Home » Blog

Category: Blog

Matthew A. Hawkins #peopleofoldyalebrewing

I’m a Small business owner, Fishing Guys fellow, up-and-coming BBQ chef and pretend YouTuber

If you look back at your life, is there one moment that stands out to you as a memorable moment (good or bad)?

To pick one moment would be too tough.

I’ve been fortunate in my life to have met my wife. We met when I was 19, she was 18 and we’ve been together ever since. Meeting her has no doubt changed my life. She’s the love of my life.

Becoming a father three times is a badge I hold very proudly. My kids bring me a joy and pride that I never knew I could attain. I love being a father, it’s not always daisies and buttercups, but I love walking through life with my three kids.

I’d also have to say stepping out into business on my own. I left a previous job that had it’s trials and difficulties, but walking out of that place was a catalyst to a lifestyle of learning to create the things I’m passionate about and live the lifestyle I’m so fortunate to lead now.

Who is the most influential person in your life – can you tell us about how they’ve shaped who you are?

Kevin Fricker is someone that I look up to a lot. Having someone that believes in you through your successes and failures makes you feel like you can keep moving. I don’t get to spend as much time with him as I used to, but he’s someone I look up to and have learned so much about life from.

Have there been any ground breaking moments in life that you just can’t get out of your head? What did that moment teach you?

Driving all around the province meeting with and talking with theatre owners to convince them to work with me on an advertising opportunity. I spent a lot of time on the highway by myself, with little to no money in my pocket and the worry that this crazy idea wasn’t going to get me anywhere.

I had a lot of personal revelations and experiences on those trips that have propelled me into the future. It’s those trips that set-up my small business and many other opportunities all across North America.

What motivates you on a day to day basis?

That I can always improve upon myself. If I can be better tomorrow than today, than I’ve won, but if I don’t, then I got work to do for the next day.

I want to better myself every day in my mind, body and soul. I want to be a better husband, father and human being. The world offers too much possibility and opportunities, I want to try and seize as much of it as I can.

What are you passionate about?

Batman, comic books, vinyl, cartridge gaming and 80’s nostalgia.

Creating more than consuming. If I can create more than I consume on a daily basis, I’ve done my job. I have too many ideas in my head that need to move from ideas to actualization. I have talked with too many people that have said they have such great ideas but they’ve never done anything with them. I don’t want to be one of those people.

I love my family. Spending time with them, growing with them, encouraging and watching them step out and fail or succeed is a thrill of life I never knew I would have.

What makes you angry?

People that are too afraid to be themselves because of what they think other people think about them. Stupid social complexities that we think exist but in actuality don’t.

Complacency. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a difference between being content and complacency, it’s when people feel like their work is done and they don’t have anything to improve on. We can be content but still push to do or be more.

And poor font choices.

How often do you come to Old Yale, and why do you like coming here?

I stop in to the tasting room almost monthly, but will load up on a few bomber bottles and growlers for different occasions at home. I enjoy coming because of the quality of beer and people I’ve come to know at OYB.

How’d you hear about Old Yale?

I first heard of and tried OYB when it was set-up on the corner of Vedder Rd and Keith Wilson. A friend had a beer pig in his fridge and was introducing me to craft beer for the first time. From there I would enjoy some Jolly Miller wings with the OYB IPA on tap.

What do you like about Chilliwack? How is it different than other cities?

I grew up in the Fraser Valley, but Chilliwack is home. It’s distance from Vancouver is far enough, but not out of reach. Chilliwack is a fishing mecca, there are very few places in the world that offer the fishing opportunities here, from Sturgeon to Salmon, Trout and Steelhead. It’s a bit of fishing paradise.

I love the literal space the outdoors of Chilliwack offers, but I also love to downtown core that makes Chilliwack so unique and unlike any other community.

Are you a long time resident of Chilliwack? New to the area?

I’m a longer time resident, but my roots are here. I moved here because my wife is from here. We’ve made Chilliwack our home. I became an adult here. I married my wife here, my children were born here. Our roots are setting in deeply here.

How often do drink craft beer?

A few times a week. It’s just about the only kind of beer I drink, except for my guilty pleasure of some PBR. I’m also a wannabe hipster, so I try and cover all of my bases.

