Since I can remember my grandfather sported a grey beard, napped in the middle of the afternoon and always drank the same beer. The label sticks with me even to this day; a sail boat, it was Joel’s brand. It seems at some point in his life he had chosen it, and stuck with it. The bottle’s logo or perhaps the taste resonated with him. He had chosen this beer long before anyone had started using terms like craft, Nano or Microbrewing.
These terms obviously imply the size of the operation, but have now come to designate much more. With the increase in scale came the stream lining of production, and a major push towards North American Lager beers. Originally portrayed as a working mans’ beer, it rapidly became the most popular style of beer globally. Taking inspiration from Pilsen in the Czech Republic, where many successful brewers immigrated from.
This move was well received by the consumer but saw the closure of many breweries, and some styles were lost to the world. Craft brewing is a designation encompassing any size of brewery, but implies they are pursuing new ground in the brewing world. Whether it be creating a flavour no one has tried before, or reviving a beer style that hasn’t been tasted in hundreds of years. Many of these breweries are more localized, brewing in small batches, creating local jobs and engaging with the community.
Beer production is a part of a cycle: farmers supplying barley and wheat, hop growers, fabricators, tradespeople, builders, brewers and beer lovers. Breweries are once again becoming part of a community, where the customer can engage with the place their beer is produced. Just as the local agricultural movement is bringing food production closer to home, Craft brewing is localizing beer.
Since opening in July of 2015 Red Arrow Brewing Company Brewing has set out to bring traditional beers and innovation to the Cowichan Valley. We’re bringing old world styles to life such as a Kolsch, a traditional German ale made with Bavarian hops originating from Cologne, a Pale Ale using British grown hops, as well as a Heffeweisen using a strain of yeast from the oldest standing brewery Weinstephan built in 1056 as well as never before seen brews.
Zach Blake, proud father, husband and Zymurgist at Red Arrow Brewing Company.