Kyle York from Canoe Brewing. (Lia Crowe photo)

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

Josie Osborne was sworn into the Legislature virtually on Nov. 24. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Mid Island-Pacific Rim MLA Josie Osborne named minister of municipal affairs

The position was previously held by Selina Robinson, who is the province’s new finance minister

Rori Denness throws a javelin during BC Summer Games in 2016. (Black Press Media file photo)
Port Alberni ponders bidding for 2026 B.C. Summer Games

Port Alberni last hosted the BC Winter Games in 2004

Victoria artisan Tina Neurauter, right, used to shop at Pot Luck Ceramics with her daughter from Port Alberni. Now Neurauter is selling her handmade soaps and bath products at Bibi J’s, a new enterprise in the former Pot Luck Ceramics building on Gertrude Street in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Former Pot Luck Ceramics location reimagined as Bibi J’s

Owner Helma Swinkels revives social enterprise with new name, vision

The Rollin Art Centre’s Mistletoe Market begins on Dec. 1. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
ARTS AROUND: Rollin Art Centre prepares for Mistletoe Market

Artisans and crafters are still needed for annual Christmas craft fair

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 887 new cases

Another 13 deaths, ties the highest three days ago

Gracie couldn’t stop nursing from her previous owner’s goats which was problematic given the goats were trying to be dried out to breed. Gracie now lives at A Home for Hooves. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Cowichan animal sanctuary gets international accreditation

A Home for Hooves farm sanctuary accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries

North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney has spoken out about some veterans losing their Dimished Earning Capacity income. (Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror photo)
Blaney pens letter to minister about veteran supports

Concerned about veterans losing some income

B.C. Premier John Horgan, a Star Trek fan, can’t resist a Vulcan salute as he takes the oath of office for a second term in Victoria, Nov. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
Horgan names 20-member cabinet with same pandemic team

New faces in education, finance, economic recovery

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The corporate headquarters of Pfizer Canada are seen in Montreal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in Canada next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine,

Port McNeill councillor Derek Koel busts a rap to help promote the town’s active transportation plan. (Facebook video screenshot)
VIDEO: Vancouver Island councillor makes rap video to promote active transportation plan

Active transportation is a personal matter for councillor Derek Koel.

FILE – A paramedic holds a test tube containing a blood sample during an antibody testing program at the Hollymore Ambulance Hub, in Birmingham, England, on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Simon Dawson/Pool via AP)
Want to know if you’ve had COVID-19? LifeLabs is offering an antibody test

Test costs $75 and is available in B.C. and Ontario

Most Read