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Contract brewing may not be groundbreaking to major brewers but it is the new kid on the craft beer block and is coming to Vancouver this spring, said On The Coast beer columnist Rebecca Whyman.
Most local breweries focus on making and selling their own in-house brands but the new Factory Brewery, opening in May, has a different model: brewing other people's beer exclusively. This type of contract brewing, Whyman told On The Coast host Stephen Quinn, allows more beer enthusiasts to enter the market.
"There are definitely potential benefits in contract brewing for several segments of the industry," Whyman said.
Small breweries and part-time brewers can increase their brewing capacity without having to find a larger space, expend a lot of capital or worry about overhead costs, she said. It also mean that non-local breweries, like those from the United States, can enter the Vancouver market more easily.
Not everyone is onboard with the concept though.
"Contract brewing has been around forever, but not everyone is a fan," Whyman said.
To some people, she explained, the fact that another establishment is in charge of the brewing process means that the name on the label is no longer authentic.
"I thought this might be a bigger issue than it appears to be though," she said. "All the beer geeks I asked weren't fussed about it at all."
Starting this spring, Factory plans to brew for eight different breweries. So far, Doan's Brewing is the only confirmed name on the list.
Factory will open next month and is located in the old Direct Tap facilities on Vernon Drive in East Vancouver.
Whyman's top picks for beer this week:
Main Street Brewing and Red Truck Brewing collaboration:
"Ryzenshein Crystal Rye Gose is a kettle soured ale, brewed with pilsner flaked wheat and crystal rye and soured with lactobacillus. The sour citrus balances nicely with the salty coriander, and the rye adds a subtle spiciness. The finish is dry and sharp. Five percent alcohol. Available in 650 ml bottles."
Powell Street Brewing and Odd Society Distilling collaboration:
"Ode to Wallflower is Powell Street's Ode to Citra pale ale aged in Odd Society's Wallflower gin barrels. The hyper-local collaboration produced a botanically charged, slightly oaked hoppy pale ale. 6.2 percent. Available in 650 ml bottles and on tap at both tasting rooms."
Central City Beer League Lager:
"This premium lager is intended to 'show an approachable style to craft beer flavour.' It is brewed as a traditional craft lager — approachable, easy-drinking and flavourful. A lot of people say the real test in craft beer is brewing a good lager — here's one you can use to lure lager drinkers to the craft side! Five percent, available in six packs of 355ml cans."
With files from On The Coast.