Straight to the Pint: R&B head brewer Rod Hughes chats about best brews

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      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.

      Who are you

      My name is Rod Hughes, and I’m the head brewer at R&B Brewing Co.

      Your dad's favourite beer

      My dad always had Molson Export in the fridge; then he moved to Labatt Wildcat, and then to Coors Light. When I started working at Steamworks I introduced him to our Kölsch. So I can say that my dad always appreciated a light and drinkable beer.

      First go-to brand

      I’ve never really been a one-brand guy but when I moved to Waterloo, Ontario, to go to university I regularly drank Waterloo Dark from Brick Brewery, Wellington’s [Arkell] Best Bitter, or Steam Whistle pilsner.

      Life-changing beer

      When I moved out to Vancouver I started drinking Central City’s Red Racer IPA and Driftwood’s Fat Tug. Those beers blew my mind at the time and I decided I wanted to make hoppy beer.

      Dream destination

      I met a ton of amazing people down in Davis, California, last year while I attended a brewing program there. A lot of those folks are now working at some really amazing breweries like Sierra Nevada, Deschutes, Russian River, Lagunitas, North Coast, Rubicon, Pizza Port, Longwood, RaR, Dust Bowl, Abita, and Big Wood, to name a few. I’d love to take a road trip through the U.S. to visit some great friends and check out their breweries, while getting to see some great places all over the States.

      First brewed beer

      It was the Strathcona Pale Ale extract/specialty grain recipe from Dan’s Homebrewing. I remember using homegrown hops from my front yard in East Van. The beer tasted great (at least to me) and that’s all it took to get hooked.

      Crowning achievemnt

      Successfully passing the Institute of Brewing and Distilling’s diploma brewing exams was probably the most challenging achievement of my brewing career so far. I’m also proud to be welcomed at R&B as their head brewer, and proud to be a part of a really great brewing team here. This position is new to me, and a welcome challenge.

      I'd love a beer with

      Ken Grossman. He’s a brewer (and a legend) that understands the importance of beer quality. He was ahead of his time when he started Sierra Nevada and his brewery continues to set new standards for quality, consistency, creativity, and environmental efficiency. These are key areas that will set the field apart in the future for craft brewers, in my opinion.

      Amanda Siebert