is why we focused on imaginative design, as the breweries were starting to do. This is why we published the kinds of articles we o. 1 did. It’s also why we Vol. 1 N rowler, G e h T developed it as a print publication, rather than an online magazine or an app. We wanted something tangible, collectable, something you could share with your friends. Like a beer. Continued on page 45
BAD DOG BREWING COMPANY
BEARD'S BREWING COMPANY
BEERE BREWING COMPANY
FACTORY BREWING (CRAFT COLLECTIVE)
DETONATE BREWING COMPANY
EAST VANCOUVER BREWING COMPANY
ELEVATION 57 BREWING COMPANY
GIBSONS TAPWORKS (TAPWORKS BREWING)
HIGHWAY 97 BREWING COMPANY
30T H A N N I V E R S A RY S P E C I A L | 1990-2020 | WHAT'S BREWING 35
CRAFT GETS THE GREEN LIGHT
2013 The 'Hopportunities' announcement, May 2016, finally untangled the awkward nature of brewery remittances to LDB
Growlers at Brassneck's tasting room: a previously unimaginable business model
A Dream Come True
A New Voice At The Table
s Joe Wiebe recounted in the previous section, there was a development in early 2013 that would provide massive benefits to BC's then-fledgling microbrewing sector.
In comparison to proximate US states like Oregon, BC had been slow to modernize liquor laws during the rise of microbrewing. Significant changes such as in 1982 (Horseshoe Bay), 1984 (integrated brewpubs: Spinnakers) and 2000 (brewpub retail sales: Spinnakers again) were occasionally pushed through thanks to vocal pioneers like John Mitchell, Paul Hadfield and Mitch Taylor , as Gerry Hieter notes on page 13. However, in 2012, under Minister Rich Coleman, more consistent changes began in response to what was becoming an obvious social trend: interest in artisanal alcoholic beverages, driven by craft beer. In February 2013, BC microbrewing finally got what it needed: the 'lounge endorsement'. Those planning new breweries would instantly pivot to this model, and Vancouver's East Side became known for breweries like Brassneck and 33 Acres, offering the type of experience BC beer geeks had been travelling to Portland for. In the May 2013 provincial elections, the BC Liberals would pull off an unexpected fourth straight majority win, and the liquor policy initiative continued and crystallized in the appointment of Richmond MLA John Yap as a new Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Policy. Yap would deliver a 73-point report with wideranging recommendations, some of which were implemented over the next few years.
Meanwhile, a group of BC's brewers would galvanize their trade organization. The original mid-90s Microbrewers Association of BC, which had become the Craft Brewers Association of BC at the turn of the century, would rebrand as the BC Craft Brewers Guild in 2012 and hire a new Executive Director in 2013. The arrival of Ken Beattie coincided with a massive upswing in BC brewery growth. “You couldn’t have dreamed it up better,” Beattie recalls. Working aside a lobbyist, he learned “government speak.” The Guild gained momentum very quickly. “I spent the first 18 months raising my hand and begging people to talk to us,” Beattie relates. “Eighteen months later, we were picking and choosing who we would talk to, and the projects we would support.” In 2013, Guild projects included a mix pack of BC beers, marketed in Ontario to try to get exposure there. In short order, keeping up with production for BC consumers would be a bigger consideration for many of BC's new brewing horde. Full Story
The relevance of (and motivation for) some of these changes would come into question, and the results weren't perfect, but the ability to operate a small brewery in this province was radically improved, and it showed in the explosion of tasting rooms across BC.
IRON ROAD BREWING
JACKSON'S SOCIAL CLUB AND BREW HOUSE
Online The BC Craft Pack, covered by Lundy Dale in WB Vol. 23 No. 6, Nov 2013
LOVE SHACK LIBATIONS
MONKEY 9 BREWERY
36 WHAT'S BREWING S U M M E R 2020
MOUNT ARROWSMITH BREWING COMPANY
RED BIRD BREWING
SILVER VALLEY BREWING COMPANY
SOOKE BREWING COMPANY
AN UNSTOPPABLE FORCE
Craft Culture Goes Mainstream With new entrants popping up at a rate of over 20 per year from 2014 through 2019, BC's brewery count quadrupled during the 2010s. The same played out throughout North America as it became a decade of discovery for a whole generation of craft beer enthusiasts. Soon, even those inclined to wine and other beverages noticed the appearance of craft beer liquor store promotions, delivery trucks and mass media coverage. An age dreamed of by the first generation of beer fans had arrived.
