From Alpha Acids to Mash Tuns

Whistler Brewing Brings the Beer Home
To enjoy responsibly
Wildfire fighters
Rare flora
Bill Henderson
May 17, 2012 | whisTler’s weekly newsmagazine |
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Pique Cal
wildfire fighters train for the
summer ahead The Pemberton Fire Zone crews take to
the helicopters
strangers amongst us The race is on to record
Sea to Sky rare flora and fauna before they are gone forever
neal Kindree taKes 2012 orecrusher
title Whistler’s Jesse Melamed takes a win as well
is whistler any good for event
producers? Basically, it depends on whom you ask
Bill henderson’s history of rocK
Canadian music legend plays BAG this Saturday
Behind the Brew
From alpha acids to mash tuns, Whistler Brewing brings the beer home. - By tobias c. van Veen
cover: Lindsey Ataya is a graphic designer residing in Whistler, B.C. who enjoys nothing more than a cold,
refreshing Grapefruit Ale after a long day slaving away at the offces of your favourite local newsmagazine. You’ll
fnd her next week at the Great Alaska Craftbeer and Homebrew Festival in Haines, AK. - Lindsey Ataya


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4 | May 17, 2012 |
50 | May 17, 2012 |
Back in the 7th century (thereabouts), once one had vanquished thine
enemies and smite their lands, the task that lay before any great warrior was to
build a great mead-hall — in short, now that the felds of neighbouring barley
had been plundered, it was time to get down and build a drinking palace
of epic proportions. Beowulf, the founding tale of english literature, now a
horrendous relic of a 3D flm, teaches us all this traditional lesson: never let a
great victory go by without a tremendous amount of post-traumatic drinking.

thankfully, Western civilization has evolved beyond the thick, syrupy honey-
broth known as mead. Mead is closer to a meal. With the aftertaste of rancid
honey and the consistency of oatmeal, even the mediaeval knights were
increasingly unable to down this alcoholic stew. the mead-hall withered into
disrepair. hrothgar’s descendents were eaten and avenged by the monsters of
With the enlightenment came refnements in the aesthetics of booze. after
the Reinheitsgebot was ratifed in 1516 — better known as the Bavarian purity
laws — there was at least some sense as to what beer should (and should not) be.
a century before Galileo searched the heavens and Spinoza perfected eyeglasses
and ethics, the Germans ensured some order to the coming celebration of the
copernican revolution: beer should consist of water, barley, and hops.
Of course this was quickly fooled with. thanks to post-enlightenment
scientists concerned with better states of drunk — Louis Pasteur, actually, in
the late 19th century — yeast was identifed as the active agent in recycled
sediment; thereafter it was intentionally added. Wheat malt and cane sugar
were toyed with, along with all matter of strange favours in the mash, from
grapefruit to pumpkins, cinnamon and other spices to apples and oranges.
Barley was originally singled out to keep the beermakers from using up all the
breadmakers’ dough (the peasant population could not be drunk all the time
— they had to eat something). Once agriculture became proto-industrialized
and the guild laws disintegrated, weissbier followed. Such is the inevitability
of beer, and its long-historical trajectory to where we are today: the post-
Renaissance renaissance of the microbrew. this is our alcoholic eschaton, and
homer Simpson’s theory of progress has been confrmed as correct: at the end
of history lies beer heaven.
Or so goes this tale of tastes (don’t quote it in school, kids).
A class culture of the craf
“craft beers have a grittier appeal here,” says Bruce Dean, president of the
Whistler Brewing company, which has operated since 2009 in the old transit
facility down in Function Junction. though he has dealt in wine for Mark
anthony’s Mission hill and marketed products worldwide for Gillette, Bruce
certainly understands his beer. “there’s a certain rawness to the recipes that the
B.c. craft consumer likes,” he says, explaining how Whistler Brewing came to
produce the wide range of tastes it does today.
We sit in the conference room, which looks out upon the two copper boilers
and the great garage doors of the former bus depot. Bruce continues: “they
From alpha acids to mash tuns, Whistler BreWing Brings the Beer home
The fortunes of war favoured Hrothgar. . . .
So his mind turned to hall-building: he handed down orders
for men to work on a great mead-hall
meant to be a wonder of the world forever . . .
