The Fraser

Four Winds and Steel & Oak have a fairly long history together. I mean long in “Beer Years”.

I first met the Mills fam at local renaissance man Chester Carey’s Serious Beer class at the Pacific Culinary Institute. Funny enough in that class was also Mark Roberts who’s now gone on to start up Backcountry Brewing. Needless to say, it was a good place to meet friends.

We were a brewery in planning, they were almost complete.

Four Winds had been a huge source of help to us when we were starting up as a brewery and I can honestly say that the success they have enjoyed couldn’t have happened to a nicer and harder working group of guys.

Some of you longtime S&O x FW fans may remember our first collab together, Gratzer. It was our take on a historic style made with smoked malt and lactobacillus. It was a smokey sour 4% beer that we loved but was definitely a very specific flavour profile. It wasn’t for everyone. So this time we brewed a people pleaser, The Fraser.

Our head brewer Eric loves going to spice shops. On one of his excursions he came across a spice called Amchoor. Amchoor is a fruity spice powder made from dry unripe green mangos, popular in Indian cuisine. It’s fruity, citrusy, and tart. This spice is where The Fraser began.

After some back and forth it was decided that Four Winds would bring Sacch Trois yeast and some Cashmere fresh hops, we added Azacca, Citra and Mosaic to pack an aromatic punch of tropical fruit into this beer. The Fraser has mango and fruit notes on the palate and finishes with a tart funk from the Amchoor and Sacch Trois yeast. It’s 5.2%.

Now let’s talk label. Our designer Sami put together a few “river themed” ideas. These were the initial designs that turned into what you see above.

The Fraser is available at Steel & Oak and will be shipping out to local liquor stores next week! We’ll also be pouring it at our booth at this weekend’s BC Beer Awards if you were quick enough to get a ticket!



Roggen Weizen is not a Pokemon

Roggen Weizen, often confused with Pokemon Roggenrola, has a cult following. It’s a favourite amongst brewers and those in the know. When we bring it to Festivals or Farmers Markets it’s always the beer that people say “oooh I really like that one.”

But if you don’t fall into the groups above or don’t happen to come upon it accidentally the likelihood of your everyday beer drinker picking it off the shelf is rare. Because really, what is Roggen Weizen?

Well lucky for you I’m about to spit some knowledge.

In German, Roggen means Rye and Weizen is Wheat. So a Roggen Weizen is, you guessed it, a Rye Wheat beer. We ferment it with our Hefeweizen yeast which helps gives off those phenols and fruity esters that are reminiscent to a traditional Hefeweizen. Lots of banana and clove notes. I describe it as Banana Cream Pie because it sounds amazing.

BJCP has this to say about Roggen Weizen: “A specialty German rye beer originally brewed in Regensburg, Bavaria. Never a widely popular style, it has all but disappeared in modern times.”

So this is probably the problem with people picking up Roggen Weizen off the shelf. It was never really that popular and no one makes it now, they especially don’t brew it “in Modern Times” (see what I did there?) and in reality it’s just a weird style with a weird name. So why still make it?

It tastes f*cking delicious.

So delicious in fact that our 2016 Roggen Weizen won Gold at the BC Beer Awards in the Specialty Beer category. (It’s hard to type with one hand while patting myself on the back with the other). We think the 2017 version is even better and hope that you do to!

To enjoy your Roggen Weizen to its full extent remember to rouse your yeast and get all that yeasty goodness back into the beer. I even wrote a blog last year on how to do this. A blog in which I lead off with stating, “Believe it or not, some beers are meant to be hazy.” Holy shit have we come along way in just a year. It also goes to show that the Germans, in reality, created the haze craze centuries ago. #rouseyourroggen #hazecraze

Roggen Weizen is available now and has shipped BC wide. Even you folks in Alberta might get your hands on some.

That’s all for now!



Red Pilsner in Cans

One of the biggest requests we get is to put Red Pilsner in cans. Today that wish has been granted. You will now be able to get our best selling Flagship beer in 4x473ml cans.

So a little background on this as some of you may be asking why we didn’t start canning Red Pilsner earlier. Well truth be told, we couldn’t. We just didn’t have the tank capacity to brew enough beer to satisfy the craft beer can enthusiasts. Red Pilsner takes a full 6 weeks for us to make, because of this, we only get 8.666 brews per tank each year. So we could have technically canned earlier but at the expense of new brews that we wanted to make. So we thought we’d wait.

This summer we received two new 10,000L fermentation tanks which will now allow us to not only can Red Pilsner but make more of your other S&O favourites. Plus a few new ones.

So this is really the first step in what will become the new way of doing things at S&O. 473ml Cans, 650ml bottles, 500ml bottles, and maybe even a 355ml 6 pack 😉

You’ll start to see Red Pilsner 4 packs pop up on shelves across BC and you’ll still be able to get the 650ml bomber size for a limited time as well.

Finally you’ll be able to take this beer to the beach, camping, hiking, or on any other outdoor adventure without the worry of carrying around glass.

Hope you enjoy Red Pilsner in cans as much as I will!



