Earlier this week, I had a chance to attend a special event at the Molson brewery called Brew 2.0. It was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the brewery in Vancouver and the invite list included many local bloggers and geekerati. I debated on even blogging about this event since there was no expectation of doing so and unlike many other events, I didn’t even have my camera with me but decided to because it was such a fun event.
The whole thing seemed a little surreal and a lot like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory except replace Charlie with bloggers and Chocolate with beer. When you get an invitation to tour a brewery, it’s pretty much like getting the golden ticket. This was no exception.
The evening started off at a ‘pub’ inside the brewery with food that was paired with the various beers that are produced onsite. After introductions were made, Geoff Molson (the great-great-great-great grandson of John Molson) told a few stories about the history of the brewery and his family. Then after a little more food and drink, we were divided into two groups and were paired up with the brewmasters to start the tour.
First we were taken to a tasting room where all the ingredients that go into making beer were put on the table and described. We were able to taste the various raw ingredients, something which I’ve never done before.
We were then taken through the various parts of the brewery where the ingredients are mixed with water and go through various processes. Everyone was hanging on Kerry, the brewmaster’s every word. It was truly an interesting tour being lead by someone that clearly loved his job and was able to passionately describe what goes on at every level of the process. It really felt like an episode of How It’s Made unfolding before your eyes with a dash of Strange Brew thrown in for good measure.
The highlight of the night (for me) was being able to grab freshly made cans of Rickard’s Red right off the canning line. The beer was literally canned in front of us and hadn’t yet been pasturized. We then took these cans to the tasting room again and cracked them open and had some of the freshest beer you can get while Kerry explained some details about the canning/bottling process, including how to decipher the codes on the bottom of the cans and why you should never lay bottled beer down in a fridge (air + more surface area = bad beer) – cans don’t have this problem.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to bring our cameras into the main brewhouse…which is a shame since there are so many cool things and machines I’d love to photograph – like the canning line pictured here.
Of course, most of those in attendance at least had cameraphones so Geoff Molson won’t be giving any of us the brewery any time soon since we (kinda) broke the rules. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to come back and break a few more.
The evening’s excellent music was provided by Neil Harnett who Peter photographed at the Pender Harbour Blues Festival earlier this year…he was really great live and a nice guy who was in my tour group as well. I hope his daughter gets well soon.