Homebrew in the Community: Avalon Gardens Community Brew Day

July 10th was a great day to make a batch of homebrew!

Lauren Ang is not only the co-owner of Mariner Brewing, one of Coquitlam’s finest, she’s also Activities Coordinator for Avalon Gardens, a retirement home in the Murrayville neighbourhood of Langley, BC, and some of her choices for activities programming align pretty well with the ideal of RDWHAHB.

Posting a request to the Vanbrewers Facebook page for anyone who would be interested in doing a homebrew demonstration for Avalon Gardens, she got three volunteers straight away: Kalinda Link, dedicated homebrewer, Nathaniel Senff former brewer at Lightheart in Port Moody and partner in Cunning Plan cider company, and me, longtime (40 years!) homebrewer and the other partner in Cunning Plan. 

Kalinda Link, Nathaniel Senff and Tim Vandergrift

The day dawned clear, bright and very (very!) warm. With equipment and supplies donated by Mariner, the brew team made two 40-litre brews, a West Coast Pale Ale and a light lager with Pilsner malt and rice.

The Avalon community members were not only interested in the process, asking dozens of questions about brewing and beer in general, but also in the tasting of some excellent Mariner beers during the demonstration. 

Particularly wonderful were stories some of the audience told, of picking hops in Chilliwack, BC many years ago, when the John Haas company had acres out in the Fraser Valley, and how much beer and the beer scene had changed from the distant past, when ‘beer parlours’ had no windows and tables bolted to the floor, and all bars had a door for ‘Gentlemen’ and ‘Ladies With Escorts’. Things have changed, and in many cases, much for the better!

The day stayed hot and sunny, with BC’s amazing heat wave providing bright sunshine and warm breezes, but the beer kept folks cool—of course the brewers had to make do with ice water, to keep things safe. 

The day wrapped up with two brews pitched and put away to ferment on-site and the residents happy and hopefully enriched by the day’s educational properties—and delicious beer! 

Happy residents enjoying the beer and brewing demonstration.

Tim Vandergrift has been in the beverage industry for more than 25 years, as a sommelier, winemaker, brewer, Technical Services manager, brewery owner and cider maker. He is currently cider maker and co-owner of Cunning Plan Brewing in Vancouver BC.

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