Interstate Love Song – Gigantic x S&O

Behind the Beer // Interstate Love Song

So how does a brewery from Portland and a brewery from New West get together to make beer? Well Interstate Love Song (like many collabs) started over beers. I first hung out with Gigantic co-owner and Head Brewer Ben Love at Farmhouse Fest 2018. What started out as a friendly couple beers ended with us eating DL Chicken Shack sandwiches and trying not to get the hiccups. From that point forward, a friendship was formed.

Our Head Brewer Eric went down to Portland for a thing and popped into Gigantic to chat with Ben. Ben thought it’d be cool and very BCish to brew something with oysters. Eric said “Oyster Pilsner!” (Eric wants to make everything into a Pilsner) Ben has a chocolate supplier that he loves called Woodblock and with the release being in winter it was agreed that a Chocolate Oyster Stout may be a safer way to go. Once back in BC we met with Scotty the Big Shucker who was fired up about the collab and recommended some oysters from Desolation Sound.

Interstate Love Song has 60lbs. of cocoa nibs in it. About one pound of chocolate per 50L of beer. 300 whole Desolation Sound oysters went into the boil to give ISL a bit of brininess and minerality. If you haven’t had an Oyster Stout before don’t be scared (unless you’re allergic), this beer doesn’t actually taste like shellfish. The flavour profile is more in line with salted chocolate.

It was rad having Ben and his wife Andrea up for the brew day and we would love any excuse to brew with Gigantic again!

Behind the Design // Interstate Love Song

Interstate Love Song was originally going to be called Contains Shellfish. Buuuut I got a little pushback so we thought ISL was a creative name playing off of the Interstate that joins us, Love being Ben’s last name and the fact that this beer is made with some aphrodisiacs and will be launched Valentines Day, and finally, it’s a sweet Stone Temple Pilots song!

Here is my full brief to our designer Sami:

“What I’d like to do is for all 650ml bottle designs (including bottle collabs now) stick with the diamond shape label. I feel that the consistency on the shelf looks good. However, much like the regular collab labels we were doing before I think the interior of the diamond can be anything. It doesn’t need to follow the regular format of all other diamond labels. So it can really be anything you want, inside of that diamond shape. Gigantic is from Portland and has a very comic book feel to all of their stuff.”

If you had a look at our designer Sami’s S&O Instagram takeover you’ll actually be able to watch her design one of the versions of this label. The options I was sent are below and here are Sami’s explanations for each.

“Option 1: Working with a retro comic book texture in the label to represent the Gigantic side of the design. I’ve kept it black and white to keep it feeling sort of grunge like the song.
Option 2: Sort of an abstract play of a highway going into the distance (also a play on the song)
Option 3: Probably the most conceptual of the 3 but creating an icon that feels like a music note/highway sign and when they come together they make a heart ;)”

 

ISL OptionsWe decided to go with Option 1 but threw some colour at it. I think Sami did a great job of still keeping the font based vibe we use for S&O while adding a bit of that comic book feel that Gigantic is known for.

We’re really excited about this beer and hope that you dig it too. Unless you’re allergic to shellfish, then don’t dig this beer at all please.

-Jorden

Tasting Room Only Releases

Tasting Room Only

Every once in a while at S&O we’ll launch a beer that’s only available on draught in the Tasting Room. We’ll send it to a few bars and restaurants, but mostly keep it on tap at the brewery.

Going forward we’re going to do a super small run of cans with these draught only releases. This way if you come into the brewery, dig the beer, you can still take some home with you.

We’re going to put these Tasting Room Only Releases in 4x473ml cans and I’ll be honest, the releases will be sporadic.

Maybe it’s just selfishness on our part as we want to be able to take some of our draught only beers home with us to enjoy. Even if it’s just one four pack.

First up will be a Rauchbier. Made with nearly 100% Beechwood Smoked Malt and coming in at 4.8%.

