Julie Kelly – Firearms Instructor for Canada Border Services Agency working on the Base at Keith Wilson
How long have you been coming to OYB?
We started last year. We were having some stressful times at work – I’m the union rep and I decided that needed to have union meetings and what a perfect location. Every Friday, after work, we come down here and discuss important issues and drink beer. It’s great for team building.
Outside of work, are you regular visitor here?
Yes, of course.
How’d you hear about Old Yale?
I moved here and had a friend tell me about it. I kept thinking ‘I had to go, I had to go and try it out.’ Then we came and I just fell in love with it. It’s a great atmosphere.
We often sit and watch the Old Yale brew team (through the tasting room windows of the brewery) and just make up what they are doing.
Have your tried the Wednesday night cask nights yet?
You know what, I like to try all of them. Whenever they have a special I love to try it, like the Tulip beer… I love the colour of it! The colour is amazing.
And the 12 Days of Beermas… I was actually one of the people that got to do every beer. We were hardcore, we had to line up.
Are you a long time resident of Chilliwack? What do you love about Chilliwack?
I’ve been here for 10 years.
I love everything. I love the fact that when I leave my house I see a mountain, that when I leave work I see mountains. I see eagles, I’ve got the river right there. Where I work is right next to the river, so I can step out of work and wander down for a walk along the river. It’s just so beautiful here.
It’s a great kept secret. Everyone in the Lower Mainland seems to look down at Chilliwack. But when they come they think ‘Wow, it is kind of nice here…’ Heck yeah! We’ve got everything that you need right here.
We go for walks, we’ve got a little guy so we take him out for walks quite a bit.
I’ve got a bike trailer for him and I take him out for rides, he’s got disco lights, music playing, he’s like a rockstar.
What’s your favourite style/type of craft beer?
A pilsner or a lager. I’ll try anything but the really hoppy ones, like an IPA. I don’t get the hop. I just feel like it’s burning my tongue off.
Your favourite OYB beer?
It’s the pilsner. I like that one a lot.
What would you say you’d pair your favourite OYB with?
I’d say a slice of pizza! It’s right there in the tasting room!
Or, if I’m in the backyard, anything grilling on the BBQ, a big chunk of meat.
If you look back at your life, is there one moment that stands out to you as a memorable moment (good or bad)?
Moving to Canada was a big deal. I’m from England and I moved here 20 years ago this year, I moved here. It was an easy decision to make, when I made it, I didn’t think how difficult it was. It was a bit of a culture shock, we are similar in so many different ways but we’re also so different. Just getting used to it all.
What was the biggest challenge or adjustment?
Not being able to buy alcohol in the supermarkets! It’s kind of weird.
Just little cultural things, like in England there’s lots of pubs and lots of local pubs that are within walking distance of home.
Who is the most influential person in your life – can you tell us about how they’ve shaped who you are?
That’s tricky, people always say it was my high school teacher or my coach or whatever, but maybe my life decisions would have been better if I had someone like that. You know what though, I can’t think of anyone in particular that has influenced me.
I have people at work that are my life coaches, and I ask them questions like what colour paint I should choose, but I always worry about their answer because I wonder if they are just trying to set me up or they actually trying to help me (laughs).
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?
My partner gave birth to our boy, that was moving. It was amazing to see a little guy coming into the world. To just hold him. It’s beautiful. It’s hard to explain to people that aren’t parents, which you have those people that aren’t into kids at all so they don’t get to see that true beauty of new life.
What motivates you on a day to day basis?
It’s my little guy. He motivates me to get up in the morning. On the weekends, on Sunday, it’s my morning to get up with him and when he was 18 months, at 6am I wondered what I would be doing with him. I don’t want to just throw him in front of the TV, so we started baking. Every Sunday now, we bake and make all sorts of stuff. We started with the basic stuff, just getting him to throw it into the mixer. As long as you don’t care that flour and eggs are going to go everywhere, it’s just so fun.
Every time I get the mixer out now, he comes running over to see what we are making. Everyone at work loves it too, because we make a big batch of cookies and share it. If I ate everything that we make, I’d be about 500 pounds.
What’s the most memorable gun that you shot?
We mostly shoot pistols, so they become everyday and so routine.
Maybe the first time I shot a gun, I guess. I used to be a police officer back in England, way back when, and the police in England aren’t armed. They had an open range and we were shooting a .45, like a Dirty Harry kind of gun, and I remember shooting it and hearing this ping from it hitting the roof because I wasn’t used to the recoil. The first time would have been the most memorable, because it was like ‘Wow, this is what this is like.’
What are you passionate about?
My family of course, my community and my country. Canada is my country now and I’m very passionate about it. The Chilliwack Chiefs, I just love it. This season was fantastic. I love the hockey because the kids are playing hockey and aren’t overpaid superstars. It’s so fast and there’s so many goals. They do such a good job and it’s a community effort. Old Yale is there – I go and get my Blonde every game. It’s awesome, my two great loves under one roof.
What makes you angry?
Kids not wearing helmets. I’m serious about my kid wearing his helmet, he’ll grow up being used to wearing his helmet.
People at work will tell you ‘Shepherd’s Pie’ because it’s not real Shepherd’s Pie. Shepherd’s Pie has lamb, Cottage Pie has beef. Every Shepherd’s Pie here is actually Cottage Pie. People will send me pictures of a menu showing Shepherd’s Pie with beef, just to wind me up.
If someone is new to Chilliwack, what would you tell them they have to check out?
Besides OYB? Just go for a walk along the Vedder, you’re so close to civilization but you’re so far away. On my lunchtimes, if I have a big break, I go for a walk down there. It’s 2 minutes away from work, but I walk to the river and I see fishermen, herons, eagles, it’s just beautiful.