– from Beowulf (trans. Seamus Heaney)
Story &
photos by
tobias c.
van Veen | May 17, 2012 | 51
Feature Story
like the experience that that tastes different from that,
and that tastes different from that.” Bruce gestures at the
bottles before him. Grapefruit Ale, reads one; the brewery
can barely keep this vitamin c laden fx in stock. Powder
Mountain Lager, reads another. With his characteristic
australian accent, Bruce expresses the experience of the
contemporary craft beer consumer: “and i didn’t like that
one, but it was Ok, i only paid six bucks to not like it, not
like ffty bucks for a bottle of wine, so i’ll try something
else next time.”
B.c. has become a small paradise of ales, where
diverse tastes can be sampled for a few bucks. But there
are also economic reasons for diving into craft brew
making. Where Bruce originally envisioned Whistler
Brewing and where it is today are two quite different
trajectories. in 2003, Whistler Brewing was still owned
by parent company Big Rock, which really didn’t know
what to do with the malt mashers. the old Whistler
Brewery — which launched in 1989, eventually moving
into what is now the U-Lock building in 1995 — had
long been abandoned to other tenants. after selling-out
to Big Rock, the “Whistler” Brewery had been relocated
to kamloops, though apparently making its brew with
trucked-in Whistler water. Valley locals didn’t consider
the beer geographically authentic, and its tastes, though
pragmatic, had drifted toward the predictable.
Bruce was brought onboard to revamp the brew. he
imagined a brand oriented around two classic export
recipes. he also envisioned Whistler Brewing as the local
partner for the 2010 Olympics, which would serve as a
springboard for the international market. But two things
happened: frst, Big Rock’s board of directors didn’t go
for it, and second, the Vancouver Olympic committee
handed over 100 per cent of alcohol sales to Molson
at Olympic venues — which is to say, to the american
coors empire (unlike other Olympics, no secondary,
local beer partner was found, a decision that appears
to have fudged Provincial tied-house laws that guard
against 100 per cent exclusivity). Labatt’s, meanwhile,
bought out many local bars with kokanee. it’s worth
noting that indie brewers live nearly wholly within the
10 per cent set aside for local brews in bars, a kind of
canadian content/cancOn regulation for beer.
So Bruce laid it all down on the line. he raised the
hard capital, bought out the Brewery from Big Rock, and
brought it home to Whistler, applying for his canadian
citizenship in the process. Within a few months of
setting-up shop — which required extensive investment
in equipment, refurbishing the building, and hiring staff
— the Brewery was crafting its own ales on the premises.
three years later, and the Brewery is canning in-house;
by July, the Brewery will be bottling. it’s fair to say that
the Whistler Brewery is back — not only in substance,
but in style, too, as one of the top fve indie brewers in
the province for capacity.
“So the original strategy of premium export lager,
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52 | May 17, 2012 |
Feature Story
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classic pale ale — two recipes, etc. — was not
relevant for optimizing growth in B.c.,” says Bruce.
“and at the same time, we happened to hire one of
the best, most experienced brewmasters, who built
arguably one of the largest and most successful
craft breweries in B.c. — Granville Island.”
the brewmaster was none other than Joe Goetz,
who now operates out of Whistler Brewery’s larger
facility in kamloops, and who apprenticed for his
Brewmaster’s ticket at Ferdinand-von-Steinbeiss-
Schule in Ulm, Germany. Starting at Granville
island Brewery in 1986, Joe was the man behind the
microbrews for nearly 25 years until Molson bought
it out (and transfered operations to the Burrard
Street castle in 2009). Joe foresaw the industry’s
shift from bland to distinct brand, and is now at the
point where he is “taking beer to places it has never
been before” (to cite from his quirky bio).
“Joe opened the doors to recipe
experimentation,” says Bruce, with an evidently
pleased grin. Bruce, after all, loves beer; each brew
has to pass his taste test. “Joe developed Whiskey
Jack Ale, he developed Powder Mountain Lager, and
Paradise Valley Grapefruit Ale — which is going
crazy for us, it’s nuts — and then he has done, with
a head of steam, the Valley Trail Chestnut Ale, the
Winter Dunkel, the Chai Maple Ale, and coming up
in fve weeks or so, the Pineapple Express, our new
pineapple wheat ale.”
Yes — a new pineapple weissbier is a comin’.
But at this point the conversation drifted… i began
talking to Bruce about Pique staff hording bottles of
Grapefruit ale under their desks, and about fghts in
the newsroom over the merits of the chai Maple —
indeed, the faithful will be pleased to know that the
Grapefruit is going into full production this summer.