Tasting lounges legalized
Active Craft Breweries
TSUNAMI National Post, June 8, 2013
New Craft Breweries
The Growler, Vol. 1 No. 2 May 2015
Vancouver Sun: Nov 21, 1997
Above, we see that the first "cottage brewery" wave following the debut of Horseshoe Bay Brewing was only a drop in the pond compared to the next two, each bigger than the last. With the unrelenting advance of the 2010s craft wave, many longtime fans found themselves burdened with a nagging feeling: could this be too much of a good thing? It turns out that they said the same thing back in the 1990s, and forecasts of a craft beer bubble in 1997 turned out to be accurate. But with better training, planning, materials and consumer support, would the new generation stay afloat?
SMUGGLERS' TRAIL CASKWORKS (LANGLEY 2020)
A familiar theme arises
TRAIL BEER REFINERY
TWIN CITY BREWING COMPANY
33 BREWING EXPERIMENT
ALCHEMY BREWING COMPANY
BREWHALL BEER CO.
BULKLEY VALLEY BREWERY
ELECTRIC BICYCLE BREWING
FLASHBACK BREWING COMPANY
30T H A N N I V E R S A RY S P E C I A L | 1990-2020 | WHAT'S BREWING 37
EAST VANCOUVER TAKES OFF
P49's original tasting room predated the 2013 lounge endorsement law
Red Truck's Truck Stop under construction, March 2015
In Vol. 24 No. 2, WB ran a story called "Pitching The East: Vancouver's Emerging Craft Beer Tourism District." Based on a late 2013 beer crawl, it notes, "During 2012 and 2013 there has been an explosion of local craft outlets, especially small breweries opening tasting rooms. Smartly, some of these upstarts have located themselves in common areas, creating a critical mass." The notion of breweries choosing to locate where zoning allowed was charitable to City Hall. But by forcing brewery owners into a compressed area, local politicians accidentally created one of North America's greatest brewery districts...and the explosion was just getting started.
The Rise of Yeast Van
The Brewery Creek Renaissance
Parallel 49 Brewing
Red Truck Beer Company
arallel 49 started construction at the end of 2011, with beer starting to make its way to consumers in May 2012. I recall thinking we had just made the tail end of a wave of breweries opening, and hoping that we'd be able to find our place in the market. In retrospect, we were in the starting wave of explosive Lower Mainland growth during the 2010s. I remember when we had the inspectors in during construction to get all the licenses and permits finalized and we were asked if we were opening a tasting room. The thought had crossed our minds as something we'd like to do eventually, but the inspector told us it would be a lot less work to include it for our launch. We threw together whatever money we could scrounge up to get it opened. Originally, we weren't sure if we were even permitted to sell growlers out of the tasting room, as the liquor laws weren't clearly defined. As a brewery who tends to ask for forgiveness instead of permission, we started selling them, and their demand exploded. The popularity of growlers and tasting rooms eventually helped pave the way for revisions to liquor laws and lounge endorsements. What followed was a new model for breweries whose primary source of income was coming through their front door. Craft beer had seemed so insignificant when we started, with most bars and pubs not interested in putting it on tap. Eventually, Vancouver embraced it to the point that you'd be hard-pressed to find a bar or restaurant that doesn’t have a local craft beer option. - Graham With
started to see craft beer take off in 2008–2010 when I was at Vancouver Island Brewing. Being in Victoria, Matt Phillips was small over there at first. We used to go for coffee all the time and he'd be asking me all these questions. Then I found out that his numbers were bigger than ours...the sandbagger. Mark James presented his plans to me for Red Truck Beer Company. I looked at it and said, “You know what, that's exactly what I'd be interested in” and that’s how he got me here. I knew it was a good opportunity to grow a brand. When I came here and I saw where the location was, we kinda had an idea but didn't know the true story of Brewery Creek. When we started digging into the history we found out the creek itself actually ran right past our door. (Historic) Lion Brewery was just kitty-corner to where we are now. And you know, it just felt right. Things really started to take off in the BC industry when we got the lounge endorsement (2012–2013); it gave everybody the opportunity to have a neighborhood brewery they could do really well with. With Brassneck Brewery and Main Street Brewing here, and Olympic Village just to the west of us, it gave people who want to do the brewery crawl a destination. At the Truck Stop Diner, we have a food-primary license. We were brewing 3500 hl before those days, and now we’re running about ten times that. It all came from doing something that you truly love. - Jim Dodds
ILE SAUVAGE BREWING COMPANY
LAND & SEA BREWING COMPANY
LOUD MOUTH BREWING CO.
