Callister Brewing Company may have officially opened in July of 2015, but the 40-seat tasting room and brewery has managed to fly under the radar of self-proclaimed beer enthusiasts such as myself... until now.
Calling itself Canada's first collaborative brewery, Callister (1338 Franklin Street) doesn't operate the way some of its East Van counterparts do.
While owners Chris Lay and Diana Mckenzie brew their own styles under the name of Callister Brewing, three other start-up breweries work in the building, brewing two to three styles each to round out the tasting room's 10-tap selection. Each brewery is signed to a one-year term, giving its brewmasters the opportunity to perfect their brews and sharpen their tools without the pressure of having to brew 10 different styles at a time. Once the current batch of brewers' terms are up, Lay will bring in new start-up breweries.
"It's really a coworking brewery incubator," said Lay during an interview with the Straight earlier today. "I like to think we're still a bit of a hidden gem. Each one of us focuses on different areas, and there's usually a brewmaster behind the bar, so customers can really find out what goes into our beer."
Currently, Lay brews three different styles on behalf of Callister. He's joined by Adam Chatburn, who operates Real Cask Brewing, which specializes in classic, British cask-aged ales. Brewery Creek Brewing Co., an extension of the Brewery Creek Liquor Store on Main Street, is represented by brewmaster Chester Carey, who likes to focus on Belgian fermented styles. Brewmasters Adam Henderson and Matt Kohlen of Machine Ales produce Callister's hoppier selection of beers. Each brewer has a long history in the industry, and many are associated with the Vancouver-based CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ales) and the Vancouver Homebrewers' Association.
Take a virtual tour of Callister here--or better yet--head down today for a pint of the good stuff. It is Friday, after all.