What’s your favourite style/type of craft beer? Your favourite OYB beer?

It really depends on the occasion. If it’s after playing a hockey game, then an ice cold pilsner; or, if it’s while I’m grilling up some meat on the BBQ then a Pale Ale or IPA. Hanging out in the evening and talking with good friends, then a good stout.

Either the West Coast IPA or the Fresh Hop Double IPA. I guess I’d have to say that IPA is my all around go to then.

What’s yeast used for in craft beer?

Ever wonder what yeast does when it comes to beer? Well for one thing, the yeast does about 90% of the work – so it’s safe to say it’s pretty important.

We as brewers are in the trade of making yeast food. The yeast eats the sugar and breathes the oxygen we give it. Once the oxygen is gone, it keeps eating the sugar and in return gives us alcohol, CO2 and many, many other flavours.

The initial liquid (wort) is very sweet but somewhat bland compared to the beer that the yeast turns it into.

We use a few different yeast products at Old Yale, and care has to be taken not to cross contaminate them because we’ll get unexpected flavours In our beers.

Below is just a brief summary of the variety of yeast we use day to day at OYB:

Knotty Blonde Ale, Off Trail Pale Ale, West Coast IPA, Moon Dance Mango Wheat, Devilfish SMaSH IPA, Sasquatch Stout, Screaming Banshee Irish Cream Stout, Yeti White Stout

All of these beers use the same yeast. It is a very robust and low maintenance ale yeast that provides clean and predictable flavours so that the the hops, mango, chocolate malt, irish cream, truffles, coffee and many other ingredients can shine through.

Vanishing Monk Belgian Witbier

This beer uses a Belgian Wit (Wheat) ale yeast that produces very distinct peppery and spicy flavours. It also has a tendency to stay suspended in liquid for a lot longer than other yeasts so that helps create the hazy appearance and adds more of the flavour that we love with this beer. It ferments at warmer temperatures than most yeast can tolerate which helps it produce more flavour.

Old Paddle Pilsner

Our Pilsner uses a traditional Bavarian Pilsner yeast (Lager yeast originating from southern Germany and the Czech Republic). This yeast ferments much colder than an ale yeast (10 degrees C compared to 20 with our Ale yeast) which gives the beer a very clean and crisp flavour profile.

BC Backyard Lager

We take the same yeast that we use in the Pilsner but we put it through it paces by warming it up to the temperature that our ale yeast likes to work at. This not only forces the yeast to work faster but it produces much more flavour than using it the traditional way, more like an ale, while still being a lager. This process created a style called the California Common.

John Martin #peopleofoldyalebrewing

I’m the MLA for Chilliwack and am closing up my first term and hoping to be elected for a 2nd term.

One thing I didn’t expect is the pace. I can’t slow time down. You’re on the move so much. Days and weeks go by so fast, sometimes it makes it hard to just soak it all in and cherish it. You need to find ways to make things a little more calm to make sure things aren’t rushing by.

Remember when you were a kid and you were on summer break. Summer break was only 8 weeks but it felt like forever. It didn’t matter what happened on the last day of school because no one would remember anything come September. Now 8 weeks is just one project and then the next one rolls in, but to be able to have that same relation with time as you did when you were a kid with the weeks, months and seasons. That would be something.

If you look back at your life, is there one moment that stands out to you as a memorable moment (good or bad)?

I wouldn’t be able to narrow it down to one specific moment. There’s the things that matter at different points in your life, sometimes they wouldn’t have the same significance as ten years sooner or ten years from now. Obviously meeting my wife and marrying her. I think for most of us, that’s always going to be the monumental moment. The night I fought five people and earned my black belt in a gruelling ceremony. That was quite a memorable moment as well.

I’ve had some great opportunities. The Premier Christy Clark, gave me the opportunity to contest the last election as a member of the BC Liberal team and that particular night we won quite handedly in Chilliwack. That was spectacular. There are few nights quite like the feeling I had that night. That’s not something I had planned for, it wasn’t something I had strategized for years and years. For it to work out as well as it did. That’s right up there.

Who is the most influential person in your life – can you tell us about how they’ve shaped who you are?

