Barley Mowat 

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GIB CDA Is Coming

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I’m back! Did you miss me? I’m working on a couple pieces relating to my recent journey through South America. One is about the growing craft beerscene in Bolivia, which most of you will be stunned to know exists at all. The second is a wine-centric piece on Chile. Sure it’s not the focus of my blog, but I have a soapbox and I’m going to use it. Look for those two streams of consciousness to appear in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, Granville Island Brewing has gone and done something interesting: They’re releasing a Cascadian Dark Ale. Chris from LoveGoodBeer wrote decent summary a few days ago, and even includes a picture of the label. You can read his summary here.

Last fall, when Steamworks was all “no Cascadia for you” they rather explicitly singled out Granville Island and tried to make the whole issue into a David v Goliath story. The feint didn’t quite work, but all that is in the past as Steamworks has rather generously conceded that anyone can use Cascadian Dark Ale as a descriptor without license.

So, now the first brewery to drop a major CDA release into the market since all this kerfuffle is none other than Granville Island, the brewery whose previous CDA Steamworks cites as the spark behind the whole of Cascadia-gate. That sound you heard was every pair of eyes in BC Craft Brewing focusing on the corner of Water and Cordova, waiting to see how Steamworks reacts.

If SW holds true to their story, they should be fine with this new release from GIB. Heck, GIB even made a concession to Steamworks here by giving a name to their previously-nameless special release, even if “Cloak and Dagger” is a bit tongue-in-cheek. The goal here is to be able to absolutely, 100% point to a name on the bottle and a totally separate style descriptor.

Personally, I think Steamworks will do the classy thing here and let this one slide. GIB has met them half way, afterall.

Written by chuck

April 8th, 2013 at 5:46 pm

33 Acres Progress

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Josh from 33 Acres sent this to me. It’s a cool little mini video showing their progress to date. Since I’m currently in Chile* writing this on my phone, I leave the intro at this.

* Yes, I’m drinking wine, okay? Happy now?

Written by chuck

April 3rd, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Posted in Breweries

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33 Acres Preview

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I had a chance to talk with Josh Michnik, owner of the new 33 Acres Brewery in Mount Pleasant. What follows is Josh’s unedited response to my simple questions (Scout is also running a much more abridged version, only with slicker layout). 33 Acres will be, by the looks of things, brewing their first beers very shortly. Hopefully they will start appearing at pubs around town in a few months or so.


33 Acres has been one of the biggest and most rewarding challenges of my life. I wanted to build this company on three major elements; hard work, creativity, and developing the highest quality product we can. These three components are my driving force in absolutely every aspect of this brewery. No short-cuts. That goes for not only the beer, but the merch, brand, the furniture, the floors, the walls, everything. My friends, family and random strangers have stepped up to make this happen. If it wasn’t for these people I wouldn’t have been able to pull this off. Everyday I’m overwhelmed with the dedication, love and support they show me.

Glycol chiller being installed on what Josh calls a “roof” and what I call “the best patio in town.”


1. Why did you decide to start a brewery?
Beer is a big contributor to community. I saw 33 Acres as a way to build a place where the neighbourhood could stop by on the way to work, say hi, help load some grain off a truck, have a cup of coffee, and just hang out. Then on the way home from work do the same but fill up a growler or stay for a pint. I love my friends and meeting new people. It is one of the only reasons I’ve made it as far as I have in this project. I owe each of them so much for helping me as much as they have. My brewmaster, Dave Varga is the man. He was an easy choice for me. He helped me figure out aspects I was unfamiliar with, especially when it came to the technical side of brewing and brewhouse set ups. We both share the same values and are looking forward to collaborating.

2. How big is your brewkit?
Come see and ask me in person. I’ll show you around… just bring me a beer to break the ice.

Chuck: Looks to be just under 10hl, but still drop by. Josh is nice.

3. How many/what types of beers will you launch with?
We’re going to launch with two staple beers. We’re keeping the brands under wraps for a bit longer. We want to nail them, do some test brews and be 100% confident in what we’re putting out there. Details matter, however if ingredients are just throw in there for shock and awe, its not our style. Everything should have a purpose.

4. Where do you forsee yourself taking the brewery once you’re established? eg: barrel-aging, sours, or just sticking to table beers, or flowing with the current?
For future beers, we have several ideas, this is Dave’s niche, so don’t want to spoil any secrets he has. As for the brewery in general. We want to stay small. A tight family. We don’t have major aspirations to build a huge brewery out on a trucking route. Not that we don’t think its impressive for the ones that choose that route, but its just not our style.

5. When can we expect to see your beers in public?
We’re not going to set a date. We’re working hard. I’m here from 7am until around 9pm to get open as fast as possible. But we’re trying to do it right, every step and every thing we build we want it to be perfect. So lets just say sometime this spring.

My attempt at an arty shot showing off the wood ceiling Josh restored by hand.

6. What BC brewery do you admire the most, and why?
I admire all the breweries who are independently ran and operated. I have huge respect for anyone that has the balls to commit to running something because they love it, not because there is a end goal or $ in there eyes.

7. Whats with the beard? (Josh’s own question for himself)
Its my playoff beard. I’m usually very clean cut, my wife enforces this, but since getting my keys to the brewery space I’ve decided the time I would normally take to shave could be better used… welding, wood working or emailing. And plus, I feel like it will be very rewarding to slurp the first frothy beer through my big ass man beard.

Josh, Dave and a bunch of beer potential.

Written by chuck

March 19th, 2013 at 6:10 am

Posted in Breweries

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