Later, brooding over a bottle of Powder Mountain
Lager at the brewery’s pleasant bar, i meditated upon
its artful design. the original 2010 bottle featured
commissioned cover art of Fissile mountain’s ragged
peak by local artist chili thom. While the 2011
redesign of the entire Whistler Brewing line did away
with the local art, it injected a handcrafted, pioneer
feel to the brew. i ordered another. apparently even
reporters are not beyond the infuence of modern-
day Don Drapers; Vancouver’s tool Box Design,
responsible for the novel yet retro aesthetic, says
on its website that the rustic nostalgia taps into a
“simpler, emotionally rich past.”
Bruce attributes a big part of the brewery’s
success — the “third renaissance of Whistler beer”
— to support from local establishments. “having
the brewery back here, making and delivering beer
. . . conducting tours, participating in making beers
. . . we are getting a lot of community support,” he
says, “i feel good about selling the beer here.”
But we are getting far, far ahead of ourselves.
We need to rewind to the land Down Under and
to the tale of a world-travelling family which has
decided to make its fnal stop right here in Whistler.
after leaving Mark anthony around 2003,
Bruce planned to take the family back to australia.
“But,” says Bruce, with a contented grin, “the
family basically mutinied, and said ‘Look, you’ve
been dragging us around the planet and it’s time
to settle down and we like it here. We like our
christmases in Whistler. . . .’”
in learning why others come here, we learn a
little (if not a lot) about ourselves. Whistler is the
Great Magnet for strange visitors who overstay their
welcome and become part of the local lore, and
sometimes it takes a compatriot born elsewhere
to revitalize something that has been, in the
past, an economic but also symbolic aspect of
Whistler’s identity.
From Beneath it
Devours – and Drinks
An attendant stood by with a decorated
pitcher, pouring bright helpings of mead.
And the minstrel sang . . .
– Beowulf
“i WaS BORn in Melbourne in ’84,” says Matt
Dean, Brewery Supervisor for the Whistler location
and one of Bruce’s two sons. But Down Under the
Deans did not stay — from then on the family
Above: Kevin Winter,
assistant brewery
supervisor, checks the
wort as a new batch of
Whiskey Jack Ale lauters
itself into oblivion.
Above, right: Matt Dean,
whose tongue can taste
over 60-odd favours on
the beer wheel, gives me
the New Look.™
Right: Four out of fve
beavers believe that
almost anything can be
canned. Almost. | May 17, 2012 | 53
Feature Story
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Right: Ben Adley,
the man who keeps
us all sane with
sleeves of silk.
picked up and moved every few years, as Bruce’s
18-year career with Gillette trundled him to
Sydney, thailand, hong kong, Boston, and back to
australia, all before settling in Vancouver, fnally,
in 2001. as well as a seasoned kid traveller, Matt
is a fast and expedient talker. On my frst brewery
tour, he surpassed my abilities to match pace at
linguistic lightspeed. to compensate, i gulped
down sleeves with the two other young couples
on the walkabout (apparently the brewery sees a
fne share of curious, youthful pairings). Matt’s
energetic presentation is balanced by the timely
interventions of freshly tapped brews from Ben
adley, taphouse supervisor. Ben, usually the Man
behind the long oak bar, explains with concision
and evident appreciation the pint in hand, pointing
out its peculiar tastes and characteristics. Matt,
meanwhile, is wildly gesturing at the gleaming
silver tubes and copper cisterns, arms twirling, eyes
fickering, as he launches into the lingo of malts,
mashes, and hops.
Once Matt starts talking chemical composition,
it’s obvious that he not only knows his game,
but loves the sport. So far, he has learned his
trade from the ground-up, working everything
from brewing to sales over the course of fve
years. But to become a full-fedged brewmaster
— like Joe — requires schooling in the fne art of
ales. to this end, Matt is undertaking his master
brewer’s certifcation from the Siebel institute of
technology in chicago. established in 1872, it is
the only such school outside of Germany; Matt
tells me he’ll undertake the challenging program
through online classes while he works days on the
brewery foor.
Bruce didn’t exactly encourage Matt to take up
the quasi-family business. in fact he’s adamant in
explaining that Matt has served his time. Like all
the best rugrat rebels, Matt ignored the sage advice
of his father, shunning university and choosing
to work in the hospitality industry after fnishing
highschool. But after a few years of drudgery
— as well as acquiring a taste for ales while
working at the Yaletown Brew Pub and attending
Langara college — Matt turned to thomson Rivers
University for business school in 2006. Since he’d
be in kamloops, he asked Bruce if he could work at
the interior brewery.
