He was the mad scientist; the professor.
It wasn’t uncommon to see Gord Demaniuk around Fernie Brewing wearing a white coat and goggles, working his magic with the wide selection of beers he developed for the company.
Fernie Brewing is paying tribute to their professor with a newly released Martzen beer, called “The Professor.”
“We were waiting for an opportunity to pay tribute to Gord,” said Pauly Roberts, a brewer at Fernie Brewing. “He always wanted to create a Martzen for Oktoberfest.”
After his passing, Demaniuk’s son Jeff came to brew at the company.
“I was hoping to work together with him for a brief time,” he said. “I just really wanted to continue his legacy.”
He and the other brewers found a half-finished recipe for a Martzen beer in Demaniuk’s old briefcase.
“It’s a pretty simple, easy recipe,” said Roberts.
But the outcome, the taste, the feeling; that’s something entirely different.
“Making my mentor’s beer,” said Roberts. “That’s definitely a melancholic feeling.
“He taught me how to appreciate beer and expand my palate,” said Roberts. “Not to be afraid to push boundaries.”
Demaniuk, born in Saskatchewan, worked for Molson for a number of years before branching out into the craft beer world.
He came to Fernie, bringing with him his beloved Alpha Romeo, his love for movies and powder snow.
“He was an old powder dog,” said Roberts. “He still used his long skinny skis.”
He says his mentor will be remembered for his unique sense of humour.
“He’d do anything to make someone laugh,” said Roberts. “Gord was never afraid to be himself.”
Alongside the Martzen, Fernie Brewing has released a number of other beers in the last month, including the Fresh Hop Pale Ale, and an Aussie IPA, called OiiiPA.
“The event today was to honour Gord, to bring together the community,” said Mike Wilson, who runs the tasting room at the brewery. Fernie Friends For Friends was at the event holding a fundraiser BBQ, which raised over $620. The organization provides support for individuals and families in the Elk Valley battling cancer.Roberts wishes Demaniuk could have been at the Oktoberfest opening on Thursday, where dozens came out decked in lederhosen to celebrate and pay tribute.
“He was just proud to make good beers that people really enjoyed,” he said.