MIGHTY PEACE BREWING CO.
NORTHPAW BREW CO.
OLD ABBEY ALES V2 (ORIGINAL 2015)
PEMBERTON BREWING COMPANY
PEMBERTON VALLEY (THE BEER FARMERS)
SMALL BLOCK BREWING CO.
SMITHERS BREWING COMPANY
38 WHAT'S BREWING S U M M E R 2020
SPREADING THROUGHOUT BC
Original Townsite Brewing tasting room
Cumberland tasting room this way
Jorden, Peter and Jamie building S&O, 2014
Craft beer culture reaches Powell River
The Brassneck model comes to the Island
Breweries around BC that inspired us
Steel & Oak Brewing
hey said we were crazy. Even the insiders said it would not work. The year was 2012, and we were opening Townsite Brewing in a town of 20,000 accessible only by ferry and not talked about in tourism circles.
Our business plan was to sell 80% of our beer to Vancouver and the Island while we educated locals on the Sunshine Coast. This was, after all, a Lucky Lager town. As it turns out, craft beer lovers are everywhere, and the Coast immediately became our bread and butter. This town has changed, and we have played our part. We hear the following a lot: “People used to refer to Powell River as ‘that mill town’. Now they say ‘Oh don’t you have a great little brewery there?'” Eight years later, Powell River’s tourism season has increased from just summer to year-round, and Townsite employs 16 people. Craft beer has put hundreds of manufacturing facilities in towns across the country, creating thousands of jobs and tourism dollars. What other industry can say that? To those who thought we were crazy back then: So. Did. We. Glad we were all wrong. - Chloe Smith
umberland Brewing Co. is a community brewery with a taproom. That means no distribution, no bottles or cans, and no beer outside our Valley. Our Arrogant Moment is: “If you want our beer, come here”. We believe this is the most sustainable model, because every community deserves a good Butcher, Baker, and Brewery. Early on, we looked for others with the same vision. Brassneck Brewery—a community brewery in the midst of a large city—became our proof of concept. With them opening just over a year before us, we would become described as “the Brassneck of the Island”. Since opening, we have helped several Island breweries who wanted to copy the model. Twin City in Port Alberni, Land and Sea in Comox, and Devil’s Bath Brewing in Port McNeill.
y brewery's three original BC brewery influences were Driftwood, Bridge, and Tofino.
In 2012, we decided that we wanted to open Steel & Oak Brewing Co. because of a trip to Tofino, and Tofino Brewing. The vibe and family-friendly atmosphere was something we could see working in New West. Plus we had never seen growlers before, and the idea of being able to drink 2L at once blew our minds! When we started searching for other breweries to model ourselves after, we of course came across Driftwood Brewery. They were/are legends in our industry, and it was awesome to gain an insight into what a production brewery felt like, and how it operated.
The battle that was the birth and development of Wild Rose Brewing in Alberta showed our founding brewer Michael Tymchuk the challenges of distribution: heavy administration, labour, and shipping with low per-litre returns. I believe the vision that Brassneck took the lead on is the future.
Then there was Bridge Brewing. In 2013, Bridge was operating in a single bay off the Dollarton. I remember going in multiple times to talk to Leigh Straton about her operation. She'd have a baby strapped to her chest and a dog roaming around. It was the epitome of a family-run business, and I fell in love with the idea of being an entrepreneur who did it all.
- Darren Adam
- Jorden Foss
TRENCH BREWING & DISTILLERY
VICE & VIRTUE BREWING CO.
WILD AMBITION BREWING
ACE BREWING COMPANY LIMITED
ANOTHER BEER COMPANY
BARN OWL BREWING COMPANY
BREAKAWAY BREWING CO.
BRIGHT EYE BREWING
CAMP BEER CO.