“i thought ‘I’ll fx this kid,’” says Bruce, with a
gleam in his eye. “i gave him a job at ten bucks an
hour, working in a cold, damp part of the brewery,
cleaning tanks… it was the absolute crapkicker job.
and he stuck that out for a year.”
Matt survived the suds-soaked initiation, and,
at the insistence of the operations manager,
moved on up to fltration — a messy process
whereby the beer is strained to remove yeast
and other sediments. as luck would have it, the
kamloops brewer suddenly left, and so Matt was
trained for the job.
“Matthew’s done everything i’ve ever asked him
to do,” laughs Bruce, “except resign.”
i ask him what it’s like to end up with a father-
son relationship in the workplace. “it’s a bit odd
to have a son working in the business,” says Bruce.
“i don’t object to it; it happened by circumstance.”
in fact, Matt was not the frst choice for Whistler’s
brewery; two other brewers were lined up but each
fell through. and so Matt moved from his position
in sales — which he worked from 2008 through
2010 — to brewing the beers right here in Whistler.
and i believe it’s safe to say there’s no other place
he’d like to be.
Lees and Lows of Te
Pardoner’s Tale
Saide I nat wel? I can nat speke in terme.
But wel I woot, thou doost myn herte to erme
That I almost have caught a cardinacle.
By corpus bones, but if I have triacle,
Or elles a draughte of moiste and corny ale,
Or but I here anoon a merye tale,
Myn herte is lost for pitee of this maide.
– from the Pardoner’s Tale, Canterbury
Tales (Chaucer, ca. 1386)
Pass the Pepto? I can’t speak on no
technical tack.
But yo I know, though it rips my heart apart,
That I almost went into cardiac attack.
Esti! Tabernac!, unless I pop some pills,
Or else down a draught of moist and
creamy ale,
Or but I hear damn straight a merry tale,
My heart will be lost for pity of this babe.

– (Translation: the author)
BOth OLDe enGLiSh and chemistry are near
indecipherable — yet both have much to say
about beer. Learning to spot the brew references
in chaucer is like reading James Joyce, Yeats,
54 | May 17, 2012 |
Dylan thomas, or the master of indecipherability
incarnate, Robbie Burns — it is best done inebriated
(and we have not yet even broached six-bottle
Bukowski). if Olde english is a dirty language, beer
is not. For mixing fermented chemicals, it would
appear that cleanliness is next to godliness, insofar
as beer is divine. all of this means that clean
chemicals make drunk deities.
“there’s a lot of chemistry involved,” says Matt. “if
they taught brewing and distilling as part of a chemistry
application, there’s a good chance i would’ve paid
more attention in high school — for that.”
indeed, i would’ve paid more attention in
chemistry too. i can think of a few interesting
Sandoz compositions. But alas.
“Really, people think making beer is easy,
which it’s not,” emphasizes Matt. “the two
fundamentals you have to get through your head
when you the start is clean and clean, and if you’re
not sure if it’s clean, clean it again. Beer picks up
bacteria, oxygen, and wild yeast so easily, so if
your processes aren’t dialed and effcient, you will
have quality control issues.”
translation: dirty gear makes dirty-tasting beer.
Sterilize with hot water at 85 degrees.
having dabbled in homebrew myself, i have
often heard the fresh wisdom; most basement beer
tastes bad because hoses and glass growlers aren’t
sterilized. this also goes for bars. how many of
Whistler pub’s fush their lines weekly, or even
nightly, as they do in most reputable establishments
overseas? Bacteria and mold muck are the leading
causes of ugly hangovers — and illness. to this
end, Whistler Brewery takes personal care of their
own tanks and lines on tap in the Village. “there’s
still sugar in beer,” explains Matt. “it can eat itself
and cannibalize itself, and that can create its own
weird favours as well . . . i don’t drink beer from
certain bars because of their lines.”
then there’s the premises.
“We clean our brewhouse once a week,” says
Matt, reminiscing over his early days spent scrubbing
tanks. “there’s 16 hours a week spent in brewing,
but the rest of the week is preparing for it.”
Beyond shaving one’s head and scrubbing
every nook and cranny spic and span, beer is
precision chemistry applied to alcohol. the true
test is drafting one’s own recipe — and Matt has
some ideas in mind for something he calls Spanky’s
Black IPA.