We used to make a lot of smoked beers at Steel & Oak and it’s still a style, that when done right, can be refreshing and pairs wonderfully with food.

Rauchbier is available on tap and in four packs to go in our Tasting Room. Unless you’re reading this blog post at a much later date. Then sorry.

Cheers,

Jorden

Inline IPA – The beer formerly known as Rollerblade

Inline formerly Rollerblade

Behind The Beer // Inline IPA

From concept to design Inline IPA is a bit of a long story. I was in San Diego a few months ago with my wife and kids. When you have kids time is at a premium, but I was still able to squeeze in a couple brewery visits. Lots were brewing hazy beer but I loved the big, aromatic, clear, and relatively dry IPAs that San Diego breweries are often known for.

When I got back I said to our Head Brewer Eric that I want us to make a San Diego-style IPA. His Grandma lives in San Diego but doesn’t drink a lot of IPA so he had to do some deeper research to develop this recipe.

Eric and our Assistant Brewer Chef have created a 7% bomb of an IPA. It’s full of Simcoe and Amarillo with notes of citrus, melon, and peach. It packs a punch. Finishing bright and crisp with a refreshing bitterness.

Behind the Design // Inline IPA

I’ve been to San Diego quite a few times and normally stay on Pacific Beach. If you’ve ever stayed on Pacific Beach you’ll notice a gentleman that rollerblades up and down the boardwalk daily in slow motion! He’s known on Pacific Beach as the legendary Slomo. There is a wonderful 15 minute documentary on him that you can watch below.

I wanted to pay homage to Slomo and the many times I’ve high-fived him going down the boardwalk so I decided to go with the now obvious, Rollerblade.

Sami did up some rad designs for Rollerblade and all of them would have worked well with the beer. However, we landed on the retro sock design with the little rollerblade wheels as our favourite.

Inline Beer Labels

The problem I didn’t think of is that Rollerblade is a company. It’s kind of like Frisbee, or Kleenex. We interchange the company names to describe discs and tissues just like most people use rollerblade for inline skates. But I don’t feel like getting a cease and desist letter so Inline it is!

Inline is the latest of our rotating series of IPAs and we hope you dig this San Diego-inspired beer.

Cheers,

Jorden

The BC Ale Trail App Is Now Available

Ale Trail iPhone

BC Ale Trail Launches New App

We’re super excited to be one of the first legs of the BC Ale Trail to have access to their new app! Available on Google and Apple devices.

The BC Ale Trail App is a FREE insider’s guide to BC craft brewery destinations and the cool businesses that surround them. You earn points every time you visit a location in the app, then you can head to any of the breweries on your app to redeem those points for prizes and discounts.

Each time you visit Steel & Oak you can check in on your app and receive 10 points. If you’ve collected 100 points (from any BC Ale Trail partner) you can redeem them at our brewery for 25% off any merch item you’d like!

If you haven’t heard of the BC Ale Trail or would like to learn more about our New West, Delta, Surrey & Richmond leg, check out the video below. I’m in it! See Mom, I’m famous!

Hope to see you by the brewery soon. Redeeming those BC Ale Trail points for some sweet sweet swag.

Cheers,

Jorden

Boombox Collab – A-Side and B-Side IPA

Boombox x Steel & Oak

Behind the Beer // Boombox A-Side & B-Side IPA

Super excited to announce that we’ve teamed up with the folks at Boombox to bring you a mixed four pack! Each pack comes with 2 x A-Side IPAs and 2 x B-Side IPAs. What is A-Side and B-Side you ask? Well here we go!

A-Side has all Northern Hemisphere ingredients including Citra, Azacca, and Equanot hops from the US as well as Superior Pilsner Malt from Alberta and Marris Otter from the UK.

B-Side has all Southern Hemisphere ingredients including Waimea and Rakau hops from New Zealand and Galaxy from Australia as well as Patagonia Pilsen Malt from Chile.

A-Side and B-Side are both fermented using the same yeast and pour a hazy straw colour.