30T H A N N I V E R S A RY S P E C I A L | 1990-2020 | WHAT'S BREWING 39
BEER THECULTURE BIRTH OFINBEERTOWN WINE COUNTRY BC
2017 Penticton formed its Ale Trail in 2017. Pictured: in Calgary in 2019
Tin Whistle debuts at the brand-new Okanagan Fest of Ale
From a Festival to a Week
From a Brewery to a Trail
n recent years, What's Brewing has consistently referred to Penticton as a beer crawl destination. But even back when the town only had the three breweries profiled on the following page, the locals seemed to have more acceptance of craft beer than in other parts of the province. Why is that? It comes down to Okanagan Fest of Ale. As noted on page 17, established in 1996, it's one of the longest-running craft beer festivals in Canada. By being so ahead of the curve with their Beerfest, Penticton was well positioned when craft took off in the 2010s, and came out ahead of the pack in terms of publicity and media recognition. Hosting beer writers, bloggers, and judges from around BC at Fest of Ale helped the word get out about the South Okanagan scene, and ultimately Penticton was tagged as a craft beer capital by media outlets such as Expedia and Lonely Planet. In 2020, Fest of Ale was set to celebrate its 25th annual event. John Cruickshank, President of the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale Society, tells us that it "could have, should have and would have been the biggest and best Fest- of-Ale to date. In celebration of our 25th Anniversary, we were kicking it back to a nineties-themed event that was sure to be epic." "Over the years, we have had the privilege to showcase many of BC’s amazing craft beer breweries and cideries during our two-day event," Cruickshank notes. "It is due to the continued support from BC’s craft beer industry that Fest-of-Ale continues to exist. Thank you to all the breweries and cideries who signed on for this year’s event. Rescheduled for 2021, we are so looking forward to seeing everyone next year." So are we! But you don't have to wait until 2021 to check out Penticton's beer scene. The second annual Penticton Beer Week takes place October 16-24, 2020, during BC Craft Beer Month.
What seems bizarre now, but was reality then, is that Penticton founded one of the Pacific Northwest’s great beer festival traditions when it had only one brewery. What’s Brewing mentioned them in our June 1997 issue for taking Gold in the Fest of Ale Consumer’s Choice awards that year: “1st place went to local folks Tin Whistle with their seasonal Peaches & Cream Ale.” From 2001 to 2014, Penticton could boast only the pioneers on the next page. But since then, the scene more than doubled with the arrival of Bad Tattoo Brewing, Highway 97 Brewery, Slackwater Brewing and the soon-to-launch Neighbourhood Brewing. Penticton's natural community spirit has bonded these breweries, culminating in what has likely been BC's most active local branch of the BC Ale Trail. Beer tourists can stroll the easily walkable brewery crawl in a stunning and safe environment. If they happen to be visiting in June 2021, they can also participate in the Penticton Beer Run. Fest Of A
le coverag Meanwhile, another key e in WB's 10th Ann issue: Vol iversary 10 No. 3, development has been the June 2000 founding of a South Okanagan CAMRA BC branch in 2015. Thanks to the leadership of local beer booster Kim Lawton and friends, craft culture has been enhanced by one of the more active beer enthusiast groups this decade.
There are towns with more breweries, but you'd be hard-pressed to find one with more spirit. That's how Penticton got the name 'Beer Town BC'.
CLIFFSIDE BREWING COMPANY
COPPER BREWING CO.
DOG MOUNTAIN BREWING
EMPTY KEG BREW HOUSE
FARM COUNTRY BREWING
FIVE ROADS BREWING CO.
HOUSE OF FUNK BREWING COMPANY
KELOWNA BREWING COMPANY
NEW TRADITION BREWING CORP.
