Gladstone Brewing Wins Brewery of the Year and Parallel 49 Brewing Earns Best in Show
The 2022 BC Beer Awards were announced on November 5 at the Croatian Cultural Centre in Vancouver. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the last time this previously annual event took place was in October 2019.
The first of two big winners of the evening was Gladstone Brewing, which was named Brewery of the Year after winning five medals, including four golds and one silver. The Best in Show award was given to Parallel 49 Brewing for its 10th Anniversary Brett Saison.
This was a decisive victory for Gladstone Brewing — winning five awards in total, including four gold medals — especially considering the fact that no other brewery won more than two gold medals.
Located in Courtenay in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, Gladstone opened in 2015 in a one-time car mechanic’s shop just a block off Courtenay’s main street. Founded by Daniel and Alexandra Sharratt, the brewery embraces that heritage with a tasting room that is decorated with old car parts and automobile memorabilia. It has made a name for itself for both its beer and food — its four-season patio is a popular spot with locals and visitors alike.
Gladstone’s gold medals went to four of its seasonal beers that are largely only available on tap seasonally at the brewery: Czech Dark Lager, Hazy IPA, Porter and Red Ale. Gladstone’s Cream Ale, part of its core lineup, won a silver medal. (For more on cream ales, check out this blog.) Head Brewer Tak Guenette made a name for himself in the Vancouver brewing scene before moving to Courtenay to take charge of brewing at Gladstone.
Gladstone Brewing can be found on the Vancouver Island Part II Ale Trail.
Winning Best in Show is a wonderful 10th Anniversary present for Parallel 49 Brewing. The brewery helped kick off the resurgence of craft brewing in Vancouver when it opened in 2012. Led by brewmaster Graeme Wit, the brewery quickly established a reputation for its diverse beer lineup and creative beer names and marketing. Often irreverent but always focused on quality, P49 has developed a huge following for its beers — customers regularly fill the seats and tables in its “Street Kitchen” tasting room, featuring dozens of beer taps alongside delicious food from the food truck parked inside the space. The brewery also has an expansive patio.
In addition to the Best in Show, Parallel 49 Brewing also won a silver medal for its Oktoberfest Schwarzbier and a bronze for its Oktoberfest Festbier. Both of those beers are part of its Oktoberfest Mixed Pack, which also features a German Pilsner and Hefeweizen.
Parallel 49 Brewing can be found on the Vancouver – Yeast Vancouver Ale Trail.
The prize for Rookie Brewery of the Year was awarded to Smugglers’ Trail Cask Works, which opened in Langley in 2020. Smuggler’s Trail won three medals in total: a silver for Flaskers British Ale, and a bronze medal apiece for 3 Month Pils and Invictus Dark Mild.
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Three breweries won four medals on the evening:
- Brassneck Brewery (Vancouver): gold for Klutz Kolsch and Unconventional Wisdom Cold IPA, silver for No Brainer, and bronze for Umlaut Hefeweizen
- Iron Road Brewing (Kamloops): Roundhouse Oud Bruin (gold), Locomotive Lager (bronze), Gandy Dancer Gose and Boomer Wild Ale (both honourable mentions)
- Steamworks Brewery (Burnaby & Vancouver): gold medals for Kirsche and Empress Double IPA, silver for Killer Cucumber Ale, and bronze for Kolsch
Other notable winners:
- Dageraad Brewing (Burnaby): Field Theory (gold), Brune (silver), and Blonde (bronze)
- Main Street Brewing (Vancouver): two gold medals for Gale Force and Circa 1775
- R&B Brewing (Vancouver): Picnic Table Beer (silver), New Brighton Dry-Hopped Sour (bronze), and It’s Always Sunny In East Van Witbier (bronze)
- Steel & Oak Brewing (New Westminster): Der Klassiker (gold), Zoigl (silver), and Undertow (bronze)
Legend Award: Nigel Springthorpe
Receiving the Legend Award for 2022 is Nigel Springthorpe, co-owner and publican of Brassneck Brewery, as well as the Alibi Room and the Magnet. Springthorpe created BC’s first real craft beer taphouse at the Alibi Room in the mid-2000s by expanding the tap list up to 50+ taps and seeking out special and unique beers from all over BC. It became the go-to destination for beer lovers and helped build interest in craft beer in the city.
When Vancouver’s new brewery boom kicked off beginning in 2012, Brassneck was one of the new styles of breweries with tasting rooms front and centre. Its rough-edged yet stylish interior and amazing beer line-up quickly established it as one of the best breweries in the city, if not the best. And not content to rest on those laurels, Springthorpe opened The Magnet in 2019, adding a restaurant that focuses on craft and cocktails to his roster of achievements. Along the way, he has been a supportive mentor and community partner, offering advice unrestrictedly to potential competitors as they work to open their own breweries.
Cheers to you, Nigel!
For the full list of winners check out the BC Beer Awards website.