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Plenty of excitement brewing in the business park

One Duck, A Frame and Backcountry Brewing line up storefronts
Ben Reeder owns a hop farm called Maple Bay in the Cowichan Valley. He is growing hops for Backcountry Brewing.

It’s hard not to notice the incredible amounts of craft beer being brewed in the province. Hoppy, yeasty, sudsy goodness is descending on communities and helping people to get local when it comes to their cold ones. 

For Squamish residents, there’s great news. We no longer have to travel to “Yeast Van” to be in the mecca of craft brewing; craft beer is coming to the business park in droves. Pretty soon, Howe Sound Brewing won’t be the only choice for local cervezas. We will also have the likes of One Duck Brewing, A Frame and Backcountry, all within a few blocks of each other. Look forward to brewery and distillery tours in the not-too-distant future. 

I had the pleasure of chatting with these intrepid entrepreneurs recently. Their excitement is palpable. A Frame Brewing (which is opening near the recycling depot on Queen’s Way) is owned by the husband-and-wife team of Jeff Oldenborger and Caylin Glazier. They met working at a summer camp many moons ago in the Okanagan and recently moved here from North Vancouver with their little ones. 

Lovers of cabin life and all things Canadian (particularly hockey and The Tragically Hip), A Frame Brewing Company was born out of a leap of faith. The owners have engaged Andrew Sawyer of Turning Point Brewery as their brewer and will be making traditional Belgian, English and German-style beers. You’ll be able to fill your growler at this family-friendly establishment, which will feel like you have just stepped into their A-frame cabin in lake country, even though it’s here in the mountains.

We will also be welcoming Backcountry Brewing, which is taking over three warehouses to the tune of 6,000 square feet a little further down Queen’s Way. Growler fills, pizzas and a mobile canning line are all part of their offerings so you can live their motto, “Never hit the backcountry alone.” The five owners (whose motto is B.E.E.R. Be excellent, earn respect) are all operational in the business and very hands-on. Most have lived in Squamish, live here currently or are moving here. Ben Reeder, with whom I spoke, owns a hop farm called Maple Bay in the Cowichan Valley near Duncan. Backcountry’s brewer (who cannot yet be named) decided on which hops to grow on Reeder’s farm in order to customize the brews, which will include a flagship Brackendale Pale Ale. Expect a dry-hopped pilsner, an IPA and seasonals.

Last but not least is One Duck Brewing. Jesse Paine, born and raised in Whistler, now makes his home in Squamish with his wife and their two-year-old daughter, and they are expecting twins. Paine is setting up beside Counterpart Coffee, across the street from the Rona. One Duck is considered a “nano-brewery,” which will make him smaller and slightly more specialized than his other compadres with batches of 200 litres each. He has a passion for traditional Belgian-style beers and will be producing brews that may be different to those we may have seen before. He will also be filling growlers and offering samples.

One Duck is hoping to open at the beginning of summer, A Frame Brewing Company in July and Backcountry in December. Having gone through the process of opening Gillespie’s Fine Spirits, I can say from experience that the opening of an alcohol-manufacturing facility, it is easy to get snarled up in red tape from all levels of government. You know how they say things take twice as long and cost twice as much? Yeah, they aren’t kidding. Know all of these folks are hustling to get open as quickly as possible, so maybe instead of pushing them on when they are opening, maybe buy ’em a cold one?

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