30T H A N N I V E R S A RY S P E C I A L | 1990-2020 | WHAT'S BREWING 41
Penticton Pioneers 1995
Tin Whistle's Lorraine Nagy serving up beers in 1998
The Barley Mill's Tudor exterior in 1985. Photo: Dan Lybarger
Patt and Ron Dyck of Cannery Brewing. Photo: The Field Guide
A Quarter Century of Okanagan Flavours
Staying True To Tradition
A True Community Hub With A Heart
Barley Mill Brew Pub
t all began on March 1, 1995 in a former railway museum. Penticton got its first brewery, named after the first locomotive to run on the Okanagan Valley’s Kettle Valley Railway. Tin Whistle Brewing was started by two couples: Lawrie and Lynda Lock, and Richard and Linda Grierson (with assistance from the legendary Frank Appleton). Current owner Lorraine Nagy took over in February 1998. From the beginning, the beers reflected interesting and slightly dangerous local fauna: Coyote Ale, Black Widow Dark Ale and Rattlesnake ESB. Killer Bee Dark Honey Ale followed shortly afterwards, along with Peaches ‘n Cream; Tin Whistle became known for fruit beers that showcased the produce of the Okanagan Valley and beyond. Other than Rattlesnake, all the original beers are brewed to this day. In 2015, to meet increased demand for craft beer, Tin Whistle moved to a larger location in the Cannery Trade Centre. This year, as she celebrates its 25th anniversary, Lorraine reflects on what was to have been a five-year project for her. She has met a lot of people over the years, made some good friends, and witnessed changes in consumer tastes and the growth of the craft beer industry. Lorraine sums it up: “It’s been great to have been a part of this these last 25 years.”
he doors of the Barley Mill Pub opened in December 1982, offering Penticton a warm and cozy retreat in an English Tudor-style building with a large stone fireplace as its centrepiece and an English equestrian theme in its decor. In 1997, the brewery was constructed and the first batch of brews began. Palomino Pale Ale, Nite Mare Brown Ale, and Cayuse Wheat were the flagship brews, inspired by original owner Larry Lund’s love for the outdoor lifestyle. Head Brewer Ray Huson came on board for brew #8 then led the operation until 2014, when current brewer Shawn Voisin took over operations. Shawn has expanded the lineup of flavours and beers. The Brew Pub is now offering eight craft selections, most recently the Pen City Stout and the Rude Pony N.E.I.P.A. Keeping the operation small and local to this day, Barley Mill’s beers are only available for purchase within the walls of the Brew Pub, or next door at the Barley & Grapes Liquor Store. The pub's original 65 seats have now expanded to 300, including a family bistro section and an outdoor patio. While evolving with the industry, the Brew Pub has stayed true to its original mission to create a central hub for Penticton locals and visitors. This makes the Barley Mill Brew Pub a "must visit" landmark while in Penticton.
nd just like that, twenty years have evaporated for Cannery Brewing, and founders Ron and Patt Dyck. They brewed their first batch of beer in Penticton’s old Aylmer Fruit and Vegetable Cannery on April Fool’s Day, 2001. It seemed an auspicious day to start a brewery that would be devoted to good beer, good times, and the odd practical joke. In the beginning, they brewed and sold beer in kegs for local restaurants, pubs and clubs. Patt Dyck recalls, “At the time, Ron delivered the beer around the province himself in a cube van nicknamed Skruffy, building customers one at a time. Long before craft beer became a thing, we truly were craft beer missionaries.” In early 2015, they built a new facility in downtown Penticton, and by mid-June the new Cannery Brewing Taproom was open for business. With an ever-rotating selection of beers on tap, locally inspired snacks, local wine and cider, and a bustling events calendar, their welcoming space has become a hub for friends, families, and the community to gather. It will be 20 years next April, but some things have never changed at Cannery. They still brew beer with heart made by people who care, not just about beer, but about the people who drink it.
NORTH POINT BREWING
RUMPUS BEER COMPANY
RUSTIC REEL BREWING COMPANY
SLACKWATER BREWING (NÉE HATCHERY)
SLOW HAND BEER COMPANY
STANLEY PARK BREWING + BREWPUB
THE BAKERY BREWING COMPANY
42 WHAT'S BREWING S U M M E R 2020
CRAFT BEER, FISHING, AND COMMUNITY.
