Kyle York from Canoe Brewing. (Lia Crowe photo)

Brewing Success

A sit down with Kyle York of Canoe

  • Aug. 5, 2020 10:00 a.m.

~Lisa Crowe~

How long have you been brewmaster at Canoe?

I took over the brewery in May of 2019. Previous to that I had been the assistant brewer since 2016.

Do you have formal training in brewing science or art? If not, how did you learn

the craft?

I have a Diploma in Brewing and Brewery Operations from the inaugural year of the program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Langley, BC. I was a homebrewer before that, but the two-year program really helped me understand the chemistry, microbiology, and operational requirements of a functioning commercial brewery.

Where else have you brewed?

Between my job as the assistant brewer at Canoe and taking over as head brewer, I worked at Victoria Caledonian Distillery and Brewery, which makes Twa Dogs Beer and Macaloney Whisky. The brewery/distillery was more than twice the size of Canoe and was also 20 years newer. I enjoyed learning about the distillation process but something was always calling me back to Canoe Brewpub.

How many barrels of brew does your brewery produce annually?

We produce just under 1,000 hl or 850 barrels of beer annually. With the exception of a couple of liquor stores in town, 100 per cent of that beer is sold in house here at Canoe.

Can you give a hint if anything might be coming soon (new brew, special brew, etc.)?

I have a few ideas for some fruited kettle sours. They are always a hit on our hot patio during the summer months!

What’s the weirdest ingredient you have ever put in beer?

I made a blueberry beer with butterfly pea flowers last summer which came out with an incredibly bright purple tone to it. That was a lot of fun to experiment with.

Does your brewery have some type of tradition on brew day or at another time?

No traditions that I can think of. I consider myself a very science-based individual and as such I just try to make sure I record as much data as possible such as pH, fermentation time and temperatures, water composition, etc., and then use that to continually improve on our recipes here at Canoe.

Have you travelled outside of Canada to experience another beer culture? If so, what was your impression?

I’ve travelled most of the west coast of North America specifically for beer. Obviously Portland, Oregon is a cultural hub for beer, but surprisingly Bellingham, Washington has a large amount of incredible breweries for the size of the city. I have a bucket list of countries in Europe that I will have to visit soon as well.

If you had to pick a favourite beer from your brewery, which one would it be and why?

My current favourite beer is our IPA. It’s full of Simcoe, Galaxy and Mosaic hops with a crisp malt backbone and only a subtle hop bite, so it doesn’t wear down your palate. My favourite beer I’ve brewed so far was our Juicy Pale Ale from last summer—and it will be making a return as the new West Coast Ale recipe later this year.

Any advice for those aspiring (kitchen/homebrew) future pro brewers out there?

Get experience in the industry before you jump in the deep end! It’s not all 9 am beers and festivals like some people may believe. Ninety per cent of my job is cleaning, cleaning, and more cleaning to produce the cleanest and most consistent beers that I can.

Favourite beer and food pairing?

Can I cheat and mention that our new chef, Sam Harris, is going to be including a beer float on the menu this summer? It will be showcasing our Baltic Porter, which is a rich, chocolate-forward lager with notes of vanilla and dark fruit. I mean, what else could go better with house-made vanilla ice cream?

Hobbies?

I’m an avid runner. I have two high-energy dogs at home and I need something to keep off the beer belly.

Anything else you’d like to add?

It’s a tough industry to crack, but once you have, the interpersonal relationships between breweries are unparalleled in any other industry. I’ve met so many great people in breweries all across North America and as soon as you mention you’re also a brewer, you’re instantly part of their family.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo’s Western Edge Theatre returns to the stage in Port Theatre debut

Theatre group presents ‘2 Across,’ described as a ‘middle-aged romantic comedy’

Purebred breeders go for a walk in Nanaimo to show off their dogs

Purebred dog breeders sometimes get a bad rap, says event organizer

City reviewing plans for huge Sandstone project in south Nanaimo

Seacliff Properties says it’s been told to be ready for a public hearing this fall

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

COVID-19 isn’t cancelling this year’s Tour de Rock

Alumni riders will cycle relay sections in their own communities

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Body discovered floating in water near Lasqueti Island

JRCC reports personnel aboard fishing vessel made the find

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Nanaimo RCMP community policing needs a few good volunteers

Volunteers needed to help Nanaimo RCMP and city deliver crime prevention and safety programs

Protesters march in Nanaimo, calling for greater protection of forests and watersheds

March for the Forests happened downtown on Friday afternoon

Most Read