Taster Tray Series – Callister Brewing in Vancouver, BC: Today’s feature is Callister Brewing which is located in Vancouver, BC in the East Van (or Yeast Van) brewing district. What makes this place particularly interesting is that it is a functional co-op style brewhouse, featuring Callister brewing and three other breweries under one roof. Specifically, Brewery Creek, Machine Ales and Real Cask Brewing are also brewed in the Callister building, but are brewed, supplied and funded by different owners.
Callister Brewing: Opening in the middle of July 2015, this place showcases a pretty cool model for anyone wanting to get into the brewing world and start something up without their own brewery location. I enjoy the small batch innovative focus that it creates merely because of the setup and the fact that there are multiple brewers in the same house, so I hope this idea catches on and more places like this open up. To legally sell beer, as far as I understand, all of of the beer is formally brewed under the Callister licence, technically sold to Callister and poured from their taps, but is branded separately on the beer board. Each brewer involved has signed on for at least a year and is responsible for buying their own ingredients, casks, kegs and so on – consider them brewmates paying rent in the same house so to speak.
The Taster Tray / Flights: I paid $8.00 + tip for my taster tray consisting of four Callister branded glasses that contained 4oz of beer wich was served in a nicely branded wooden tray. I my carried my beer over to one of the barrels they had setup in the tasting lounge, which was coated in a spilled beer motif looking gloss. The beer glasses were all freshly rinsed before filling, they were perfectly beer clean and the pours were pretty decent minus one that was slightly over foamed (totally forgivable). Once again, this is a great example of a brewery that knows the value in branding their taster trays and glasses, allowing for some good social exposure and a slightly enhanced drinking experience. The cost was at the higher end of the taster tray cost spectrum in Vancouver, but you do have to respect that you get a chance to try 4 breweries in one spot, so it’s not something that would stop me from going there and the small batch nature of the brewery impacts their costs as well.
The Beers: After consuming a few samples of Real Cask Ale, I elected to try the Machine and Callister Beers, all of which were quite good, but specifically the Apricot Resurrection was solid stand out from the bunch. The beers were noticeably grainy and tasty, having a texture much closer to home brew than commercial beer (this is a good thing) and they were all very fresh tasting and flavourful. I also tried the Simple Saison in a glass from Brewery Creek and thought it was also a very nice representation of the style, presented in a very sessionable 4% abv level.
Final Impression: At Callister you can expect a pleasantly different experience and wide variety of ever changing beers, plus a lineup of beer pumped out of casks from Real Cask Ales, which just so happens to be my preferred way to drink beer. It is a nice addition to the Yeast Van brewing scene and a place to go enjoy a variety of craft beers, most of which will rotate frequently. If you want to try a traditional British Ale out of a cask or unique beer from an upstart brewer, this is the place to go and I recommend you give it a try. They even have their own craft soda’s which looked pretty enticing as well and lets non drinkers enjoy the venue as well. You can see my name on the founders label on one of the fermentors from their IndieGogo funds raiser i participate in and I can guarantee that I’ll be back again to go see it and grab some more beer soon.