Home » Blog » Beer 101

Category: Beer 101

Craft Beer 101: West Coast IPA vs. East Coast IPA

Who doesn’t love a little competition now and again, right? Well, in this Craft Beer 101 blog, we’re pitting the West Coast versus the East Coast… and no, we’re not talking about Biggie and Tupac… we’re talking beer, of course! It’s the battle of the IPAs.

So, if you’ve ever wondered what the difference between the two styles is, read a little further. If you just want the cliff notes, essentially both styles are awesome, and at Old Yale we offer a bold and hoppy West Coast IPA that’s got a little East Coast flavour to it. But let’s dive in…  

Up first is Tupac… West Coast IPA

West Coast IPAs first gained their popularity in the late 90’s and kept that up through to the early 2010’s in both the Pacific Northwest region and California. Known for showcasing HUGE amounts of hops, this style is often bursting with aromas of Citrus, Pine and Tropical Fruit. When creating this style of IPA, the hops are added both during and after the kettle boil, leaving an aggressive bitterness in the beer. You’ll find this style of IPA to be clear with a light malty body. So… just how thirsty are you for a West Coast IPA right now?

Now onto the East Coast IPA (aka Biggie Smalls)

East Coast (or New England) IPAs has risen in popularity over the last few years. This style of IPA is quite a bit less bitter than West Coast IPAs and very smooth. Much like its competition, East Coast IPAs have tasty tropical notes, along with Stone Fruit, Melon and Citrus notes. Here’s where things get a tad bit complicated…Biotransformation takes place when brewing East Coast IPAs. What is biotransformation, you may ask? Well, it’s a unique process that occurs when hops are added to specific East Coast Yeast Strains. This interesting process makes the beer deliciously juicy and hazy.

So, who wins this rap battle? At Old Yale, we love both of these styles but being from the #WestCoastBestCoast, we wanted to pay a little homage to the place that we call home, that’s why we created our West Coast IPA! As the name suggests, our IPA is most in line with a (…drumroll please) West Coast IPA, although this tasty brew has slightly evolved with the rise in popularity of the East Coast style. You’ll find this beer to have refreshing Citrus and Tropical hop aromas from the Citra and Galaxy hops and a clear(ish) body with a moderate bitterness, you are drinking an IPA after all and what’s an IPA without a little bitterness?

Where can I get this delicious West Coast IPA?

Pop by our tasting room for a pint, to fill your Growler or pick up a 6-pack! Can’t make it out to our location? No problem! Check our ‘Find our beer’ map here to find our West Coast IPA in a Liquor Store or on tap in your favourite restaurants and bars near you!

Craft Beer 101: So, what exactly is a Cask Beer?

If you’re a veteran craft beer fan, then chances are you already know what a Cask is… this blog probably isn’t for you (unless you’re looking for a refresher)… no, this one’s for the new craft drinkers or anyone who’s seen our #BlastfromtheCask posts on social media and have kind of always wondered what the hell we were talking about. In a nutshell (in case you don’t want to read the full blog), Cask Beers are all about adventure. They give us a chance to try something new and fun, and most importantly allow our beloved customers to have an even more unique Old Yale experience. So, if you’re intrigued, keep reading to find out what a Cask is and why we love them…

What is a Cask and how is it made?

A Cask conditioned-beer (or real ale) is a beer that has been through a fermentation process twice; the initial or primary fermentation (which all of our Old Yale beers undergo), followed by a secondary fermentation and conditioning process, while no gas is added to a Cask, it has a natural carbonation due to the carbon dioxide that is produced – this provides a creamier head and generally lower-carbonation level than our packaged or draught product.

The secondary fermentation/conditioning process is done in a barrel-like container made of metal (you guessed it…) a Cask!

Once the beer has been through the full brewing process, a portion is transferred into the Cask. Priming sugars and yeast are then added and the secondary fermentation process begins.  This is also when additional ingredients are added for taste, flavour and to make it a unique beer experience. The Cask is then sealed and left to condition at cellar temperature for approximately two weeks. Once ready, the Cask is chilled, then tapped and served!

CAMRA – Campaign for Real Ale… 

In the early 1970s, an organization called CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale Society of BC) coined the term ‘real ale’ for traditional draught Cask beers to distinguish them from processed and highly carbonated beers being promoted by big brewers. The organization is dedicated to the promotion and responsible consumption of natural, crafted beer, just like us at Old Yale Brewing! They’re a HUGE part of why we decided to create a weekly Cask program at Old Yale – to celebrate the tradition of Craft Beer while experimenting and of course, having fun!

