Straight to the Pint taps those on the frontlines of our booming local craft-beer industry for stories about their biggest brewing successes, dream vacation spots, and which brand was always in the family fridge. In this edition, Mike Doan responds on behalf of himself and his brother Evan, who together run the Doan’s Craft Brewing Company.
Who are you
Doan’s is a small brewery in the heart of the East Van brewery district [1830 Powell Street]. We opened May 2015 and took over the old home of Powell Street Craft Brewery. We maxed out the space with a small, 25-seat, 450-square-foot lounge, complete with arcade! We are a family business with a serious passion for great beer!
Your dad’s favourite beer
Our dad was never really a beer drinker, but I do remember that he loved Belgian styles. He never bought them at home, reserving gin martinis as his go-to bev, but I remember one particular time when we were in L.A. and he ordered a beer [Orval] to share, say 15 years ago, and it came in this funny, stubby bottle. He said, “This is what real beer tastes like,” and handed the bottle to us. I hadn’t tasted anything like it.
First go-to brand
For Evan, early on this was definitely Lucky Lager. For Mike, tall boys of Stella!
Evan and I were driven quickly from Lucky Lager to craft beer like Wild Rose, when Ev was at uni in Calgary, and Creemore Springs (before their sale to Molson), when I was at uni in Kingston, Ontario.
The best place to get a beer is Asheville, North Carolina. People say, “Keep Portland weird”—well, keep Asheville weirder. There are so many great breweries per capita, and even the big guns like New Belgium are opening up down there, recognizing the importance of the scene. Get your vegan, hemp-smoked, cellulose chocolate with a side of the best beer in North America!
First beer brewed
I think Evan and I first went to Dan’s Homebrewing [835 East Hastings Street] and brewed a batch of malt-syrup-based Strathcona Pale Ale. Let me tell you, it was delicious enough for us to get hooked to brewing for life, but bad enough that our friends wouldn’t drink it.
About two years ago, Evan and I first started experimenting with treating our brewing water. After a couple of goes at it, we finally hit the nail on the head and brewed the best beer we had brewed in our three years of home brewing, our Pacific Northwest Rye Stout. And lo and behold, in our first year open, we won first in the stout-porter category with that beer. Must have been good, eh?
I would love to have a beer with
The crews from Moon Under Water, Main Street Brewing, and Powell Street Craft Brewery.