Get ready, craft beer fanatics: There's a new brewery in town, and it's set to open its doors during the first week of August.
Located at 1830 Ontario Street, Faculty Brewing Co. is housed in a cozy yet bright 1,300-square-foot space along one of Vancouver’s busiest bicycle routes.
Brewery owners Mauricio Lozano and Alicia Medina are looking forward to attracting crowds of beer-loving Vancouverites over the next few weeks—but they stress that Faculty’s beers are brewed with the new beer drinker in mind, too.
"We want to function as an entry-level brewery, like beer 101, for people that are new to craft beer," Lozano said earlier today during an interview at Faculty.
He explained to the Straight that the brewery's name plays into a clever beer identification tactic that will inform imbibers of the complexity of each brew, based on a numbering system not unlike that which is applied to university courses.
Lozano said that for people that "always order a lager", it's hard to move away from beer that is light (or lacking) in flavour.
"They're not sure what a Hefeweizen or a Berliner Weisse is, but if we named the beers like school courses—your 100 level, which are lighter in flavour, all the way up the 700 level, which are the most complex—instead of being shy about not knowing, they can decide based on the numbering."
Once Faculty Brewing Co. opens its doors next week, it will feature four of the following six beers on rotating taps: their lightest, the 107 Blonde Ale, as well as the 241 Mint Hefeweizen, 305 Saison, 408 Chinook Pale Ale, 419 Centennial Pale Ale, and the 710 Oaked Stout.
"If you're new to beer and you don't want to get hit in the face, stay at the lower level,” Lozano said, “but if you want to go for something more bold, then definitely go for something like the stout.”
Another side of Faculty that will be unique to the brewery is the way its owners plan to showcase the talent of Vancouver's homebrewing scene by making their recipes available to the public.
"We want people to criticize and comment on them," Lozano explained. "People will be able to submit recipes that we can later brew and post online too, and then we can create open source recipes."
The collaboration piece, Lozano said, is something that they are incredibly passionate about.
"It's like the way universities work—all the scientific information is published so that people can read it, collaborate, and keeping working at it.”
Beer is always more enjoyable when paired with a snack, so Lozano and Medina will have a casual menu featuring things like cheese and meat platters, hummus and pita, and chips and salsa—things Medina says will "still be light and easy for us to handle, but things that are a bit more substantial than pepperoni or cheesy bread." They're also partnering with their nextdoor neighbour, Argo Cafe, which will be extending its hours of operation to coincide with the brewery.
When it comes to non-alcoholic beverages, the couple will be offering another type of fermented beverage that is arguably as popular as beer among Vancouverites: Kombucha.
"When Mauricio upscaled from homebrewing, I took over all of his equipment to make kombucha," Medina said. "It will be made on-site once we open."
Although Lozano has a background in food science and experience working at a large-scale brewery, he says opening a brewery of his own was always at the back of his mind. A home brewer for more than 10 years, he's been an active member of both the Vancouver Homebrewers' Association, as well as the local consumer group, Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).
"I was always thinking, 'maybe one day'. When the tasting lounge rules changed in Vancouver a few years ago, I realized that I could finally make my dream happen,” Lozano said.
"Me and Alicia have both had corporate office jobs, and it's not really what we want. We want that interaction with a customer, and I think this is the right size of work for us to be hands-on.”
Lozano and Medina plan to open their doors as early as August 2, but because of the unpredictability of permits and licenses, they might have to wait until later in the week.
Follow Faculty Brewing Co. on Twitter to stay up-to-date about their opening.