Little brewery, big taste

Get a taste during at Fernie Brewing tour as they celebrate their tenth anniversary.

During the Fernie Brewing Company tour

I’m not much of a beer drinker but when duty called, I biked up to the Fernie Brewing Company (FBC) for their Friday afternoon tour with friends who were in town for a mountain biking trip.

This year marks FBC’s tenth anniversary thanks to award winning products like their Sap Sucker Maple Porter, which won a Canadian Gold Medal in 2012.

Craft brewers have been rising in popularity over the last ten years. What began in owner Russell Pask’s family barn in 2003 with two types of brew has evolved into the brewery north east of Fernie with 13 seasonal beers.

Tour guide Brittany Sopko started the tour by filling up the sample glasses before explaining the use of barley, malt and hops plus the fact they use no preservatives. Right off the bat, a sample of their Begian White Ale ‘Ol’ Willy Wit’ had my attention with its refreshing citrusy flavour on a thirty-degree day.

Sopko refilled sample glasses before we headed into the brew house to see where the magic happens.

After viewing the towering stainless steel and brass silo like vats, we moved into the cooler where the finished product is stored until bottled or canned.

Believe it or not, what now takes three people to run the machine to bottle, used to be done by hand one bottle at a time.

It’s still a slow process compared to large breweries that can bottle one beer per second. But the employees still remember the good ol’ days of hand bottling so they love the efficiency of the current system. One employee was busy sealing the summer variety packs with a glue gun. Yes, folks, FBC beer is still boxed and sealed by hand.

They are still growing as they are expanding their warehouse to include a massive new cooler by the new loading dock. Craft brewing is a lot more labour intensive than I thought.

“I was surprised they can produce so much with only 12 full time employees,” said visitor Tim McKee.

“I’m amazed how small the operation is,” said Amber Nielson. “They’re pretty generous with the samples too. Ol’ Willy Wit and Huckleberry are my favourites.  I like the Red Caboose too. It’s smooth, red, and darker full flavoured.”

FBC has two Brew Masters with a third in training via an online program. He can work and learn on the job with two-experienced Brew Masters there to answer teach and answer questions.

The brewery has reached pubs in Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary but is most popular in the Kootenays.

Variety packs are a summer favourite and a great idea for a souvenir that your friends will appreciate more than another ill-fitting t-shirt.

Tours are every Friday beginning at 3 pm. For more information, check out www.ferniebrewery.com.

 

Just Posted

New general director for francophone association

Exciting things are on the horizon for the Association Francophone des Rocheuses… Continue reading

First responders host holiday food drive

Frozen fingers knocked on doors around Fernie on Wednesday evening as part… Continue reading

Fernie Physiotherapy hosts open house

Health care professionals and community members gathered at Fernie Physiotherapy and Sports… Continue reading

Rob Morrison sworn in as Kootenay-Columbia MP

Parliament set to reconvene on Thursday with election of House Speaker, Throne Speech

Fernie students continue climate strike

On Friday morning, students from Fernie Secondary School, The Fernie Academy and… Continue reading

VIDEO: Federal Liberals’ throne speech welcomes opposition’s ideas

Trudeau will need NDP or Bloc support to pass legislation and survive confidence votes

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Vancouver Island college for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Coachwerks Restorations come together to care for car

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

B.C. NDP touts the end of MSP premiums

Horgan, James held news conference to reiterate that people will get their last bill this month

Illicit drug deaths down, but B.C. coroner says thousands still overdose

Chief coroner Life Lapointe says province’s drug supply remains unpredictable

Trustees ask for more help after tearful meeting on B.C. school’s ‘toxic’ stench

Enforcement has ‘no teeth,’ school trustee says, while kids become sick

Most Read