Brew Hopper is a new Like Vancouver column by beer lover Kurt Johnston as he sips and samples hops at the city and province’s best beers. For his debut story, he checks in on Postmark Brewery.
It’s summer. It’s hot. Long days are filled with tiring work and steamy commutes. Life never slows down to take notice, and the days can take on a hectic drawl that creeps along. But this burnout has an antidote.
Beer! The Vancouver Craft Beer scene is thriving, in case you hadn’t noticed. The city is dotted with dozens of welcoming breweries awaiting a mid-afternoon pop-in, or an evening wander through our many pubs and pint purveyors.
Like stopped in at one of Vancouver’s best known outfits, Postmark Brewery, to have a beer with one of the owners, Steve Thorp. Hanging out at their Railtown headquarters that serves as brewing facility, retail store, restaurant, and tasting room, we lazily worked through some summer beers, and had a long chat – a perfect way to let the chaos pass by outside.
Like: The life of an entrepreneur can get a bit crazy. What do you do to get away from it all?
Steve Thorp: Haha, well you never really get away. That is the life of an entrepreneur. I have only taken one vacation in the last five years. But you need to have a balance and find ways to recharge your mind and body to give the business 100%. Mine is sports: outdoor adventures, fishing, dirt biking. But my life and work mesh together. I might hit the cabin for a weekend, but I bring new beers to test and shoot photos of for social media. When I play hockey, I’m chatting after the game with industry friends about what they see and hear.
We started with the Blondebucha, about as good a summer beer as you could imagine. Postmark’s take on the radler, this low-alcohol session blend is part Blonde Beer and part Kombucha from Oddity in Mount Pleasant. It’s a complete and refreshing beer, with a slight fruity and sour tone thanks to the perfectly balanced mixture. Postmark is dedicated to focusing mostly on Session-style beer. Their mission is to make beer that is easy to enjoy, but tasty and interesting. Well, mission accomplished.
Like: What do Craft Breweries mean to Vancouver?
ST: They are social and community hubs. They bring people together and offer great opportunities for employment and community investment. They are also super valuable to tourism and city brands. Vancouver is now on the map around the world as a “Craft Brewery” travel destination. That is bringing thousands of people to the city. Also, breweries are proud to fly their city flags. Made in Vancouver, Made in Victoria, Made in Tofino. Beer brands are very influential right now, and they cast a very big spotlight on city and community name brands.
Next up came a tasting flight of some seasonal fare. First up was their popular Mandarina Wheat, a muted, fruit-style beer that doesn’t overwhelm. It just nudges you to have another sip. So, we obliged. Then out came the French Saison, a light, easy take on a classic beer. Again, they aimed for drinkability, and they were spot on.
Like: Any big plans for Postmark?
ST: So many things. The brand is really coming into its own. Locking in some big events this year has been incredible: Canada Sevens, Canada 150+, Lululemon’s SeaWheeze and Sunset Fest. We are still a mid-sized craft brewery, but the brand is becoming a big player. On the sales side, we are growing into new and exciting markets: Eastern Canada, south of the border, and Asia. People are finding the beer & brand and calling us. It’s flattering.
Like: You’re sponsoring a couple Canada 150+ Events – Drum is Calling and Nomadic Tempest. What does this mean to Postmark?
ST: It means a bigger investment into our community and what Canada/BC stand for. It’s impressive what the City of Vancouver has done for these events, and we are proud to support them in any way we can.
Our tasting flight rounded out with a couple beers that Steve and Postmark’s brewmaster, Dominic Giraldes, are particularly proud of: the Spruce Saison and Spruce Tip Ale. These beers, while still very easy and drinkable, would appeal to those who are looking for more than just a beach beer. Using ingredients sourced on Vancouver Island, these lighter ales boast spicy, floral tones that pop and kick, but are not as aggressive as their hoppy cousins.
Like: Any new beers on the way?
ST: We have a really cool beer coming, and Apricot Ale. It’s very limited but will be a fun beer for summer. We also have some beautiful one-time usage Vancouver Urban Winery Red Wine barrels full of beer. Keep an eye out for some amazing aged beer coming!
Be sure to head down to Vancouver’s Canada 150+ anchor event, The Drum is Calling Festival (July 22 – 30, 2017), as well as the Nomadic Tempest (August 16 – September 3), where Postmark is the official beer partner. They will be serving their Session Blonde and other selections. All very tasty, and worth the trip.
For a wider selection, head down to their location in the Settlement Building on Dunlevy. Stop in for a beer, or maybe hit up Belgard Kitchen for a weekend brunch. But don’t miss their Blondebucha while it’s still on tap – it’s easily one of the best Vancouver beers we’ve tried this year.
It’s still summer. It’s still hot. Don’t wait until the rains come to hole up at your local pub. A light, refreshing beer is right at the end of Main Street. Grab some friends, get some pints, and leave the heat.
The Settlement Building
55 Dunlevy Ave, Vancouver