We're Open and Brewing! Visit us at 760 Vaughan Ave, Kelowna, BC
30T H A N N I V E R S A RY S P E C I A L | 1990-2020 | WHAT'S BREWING 43
A REVOLUTION IN NORTHERN BC
The North gets its own scene in the 2010s
>> ADAM ARTHUR
t took most of the 30 years since What’s Brewing was first billed as “The Magazine of the Campaign For Real Ale British Columbia” for craft brewing to take off in Prince George and Northern BC as a whole. Thirty years ago, Pacific Western Brewing (PWB) had been a fixture for some time in Prince George. It is BC’s longest-running independent brewery, established in 1957 as Caribou Brewing. The best PWB beer in my opinion is their Pacific Schwarzbock. Buffalo Brewing Co. was the first Northern BC brewery to join the craft beer revolution, opening in Prince George in 1997. I don’t know much other than it brewed and sold its products for consumption on-site. According to reports, management sold beers off-site towards the end. Beer fans in Prince George report the beer was good to pretty good. Fun fact: its location was thought to be haunted. It shut its doors in 2001. The next Northern brewery to join the revolution, Plan B Brewery, was in the most unlikely of places: Smithers, BC. It lasted from 2008 to 2013 and was named best nanobrewery by Northwest Brewing News in 2013. While a brewery closed in one mountain community, one opened in another the same year. That brewery was Three Ranges Brewing Co. in Valemount. In my opinion, it brews some of the best craft beer in BC. Their delicious Tail Slap IPA won Gold in the North American IPA category at the 2018 BC Beer Awards. The folks that run this craft brewery are amazing, the tasting room feels like home and the packaging is eye-catching and beautiful. On the opposite side of the province in the same year, Wheelhouse Brewing Co. opened its doors in the fishing village of Prince Rupert. One of my favorites is their Gillnetter Golden Ale.
2014 saw the opening of the Barkerville Brewing Co. in Quesnel, BC. Inspired by the original Barkerville Brewing Co. in the namesake historic town, this brewery consistently brews solid craft beer such as their award-winning 52 Foot Stout. It would have presented huge logistical challenges if it had been re-established at the actual Barkerville Historic Town, or nearby Wells, BC. In the coastal mountain community of Terrace, BC, Sherwood Mountain Brewhouse Ltd. also opened its doors that year. With a variety of delicious beers, I would say that my favorite of theirs is the Lava Bed Red. 2016 saw the opening and closing of Broke ‘N Rode Brewing Co. in 100 Mile House. According to some, the beer wasn’t up to par, but you have to give them credit for giving it a go. Jackson’s Social Club & Brewhouse opened in 2017, offering more improved beers. However, there are reports that this craft brewery is up for sale, so its future is uncertain. Twenty years after the first northern BC microbrewery opened, the revolution returned to Prince George with the opening of CrossRoads Brewing & Distillery in 2017. With wood-fired pizza and delicious beers such as Cloud 9 Witbier, this place has become a social hub. Great accomplishments include hosting the annual CrossRoads Street Festival, and building a curling rink on its beautiful patio for winter customers to enjoy. One year later, the equally amazing Trench Brewing & Distilling became the second modern brewery to open in PG. This one, I think, would fit in perfectly in Yeast Van or on Brewers Row. With the recent addition of a great barbecue food menu, delicious beer, amazing owners, cool events (including Trenchtoberfest) and overall atmosphere, this is most certainly a place to be. Their Arctic Pilsner is one of my favorites.
WHISTLE BUOY BREWING COMPANY
WILDEYE BREWING CO.
BARNSIDE BREWING CO.
BATCH 44 BREWERY & KITCHEN
44 WHAT'S BREWING S U M M E R 2020
PATINA BREWING CO. BREW HOUSE & BBQ
The North's first brewpub: Prince George Free Press, June 5 1997
2017 saw the opening of another brewery in an unlikely place: Fort St. John. Typically hailed as Budweiser country, it seemed like folks were ready for the craft beer revolution with the opening of Beard’s Brewing Co. followed by Mighty Peace Brewing Co. one year later. Their Peace Gold Ale is solid. Finally, nearly five years after Plan B closed shop, Smithers welcomed both Bulkley Valley Brewery and Smithers Brewing Co. with open arms in 2018. Smithers Brewing is quite innovative in their beer selection. They‘ve teamed up with world-renowned First Nations artist Roy Henry Vickers for their Skeena seasonal series of beers, to celebrate the river and raise awareness about the risks it faces. Old Man Winter Wee Heavy, which is a part of this series, is delicious. The Bulkley Valley’s Suskwa Saison, packaged in a crowler, is quite tasty too. The future looks so bright in Northern BC. Ursa Minor Brewing, located just south of Burns Lake, is about ready to rock. Fox Mountain Brewing Co. will open in Williams Lake, filling the gap between Quesnel and 100 Mile House. Here’s a big cheers to the amazing history of Northern BC craft breweries, and to a bright future ahead!
