Meet the brewers behind your favourite tipples at Kamloops’ craft breweries, as they release spring and summer sips that are ideal for after an adventure fueled day - perfect indoors or on a sunny patio. Here's the inside scoop.
Bryan Craig and Tyler Windsor,
Bright Eye Brewing
Bright Eye Brewing is named after its two brewers, Bryan Craig and Tyler Windsor (Br Ty). These childhood friends shared an obsession with craft beer that took them on regular jaunts to the US and Vancouver. Here they discovered amazing IPAs at Vancouver’s Callister Brewing co-op when they tried Machine Ales (now Superflux, regarded as one of the best IPA makers in Canada). “We brewed every Friday night, after our kids went to bed, for nearly five years, until the brewery opened in October of 2019,” says Bryan. “Our friends and neighbours would pitch in on ingredients in exchange for a share of the resulting nectar. A few years into our homebrewing venture, we met with local friends Mitch Forgie and Richard Marken and told them about our plans to open up a brewery. They jumped in and things moved very quickly after that!”
Get a taste of one of their fun flavours with the new spring series of patio-cocktail-inspired ales. First is a line-up of margarita gose style ales (gose, pronounced "go-zuh", is a tart wheat ale with sea salt originating from Germany). The addition of lime and another fruit make for summer in a glass. Watermelon margarita gose is currently on tap, followed by strawberry and raspberry.
The Noble Pig Brewhouse
Nick Murphy found his taste and passion for craft beer working at The Longwood Brewpub in his hometown of Nanaimo. “Although I was primarily working as a prep-cook at The Longwood, I was introduced to the world of crafting beer by working alongside the brewers on a daily basis,” says Nick. “I still remember asking the brewmaster, ‘What does it take to become a brewer?’. The answer given is one that most brewers can relate to: ‘Get really good at cleaning anything that is stainless’.” Nick then started dabbling in homebrewing and ended up helping his friend Matt Beere (and Matt’s dad Craig) open Beere Brewing Company in North Vancouver. Nick gained experience brewing at a commercial scale and inspiration from the creativity of the Vancouver industry, before life and love led him to relocate to Kamloops and join The Noble Pig Brewhouse.
New for spring, The Noble Pig’s Squealy Dan is a delicious pilsner made with a well-balanced dry hop addition of Loral™ hops to add a summery floral and citrus aroma. Another summer sipper is the Pineapple Express Radler, which is a custom blonde ale base and lots of pineapple flavour.
Red Collar Brewing Co.
Red Collar’s David Beardsell has been brewing since the early 90's when he trained to be a brewmaster at the prestigious Doemens Academy in Munich. He worked in Germany, England, and Southeast Asia before returning to Canada and taking a brewing position at Okanagan Springs. He moved to Kamloops in 1994 and opened Bear Brewing, taking a break from the brewing scene when it was sold in 2002. He returned in 2010 to open the Noble Pig, before leaving in 2014 to open his own brewery, Red Collar.
New for spring 2021 is the collaborative Grape Friends Brut IPA, a light-bodied and highly carbonated IPA that is brewed with Frontenac Noir grape juice from their friends at Monte Creek Winery and paired with fruity hops for a balanced beverage. Also new is the Fidelle "Floofy" IPA, which is Red Collar’s second collaboration with the Kamloops SPCA and Champions For Animals. It’s named after Fidelle (Fifi), a husky cross rescue from Baja in Mexico (now little sister to Diana the Black Lab and resident Red Collar guard dog). This beer is a hazy style IPA full of citrus and stone fruit characteristics, making it ideal for warm summer days.
Alchemy Brewing Company
Al Renner, Alchemy Brewing Company's brewer, attributes a lot of his success to his construction background, but he’s always had a creative artistic side. Al spent two years reading everything he could and watching hundreds of hours of YouTube videos before brewing anything. He began by building a homebrew system and gas-powered heat table to learn about thermodynamics and temperature regulation involved in brewing and then created his own draft system by adding a temperature controller to an old freezer. “Only after I had thought my way through every aspect of my home system did I start brewing,” Al says. “The first batch I did was called Doomsday IPA and it was a shock how good it came out. After that I spent the next four years brewing beer and making BBQ for friends and family gatherings - I was always being asked who trained me and why was the beer so good.”
This spring, Al is creating brews in the neighbourhood of 3% or less to appeal to customers looking for lighter beers. The first of these beers is a Belgian witbier called Little Witty Kitty that comes in just under 4% and has a great citrus and spice flavour. Also, is a coffee milk stout called Cosmic Abyss that has a big espresso flavour. Other beers in the works are a dry-hopped pilsner and a Northwest IPA.
Iron Road Brewing
Iron Road Brewing’s brewer Aaron MacInnis previously brewed at Main Street Brewing under Jack Bensley. “Cutting my teeth in Vancouver was tremendous for learning many things quickly,” Aaron says. “Vancouver’s brewing scene is very supportive and very friendly. Competition is really against the big guys, not so much the other craft breweries that you find yourself drinking at regularly.” Drink up the good vibes this spring with Aaron’s new release Link & Pin German Pils, which is the next installment of their German-style series of beers. Containing German pilsner yeast, German hops, and pilsner malt, this beer is more diligently hopped than Iron Road’s typical lager, which is Czech style, so it tastes clean and a little more hop-forward. Pair their Pils with a taco off their street taco menu, as a bomber to go, or get it home-delivered on Fridays if you're local to Kamloops.
Soak up the sunshine and a few brews as a post-adventure treat, or stock up on local seasonal sips to enjoy at home for a taste of summer in Kamloops.