Kent from Boombox has always been a big supporter of ours and just a general awesome dude so it’s always great to have an excuse to hang out with people you get along with and make some beer!

Behind the Label // Boombox A-Side & B-Side IPA

Both us and Boombox love music so doing a cassette themed label was a pretty easy call.

Below are the options that Sami sent our way. Options 1 and 2 she went retro cassette packaging inspired. Options 3 and 4 are still based off of cassette tapes but in amore graphic, abstract way.

A-Side B-Side Options

Launch Party // Boombox A-Side & B-Side IPA

We’ll be launching this collab across all three Colony’s, Main St., Northwoods, and Kits, on Wednesday night January 16th. This is the first time you can try the beer!

Both breweries will be pouring a couple other beers as well so swing by one of the Colony’s on Wednesday and say hi!

Cheers,

Jorden

Blush – Rosé Saison

Rose Beer

Behind the Beer // Blush Rosé Saison

So how did we decide to make a beer that tastes like a glass of sparkling Rosé?

Well, about 9 months ago I was in Nashville Tennessee for the Craft Brewers Conference. A supplier called GEA puts on a party every year full of beers, food, scotch, etc. We walked through the door of the party and Kylo Hoy (Brewer for Four Winds) came up and greeted us. He said “sit down, let me grab you the only thing you need to drink tonight.”

He brought this can over and inside of it was a Rosé Cider. It was one of the more refreshing things I’d tasted. From that moment forward I started to obsess over how we could make a beer taste like Rosé.

Fast forward to September and our friends at West Coast Canning reached out to collaborate on a charity brew as part of their Canned Good initiative. The concept behind this collab is that you can really do anything as the labels are donated, the canning time is at a charity rate, and generally when proceeds of a beer go to a good cause (this time it’s The Camp Kerry Society) many people step up to help!

The rosé beer concept came up once again. Our Head Brewer Eric had the idea that if we timed the brew right we could use some grape skins from our neighbours at Pacific Breeze Winery after they’d crushed them for this year’s batches of wine. We could use a Saison yeast to help finish the beer dry. The next layer would be to can condition it so that it would be almost like drinking sparkling Rosé.

We brewed the beer in November, let it can condition for 6 weeks, and decided to release it today! I don’t think I could have ever anticipated the excitement level behind the beer. This must be what Superflux deals with all the time 😉

Behind the Label // Blush Rosé Saison

I wanted the can to be rose gold in colour. Actually, I originally wanted it to be 3 rose gold labels and 1 gold label but that seemed extreme.

So I sent our designer Sami the concept of the Rosé Saison and the parameters that I just wanted it to be a rose gold colour.

Sami came back to me and asked if we could do each label in each four pack with a slightly different design. Because this collab was with the folks at West Coast Canning I knew we’d have extra hands on deck to sort all the beers out once filled to make sure that when they were packaged each four pack had four unique labels. So I said yes!

Below are the four different designs that will appear on your four pack labels.

Rose Saison

There were a lot of people who helped make this charity brew happen: West Coast Canning, Best Studios, Pacific Breeze Winery, IMS Labels and of course our charity of choice, The Camp Kerry Society!

Looking forward to making this beer again next year!

Cheers,

Jorden

Kotuku Pale Ale

Photo of Steel & Oak Kotuku Hazy Pale Ale

Behind the Beer // Kotuku

Nelson Sauvin hops are popular these days for good reason, they smell incredible. For a while we’ve wanted to make a straight forward Pale Ale focussing on the white wine like fruitiness of Nelson Sauvin. Eric, our Head Brewer, finally put Kotuku in the schedule to brew this past December!

Dry hopped with more Nelson, we also threw in some Citra, Hallertau Blanc and Huell Melon into the fermenter. This gives Kotuku added notes of gooseberry, wine grapes, and tropical fruit. Brewed with Pilsner malt, oat flakes and wheat for body, Kotuku pours hazy and finishes dry with a refreshing bitterness.