“i’ve based it off the Black tusk recipe,” says
Matt. if made, Spanky’s will be the third iteration
of the original Brewery’s award-winning pint. “i
will be adding a lot more hops — cascade hops
— which are your quintessential iPa hop, which
claims to have grapefruit in its aromatics,” says
Matt. For those uninformed, hops are added to
beer as a favour and stabilizer. the bitter and
tangy tastes of an india Pale ale come from its
selection of hops, which means you need to
know a little bit about acid — beta and alpha
acids, that is.
Which brings us to acid hops (no, not the lost
‘90s cousin to trip-hop).
hops are a climbing plant; mostly it’s the
dried female fower cluster that is used in brewing.
european lagers and pilsners are made with the
classic noble hops — hallertau, Saaz, Spalt, or
tettnang — that are renowned for being low in
bitterness (meaning less alpha acids) but high
in aroma (meaning more beta acids). Cascade
hops were developed at Oregon State University
by interbreeding British Fuggles (a contentious
noble hop) with Russian Serebrianker (don’t
ask). Designed to be mold resistant in the damp
Pacifc northwest, cascade hops impart a mild
citrus favouring.
“Black tusk is a nice and balanced, dark mild
already,” says Matt, “which has nice toasted notes
in there, and then i’d be hopping it up more and
adding crystal malt.”
the malt is the grain itself, usually barley,
soaked in water to the point of germination, and
then halted with hot air. Crystal malts are one of
at least 15 varieties from stout malt to Rauchmalz.
the crystal is known for its toffee and caramel
overtones (depending on colour), adding to the
sweetness of the beer.
all of this goes into the mash — ah yes, zee
monster mash.
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Feature Story
Left: Barley malts
come in different
shapes and sizes,
from green rabbit
pellets to calico
litter grist. | May 17, 2012 | 55
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the mash looks like an oatmeal-like stew,
in which the malted grains (known as grist) are
steeped at precise temperatures for hours and
hours in the giant copper mash tuns that can be
seen towering behind the Brewery’s garage doors.
hops can be added at various stages. Sometimes
boil hops are added for bitterness and favour; aroma
hops are added at the end of the boil to scent the
stew. hops can also be added during secondary
fermentation or to the wort.
as for worts, you do not need worts (or
witches) to make beer; rather, boiling up the beer
makes worts (and not witches).
after boiling down the mash, what is left behind
is the liquid wort, which is sparged or lautered — the
language of beer-making is incredibly sexy, i tell
you — from the remaining muck of spent grain.
this liquid, known as the wort (and which you
wouldn’t want to drink) is then brought to a rolling
boil for an hour or two, before being cooled (using
a heat exchanger) and then mixed with yeast to
begin the fermentation process, which creates
carbon dioxide and alcohol. Between each of these
lengthy, precisely timed processes there is the
always-entertaining task of full-body immersion
tank-cleaning. More hops, as well as bags of spices
or fruit mashes — such as grapefruit, chai, chestnut
— can be added throughout, depending on the
desired taste and/or aroma. after fermentation, the
beer is cooled in a process known as conditioning,
in which the yeast falls out of suspension to the
bottom of the tank. Most beers are fltered (though
not always, such as wheat ales), and fnally put into
glass bottles, kegs, and giant foating dirigibles for
us to drink and be merry with.*
all-in-all, the process takes some 30 days, start
to fnish.
this be what Matt is explaining on the tour,
as he goes from Mashing to Lautering, Boiling
to cooling, Fermentation to conditioning to
Filtration. take notes; a taste test will follow.
* the Whistler Brewery denied any such dirigibles
but I have seen them.
Long live the craf
and other revolutionary tastes
It was late when we drank. We all thought
it was high time to begin. What there had
been before, no one could remember .
. . When you are thirsty, you watch out
for any opportunity to drink and merely
pretend to take an interest in things . . .
– René Daumal, A Night of Serious
Drinking (1938)
WhetheR it Be sneaking six packs into an all-
ages punk gig, or humming through pitchers at
the university pub while debating the merits of
poststructuralism, most of us are indoctrinated into
the mysteries of Dionysus at a relatively youthful
age. Unfortunately for many, their taste buds never
recover. While downing kegs as a powderhound
here in Whistler, and deducing whether it is
humanly possible to stand up and ski tomorrow,
keep in mind that with common fare you might
be doing irreparable damage to your tongue and
its aesthetic repetoire. Forget the liver — it’s the
tongue that is king. if there is a moral impetus to
this investigation of craft brews, it be this: a well-
tasted tongue is a talented tongue, and a tongue that
cannot distinguish between watered-down swill and
a stout, or a brown ale and a lager, is ft for no one.
in short, train that tongue to taste the best.
