Strange Fellows Brewing, Vancouver’s Fellowship of Exclusive Craft Beer Creations

Strange Fellows Brewing, Vancouver’s Fellowship of Exclusive Craft Beer Creations

An Exclusive Look Into the Mind of a Brewmaster – The Strange Fellows Fellowship

Modern Times, The Rare Barrel, The Bruery. What do these popular U.S. breweries have in common with Vancouver’s Strange Fellows Brewing? An exclusive membership where one receives limited edition beers, discounts, and other perks.

When Strange Fellows opened in December 2014, they already had the inspiration to create their own exclusive membership – the Fellowship. From discussions early on with co-owner Aaron Jonckheere, he and co-owner/Brewmaster Iain Hill wanted to offer this unique benefit to Vancouver beer lovers right from the onset. To my knowledge, no other Canadian brewery had offered this type of membership or connection with their fans.

So why did they want to create a Fellowship? Prior to owning a brewery, Aaron and Iain would always seek out beers that were unique and special while traveling and wanted to offer this type of originality to their patrons. They both like cool and rare beers and thought it would be great to be able to create and share beers with people that would really appreciate it. Lots of time and effort goes into conceiving, brewing, and aging the beers as well as the administration of the membership. What makes it rewarding for them and the other brewers is when they see the appreciation people have for the one-off Fellowship beers.

Iain HIll - Strange Fellows Brewing

Iain was very helpful in the bottling stage

The conceptualization of the Fellowship took some time to formulate and was released to the public in December 2015. While Iain and Aaron’s Fellowship plans were brooding, the barrel aged beers were already starting to mature and with that, the first Fellowship beer was released in May 2016. The beers for its inaugural year included:

  • Greybeard – Barrel-aged Old Ale with brett
  • Little Red One – Barrel-aged sour red/brown ale
  • Nocturnum Galactica – Black IPA aged in red wine barrels with brett
  • Boris Arabica – Imperial Stout aged for a year in a mix of French and American oak red wine barrels with Arabica beans

Looking back after the first year, they made a few changes to the current year’s Fellowship, which is still accepting members. There will still be four barrel-aged beers released during 2017 and other than the first beer, which will be released soon, the balance are being kept a tightly guarded secret locked in Iain’s head. The first beer, which rhymes with merliner fries, was just bottled and will take 6-8 weeks of bottle conditioning before being released. Thus, the first 2017 Fellowship beer should be ready for pick-up sometime around the end of June. To those humming and hawing about joining the Fellowship, they will cut off membership when the first beer is released so get on this. Tick. Tock.

New for this year is one level of membership instead of two – everyone now receives two bottles of each release. Additionally, membership includes a Fellowship t-shirt, patch and they are hosting two events for members only. The first event will be on June 7th where members can pick up their merch, share a conversation and beer with the Strange Fellows team and fellow members, ask questions, tour the brewery and just hang out. The second event will be timed around the 3rd or 4th release and is still being hashed out but one thought was to host a potluck with members. It would be cool to bring a dish that would pair well with the beer being released.

Unlike last year, going forward, extra fellowship bottles that aren’t purchased by Fellows will be available for in-house consumption in the tasting room. These bottles won’t hit the liquor store shelves so if you’re not a member and want to try them, you’ll need to visit the brewery. Such a hardship, I know.

Strange Fellows Tasting Room

You can drink Fellowship beers here soon

To sum it up, here are the benefits you receive with the Fellowship. Memberships can be purchased online.

2 x 750ml bottles of 4 releases = 8 bottles
Preferential pricing on additional bottles
15% off growler fills
Fellowship shirt & patch
2 private Fellowship events
$175 ($150 for returning 2015 Fellows)

As a returning Fellow, I’m definitely appreciative that a local brewery has created special beers for those of us who seek out one-off beers. Not only does it show their passion and commitment to the industry, but it puts Vancouver a little bit further along on the craft beer map for having membership opportunities. Well done, Iain and Aaron, I for one am looking forward to the Fellowship releases and member events in 2017.

About Author

Lynn

Beer writer, homebrewer, and backyard hop grower who travels for beer.

Comments

  1. What's Brewing
    What's Brewing 21 May, 2017, 23:56

    Well done Lynn!

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