We’ve put a goal in place this year to have a couple hoppy beers kicking around at all times and this is the first hop forward release for us this year.

Behind the Design // Kotuku

I’d also like to do a better job this year of letting you into the process of why we name beers what we do and why the label ends up looking the way it does!

Kotuku is the Maori name given to the extremely rare White Heron that breads on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. As a symbol of things both beautiful and rare, the kotuku has an important place in Māori folklore. To compare someone to a kotuku in Māori culture is a very big compliment.

Sami, our designer, sent a few options based on the name, all reflecting a light and airy feeling relating to the bird in an abstract way. See below.

I knew that Kith And Kin (our Brassneck Collab) was coming out around the same time and its base colour was white, so Option 2 was crossed off the list. Option 3 was a bit to “kid friendly” for me which felt weird when producing a beer. I decided to go with Option 1. I liked how the lines reflected the length of the White Heron’s legs in an abstract way. Sami always knocks it out of the park so choosing labels is actually a harder process than you think.

Kotuku is available in our Tasting Room for a limited time and will ship out early this month to private liquor stores. I hope you dig it as much as we do!

Cheers,

Jorden

SOPROUD

We’re super excited to be bringing back a favourite event during New West Pride Week, SOPROUD.

SOPROUD takes place from 12PM – 9PM on Tuesday August 14th in our Tasting Room. We’ll be tapping two special Pride beers for this day only, Pinot Pilsner and Mango Strawberry Quayside Pale Ale, with 100% of the proceeds of glass sales going back to the New West Pride Society.

Leading up to SOPROUD we also have a limited amount of S&O Pride Growlers for sale. $6, with all of the proceeds going to the New West Pride Society as well.

So please swing by our Tasting Room on Tuesday August 14th for SOPROUD and celebrate New West’s diverse and incredible community.

Don’t forget that NW Pride week ends with a huge Street Party on Saturday August 18th from 3PM – 8PM on Columbia Street. More details by clicking here.

Steel & Oak Turns 4

Hey friends!

Save the date as we will be throwing a Birthday Party once again this year.

SO4 will be on Sunday July 8th from 3-6PM and will take place in the parking lot behind our brewery.

For beer, we will have multiple beer stations set up to avoid lineups, including a Simple Things station for a quick crack and go can.

For food, our buddy Pete from Pete’s Meat will be doing up a backyard style BBQ of burgers, smokies, potato salad, and other goodies. Earnest Ice Cream will also be swinging by to help keep you cool.

For the kids, we will be bringing in two bouncy castles, face painting, sidewalk chalk and an S&O Lemonade Co. stand.

For music, Social Medium will be playing a DJ set from the “cage” comprised of vinyl they find in our Tasting Room collection.

We’ve made a bunch of changes this year to the overall flow of the venue in order to get you in and hydrated fast. Hope you can make it and thanks for all your support during our first 4 years!

Oh and keep a lookout for an all new Sapperton Anniversary Sour Lager this year. We’ve decided to give it a new look, and a bit of a new twist for 2018…

-Jorden

2017 A Year in Review

It’s 6am on December 31st, 2017. Our 2 year old son was up at 5:30am but my wife graciously decided to give me a sleep in today however I couldn’t get back to sleep as I find every year around this time I get stir crazy about what’s coming up next. Always looking forward. That’s how we work. Planning brews, hop contracts, marketing, beer launches, festivals to attend, staffing needs, etc.

It’s hard to look forward to 2018 without looking back on 2017. So here we go.

2017 was a crazy year for us. Every spring/summer we fall behind because we’ve never had enough capacity to keep up. So this year we were finally able to get some new tanks in before May hit and for the first time ever we were able to keep up with demand and at the same time create some cool new limiteds and stretch our legs a bit from a stylistic point of view.

