Summerland finally has local craft beer! Detonate Brewing, owned and operated by Nathan Rosier, had their Grand Opening on February 4th. I dropped by and the place was jam-packed (This actually isn’t too hard to do considering it is a fairly small space). While I was there people were in and out filling growlers and getting flights. Clearly I’m not the only local happy to welcome Detonate to town! I tried a tasting flight of the Call the Hops IPA, Pale Ale and IPA, and found them all to be well executed and balanced.
I came back the following weekend to check in with Nathan after he closed up shop for the day. The hours are currently Friday evenings and Saturday and Sunday afternoons. He says business has been steady since he opened, and he is pleased at the turn out so far. This is pretty impressive given that it is February, which is a slow month in the Okanagan, plus the brewery is tucked away in Summerland’s sleepy industrial area. Clearly there is a thirst for craft beer in the area, and as far as I’m aware there hasn’t been much marketing aside from Facebook posts, so word is travelling fast. As well some members of the other breweries in the area have dropped by to check out the place and offer their support. He already needs to order some new growlers, as they have been flying off the shelves. He is more worried now about keeping up with demand, rather than having difficulty moving product!
Nathan lives with his wife and two children in West Kelowna, and works full time in Kelowna as a civil engineer. The price for space was prohibitively expensive in the Central Okanagan, which led him to Summerland: close enough to commute and far away enough to be affordable. He had his start as a home brewer in college, and started thinking about doing it on a professional level about 5 years ago. He had been collecting bits and pieces for a brewery for a while, and eventually reached a point where he either had to get serious, or get rid of the collection. DIY appears to be a guiding principle to the construction of the brewery – Nathan has been able to source many items used or re-purposed. 2 Former milk tanks and a dairy chiller were quite easily repurposed into a fermentor, hot liquor tank and a mash-tun. Nathan chuckled telling me “I nearly died getting my cooler off Craigslist”, when a sketchy Craigslist deal in Rutland almost went wrong. He has also invested in a few brand-new items as well, such as his brew kettle made by Ripley Stainless across the street.
Nathan’s had his current space since May, and his engineering background came in handy as he was able to do much of the renovations and set up himself. There is a lot of ingenuitive DIY happening in the space as well, and he shows me around with pride over the hard work he has put into getting the large brewing system running! You can see shades of home brewer throughout, for example, we share the same finicky grain mill (although he does have a new Monster Mill waiting to get set up). Nathan figures that as he settles into his new routine he’ll be more aware of what works and what doesn’t and can be more strategic in adapting the space, but for now he has everything he needs to make beer. The space is certainly limited, and once he starts doing bottled product it will be even more so. He recognizes that the retail/tasting space is a bit tight and is considering expanding over into the brewing space slightly to better accommodate his visitors.
For sales he hopes to do both kegs and bombers, as well as growler fills. He’s already identified a few places to get his beer into, but says the main issue right now will be production. Right now Nathan figures that between his day job and Detonate he is working 80-100 hours a week. He hopes to eventually transition into brewing full time, saying his wife and kids would probably also like to see him at some point too. Eventually he may need to hire someone to help out at the brewery as well, but for now it’s pretty much a one-man show.
Nathan has achieved every home brewer’s dream and started his own Brewery. You can see the enormous amount of work that he has put into getting this project off the ground. This is not a glitzy marketing project backed by wealthy investors, no this is creative DIY at it’s finest driven by pure passion for brewing beer! Welcome to Summerland, Detonate Brewing!
Oh yeah… and this is the part where I would post some pictures and review the beer, but I have to admit… I enjoyed the growlers I took home with me so much I totally forgot to do a formal review! I have now tried the IPA, Pale Ale, Call the Hops IPA, Citra Pale Ale and the Stout. I really enjoyed all the hoppy beers, but the Stout really took my breath away. Rich, deep cocoa and coffee flavour with a very mild bitterness. I will be back for a refill of that for sure!
The Blackcurrant Copper Kettle Sour by Moon Under Water Brewery is quite fitting for Valentine’s Day with it’s beautiful ruby-red hue. Aroma is tart with a hint of juicy blackcurrant. Flavour is tart upfront, softening into wheat then tart again with blackcurrant prominent on the finish. Very delicate with subtle flavours that come out with each sip. I paired it with some peppered goat cheese from Salt Spring Island Cheese and it’s a match made in heaven! ❤🍻🐐❤
I get a little jealous of people living in Port Moody because of the crazy talent they have on Brewer’s Row. Yellow Dog Brewing has impressed me already with their hoppy offerings, but High Five Hazy IPA has blown me away. Part of the NE trend that’s taking over local IPAs, this beer is very aromatic with notes of citrus, and tropical fruit – think guava, papaya, passionfruit – with a little hit of dankness. A soft, almost creamy mouthfeel the malts provide an understaded background for juicy hop flavour that leads into lightly lingering bitterness. Definitely glad I picked up a 4-pack as this goes goes down very easy. I’d say this is a great bridge into the new style of IPA while retaining the bitter bite that hop heads love. High fives to High Five 🙌!