What can I expect from a Cask Beer? 

One of the reasons we love offering Casks at Old Yale is because it gives us a chance to experiment with flavours and styles. Whether we’re adding different unique hops to the equation, playing with spices, fruit and teas or just giving our beers the ol’ boozy kick it needs, the opportunities are almost endless. Some of our favourite past “Blasts from the Casks” or “Blasts from the Past” if you will, are:

+ Oak Whiskey Porter (7.7%) – our rich, dark & delicious Himalayan Salted Caramel Porter conditioned on Whiskey soaked American Oak.

+ Mojito IPA (7.0%) – Our bold and hoppy West Coast IPA cask conditioned with Mint, Lime and White Rum.

+ Lime Match Blonde (5.0%) – our crisp, clean & straightforward Knotty Blonde Ale with herbal and floral notes from stone-ground Japanese Green Tea, complimented by citrusy, bright Limes.

+ Azacca Lupulin Pale Ale (5.0%) – perfectly balanced and refreshing Off Trail Pale Ale with a citrusy and tropical boost from the Azacca Lupuplin powder.

+ Mango Tequila Sunrise (6.5%) – Our smooth and tropical Moon Dance Mango Wheat conditioned on Orange Peel and White Tequila

Where can I try a Cask beer?

If you’re interested in trying a Cask, you’re in luck! They have become increasingly popular over the past decade and are quite the fan favorite here at Old Yale Brewing. Casks are an excellent way for you to try something different and experiment with beers you already enjoy, while celebrating the traditional side of Craft Beer.

In fact, every Wednesday in our Tasting Room, we tap a one-time only Cask at 2pm. We call it “Blast from the Cask” and it’s always a good time. To find out what each week’s Cask will be, follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, we release the Cask info every Monday. Cheers!

Valentine’s Day: Beerly Beloved Food Pairings

Craft Beer, Food, and Treats; is there a better trio? With Valentine’s Day upon us, we thought getting all three of them together would be a pretty great way to celebrate. Whether your plans are to binge on candy with friends, eat ice cream alone, or have a romantic meal with your main squeeze, we’ve got a beer for it. So “beer our Valentine” and indulge in one of these delightful pairings…

Knotty Blonde Ale & Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Get Knotty this Valentine’s Day by pairing chocolate covered strawberries and our crisp, clean and straightforward Knotty Blonde Ale. Chocolate covered strawberries have always been a romantic classic, and while they are often paired with champagne, we believe our Knotty Blonde Ale is a much better choice, leaving room for your palette to enjoy the full flavor of juicy strawberries and rich chocolate. 

BC Backyard Lager & Figs

We’ll admit it, figs are a pretty obscure pairing to suggest for V-day. But hear us out… Figs have been largely associated with fertility, and ancient Greeks even had a rather, for lack of a better term, intimate ritual to celebrate the fig harvest season. So, it’s pretty easy to say that Figs are quite a bit “sexier” than people give them credit for! Pair these with our BC Backyard Lager to balance out the sweetness of the fruit, and you’ve got yourself a match that even Cupid himself would approve of!  

Moon Dance Mango Wheat & Hershey’s Kisses

Who doesn’t want their Valentine’s Day to be filled with dancing and kisses! Notes of Mango will do the tango on your taste-buds with our fruit Moon Dance Mango Wheat. Pairing our juiciest beer with the classic choice of Hershey’s Kisses allows you to enjoy the sweetness of both without it being too overpowering. Not that we think you could ever be too sweet ; ) 

West Coast IPA & Flowers 

What could possibly be better than flowers on Valentine’s Day? Why, Flowers and Craft Beer of course! With its very own floral bouquet of flavours, we thought our bold and hoppy West Coast IPA was the clear choice for this pairing – though we don’t actually suggest eating the flowers… our IPA is floral enough!

Off Trail Pale Ale & Fondue 

Valentine’s Day is cheesy, we know, but wanted to make it even cheesier with this food pairing. Spend your evening dipping pumpernickel and other savoury snacks into a fountain flowing cheese and match it up with our perfectly balanced & refreshing Off Trail Pale Ale. This combo is so delicious, it’ll make you melt too! No fondue fountain? No Problem! You can also opt for our Off Trail Pale Ale Cheese dip recipe. Nothing says “I’m Fondue of you” like beer and cheese!

River Valley Amber & Cinnamon Hearts

If you’ve got a burning love for your sweetie, we suggest that the two of you spice up your evening by coupling our River Valley Amber with the ever-so-classic cinnamon hearts. This pair will create a sipping experience that is as unique as your love for each other *audience aws*. The cinnamon complements the malt & caramel of our Amber so nicely, you’ll wish it was Valentine’s Day, Everyday!