One is my longest closest friends is Darryl Plecas who I worked with at UFV for many, many years. We were both in the school of criminology. He was the one that hired me and basically gave me the opportunity to be in the classroom and eventually a full time faculty member. That opened up a career for me, that if it wasn’t for Darryl and his encouragement, I don’t know that would have happened otherwise.

The Premier is another one, who gave me an opportunity to occupy a position that only 950 or so people have ever occupied in this province. It’s a very small, little group that have had the privilege of serving in the legislature in Victoria. I feel incredibly privileged that I had that opportunity to be one of them and I owe that to a lot of people but of course mostly to the Premier.

What motivates you on a day to day basis?

Wanting to do a good job, and meet the expectations that people have of me. This position comes with unique and enormous responsibilities . Whether it’s to help someone navigate the health care system; or work their way through WorkSafe and some of that red tape and bureaucracy. At the end of the day it’s something that I do quite regularly and when it works out, and it doesn’t always work out, but when we can make a problem go away for someone. That’s a huge, huge relief for them; it’s a huge burden off their shoulders. When I know I’ve played a part in taking this horrible thing away from this person’s life, that might have been there for months or years, that’s a pretty good feeling at the end of the day. Sometimes it’s just those little things that can be as immensely satisfying as some of the more major accomplishments. Helping people cut through the red tape and the biggest thing that is dragging them down every day, trying to remove that. That’s a pretty good feeling to have.

What are you passionate about?

In my leisure life I’m passionate about being the best pit master that I can be and making the best BBQ for my friends. That’s something I put a lot of time into and a lot of practice. It’s more than a hobby for me, it’s an act of passion.

Obviously, I’m very passionate about my relationship with my wife. The reality of this job means we see a lot less of each other than we used to. That sort of changes the nature of the relationship. Certain things take on new significance.

Just trying to be the best MLA that I can. Trying to serve Chilliwack as best I can.

What makes you angry?

Oh. Traffic. Line-ups. Pet owners who shouldn’t be pet owners. Bad BBQ.

Different things will set me off, so you have to do those other things to compensate for it. Drinking a beer, picking a guitar, smoking a brisket and taking time to yourself here and there.

How often do you come to Old Yale, and why do you like coming here?

It varies. I’ve been frequenting OYB since their original location. In that tiny little place on Vedder that’s now a dry cleaner, or something. I have a home draft dispensing system, it holds the 22 litre canisters. I would always get it filled and refilled at OYB. I tended to have it on tap at my place and we’d go through one of those canisters pretty quick when I had people over for a BBQ. Other times it would last for months, but that was too long for that type of ale.

I like to pop in every now and then. I think it’s my first time so far this year, but I have been in here at least half a dozen times since they opened the new tasting room.

What do you like about Chilliwack? How is it different than other cities?

I’ve moved to and from this part of the Valley 3 times in my life. I’ve been here for the last 12 years or so, I’ve been in the Fraser Valley most of my adult life. Before becoming an MLA, I worked at the University of the Fraser Valley.

It feels different here than the other side of the river or down the road in Abbotsford. It just seems to be a nicer fit for me here. Despite recent growth there’s still a small town friendly feel that you don’t find as much of anymore.

How often do you drink craft beer?

It’s hard to find time to drink anything in this position.

How about this… when you have a chance to drink a beer, how often do you drink craft beer?

It’s almost always a craft beer. I tend to drink the extra special bitters or the IPAs. I’ll occasionally try other beers, sometimes I will have a porter or stout, but it’s almost always an IPA.

Your favourite type of beer, and favourite OYB beer?

ESB or IPA. I would love to see more English Bitter Style in this area. We have some great IPAs in this region. And my favourite OYB beer is whatever I’m holding right now… whatever beer I’ve got in my hand at that time is my favourite. It’s part of the here and now, enjoying what’s in front of me. If there’s a nicer ale down the road, well that day will come.

How long will my growler fill last?

We get asked this question all the time.

The shelf life of a filled growler depends on a lot of factors that could potentially spoil the beer. All of these factors are the same that we battle in the brewery to make sure the beer gets into the container and out to the customer in the best condition possible.

In short, it could last less than a day, or maybe a month or so. Here are some factors that contribute to the shelf life of a growler fill:

The cleanliness and how sanitary the growler is

Even one bacteria or wild yeast cell that’s present will over time multiply into billions and produce off flavours, and sometimes more carbonation.