Our brewer Eric really loves guava. So much so if I didn’t say anything we’d just be a guava based brewery in New West. Guava Hefeweizen, Guava Lager, Guava Honey Doppelbock, etc… Surprisingly this is the first beer we’ve released with guava in it!

Quayside is made with Pilsner, Oat, and Wheat malt. We conditioned it on guava and let the Sacch Trois yeast ferment it out a bit so that it has refreshing tropical notes but finishes crisp and dry with a touch of funk.

We decided to call it Quayside as you’ll only be able to get it at our brewery which is technically quayside… although it looks more like overpass-side, busystreetside or railside depending on the angle you’re arriving from!



Steinbier Hot Rocks Lager

Many of you may remember that at this time last year we did a collaboration with Freigeist Bierkultur out of Germany. The beer style was a Steinbier which translates to Stone Beer in German. The reason it’s called a “Stone Beer” is that we actually heat up hot granite rocks to boil the wort. It’s a very old-school way of doing things that is super dangerous and creates a lot of cool steam. So of course we wanted to do it again!

Well as luck might have it their owner and Head Brewer Sebastian Sauer was in town for the Farmhouse Fest a month and a half ago so we decided to give it another go!

So as I mentioned above the great thing about this beer is that you get to play with lots of dangerous stuff. We basically start the brew day by heating up rocks in a couple old kegs we got from our friends at Twin Sails. These rocks are heated up to just above 450° C / 850° F (we have a nifty gun that tells us this).

Once the rocks are up to temp we latch our forklift onto the kegs so that we can move them without burning ourselves.

The kegs are then lowered into a stainless steel container that we borrowed from our neighbours at Pacific Breeze Winery. Once the kegs (with the rocks inside them) are safely inside this container we start to pump the wort through the stainless steel container, over the rocks, and watch the magic happen.

The sugars in the wort caramelize because of the extreme heat of the rocks creating a huge blanket of steam and producing major caramel notes in the beer without being too sweet. The rocks also impart a hint of minerality on the finish making this Steinbier Lager full of bold flavours while still being refreshing.

Because of the intricacies of producing this beer we only made 1,700L of it. This means it’ll be available in bottles at select stores and on tap in our Tasting Room but won’t be available for growler fills.

You can have a look at the brew day below and further down a quick story on the new label design for this year’s version.

A quick story on the label design. Last year’s label ended up being a bit of disaster. We tried to get creative and do a clear see-through label that we ended up having to hand label and still got air bubbles underneath. If I hadn’t pre-launched the beer I likely would have waited for some new labels before sending it out. But lesson learned.

This years label is inspired by German constructivist graphic design and was created by our incredibly talented designer Sami Christianson.

Well that’s the short version of the creation of this year’s collab with Freigeist. If you want to read about last years experience feel free to click here.

The Steel & Oak x Freigeist Bierkultur Steinbier will be hitting the shelves this week!



Cup of Kaffee

The following is a conversation had before we decided to make the first batch of Kaffee a year ago. I may have taken some liberties with what was said.

Eric: I want to make a Blonde Ale but with coffee in it.

Me: So the beer is going to be blonde in colour too? But tastes like coffee? Weird.

Eric: Yes, so you’ll look at it and think one thing, but when you smell it and drink it you’ll taste another thing.

Me: That doesn’t sound very German.

Eric: It’s not.

Me: I don’t know why I just said that. We do make other beers that aren’t German influenced.

Eric: So are you into it?

Me: Yes, it sounds cool. What are we going to call it?

Dan: Kaffee. It’s coffee translated into German.

Eric: But this isn’t a German influenced beer.

Me: But Kaffee sounds too awesome to not call it that. So let’s do it anyways.

Thus, Kaffee was created! This batch of our Coffee Blonde was once again brewed with our friends at Timbertrain. The 2017 batch of Kaffee uses coffee sourced from small holder farmers in Ethiopia’s Guji Sidama region. These beans create an aroma of brown sugar, grapefruit, and caramel while Kaffee’s simple malt base provides a crisp finish and a subtle biscuit flavour that interplays well with the cocoa and roasted flavours that the coffee imparts.

Kaffee is available in limited fashion in our Tasting Room and is shipping out to Metro Vancouver this week!

*Easter Egg: I managed to use the word “provides” 3 times in the Kaffee label writeup. No one noticed. I apologize.




Coorinna is believed to be one of the names that Aboriginal Tasmanians called the now extinct Thylacinus, or as we know it, the Tasmanian Tiger. We named this beer after the marsupial with distinct tiger-like stripes as one of the main ingredients comes from its former homeland, Tasmania.

Wild harvested Tasmanian Pepperberries are at the forefront of Coorinna imparting a hint of citrus and fresh-cracked pepper. Wakatu and Motueka hops from New Zealand were added for notes of tropical fruit and lime and lemon zest.

You may recall that we used Tasmanian Pepperberries in last years VCBW collaboration brew, Tu Meke. Coorinna is a spinoff from Tu Meke and although the recipe has changed the refreshing citrus zest aroma and crisp, dry, peppery finish remain the same.