We went big with the new tanks (all three make 10,000L each) because back to that “looking forward” stuff our long term goal was to switch our Flaghsip beers into can format. This was a difficult decision for us because although we believe that people would rather have a Red Pilsner in a 473ml can than a 650ml bottle the truth about cans are that they naturally move more volume so you have to go a bit bigger or risk disappointing people without being able to keep up. So we set ourselves up to do this and so far I’m happy we have.

We made 36 different beers in 2017. This sounds insane to me but we had a laundry list of new brews we wanted to try out and also recognize that craft beer lovers are always on the hunt for something new. Two of these beers were new flagships for us. Roselle Wheat Ale was the first. We had been working on this beer for about a year trying to get the perfect level of hibiscus and refreshing finish. We wanted to create a wheat beer that could be paired well with food and enjoyed all year. We feel that Roselle is just that!  Then late this year we launched Simple Things Pilsner. Simple Things is another beer that we’d been working on for a while. The concept was to make a true craft beer drinkers Pils. Something with the highest quality malt we could find, a full 6 weeks in the tank, and a slap you across the face bitterness. I personally believe that Simple Things will become the most popular beer we make in the coming years… but I’ve been wrong before.

Photo Cred: Eat With Mao

We were lucky enough this year to win 6 BC Beer Awards! This was the most we’ve ever won and along with our homies at Twin Sails it was the most any brewery won that night! On a personal level I was also fortunate to win New Westminster Business Person of the Year! There is nothing more rewarding than starting a business in your own hometown, especially a business that people seem to dig and I hope that S&O proves to other soon to be entrepreneurs that our city supports new ideas and small businesses. Come here! Especially if you are a bakery or a coffee roaster….

2017 did bring challenges. There has been some confusion and a lot of red tape when it comes to our Tasting Room occupancy. We were under the impression that we were going to have 50 people allowed in our room before the summer of 2017 but this hasn’t been the case. It’s been frustrating for me personally and I know super frustrating for our customers who’ve had to wait to get in for a beer. If you’ve been by the brewery in the past week you’ll notice a couple new signs up in regards to zoning and my fingers are crossed that we will have 50 occupancy by the time summer 2018 arrives.

We’ve also been limited to what we can brew based on space. Light Industrial space (which we require) isn’t readily available in New West. It’s part of the reason why you don’t see a Brewers Row type situation in the Royal City. So we basically have the space we have now and need to make due with that. With the addition of the larger fermentation tanks we’ve had to shrink our barrel program and our bottle conditioned program is also a bit smaller than we’d like but it’s taught us to operate efficiently with space and time.

So what is 2018 going to bring?

Well my number one priority is to get that Tasting Room occupancy up to 50, with this increase I’m hoping that it will be more attractive for Food Trucks to set up shop again and will also allow us to do some cool stuff in the Tasting Room without running the risk of having a lineup of people waiting to get in. I want to make it a more engaging and fun space that people can feel confident coming to knowing that they can get in.

More community partnerships. Whether it be collaborating for events or setting pop up shops (for vinyl or beer) we are going to get even more active within New West.

Continue to innovate and perfect. Behind the scenes we are always continuing to perfect our recipes. We’ve just built a bigger lab and will be focusing on improving the longevity of our brews as well as creating new flavours for you to try.

IPA? So a big change for us this year is that yes, we are going to try to make sure there is an IPA on tap at S&O. This doesn’t mean we’ll be coming out with a year round IPA but it is part of the plan to rotate and create new IPAs often so that you do have something hoppy to try on tap when you come by. Selfishly this will also allow us to try a bunch of new IPAs and start to make decisions on where we would want our year round IPA to taste like. If we were to make one of course 😉

Things happen fast in our industry so I’m sure you will see many things I haven’t mentioned above.

I want to sign off by saying thank you. Thank you for coming to our Tasting Room and bringing your friends and family, thank you for being supportive, thank you for letting us know what you like (and what you don’t) and thank you for making Steel & Oak what it is today.

Cheers and all the best in 2018.

Jorden Foss and the S&O Family