Like other B.c. wildchilds, i discovered the
bouts of Bacchus long after the other elysian
secrets had revealed themselves. Beer always felt
second-rate, and the corporate shloop that i
saw my drunk-at-all-costs colleagues down was
nothing short of swill for my tastes. But the reality
of the proposition set in: i was thirsty, and after
reading mass amounts of Surrealist literature
on the creative benefts of the riotous spirits, i
realized that i needed something in hand when
trawling the “bzzr gardens” out on campus. Right
off the bat, i turned to the brews marketed toward
continued on page 57
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Right: “And this
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56 | May 17, 2012 |
Tastedbuds of the World, Unite!
Right: Three of Whistler Brewing Company’s staples: Powder
Mountain Lager, Bear Paw Honey Lager and Whiskey Jack Ale.
What are you waiting for? Head down to the Brewery in Function
Junction and sample them for yourself.
Without Further ado, a taster’s guide to the Whistler BreWery’s selections
the staples Fall & Winter BreWs summer Blitzes
When Joe Goetz set out to redesign the brewery’s
staple Export Lager in 2010, four variations to the
standard were offered to locals on tap. “Some
were a little drier, some were a little sweeter,” says
Matt Dean. Votes were tallied, leading to today’s
democratic champion, the Powder Mountain
Lager — a fnely fltered pint with bread-like notes
and multisweetness, clean yet crisp. “Lagers are
harder to make,” says Matt, “ales are so much
easier because you throw hops in there and you
can mask any favours you don’t like. Whereas
with lagers, what you see is what you get.”
The Bear Paw Honey Lager, made from Armstrong
organic bee honey, stems from a 2007 creation
of Big Rock’s current Brewmaster, Jody Hammel
(who has his Berlin Versuchs-und Lehranstalt
für Brauerei, or VLB certifcate). Today Joe has
tweaked it for its “caramel malt and reddy-brown
complexion,” says Matt. None too sweet, the Bear
Paw pours amber and copper with a dissipating
white head and creamy lacing. “It’s a great honey,”
says Matt, “it’s not overly sweet.”
The Black Tusk Ale (b. 1989) is the last remaining
recipe from the big-hair days of the brewery. After
some fnessing by Joe — it was formerly brewed
with a lager yeast, now an ale yeast — it won dual
awards in 2010, claiming Bronze in the English-
Style Mild Ale category at the World Beer Cup
(North America’s hoedown) and the Americas
Best Brown Dark Ale at the World Beer Awards
(Europe and Asia’s smasher). This obsidian black
beer, unlike a black stout, uses no oats; the Black
Tusk is an “approachable dark beer,” says Matt, “it
looks dark, drinks light, with toasted and coffee
notes.” Hearsay has it that Colin Pyne, operations
manager, mean forklifter and former brewer from
the early ‘90s, says the Black Tusk is now “10
times” better.
A 2011 concoction of Joe’s, the Whiskey Jack Ale
is an “easy-drinking, North American ale,” says
Matt, none too heavy or obtrusive, replacing the
old Classic Pale Ale. As Matt puts it, the Whiskey
Jack is a “training beer to teach you to get away
from lagers without being so heavy you get turned
off craft beers.” It’s also slightly sharp, and goes
well with spicy foods and chutneys.
With the changing seasons come seasonal ales,
each designed to match taste to weather; indeed,
this shifting nature of taste is the appeal for many
connoisseurs of craft brews. Darker, sometimes
sweeter and more caramel beers in winter; lighter,
more fruity beers in summer.
The Winter Dunkel came out over the 2010/11
snow season, “a dark, fltered ale,” says Matt, with
“coriander, bitter and sweet orange peel, and dark
Whistler chocolate added to the boil . . . in a giant
muslin cloth bag.” This was the frst test brew
done in Whistler; it came out tasting like a “Terry’s
chocolate orange” (a Jaffa for you Ozzies).
The Valley Trail Chestnut Ale, new in the Fall of
2011, it is a brown ale with “chestnut meal in the
mash, and concentrated chestnut oil post-fltration
to grab the aromatics, with a little bit of vanilla,”
says Matt. With all the rage over pumpkin ales this
past Fall, the Chestnut stood alone for its unique
taste — quite simply, it went down smooth and
low, like riding soft singletrack on fallen leaves.