Coorinna is on the liquor store shelves now for a limited time, and of course is available in our Tasting Room. This one will make it over to the Island and the Interior so keep an eye out!



SO3 Birthday Party

We’ve turned 3 so we’re throwing a family friendly Birthday Party and you’re invited!

Here are the details:

  • What: SO3 (Steel & Oak’s 3rd Anniversary)
  • When: Sunday July 9th, 3-6PM
  • Where: Back Parking Lot of Steel & Oak

For food – there will be a Bratwurst Bar by our friends at Bestie and popsicles from Johnny’s Pops. For music – we’ll have DJs spinning vinyl from our own Tasting Room collection. For fun – there will be a lawn set up to bring a backyard feel to the concrete parking lot complete with all your favourite lawn games. For the kids – we’ll have face painting and two, that’s right TWO bouncy castles!

Of course we’ll have lots of beer including:

  • Sapperton
  • Coorinna
  • Towers And Trains
  • Weekend Plans
  • Smoked Hefeweizen
  • Shiny Things
  • Marzen
  • Blackthorn

No need to RSVP, just make plans to be at our place on July 9th from 3-6!

Cheers to 3 years,



S&O Satellite Patios this Summer

So Steel & Oak doesn’t have an outdoor patio. I wanted to put one on the roof but our landlord said no. I wanted to put one in the parking lot but the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch said no. I wanted to put one under the overpass but the City said no.

However, I have good news for S&O sun seekers this summer in New West! We will be a part of 3 massive patios (one possibly the biggest in BC but don’t do too much digging on that).

First up is this Saturday at The Paddlewheeler Pub! Our friends down the boardwalk are having a party this weekend with lots of beers from yours truly. The sun should be shining and we’ll be bringing some special brews to help kickoff patio season in New West. The Paddlewheeler will have a fresh sheet just for Saturday so come down, have a couple beers, and try some new eats from this New Westminster staple.

Second is Music By The River. It takes place every Thursday in July at Westminster Pier Park and the best part… the City has decided to license the ENTIRE PARK!!!! This means that you can bring the family down for a picnic, play some volleyball or bocce, buy a Steel & Oak beer or glass of Pacific Breeze wine and enjoy some live buskers and DJs from 5-8pm.

Music By The River is a pilot project put on by the City of New Westminster, The Arts Council of New West, and City to Suburb Realty. Please head down, drink responsibly, and help make this a success. Wouldn’t it be rad if Pier Park was a venue where you could hang out with friends or family and have an adult beverage anytime of the year? How civil!

And the third outdoor patio for Steel & Oak this summer is Fridays on Front! This kicks off July 7th and is every Friday until August 25th on the brand new Front St!

The street will be closed to traffic from 5-8pm on Fridays so that you can walk like a boss down the middle of Front St. enjoying local artisan vendors, live music on the Arts Council Stage, crafts for the kiddos, food from a rotating cast of Food Trucks and of course beer from your favourite New West brewery 😉

Steel & Oak will be pouring out of Vancouver’s first bar truck, The Vagabond Event Bar. This means you’ll be able to get craft beer and a selection of wine from a rad little converted trailer. And just like Music By The River, the WHOLE STREET IS LICENSED!!!! So you will be able to do some window shopping and wander without worrying about the in and out privileges of a traditional beer garden.

So although that rooftop patio may be something that I dream about during my limited amount of sleep at night, at least you’ll be able to enjoy the sun and have a craft beer this summer in New West.



Shiny Things IPA

Hey we made an IPA! But in typical Steel & Oak fashion we put a German twist on it.

The first edition of Shiny Things showcases the newer hop varietals coming out of Germany with generous additions of Huell Melon, Mandarina Bavaria, and Hallertau Blanc. This unique German blend creates aromatic notes of honeydew, tangerine, strawberry and lemongrass. Smoothness from a simple malt bill of Pilsner malt and oats with a crisp piney bitterness makes Shiny Things a hoppy and refreshing choice when perusing the Steel & Oak beer fridge.

Now Shiny Things is a concept we’ve been working on for a while. In the early days (2014 lol) we actually called it the Projekt series. It was a series of draught only hoppier beers with the purpose of testing out new hop varietals. As we increasingly got busier and busier we had to cancel the program in order to brew a lot more Red Pilsner and Royal City Ale. Now that we have added some more capacity we’ve been able to bring this idea back… but in a more hop heavy way. Shiny Things will become the new Projekt. Changing each batch, allowing you to experience the different hop varietals the world has to offer.

Label design was once again done by the talented Sami Christianson who provided me with many different shiny designs but this one was my favourite.

Now I don’t want anyone to get over excited and think that we’re going to be brewing #SOIPAs™ all over the place. This is just a limited run. Although we did just put a fresh batch of Towers And Trains in the tank…

I really hope you enjoy this very Steel & Oak take on an IPA!



*Editors Note: The Doan Bros made the first German style IPA I had ever seen. It is delicious and you should get that too.