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A Stormy Tour – Part 2

September 29, 2009

Loading up gearI’m on the road with Brewer/Mad Scientist James Walton, owner of Storm Brewing in Vancouver.  We’re heading south on Clark watching the houses get newer and the lots get bigger. If you’ve never been to Vancouver there are trees on almost every street and this time of year, the cusp between summer and autumn is spectacular.  It is really windy so the trees seem to be dancing like a big city wide rave. Stunning.

We’ve been friends for almost 13 years and had some pretty amazing times at the brewery. What are some highlights for you? The 10 year anniversary party at the Anza club, the launch of the Cherry Lambic complete with ice carving, oysters on the half shell and cherry lambic crepes. The first couple of feast of fields – meeting passionate restauranteurs and great chefs.

Favourite beer you’ve ever brewed?  Espresso Porter with beans roasted with Rick at Continental.
There were lots of great times, there must have been some bad times? Yeah, there are a few people I wish I’d never met, con artists and liars. Break ins, bounced cheques, and endless government paperwork.Vij's - One of James' favourite places to eat and deliver

Another delivery and we are headed to one of my favourite restaurants and a long time customer, Vij’s.  As the van pulls up the savoury coriander, ginger, garlic and onion entice us in the back door. One of the great aspects of James’ business is the relationships he’s built over the years with like minded visionaries. Meeru Vij is there and its less like a job and more like visiting friends.

James and Meeru of Vij's in their beautiful bar and lounge area
Back on the road we head farther west to another long time supporter of the brewery. If you were to do it again, what would you do differently? He doesn’t hesitate. Nothing.

Now that’s confidence and happiness. Do you have any advice to pass on to someone thinking of starting their own brewery?

 I started small with no financing – that’s the best advice I can give. I love what I do, the creative aspect when you bring all these elements together perfectly the beer is good and the day is short. There’s lots of room in the market for micros and room for more diversity.
You’ve brewed 100’s of batches, do you remember your first batch? I was 15 years old and I went out to the horse barn and gathered random grains, oats, and barley. I sprouted and roasted them my self and created this horrible tasting beer – I over roasted the malt.
What’s next for you? I’d like to expand on indigenous fermentation, medicinal beer and witches brews.


The birthday party, hosted by a long time friend and James’ college roommate.  What could be better than a backyard full of sunshine, food, friends and draft beer?

Special Delivery - a keg for the Birthday girl!The hostess and dear friendHost and long time friend and supporter
Favourite quote? ‘Do or do not. There is no try.’

Another delivery and we wrap up our day and head back to base camp.  What a great way to see the city from another perspective and check in with a good friend. I sometimes forget how beautiful and diverse Vancouver is – I hope this inspires you to check out a different perspective in your back yard.

End of the day back at the brewery.Thanks James!

Quick Facts:

Storm Brewing Ales: Hurricane IPA, Highland Scottish Ales, Black Plague Stout, Precipitation Pilsner, Echinacea Stout, Fruit Lambic

Cask Night at Dix BBQ Brewhouse:  Great place to try small batch cask ales by James and many other local craft beers including most recently Raspberry IPA.

Place to meet local brewers: Dix BBQ Brewhouse Cask Night on Thursdays, The Whip Gallery Casks on Sunday afternoons, beer festivals

Some current and former employees at Storm Brewing: David, Chris, other Chris, Andrew, other Andrew, Tony, Patrick, Dieter, Shirley, Kim, Carol, Tom, Miles and the many friends who pitch in when James needs a vacation.

What James listens to: CBC or Philosomatika

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 1, 2009 2:22 am

    I don’t know If I said it already but …Excellent site, keep up the good work. I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, 🙂

    A definite great read..Jim Bean

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