Incredible in pancakes and waffes, as well as a
dessert topper and stand-alone tastebud popper,
the Chai Maple Ale is a throaty brew with a
determined taste. Matt explains: “Chai spices were
added in a big teacloth bag so it steeped in the
boil. . . with concentrated maple syrup during
fltration, to add that last bit of maple sweetness
and aromatics.” You like maple? You like Chai
Maple Ale.
But now is the season of sun, of Lost Lake skinny
dipping, rain-shower dodging and heated summer
fings, which brings us to…
The Weissbier Wheat Ale claimed the 2009 Gold
Medal for Wheat Beer (German Style Hefeweizen)
at the Canadian Brewing Awards and the 2011
Gold at the North American Brewers Beer Festival
for Bavarian Style Hefeweizen. This be a mouthful,
as is unfltered weissbier, which is cloudy and
golden, thanks to 50 per cent wheat malt in the
brew. “You’ll get banana and clove aromatics,”
says Matt,” thanks to “the reaction between the
yeast and wheat used.” As a dedicated drinker of
whitbiers, weissbiers and hefeweizens, I’d crack in
a slice of lemon or orange to enhance the citrus
favours — and because eating the steeped fruit
is delectable. (Only limited quantities will be
available this season.)
The ever popular Paradise Valley Grapefruit Ale, a
Goetz masterpiece, is based on a blonde-ale recipe
with “grapefruit rind in post-fermentation. . . with a
Galena hop, that brings out the natural grapefruit
bitterness,” says Matt. “Post-fltration we dose in
grapefruit juice pulp,” he explains, “which makes
it opaque and adds that fnal fnishing sweetness.”
First released as a 1,400 case run in summer 2011,
all 16,800 bottles sold out within two weeks. “It
was so popular,” enthuses Matt, “that we brought
it back this year in six-packs and in our travel
pack.” So have no worry — the Grapefruit Ale
should be kicking strong for the summer’s heat-
wave BBQs and sneaky park popping.
Last but not least, the 2012 Pineapple Express
Pineapple Wheat Ale will stand in for this summer’s
Wheat Ale as the newest Goetz creation. Coming
down the pipe for July, this unfltered weissbier
will have “fresh pineapples in the boil and the
dry-hopping stage,” according to Matt, though he
has yet to brew it. “Come back for that one,” says
Bruce, though he keeps his knuckles gripped — “the
problem with these experimental recipes,” he says,
“is what happens if it doesn’t work?”
Feature Story | May 17, 2012 | 57
This article has been written with a healthy
appreciation for the limits of the fermented pleasures.
Whistler can be a playground of abundance. In short,
you may f ind yourself getting perpetually smashed.
So it goes in a ski town. But like injuries and STDs,
alcoholism happens to the best of us. I’ve seen friends
go down. Blackouts and memory loss lead to bad
decisions that might mean far worse consequences
than a three-day hangover. Sure, a beer is nice, but
addiction to alcohol is not. If you or one of your friends
need resources or help, the Whistler Health Centre is
the place to ask. They’ll put you in touch with the right
people, no questions asked.
4325 Blackcomb Way
Whistler, British Columbia
Canada V0N 1B4
TEL 604 932 5535
TF 1 866 932 5535
FAX 604 935 8109
The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) will commence its annual water
main flushing program in May 2012. The purpose of the program is to clean
water pipes, maintain water quality and improve the integrity and durability
of the piping system. The program will run until October 2012.
During water main flushing, water service may be interrupted for a short
time. Residents are advised to limit water use during periods when crews
are flushing in your neighborhood.
If discoloured water appears from your fixtures, do not be alarmed:

• Do not use discoloured water for purposes that require clean water.
• Do not use the discoloured water for about two hours; this will allow
time for the sediment to settle.
• After two hours, run cold taps for a short time to make sure the water
is clear.
If you have questions or concerns, please contact the RMOW Infrastructure
Services Department at 604-935-8300.
Visit for more information.
4325 Blackcomb Way
Whistler, British Columbia
Canada V0N 1B4
TEL 604 932 5535
TF 1 866 932 5535
FAX 604 935 8109
The Resort Municipality of Whistler offers a sustainable alternative to
burning yard trimmings and wood waste that is better for air quality and
benefits Whistler’s composting system.