UCLUELET BREWING COMPANY
FRASER MILLS FERMENTATION COMPANY
Adam Arthur is a craft beer fan since 2010 who’s glad to represent Northern BC and the city of Prince George.
V2V BLACK HOPS BREWING (IN LIEU: AXE & BARREL)
WELTON BREWERY (IN LIEU: BOUNDARY)
SHORE LINE BREWING
What Was Brewin' In the '80s
Spreading The Word
Continued from page 13
Continued from page 35
extract brewers were in evidence all over BC These included the aforementioned Prairie Inn, as well as the Terminal Hotel Brewpub in Nanaimo in what is now the Cambie, The Leeward Pub in Comox, Sunshine Coast Brewing in Sechelt, Steveston Brewing and Victoria Brewing and Malting. If you have never heard of any of them, that’s because the products produced by these now-extinct breweries were of less than ideal quality.
The second beer writer meetup, in 2017
The original 'Tug' beer, from North Island Brewing. Label courtesy Larry Morrison
Marketing was also a major problem. It was not uncommon in those days for the sales rep of a small brewery to be told to “Leave my pub and take your hippie beer with you.” Today, I can go into any liquor store, tasting room, tap house or pub and find a pretty good selection of craft beer in a wide range of styles. Times have changed indeed. Gerry Hieter is Co-Founder of Great Canadian Beer Festival, Whistler Brewing Company and Lighthouse Brewing Company, and a longtime craft beer industry supporter.
STAKE YOUR CLAIM™ TO THE QUESNEL CRAFT BREWERY WHOSE AWARD WINNING BEERS TELL THE STORY OF BC'S HISTORIC CARIBOO GOLD RUSH • • • •
Licensed Lounge & Tasting Room Locally-Sourced Food & Snacks Kids & Pets Are Always Welcome Get Your Growlers Filled Today
18 5 DAVIE S T REE T Phone: 1-778-414-2739 Fax: 1-778-414-1099 Toll Free: 1-855-922-7537
QUE S NEL , BC
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.barkervillebeer.com Social: @BarkervilleBeer
And somehow, the whole concept succeeded in tying the complex aspects of BC craft beer culture together in an informative and entertaining (and occasionally controversial) package. It was great to be a part of something that took on a life of its own, and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t the most fun I’ve had while working (or rather, “working”).
Eight Amazing Years Dustan Sept Beer Me BC came online in 2012 as the popularity of local craft beer really started to take hold among British Columbians. In many ways you could say Beer Me BC reaped the rewards from the groundwork that pioneers like What’s Brewing laid. It is only fitting then, that Beer Me BC joined the What’s Brewing family back in 2018. Since 2012, the brewing industry has seen phenomenal growth with the number of breweries operating quadrupling. Events went from cult following cask festivals to mainstream events swarmed in the thousands. This has been a phenomenal time to be a craft beer drinker. This success is based on the hard work and dedication of those before us. Breweries like Spinnakers, Vancouver Island, Swans, Storm and the then-independent Granville Island lay the groundwork for those to come. Thirty years is a long time; in BC craft beer terms, it is actually since the dawn of time. To have been publishing What’s Brewing for three decades is a phenomenal feat. Thank you to the whole What’s Brewing team for documenting and telling the story of BC craft beer to the masses.
