Straight to the Pint: Bridge Brewing’s Hamish MacRae tells ale tales

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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 Hamish MacRae and I am the head brewer for Bridge Brewing in North Vancouver.

      Dad's favourite beer

      Well, there wasn’t a lot of beer in the house when I was growing up, mostly wine and Scotch. Recently, my mom has developed a taste for big IPAs. Every time I’m over at her house there is a new IPA she has “discovered”. You can say she has gotten hoppy in her old age.

      First go-to brand

      The first beer I remember buying and enjoying was Okanagan Spring. I can’t remember which variety, but it had a smooth malt character and soft nuttiness to it. Of course, at the time I didn’t know what the hell malt was, just that I really enjoyed it. However, one time I did have something from them called a “porter”; I had no idea what that was, but it sounded cool…almost historical! Then I drank it. I remember thinking that if this is what beer was originally like, then it could stay in the past. I have come a long way since then and ironically, I love porters now.

      Life-changing beer

      Though I have a long list of beers that I would take with me to a desert island, the one that changed my life was a Scotch ale recipe that I created soon after I started home-brewing. It was my first recipe and it was terrible. Up to that point, making beer had seemed simple, until it wasn’t. I learned a lot of great lessons about beer tinkering with that recipe, including that the best use of peated malt is to leave it in the bag. That was when my curiosity, frustration, and true love of making beer was really sparked.

      Dream destinations

      I would love to do a brewery road trip…around the globe: seeing the sights, talking to brewers, checking out new brews and techniques, and generally being delightfully in my cups.

      Crowning achievement

      So far, taking over the head brewing job with such a great team at Bridge Brewing…and, of course, being a father!

      I'd love a beer with

      All the cheerful drunks wearing the rubber boots.

      The Straight talks to Hamish McRae, brewmaster at Bridge Brewing Co.
      Amanda Siebert