Whether the growler has air in it when it is filled

Having air come in contact with the beer will spoil the hop flavour and aroma very quickly and change the malt flavours. It will also provide more oxygen to any leftover yeast when it should be in a dormant state. Other bacteria and wild yeast will also use this oxygen and will speed up their multiplication.

The type of growler that the beer is in and the quality of the seal of the lid

If the growler is glass, UV light will get into the beer and slowly spoil it. The darker the glass the better; better yet – use a stainless growler. If the seal on the growler is poor then CO2 will escape and the beer will lose carbonation. If something can escape then there’s also the risk that air and foreign bacteria and yeast can get in (which of course is a bad thing).

How the Growler is stored once is has been filled

If a filled growler sat out in the sun on a hot day then the beer inside won’t last the day. The heat will promote any yeast or bacteria to grow like crazy, and it will also most likely kill the delicate brewing yeast and both of these will produce any number of off flavours. The UV light will ruin the hops and malt and create a cheesy or skunky flavor and aroma along with a sweet and unpleasant malt flavour. The pressure inside will build up in the heat and CO2 will escape and other things can get back in. And lastly, if the growler has been opened then air has been let in and CO2 has been let out and the beer is not going to last beyond that day (sometimes not even that). Store it in a dark and consistently cold place and when you decide to drink it, drink it all! And then, clean the growler(!!).

Old Yale Brewing has a very advanced growler filling station

We rinse all the growlers before filling although the state of the growler is mostly out of our control and there is no way of properly sanitising them on demand, so this is the most common point of spoiling for the beer inside the growler. We then purge all of the air out of the growler with CO2. The beer is filled in to the growler right from a stem at the very bottom and it is fobbed (foam coming out of the top) when the cap is placed down. This ensures the maximum amount of air is pushed from the growler. If everything goes well and it is stored carefully then the beer could last a long time, maybe up to a month or so.

We hope this blog was helpful, and will extend the life of all your future growler fills.

Cheers!

CO2 vs. Nitrogen in Beer

Co2 or Nitro: which would you choose for your next pour of craft beer? Learn the basics of each so you can make an informed decision next time you have the option.

What does CO2 do for beer other than fizziness?

CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) is a non-toxic gas that is produced by the yeast during fermentation. It carbonates the beer and makes it fizzy but it also does a few other things:

+ The CO2 reacts in beer to make it more acidic (lowers the pH) and this changes the flavour of the beer. The lower pH makes it a more zippy and less lingering flavour on the palate.

+ The lower pH from the CO2, along with it not being usable for respiration, helps protect beer from bacteria and foreign yeast. This makes it a very clean beverage and helps it last longer on the shelf.

+ The bubbles and foam in beer are because of CO2. The beer itself makes up the liquid bubble wall and the CO2 fills the bubble. Oxygen doesn’t react with the beer the same way so if bubbles are formed that are filled with oxygen they will pop quickly and disappear.

+ CO2 also helps to increase the aroma and flavour of the beer. As CO2 escapes the beer through the bubbles/foam, it takes with it some of the aromas. This helps us smell the amazing aromas in the beer as we drink it and of course most of our taste is based on smell.

What does Nitrogen do for beer compared to CO2?

Even beer with Nitrogen still has CO2 in it. CO2 is produced by the yeast during fermentation so it is always a part of the beer, but we can also manually add nitrogen later in the process. The nitrogen has a lot of similarities to CO2 in that it forms bubbles and it increases the aroma and flavour. It has some very important differences, though:

+ Nitrogen does not react with beer like CO2 to lower the pH so the beer tastes less acidic than with CO2 and therefore tastes thicker, more full and a little more lingering on the palate.

+ Nitrogen does not want to dissolve into beer as easily as CO2 does and once it is in there it doesn’t want to come back out, and so it reacts differently with the beer and forms much smaller bubbles. This gives the beer a much thicker foam that lasts longer. This is also why nitrogen beers are poured with a special beer font and why special cans and bottles are made for nitrogen beers. These devices force the Nitrogen to come back out of the beer and create the bubbles/foam and help lift the aroma and flavour.