Sasquatch Stout & Oysters

We’re sure you we’re expecting to see Oysters on our list, but we wouldn’t blame you for raising an eyebrow when we suggest that you team them up with our award-winning Sasquatch Stout. When it comes to culinary science (#science), they make a lot more sense than you would expect. When paired together, the saltiness of the Oyster and the richness of roast and chocolate will be enhanced, complimenting the bitterness and leaving you a smooth, and “sensual” finish. Not to mention that Oysters, Chocolate and Coffee are all considered, you guessed it, Aphrodisiacs.

Screaming Banshee Irish Cream Stout & Vanilla Ice Cream

Not all these pairings were made for lovers, we’ve got you covered if you’re your own Valentine with our Screaming Banshee Irish Cream Stout paired perfectly with Vanilla Ice Cream (preferably a whole tub of it!). What was once plain vanilla ice cream will now be complimented by rich notes of chocolate and coffee, even more smooth and sweet! So, grab yourself a spoon and throw on a sappy rom-com (or a horror movie, whatever suits you) and enjoy.

Himalayan Salted Caramel Porter & Chocolate Cupcakes

Every “kiss begins with Cake”, that’s the slogan right? Well we’re making it one with Chocolate, Salted Caramel and Cake. Though our Himalayan Salted Caramel Porter is already malty, rich and delicious, we suggest going all out with this pairing if you’ve got a sugar craving that you just can’t satisfy. Is there really a better day to totally binge out on chocolate? We didn’t think so! 

Vanilla Cardamom Imperial Red & Creme Brule

 As one of our Trailblazers, you’re going to want to enjoy this limited release while you still can, so pair it with Crème Brule this Valentine’s Day and you won’t be sorry. The silky smoothness of vanilla will be brought to the forefront in both the dessert and our delicious Vanilla Cardamom lmperial Red. Say “be mine” this Valentine’s Day with this sweet pairing!

Beer & More Beer

If for some reason you don’t fancy any of these pairings, you can always stick to the star of our show: beer! Spice it up on Valentine’s Day with our Craft Cooler or Craft Camper variety packs because showing someone you love them is easy with beer!

Flagship February: Celebrating a Classic

We can’t deny the excitement of a rotating tap list – trying a unique, limited edition beer is always an enjoyment for craft fans.  But this month, we are hoping to shift the focus and celebrate the beers that are here all year ’round…

Flagship February is a campaign in the craft beer industry that encourages breweries to take time and acknowledge the beer that has influenced their culture and contributed to where they are today. Being a part of the craft community since 1999, we think this is a great way to reminisce and celebrate the brew that propelled us into being the Brewery we are today, almost 20 years later.

Voted “Best Beer in Canada” in 2014, our Sasquatch Stout is an indisputable contender for our featured #FlagshipFebruary beer. It has been with us since the very beginning and is easily the most popular of our Tall Tale Series. Not only does it’s smooth notes of mocha leave you wanting more, the story behind it is just as equally intriguing.

As the original and mysterious member, our beloved Sasquatch built the foundation for our Tall Tale Series. Inspired by the sightings of “Big Foot” in Chilliwack’s surrounding areas, our Sasquatch Stout has added a touch of mystery to Old Yale Brewing. Now joined by four other folk-lore inspired brews; our Yeti White Stout, our Screaming Banshee Irish Cream Stout, our Devilfish IPA, and our Vanishing Monk Belgian Witbier. However, just like the folklore itself, the Sasquatch Stout is most notorious, and remains greatly sought after…

Our Sasquatch Stout is brewed with Magnum Hops, and a Malt combination of 2-row Pale, Oats, Roast, and Chocolate. Smooth, with notes of mocha, coffee and roasted barley, you can catch your own Sasquatch Sighting in our Craft Cooler (355ml), our tall can 4-pack (473ml) and of course the original format, our 650ml bomber. Find our #FlagshipFebruary beer near you here.

Coffee, chocolate AND mystery? How could it not be legendary?

Guest Blog: Designing a beer label…

Friends! Have you ever wondered what all goes into the design of a beer label?? Well, you’re in luck.

We are the Northern, a local creative studio helped us create The Valley, a Fraser Valley Collaboration beer, made with our friends from Foamer’s Folly, Trading Post, Ravens and Field House. Here’s a little about their process…


Written by We are the Northern

Originally posted here:  http://wearethenorthern.com/  


Have you ever been asked to design the label for the first ever Fraser Valley beer made by 5 award winning breweries? Well, we have! OH, THE PRESSURE.