Look for the 2 separate bins marked YARD WASTE ONLY and INVASIVE
When: Saturday May 19
– Monday May 21
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Tuesday, May 22
1:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Where: Nesters Compactor Site ONLY - 8001 Nester’s Road
Carney’s staff and volunteers will be on site to assist and monitor yard
waste and invasive plant species drop-offs.
Will Accept:
9 Grass, leaves, small twigs, hedge trimmings, branches, trunks,
9 Yard waste should have minimal dirt and sand, and no rocks
9 Invasive plants to go in bin marked INVASIVE SPECIES ONLY
8 NO wood with paint, nails, screws, glue, stain, or chemical treatment
8 NO cedar
8 NO plastic bags or garbage
For more information on invasive plant species visit:
Information will also be available on site.
Questions about yard waste? Please contact Environmental Coordinator
Nicolette Richer at 604-935-8198 or by email:
niche consumers, though most were on the
verge of being bought out — Sleeman’s by
Sapporo; all things Molson by coors; Labatt’s
by Belgium magnate anheuser-Busch inBev.
Some of the big breweries have all-right
subsidiaries, though i could never down
the likes of the sasquatch spew. But as the
canadian content fell to the multinationals
one by one, the beer became too predictable.
too bland. too boring. as Matt explains, this
mass-market era derives from the buy-out
days of the 1970s, when the indie breweries
fell to the big boys, resulting in nameless
cans and stale tastes — the Dark ages of Beer.
a short aside with opinions cocked. colt
.45 isn’t even a beer — it’s a malt drink. all
the hipster kids, though rejecting corporate
control in style and music by resurrecting the
dated and discarded, undermine their critical
irony by embracing big brews like PBR and
Old Milwaukee, which are as “working class”
as a McDonald’s employment environment
— sure, you pay little (for food and wages
alike), but that’s because you drink from
the big tit of multinationals. it’s “beer” that
is cheap precisely because it is high-gravity
brewed to a higher alcoholic content and then
watered down, with expensive malt often
substituted with rice or corn to save on cost
(unlike asahi rice beer, which is intentionally
brewed to its alcoholic percentage). to this
end, as i read on an internet forum for beer
lovers, “Wildcat is the pink slime of beer.”
By comparison, B.c.’s craft brews are
refreshing, bold, and exciting. While today,
according to, there are at least 65
artisinal breweries from Victoria’s Philips to
howe Sound, from tree Brewing to taphouses
like the Brewhouse right here in Whistler
Village, 20 years ago there were far, far
fewer. true, Whistler Brewing existed then, a
trademark microbrew in the province, but its
distribution never found itself into the lines
of UBc’s student pubs. Worthy of a historical
footnote, Granville island Brewery often
stood alone amongst the crowd of watered-
down alcopop. though decent, its beers sharp
and tangy, in the early days its tastes were not
always that far from the majors.
it took some decades for B.c. to begin
brewing its own class of craft ales. as
Granville island’s former brewmaster, Joe
Goetz, puts it, “all this was in a time when
beer was expected to ft the mold of the
few large brewers and consumers were not
overly keen in trying new and different
beers. Over the years the consumer palate
changed and so did the microbrewery
industry. More breweries opened the
doors, providing more favours to the
consumer and also stretching the limits
for what beer can be.”
indeed, it wasn’t until i discovered
Quebec’s then-independent Unibroue and
its corked bottles flled with warning and
confusion — La Fin du Monde, Maudite, Don
de Dieu — alongside Guinness, kilkenny,
and the doubles and tripples of Flemish
abbey ales, that i began to truly grasp
the inner light of the golden liquid. now
here were drinks for drowning sorrow
and/or waxing poetic; here were the ales
for raging against the machine and/or
the dying of the light… With such an
alcoholic arsenal, taste becomes a matter
of mood exploration. Different brews are
for different tasks, from harrowing through
publication deadlines to getting luxurious
with a fne specimen at the bar. the poison
is picked for the elevation of the occasion
— or its debasement into debauchery.
i am not alone. it appears an entire
market segment had high expectations
for the fuel of sophomoric rebellion. no
mere beer guzzlers, we are at once picky
yet willing to dive into nearly any bottle.
What this lee populace demands is vibrant,
explosive beers, with sharply defned tastes
— not generic, bland, fzzy maltdrinks.
Long live the craft revolution. n
Feature Story
continued from page 55
a note From the author

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