So, there you have it! Which do you think you’ll choose next time you have the option – CO2, or Nitro?

Sam Waddington #peopleofoldyalebrewing


I’m a City Councillor, I own an outdoor store (Mt. Waddington’s Outdoors) and I’m actively involved in outdoor recreation, in trails and parks and the promotion of active lifestyles, plus a bunch of other hats that I can’t always keep straight.

If you look back at your life, is there one moment that stands out to you as a memorable moment (good or bad)?

If I’m thinking about memorable moments, it was those first moments in the mountains as an autonomous person. As an adult on my own. Discovering that beautiful balance between adrenaline and experience. That feeling of being exposed, but feeling that I could deal with it and handle the situation. My first mountaineering experiences were in the Chilliwack River Valley;  feeling that exposure, knowing that there is risk…that’s the rush of life. The joy of it.

What do you draw inspiration from?

I had the chance to grow up in a unique childhood setting. My parents sailed with us, they quit their jobs and bought a sailboat and we sailed half way around the world for 2.5 years and so a lot of my good friends are men and women that are 2x-3x my age and they have walked these amazing walks. They’ve lived interesting lives all around the world and they never took status quo as an expectation and that’s what I draw inspiration from.

What motivates you on a day to day basis?

What motivates me is the idea that I can be a change agent. The idea that through my words and my actions and where they are placed, that I can effect real lasting change. Meaningful change in the lives of people. That’s what drives my agenda.

If we accept status quo we’ve missed the whole point. It’s not to say you can’t be content with where you are. I love my life, the day to day. I’m not unsatisfied with it. I also understand we exist in a changing world. If we’re not adapting to that as individuals, as corporations, as political entities, as governance bodies, we are going to fail to live life to the fullest.

What are you passionate about?

There’s a beautiful saying, or life mantra, in our first nations populations here on the coast. They say that every decision you make should be looking 7 generations into the past and 7 generations into the future. That to me is the motivation. It’s the piece that ties it all together. I look at decisions that I’m making and I don’t mean to offend the people that have elected me, but if their grandchildren look on the decisions I’ve made fondly, then we’ve done a good thing.

What makes you angry?

Haha. Well, technology. Excel spreadsheets mostly.

In all seriousness, small mindedness doesn’t sit well with me. It’s a frustration more than an anger, but one of the things that gets under my skin the most is when you’ve asked someone if they’ve been out on the trails or in the new park spaces and they say ‘No, I’m in my 40s, I’m too old for that.’ I hear sentiments like that and it makes me upset for their lives, that people have put glass ceilings on themselves that they now can’t get away from.

It makes me upset when people stop dreaming. I’m an idealist. I’m an unabashed one. Idealism is whats given people a bright future all around the world. As history has progressed, it’s those that have visioned for the future that have changed the game.

In public policy, when I see people in positions of very real power and influence, that have fallen in those ways of thinking and have stopped being on the cutting edge. It’s when power and influence falls into the hands of those that don’t deserve it the most. That makes me upset.

How often do you come to Old Yale, and why do you like coming here?

I make the pilgrimage probably to the tasting room once every 10 days or 2 weeks. With the new beers I would say its changing the frequency that I drink it outside of the tasting room for sure.

How’d you hear about Old Yale?

My parents used to get the pigs of Old Yale, the giant tapped growler in the 90’s. So it was always at the house parties. My first sip of beer would have been from Old Yale, after a party that I would have snuck from my parents.

I watched it (OYB) go through its different stages and maturities and watch it become what it is today. Which is kind of wild because it’s definitely grown up in Chilliwack.

With my business side of things, I have collaborated with the owners here and we’ve kind of recognized that tie between the craft beer and outdoor recreation industry. I think a lot of people who live active outdoor lifestyles are looking for a different beer product and are drawn to the craft beer culture.

Why Chilliwack? You seem like you are here for the long haul.

I think like a lot of people, you don’t assume you’re going to stay in the town you were raised in. Chilliwack is where I was raised, but I went and wandered around a lot after high school and worked odd jobs and travelled all over the world. Every time I came home it sort of resonated with me in a different way and over time I fell in love with different aspects of Chilliwack. I came to love its proximity to everything, but especially its immediacy to the outdoors that you can easily access before and after work. Trails that are easily accessible, lakes, rivers, mountains, the climate is amazing and an awesome agriculture industry; it’s a big enough city to have what I want. That’s why Chilliwack resonated for me.