In this blog we’ll take you on the emotional roller coaster (slight exaggeration) that lead to the creation of this label. And, at the end of it, we hope that you’ll walk away with some valuable intel that’ll help step up your design game – not only from a designer perspective, but also from a client perspective.

Alright, here’s where it starts to get important. As a client, you need to have a good idea of what you want, and what you view as a successful project outcome. It’s always best practice to deliver a brief that outlines who your target audience is, your aesthetic goals for the project, your high level ideas and design goals. Without this, you’re leading your designer on a wild goose chase and it’ll likely end in disappointment for the both of you.

As a designer, you should ensure your client brief covers everything you need to know about the design project so your billable hours are used to their full potential. If you don’t have confidence in what your client is after, ask more questions.

In the case of The Valley, we received a GREAT brief – complete with sketches, a mood board, and a solid briefing conversation to boot (thanks, friends!).


Ok designers, this is your moment to shine.

After receiving a solid brief, you’re going to need to translate that brief into a tangible, creative, aesthetically pleasing first draft (YOU GOT THIS).

Our reco? Doodle, sketch, vector image your brains out. At this point, there are no bad ideas. You’re a creative genius, a true aesthetic wizard.

When we designed our first drafts for The Valley, we went through so many different emotional states.

“Oh. This will be easy.”
“Does this look weird to you?”
“Well, this isn’t working is it.”
“What is the actual meaning of life?”
“Wait. Maybe that’ll work.”
“Oh, it’s coming together.”
“We got this.”

At the end of the day, fellow designers, trust the process. It’ll lead you somewhere beautiful (but may be a long, terrifying journey).

Once briefed, we discovered one major issue with what was requested for The Valley – the colours.

We were originally asked to utilize colours from each brewery to make up the colour palette of the label. They wanted a bright pastel vibe – but, when we sat down and actually applied what they were asking… it looked like a mashup of the Italian and German flag – nicht gut!

(Don’t get us wrong – we love Italy and Germany. But, in the case of this project, it really wasn’t the right vibe.)

The solution to avoiding designing an ItalGerman (we’re making up words now) Fraser Valley beer label, you ask? We pushed back with a visual element in our presentation that clearly articulated the issue, and our proposed solution.

So, a lesson for designers – push back when you feel your client is asking for something that won’t work well – but give them a solid solution when you do, so you don’t leave them empty handed.

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for. You’ve prepped your design presentation, sent it off to the client, and have permanently hid under your covers until you hear the friendly ping of your email reply.

At this point, you’ve got to trust that you’ve done what you can to deliver on brief. If your client supplied you a solid brief that was true to what they want, and you delivered on that brief with your own, unique spin on it, you should be fine. But, don’t fret if your client comes back with a new evolution of ideas that may spin off their original thought. Your role as a designer is to accept and understand their ideas, but also push back from a design perspective when you feel your client may be in left field or taking the design in a way that doesn’t match their original strategy. Channel your inner Beyonce and communicate your clear, concise thoughts on their push backs. Your job here is to hear them out, but also utilize your hard earned expertise to keep them on the right track.

Thankfully, in the case of The Valley, the brief we received was true to what our client wanted. With a few revisions and tests, we were off to the races.

Well, for starters, high pressure projects are great, but also terrifying. Don’t take them on unless you’re ready, and when you’re ready, take them on with vigour. It has taken us 7 years of industry experience to truly feel comfortable taking on a project like this. Although the design came out simple, clean and straight forward, the pressure was real. Dealing with 5 separate companies, knowing this was the first label of it’s kind… you know we were a little nervous.

Thankfully, when you base your work in strategy, you gain more confidence in your design. In the case of The Valley – strategy was what kept us out of left field. There could have been SO many directions this could have gone, but we chose to stick to our guns, to our client’s initial thoughts, and it lead us to one beautiful label if we do say so ourselves.

Each part of this design represented something of meaning.

The colours? Representative of the ingredients and Earth elements that go into making hand-crafted beer.

The V? Representative of the beer name, and it’s sizeable significance of craft beer influence in the region (BIG, right?).

The order of logos? Representative of driving west to east.

Nothing in this label was random, it all was fueled by strategy. When strategy guides you both as a client and as a designer, you can’t lose. Sure, you may never feel totally settled on a design (the possibilities are endless!), but at the end of the day, you need to pull the trigger, trust your gut, and enjoy the wild ride that your creation is going to take you on.

You got this.

Craft Beer 101: 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.

Craft Beer 101: 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.


Craft Beer 101: 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?