Port Coquitlam will welcome its first brewery and tasting room this fall when Northpaw Brew Co. opens in an industrial area of the city’s Fremont Village.
Situated at 2150–570 Sherling Place, the almost 3,700-square-foot space will produce Northpaw’s lineup of West Coast–inspired ales while the 25-seat tasting room will serve beer by the glass, flight, and growler. The spot will feature 12 taps, which will pour all beer at first and include a small selection of wines and ciders later on.
Courtney Brown, cofounder of Northpaw, tells the Straight that he’s long been a fan of the Okanagan wine region, where winemakers are easily accessible in tasting rooms. He sees a similarly interactive experience in Vancouver’s craft beer scene and has been itching to enter the market with friend and home-brewer Warren Wagstaff.
“We just kind saw an opportunity in the market and said, ‘Yeah, let’s put all of our love and passion and hobbies together and create a craft brewery that we feel will be successful’,” Brown says by phone.
The duo began brewing at Pitt Meadows' Foamers' Folly last spring and have since hired home-brewing veteran Dennis Smit on board. “We call him the beer geek,” Brown says of Smit. “He is the poster child for what craft breweries represent.”
Together, the trio has produced a selection of beers such as the Solstice IPA, a hopped ale with a citrus aroma; the Citrus Cinqo, which contains five different types of hops; and the Jamaican Pale Ale, a crowd favourite that Brown describes as a true pale ale with a twist.
These suds, along with an “easy-drinking cream ale” that the group is working on, will be available once Northpaw Brew opens its doors. Appetizers will also be on the menu.
The tasting room, meanwhile, will have a “modern look with a rustic feel”, says Brown, with a mix of wood and stone elements. A Port Moody resident, the full-time marketing consultant hopes that Northpaw, its name a made-up word that’s meant to convey the opposite of the term “southpaw”, will help pave the way for more craft breweries to enter Port Coquitlam.
“We want to be conventionally unconventional,” explains Brown. “We want to dare to be: to be bold, to be aggressive.”
Until recently, zoning regulations in Port Coquitlam have made it difficult for craft breweries to set up shop. Although a new liquor policy adopted last November allows the establishments to operate at select sites in the city, tasting room lounges remain limited to 25 seats.
Leading up to and upon opening, Brown hopes that Northpaw will be able to increase that number. “Hopefully, we can work with the city to get more seats and to make this a more convenient location for the people of Port Coquitlam to come to,” he says.
Northpaw Brew’s tasting room is expected to open this fall and, along with Coquitlam's Mariner Brewing, is one of two craft breweries expected to launch in the Tri-Cities this year. Until then, you can find its beer on tap at Bodega on Main (1014 Main Street), John B. Pub (1000 Austin Avenue, Coquitlam), and the Reef’s Riley Park location (4172 Main Street).