Get ready BC, more quality regionally brewed ale is on the way! The newest craft brewery on the immediate horizon is Townsite Brewing in Powell River on the upper Sunshine Coast. Just before the holidays, we caught up with the team as they were preparing their historic heritage space in the heart of Townsite for the arrival of their new brewing equipment. Come inside and learn more of what they have in store.
Describe the style and approach of the brewery…
Belgium meets West Coast. Our Brewer Engineer, Cedric Dauchot, was born & raised & trained in Belgium and brings a Belgian flair to our west coast shores. Think trippels, Belgian IPA’s, specialty brews and quirky crafty beers in addition to our regular stable (see below). As far as approach goes, Powell River is very keen on sustainability and self-sufficiency so we want to use local ingredients as much as possible, gradually decreasing our dependence on outside sources and grow the business organically. The business model is one of sustainability, not growth for growth’s sake.
What made you decide to open up a brewery in Powell River?
(Karen:) I am originally from Vancouver and experienced the rise of craft beer there. I wound up in Powell River pretty much by accident and when I finally realized (after about a year) that I was actually living here and not returning to Vancouver, I figured I had better get some good beer happening. There were plenty of rumours around town about people wanting to open up a brewery or a brew pub, but when I ran them to ground I found they were all just ideas, so I wrote the business plan and found some partners and voila! I am really excited to be opening the first brewery on the Sunshine Coast.
(Cedric:) My wife Chloe and I are both brewers and had plans to open a gastro pub in Saskatoon; however, we didn’t have the financial backing or marketing expertise. Karen posted an ad for a brewer for the Townsite Brewing project and we both discovered that we were each other’s missing link so Chloe and I moved out west. I am also really excited to be involved in this project and bring great beer to the Sunshine Coast. Chloe and I and our new baby, Beatrix, have been very welcomed into the community and think Powell River has all the right ingredients for us as well as beer.
What beer styles are you launching with and why?
Our stable of initial regulars will be a Golden Blonde Ale (Zunga), a west coast IPA (Tin Hat), and a porter (Pow Town). The names are very typically Powell River and refer to various local activities and places. We will also be brewing seasonals featuring local ingredients and will grow the stable from those based on feedback and popularity. See bottle labels here
How will you present your product? (draft, bottles, cans)
Our beers will be available in draft and 650ml bottles, as well as growlers direct from the brewery. We plan to have a growler charity program whereby $1 from each growler sale will go to a local organization every month, and our customers will choose the organizations every month. This will be one of the ways the brewery will support the community of Powell River which has been so supportive and welcoming to us.
When will you be open?
All going well, the brewing equipment from Newlands should be here by mid-January and we’ll be up & running before the month is out.
Name the beer you would drink for each season (spring, summer, fall, winter)
Out of the regulars, Zunga is our session ale, perfect for any time, but especially the dog days of summer. For the winter, definitely Pow Town will comfort you beside the fire, and Tin Hat IPA is perfect for crisp fall days. We are also planning a complement of seasonals based on local ingredients. The names have yet to be determined and will come about based on their individual personalities, like any good baby!
What is your favourite craft brewery (other than your own)?
Chloe: Sierra Nevada in Chico California for their unyielding dedication to the cause of craft beer. You want a Bavarian Wheat beer? They will travel to Germany to spend time in breweries there studying the exact brewing techniques then build tanks to the exact specifications to make you a delicious wheat beer…how can you argue with that?
Karen: Tough question!! I am going to cheat and say two. First is New Belgium Brewing. Before writing the business plan for Townsite Brewing, I went on a 3-week odyssey of beer (with a side trip to Burning Man) including a visit to NBB in Colorado and was very impressed by their business model and also their truly incredible employee loyalty. I had the good fortune to stay with the manager of the tasting room and hang out with some of the crew and every single one of them spent months and even years trying to get their jobs at NBB, sometimes even leaving more lucrative jobs. My second one is Driftwood Brewing in Victoria. I really love their beers and think they have built their business really well. They are another big inspiration for me for sure.
Cedric: Brasserie St. Feuillien in Le Roeulx, Belgium. This is a small, family-owned farm brewery who only recently started exporting after 20 years in business, and last year they won the Best Saison in the World Beer Awards. It is an old brewery that was actually defunct, but the son took it over in the 1980′s and revived the local brewing scene. Their equipment is all original from the 18th century (?) and they still use it today.
BONUS QUESTION: What is microcarbonation?
A sly marketing ruse invented by Molson created to distract you from the fact that their beer has no flavour. OOPS! Did we say that out loud?!?
Townsite Brewing Co. – opening in mid-February
5824 Ash Avenue | Powell River
Our retail store is open to serve you the freshest beer possible at our facility in the historic Townsite from Wednesday to Sunday Noon – 6pm