CAMRA Vancouver: Planting A Seed Continued from page 28
BC executive meeting held in association with GCBF 2002 at the former BC Supreme Court at Victoria's Bastion Square. Under the stern judgement of John Rowling they were deemed worthy, and returned to Vancouver to recruit members and an executive from the crowd at DIX. Posters were put up at brewpubs and homebrew shops across Vancouver. The first AGM was held at DIX on January 18th 2003, with 3 casks and around 20 members. Membership growth was sluggish for around 5 years and centred around DIX regulars. It began its exponential growth under the galvanizing leadership of Rick Green, ably assisted by Monica Frost and Amanda Barry in 2008. Membership reached 273 in 2009 and peaked at over 1200 around 2015. - J. Random 30T H A N N I V E R S A RY S P E C I A L | 1990-2020 | WHAT'S BREWING 45
BOOKS IN REVIEW
drinking fiction #2: the lager queen By J. Ryan Stradal
f you find yourself in need of a good beach read this summer, might I suggest The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal. Charming, endearing and insightful, Lager Queen is a no-frills page turner that pairs perfectly with sunny weather sours, IPA’s and – well – lagers. Stradal, an editor for Taste magazine, had a previous novel called Kitchens of the Great Midwest. Clearly, Stradal has a fondness for writing about the area but BC readers need not be wary as Stradal explores experiences that many readers will be able to relate to. The Lager Queen of Minnesota revolves around a generational spat between two sisters, kindhearted Edith and determined Helen, aka the Lager Queen. Stradal alternates chapters focusing on one of the sisters as well as granddaughter Diana, whose story revolves around her emergence onto the early craft brewing scene. Early on Edith seems like the clear protagonist but Stradal has an excellent gift in creating empathy for his characters, including Helen, whose life’s purpose becomes clear the first time she has a taste of beer as a teenager. Helen’s drive and motivation soon begin to manifest differently compared to Edith’s hesitant and almost naive nature. Throughout it all, beer and the making of beer will play an important role in all the three women’s lives. How much beer writing can actually be present in this family epic, you wonder? Quite a bit actually. Stradal’s acknowledgments include a huge list of brewers, to give some evidence of this research. Actually reading the novel will surprise you with the amount of information the author is able to effortlessly fit in regarding beer, ingredients, brewing, history, trends, and, yes, the lack of gender parity in craft beer. Reading about beer should always be fun, even
>> TED CHILD
if it’s extremely technical or scholarly, but sometimes and for some of us, reading well written fiction can be just as educational, if not more so. By couching his information in a story we’re invested in, about characters we care about, Stradal might find a way to educate a lot of people about beer who would otherwise ignore other beer books. If I had to critique anything about this book it would be the occasional jarring or unnecessary page breaks. Stradal does them a lot, almost always to good or dramatic effect but a couple times it was distracting, specifically when he would carry on the exact same scene or conversation immediately following the page break. With The Lager Queen of Minnesota there is a larger point to consider. Good, well-made (i.e. craft) beer has been a small, yet significant, part of many people’s lives for quite a while now, but that isn’t really reflected in wider culture. Culturally, beer is still portrayed, by and large, in a fairly negative light, if it’s referred to at all. How many times have you seen that broken down rogue with a hidden heart of gold reach into his fridge after a long day and take a swig from a long necked brown bottle? It’s an overdone Hollywood idea, telling us that the hero is worn out—almost as badly as the Hollywood writers who keep this trope alive. While wine fairly regularly gets the starring role in big-budget releases, beer gets another minor part in a frat boy comedy. Beer has been typecast. But this lack of cultural presence doesn’t reflect the truth, which is that, these days, beer is really good and a lot of us enjoy it immensely. The Lager Queen of Minnesota could indicate that this lazy or non-existent portrayal of beer and beer drinkers might be changing. First a bestselling novel, than maybe beer gets the Sideways treatment? It’s not like a movie that takes beer seriously, or at least looks at characters who take beer seriously, would lack for an audience. Which is maybe why, outside of the compelling story and moving characters, you should read this book. If you are interested in seeing more well–written stories that involve beer in some way then you should support the ones that are already out there. So instead of picking up whatever top-20 schlock beach read you were planning to, take The Lager Queen of Minnesota instead. Ted Child is a Recognized BJCP Beer Judge and award-winning homebrewer. He is also What's Brewing's in-house book reviewer. Look for his assessments of the latest beer books and publications in each issue
46 WHAT'S BREWING S U M M E R 2020
COMING BACK STRONG, AGAIN
BRINGING OUT THE BEST IN BC BEER That's it for this issue. From here on, 2020 is all about adapting and healing, as breweries and cideries around BC rebound from what has looked like a life-threatening situation for both people and businesses. This retrospective is presented as a reminder of the challenges the BC craft beer industry has faced before, the ways they overcame them and the good things that came out of it. That's happening again now. Once again, a hearty thanks to the businesses who have supported What's Brewing over the years. We're not an essential service, but you help us feel like one.
RAISE A CHEER FOR SMALL BUSINESSES LIKE THESE TP-WhatsBrewing-Red-Ad2-1.pdf
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Resources used in the making of this magazine: www.whatsbrewing.ca/references 30T H A N N I V E R S A RY S P E C I A L | 1990-2020 | WHAT'S BREWING 47