What is truly inspiring about the BC Craft Beer industry is the number of brewers out there that have started up for no reason other than a true passion for quality, local Craft Beer. In the heart of a town that is pegged as the Wine Capital of Canada, Oliver BC is a small brewery in the basement of an old firehall creatively named Firehall Brewery.
Firehall’s Chief of Brewing’s Sid Ruhland tells a great story of how he became the lead at one of BC’s newest craft breweries. While attending Kelowna’s Okanagan College the underage, undergraduate student started brewing his own beer by night while studying in the Okanagan School of Business by day. As the home-brewing improved and Sid’s degree came to completion the idea of merging these two passions into one began to take shape.
The tipping point of Firehall’s conception took place when a local bootlegger was selling a 1000-litre brewing system from his basement. With the purchase of this small brewing setup and evolving the family restaurant business, the basement of the Oliver landmark Firehall Bistro became the Firehall Brewery. Just over a year since the doors first opened in 2012 Syd has a few helpers lending a hand and currently produces three staple beers. The Backdraft Blonde Ale, Stoked Ember Ale and the Holy Smoke Stout make up the flight of ales for now with dreams of expanding down the line.
The Firehall Brewery is a nano-brewery with a desire to brew beer with no compromise; this includes the preference of staying small over letting the beer slip in quality. If you find yourself in select Okanagan based pubs you may be lucky enough to find a pint of Firehall’s work on tap but don’t hold your breath. With production quantities being very low this is some elusive beer that should be snatched up when you happen to find it. Your best bet to ensure that you try the best Firehall has to offer is to head to Wine Country. Go straight to the source in Oliver BC and head to the basement of the old Firehall for the true, brewery experience.