I saw the untapped potential of the outdoor industry and had the desire to open my store and start guiding and promoting the outdoors. Seeing the city and it’s unrealized potential is what drew me to politics; to see if I could drive a new agenda.

How often do drink craft beer?

I drink craft beer every couple days at least. I have a keg fridge in my house, so I always have a keg on the go. It’s always a keg of craft beer. Sometimes I shuffle through a few different craft breweries to try different products.

More often than not, there’s an OYB tap set on the top of my keg fridge and right now there’s a 50L keg of Pale Ale in there.

Your favourite OYB beer?

I am a fan of hoppy beers, and Chilliwack is known for its hops. The wet hop beers in the IPA category are my favourite. From any craft brewery, it’s the new stuff that I love. They are trying some different things, most of the times in the wet hop IPA category. That’s my go to.

My favourite OYB beer is the West Coast IPA. This last year they had a good trial seasonal wet hop IPA; that was my go to while it was in stock.

Old Yale Brewing is moving to a new location

We are incredibly excited to officially announce that we will be moving our brewery to a new location (and tripling our brewing capacity to meet the growing demand for our beer).

We will be moving from our current 2,500 sq ft facility to a brand new 6,550 sq ft. purpose-built brewery and 1,250 sq ft. tasting room, located on South Sumas Rd. in Chilliwack, BC. The expansion includes a brand-new brewhouse from NSI Newlands, as well an increase of over three times the current cellaring capacity.

The new brewery will feature a tasting room where you can come in and enjoy a sample of our beer brewed on-site, fill your growler, and take a tour of the brewery. Construction on both the brewery and tasting room is well underway. Brewery design is being led by AH consulting Ltd., and the tasting room design is being led by RN Interiors.

We’ll be opening doors in our new space Spring 2016.

Watch our Facebook page to stay informed about the new space!

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 11.55.57 AM

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 11.37.54 AM

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 11.49.18 AM Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 11.55.51 AM

Why Craft Beer?

Craft_Beer
GREAT TASTE
Does it even need to be said? Craft beer tastes great! Real ingredients and no fillers combined with 100s of different hop varieties; there’s more to beer than ice-cold light lagers.

LOCAL/HOME GROWN FEEL
From local ingredients, to brewmasters that you can shake hands with; Craft beer is as local as it gets. Instead of a nameless and faceless corporation, you know that each pint has been hand-crafted by a passionate team of beer lovers.

VARIETY OF FLAVOURS
Instead of just hundreds of versions of the same american light lager, craft beer has unlimited creativity involved. From seasonal flavours to traditional mainstays, and everything in between; Craft beer’s choices are endless!

INGREDIENTS
Locally sourced ingredients, and interesting additions from far away lands; Craft brewers are always pushing the envelope on what can be added to a beer. Finally there is something that has only ingredients you can easily pronounce!

ALL NATURAL
No pasteurization, no additives, no preservatives. Following the Belgian purity law of 1516; real beer should only have 4 main ingredients: Water, Yeast, Barley & Hops.

HEALTH BENEFITS
A major ingredient in craft beer is hops. Hops contain polyphenols which are an antioxidant that helps to lower cholesterol and even fight certain types of cancer.

FOOD PAIRING POSSIBILITIES
With variety of flavour, comes a variety of interesting food pairings. Like wine, craft-beer is perfectly suited to a vast range of delicious food pairings. Become your own Sommelier, and start experimenting with your favorite dishes.

VARIETY OF ABV
Not everyone likes to have a beer that is 4.5% to 5.0% abv. Some like a stronger imperial or belgian style beer, and others just want a session or a radler.

SEASONAL CREATIONS
Most craft breweries bring out at least 1 new beer each season. From Pumpkin beers in the fall, to fruit and wheat beers in the summer; there’s always something new and interesting to try!

COMMUNITY
There is a real sense of community within craft beer. From cask nights to special release parties, and even brewery tours; Craft beer is a great way to get involved in your local food movement (and enjoy some delicious beer on the way!).