Just completed the final assignment for my English course and I needed something to celebrate! The Eastern IPA from @fieldhousebrewing was the perfect answer. Made with exotic Australian and New Zealand hops the aroma and taste are juicy and fruity with lots of tropical notes. A light body and moderate bitter finish give this NE IPA a bit of a edge, which I have noticed I’ve been missing in other versions of this style. Overall it is refreshing and flavourful without being cloying… The kind of beer I could absolutely drink several in a row of!
I am normally down for weird and creative beers but Twin Sails Hot Take has crossed a line with me. The premise is it’s super hoppy but has zero IBUs (this apparently is not quite accurate it does have some). Done by using late-addition hopping/dry hopping to impart the aroma and flavour but not the bitterness. It smells amazing; fresh, juicy, hints of tropical and a little bit dank. A sip reveals some bright fruity characteristics then… Nothing. It’s just gone. Maybe a teeny tiny little touch of hops on the finish but pretty miniscule at any rate. If anything, Twin Sails has proven what benefit bitterness gives to a beer. I’m finishing up with their Slam Dank just to get some taste back in my mouth!
Checking out the Sour IPA at @yellowdogbeer on my @brewersrow mini-crawl tonight. I get quite a bit of funk on the aroma with a twist of citrus/fruit. The flavour is not what I was expecting at all. The sour factor isn’t mouth-puckering (like many of this style are), it’s more of a deep and funky flavour, heavy on the juice and a mildly bitter finish. I like it, but it’s not a sour in the sense of what my palate is used to, overall the funk reminds me of yogurt rather than sour patch kids.
In between dinner #1 (Green Lettuce) and dinner #2 (Forage) we came to Brewers Row (in Port Moody) to get some beers. Currently enjoying a Slam Dank IPA at Twin Sails Brewing. Not only does the name make me giggle, but the aroma and flavour are delightful as well. Dank indeed with lots of bright, tropical aroma and a good balance of juicy to bitter in the flavour. Yum!
The best thing about staying in Delta is the close proximity to Four Winds Brewing. I’m having the Blódberg Nordic Saison, Scott is having the Triplicity Belgian Tripel. The Blódberg is a collab with Borg Brugghús from Iceland. Foedre Aged with Arctic Thyme and Plums. Not sure I’m getting much thyme off this but I can taste the plum, and it’s a nice mix of sweet and sour with complex favours that build as I get more into it. Another gold star to Four Winds!
A week ago I drank this Cherry Barrel-Aged Old Ale from Kettle River Brewing, and enjoyed it so much I totally forgot to post it! I have really been enjoying having a creative barrel program so close to home, and I just learned today that a portion of sales from this series also goes towards preserving the Kettle River. I liked these guys already but seeing as how one of my top 5 campsites in BC is along its shores I’m even more inclined to keep drinking! Okay – back to the beer – I can’t tell you much more about the process that’s not already evident from the name. Pours dark reddish-brown with thick, creamy head. Aroma was mostly boozey with dark fruit, the cherry wasn’t distinct but definitely present. The flavour was rich and deep, with a slight caramel finish and again dark fruits as the dominant flavour. One downside was a slight metallic element to the beer, but it wasn’t detrimental to the overall experience.
I love me a bright and juicy IPA, or a tart sour, but there are some days where what I really, really want is a rich and deep beer that tastes like dessert. Raven’s Hot Chocolate Porter really takes care of that craving with vanilla and cacao nibs playing up the mix of dark, chocolate and caramel malts. Pours almost black with quickly dispersing head. Aroma is chocolate, vanilla and caramel with just a touch of roasted malt. Flavour proceeds the same way. Very satisfying, and I like that it’s only 6% as sometimes these rich beers can lean towards the boozey end, this one left me still able to carry on with the rest of my day.
@ravensbrewing #hotchocolateporter #easydrinking #smooth #rich #winterbeer #chocolatebeer #dessertbeer #porter #darkbeer #bccraftbeer #craftbeerbc #drinkBCbeer #lifeisbrewtiful