Today the craft beer scene in British Columbia looks much different than in May, 2013 when Joe Wiebe, The Thirsty Writer, first published The Craft Beer Revolution. In the forward of the new, 2nd edition of The Thirsty Writer’s exploits, Joe refers back to the first launch party at Vancouver’s Yaletown Brewery where he said, “Unfortunately, I have to admit that this book is already out of date”. The rapid growth of craft beer in this mighty province has made printed material a test of patience in keeping accurate on the burgeoning number of breweries operating today.
With some hard work and forward thinking, the re-revolution, or mark II of the Insider’s Guide released with breweries that were surely only an idea when the writing happened. Released barely a week after the new East Vancouver Off The Rail Brewery opened you will find a full write up on one of the newest breweries in the province. Even more impressive Dogwood Brewery had not yet opened when the book first hit retail shelves.
As I picked up the book and started to thumb through the pages, I also opened a bottle of BC brewed craft porter and began to settle in. It was barely page 7 when I read Joe’s aspirations that “this book become dog eared and beer stained” that the glass tipped and marked the pages with the liquid which inspired them. With most books, I would have been upset but here, the idea seemed fitting and all that settled in was the disappointment of spilled beer.
After cleaning up the mess and pouring another pint, the revolution continues. Walking through the ages and meeting the likes of the grandfather of BC craft beer, John Mitchell, the book takes on an educational tone. This is no school-lesson though, but rather a few dozen pages of facts to one-up your friends while sipping a flight at your favourite tasting lounge. As Joe puts it, “B.C.’s craft beer revolution owes its start to the dogged determination of ‘this idiot Mitchell,'” where Mitchell himself is quoted with a tone of self-discrimination.
Starting a province-wide journey on Vancouver’s North Shore the first brewery listed in the Insider’s Guide Is Black Kettle Brewing. While I would agree that they are a small brewery tucked away from the normal reaches of craft beer drinkers I would not be so quick to dismiss them as “the least interesting” brewery in the area. Joe has some great insight into what and who is making moves in the BC brewing scene but I would challenge back to say that the Black Kettle Scottish Ale showed great promise and there will likely be some fantastic beers coming from this tucked away brewery soon.
As I read on, and spilled a second beer on the book, the pages are truly becoming a representation of the work Joe put into writing the book. As Pale Ale seeped into the spine the pages continue to turn, the brewery descriptions continue to give insight into the vibrant brewing past that BC has. Today for instance, Hoyne Brewery is a new-found staple of craft beer. Reading through the Canoe Brewpub entry you will learn that Sean Hoyne was not only the brewmaster there for 14 years but also started out his career at the one and only Swan’s Brewpub as their first brewmaster.
The book continues on a virtual journey of craft beer history in BC and the broad geographical range of breweries spanning the province. Stepping through the Okanagan and into the Kootenays you will find favourites of Cannery in Penticton, Fernie Brewing and Three Ranges in Valemount before journeying north to Prince Rupert to visit the Wheelhouse Brewing Company. In total you will find 90 breweries packed into the 250 or so pages that make up the 2nd edition of the Craft Beer Revolution – The Insider’s Guide to BC Breweries.
You better start reading today before more breweries open and you are stuck waiting for round three of this definitive guide.
Order your copy of this amazing guide to BC craft beer today: Craft Beer Revolution, 2nd Ed: The Insider’s Guide to B.C. Breweries