“Brewing is a fluid business.”

That’s what one self-styled humourist remarked, referring to the liquid nature of the product. He could also have been referring to the profession itself. Breweries come and go; brewers move from one place to another

Since BEER QUEST WEST went to press just over two years ago, four Alberta or B.C. breweries or brewpubs have closed shop; over a dozen have opened up. And a number of brewers have taken their talents to new places. In this post, we’ll talk about two long-time western Canadian brewers who are now practicing their art in new places. In our next post, we’ll profile two new brewers in old locations.

HOYNE BREWING, VICTORIA

Paul Hoyne, who originally came to the West Coast to study Irish Literature at the University of Victoria, has been an important figure in the Island microbrewing scene for over two decades. In 1989, he developed the beers for Victoria’s Swans Suite Hotel; and, in 1996, became the first brewer at another new establishment, Canoe Brewpub, which was just a block and a half up the street from Swans.

“Four 23 years, it had been my dream to open my own brewery,” Hoyne, whose brother Paul owns Victoria’s Lighthouse Brewing, told me on a recent trip to Victoria. “I’d developed a reputation for making good beers, and so when I decided to start my own brewery, I decided to use my own name.”

In the spring of 2011, he left Canoe. The first step was finding a location for a production brewery. There was space available at 2740 Bridge Street, just across the loading dock from Driftwood Brewery. Then, he leased equipment that had been part of the now defunct Hugo’s Brewpub. And he set about creating new recipes, having left his earlier recipes behind.

“I wanted to produce beers that were of the finest quality and that were very  approachable, very drinkable.” When Hoyne Brewing opened just under a year ago, Sean had created over a six pack of beers that ranged from Hoyner Pilsner, designed to rival eastern European styles, to the Dark Matter, a porter.

In between were three pales: Devil’s Dream IPA; Wolf Vine, a wet hopped IPA, and Down Easy, a Northwest Style IPA, which the brewer compares to Sierra Nevada; Summer Haze Honey Hefe, a German wheat; the Big Bock, and Voltage Espressio Stout. The porter and the pilsner are the top sellers.

“We’ve been so well received,” Hoyne reflected, “in Victoria and Vancouver. Beer drinkers have really taken us in. Liquor stores are having to wait for some of our beers; the demand has been so great, we have to work very hard to keep up.” In recognition of the response, the brewery’s special Christmas beer has been named Appreciation.

Hoyne’s beers can be found in 650 ml bottles as private liquor stores on Vancouver Island and on the mainland.

*****

THE NOBLE PIG, KAMLOOPS.

In 1995, David Beardsell opened Bear Brewing, the first brewery in Kamloops since the late 1920s. His English style beers, in which each beer was named after an appropriately colored bear, were so well received that, in 2001, Calgary’s Big Rock Brewing, seeking to establish itself in British Columbia, took over the brand, along with Whistler beers. The bear, unfortunately, became extinct, Big Rock retreated to Alberta, and Beardsell acquired an old school bus, converted it, and spent two years travelling with his wife and children.

But brewing was in his veins. He’d always enjoyed visiting places that paired good food and good beer and noticed more and more that restaurant goers were interested in the best of both. And so he returned to his old stamping grounds and, in 2010 opned The Noble Pig, a brewpub in the heart of downtown Kamloops at 650 Victoria Street.

He explained that the name referred to the noble hops so important in the brewing of German beers, to the fact that the pig is really a noble animal, and was also a tribute to a well-known New York bistro he admired: “The Spotted Pig.”

Beardsell studied brewing in England and Germany and professed his fondness for the styles from the two countries. “I’m a malt guy,” he remarked, “I haven’t got caught up in the hop stuff.” He noted that when he opened the Noble Pig, it was very difficult to sell an IPA. “I kept the bitterness units low,” he said, then confessed, “but I’m increasing the hops a little bit with each batch I brew.”

His beers include “Fascist Pig Pilsner,” “Munich Helles Lager,” “Imperialist Pig English Style IPA,” “George”s Extra Special Bitter,” (a reference to George Orwell, creator of the novel “Animal Farm”), “Honey Badger Pale Ale,” “Belgium Peppered Ale,” in one batch of which he included sechwan peppers the chef had left over, and “Mocha Porter.” There is also a special style for each month. His helles beer is his top seller, but the IPA is gradually inching up the ladder.

David noted that he has cut down the number of TVs at the Noble Pig and hopes that he’ll be able to get rid of them all. “I want a place where people enjoy good food, beer, and conversation. More and more people are growing to appreciate the relationship between food and beer.”

The good food and beer are definitely catching on in Kamloops. Like Sean Hoyne, Beardsell has to work hard to keep up with the demand for the beers he makes. He thinks that the townspeople’s enthusiasm will continue to grow, “As long as there’s soul to the beer.”

Hoyne Brewing: www.hoynebrewing.ca

The Noble Pig:  www.thenoblepig.ca

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