Straight to the Pint taps those on the frontlines of our booming local craft-beer industry for stories about biggest brewing successes, dream vacation spots, and which brand was always in the family fridge.
Who are you
I’m Robert Theroux, and I’m the Head Brewer for Bad Tattoo Brewing. I oversee the whole production cycle, from milling to packaging. I’m originally from Montreal and started my brewing career at McAuslan Brewing under brewmaster Dave Brophy. I’m also probably the biggest (physically) brewer in BC!
My dad’s favourite beer
In the words of my father: “The best beer is the cheapest beer.” Don’t get me wrong, my father loved his beer but he never really had a favourite go-to beer. It was usually whatever was on special. His tastes have evolved over time though, and now he does enjoy other styles than the American Adjunct Lager. I’ll ship him some of my beers periodically and he tells me he enjoys them all, but he may be lying to please me.
First go-to brand
Growing up in Quebec, it was all about the Labatt Blue, Labatt 50, Molson Dry, and Molson Export. But honestly, it was whatever I could afford at the corner store and whatever I could get away with without getting carded. As time went on, I’d get more interested in the microbreweries like McAuslan, Boréale, and Sleeman.
I used to work security in an Irish pub in downtown Montreal, and there’s a brewpub right next to it—Brutopia. I remember going there for the first time with some friends and having one of their Raspberry Blondes and going “What the hell, this is what you can do with beer?” And then the slippery slope started. But the beer to really blow my mind was Heady Topper from a Vermont brewery, the Alchemist. That beer is just outstanding, a really amazing double IPA.
I’ve been to a couple of the brewing meccas of the world—aka Portland and Munich—and I had a blast at both. Right now though, I’m really enjoying the surge in sours that craft beer is experiencing, and I’d love to visit the old-school lambic/sour breweries in Belgium. Not only that but I’d love to visit the abbeys and the brothers that having been brewing for centuries. All that vast knowledge and techniques, I’d love to learn from them and to soak up the history of those breweries.
First beer brewed
I did a huge amount of research before I even brewed my first batch of homebrew. I scoured the web and read and re-read John Palmer’s How To Brew. I invested a fair bit of money and time acquiring my brewing equipment and even built a three-tap keezer before I even had beer—all my friends thought I was crazy and going insane. The very first beer was a Maple Brown Ale, I was so nervous about it, because the lag time in fermentation was long, and I thought I screwed it up. It did ferment though, and I threw a big house party for the unveiling of it. I poured the first pint, took a sip in front of about 30-40 friends. I threw my arms in the air and yelled “IT’S GOOD!” to everyone cheering. I still throw my arms in the air and yell “IT’S GOOD!” at the brewery whenever we brew something new. Every. Single. Time.
Minus the crowd.
Probably our Dia de los Muertos Cerveza Fuerte and Dia de los Muertos La Resurrección. I took a page out of Dave Brophy’s book and used a technique he uses for a couple of his beers. It was interesting for me to be using a technique he taught me and apply my own twist to it. It was also the first time I used a barrel aging program for La Resurrección, and it turned out amazing. The beers came out very complex and full of flavour. We do a big Dia de los Muertos celebration at the brewery every year on November 1st, —it’s a lot of fun.
I’d love a beer with
Oh man, there are so many talented individuals in this industry that I could go on and on, but if I were to choose within BC, I’d say Brent Mills of Four Winds Brewery (1), Gary Lohin of Central City (2), and Conrad Gmoser of Brassneck Brewery.