Road Popinjay in the Cariboo


While I seem to take many bombers to the ranch, I am a huge fan of the tallboy and have been actively buying up great BC craft cans ever since West Coast Canning began with Moon Under Water‘s Lighter Side of the Moon.

Thankfully Strange Fellows Brewing came out of the gate with a core lineup in tallboys (Tallisman being my fav). And then came Popinjay – a home run in a can.

Our November ranch trip allowed us to use nature’s fridge to cool our beverages, so Popinjay got left outside to chill a little.


What’s great about a peacock on the can is it lends itself well to bird-themed environments around the ranch – old roosts and bird houses…


Even the metal owl sentinels that guard the raised garden.


Now after all that fun of letting the beer get cold, I should probably mention how spectacular it is. Popinjay is the first non-fruited sour that I can really understand. I’m still wrapping my head and mouth around sour beer and mostly enjoy them in hot weather. However, adding the promise of “West Coast” was a bold move by SF and caught my eye. And then my tongue. And they have created something really special. It gets a gentle hop nose and a little of that juicy citrus but balances amazingly with that subtle tartness that makes me think this is how a sour should be. I really like this beer.

And as I usually end my posts being absolutely certain that I’m the very first person in all of the Cariboo to discover this brewed gold, I must begrudgingly admit that one of my companions callously and wholly unwittingly downed one of these before me. But leaning on the truism that if it’s not online it didn’t happen, I’m going to steal her thunder and stake this claim myself. Also, she shotgunned it so that can’t count.

So when you are heading out to the back country yourself, do yourself a favour and pack along some of these road Popinjays.


How I got more interested in Craft Beer

It all began in 1993 when I began at UBC. I was 18.75 years old and had 2 night classes. After my Thursday eve class I’d accompany my older classmates for some pool at the graduate lounge and we’d have the occasional beer or 2. What I had never been exposed to (having never been old enough to buy been in a bar) was Shaftebury Cream Ale. That was my gateway craft beer.

Flash forward to 2014 (just 21 years later) and I made the Telus Storyhive pitch to do a micro doc about craft beer.  Being totally not an expert, I required a sizeable amount of the grant funding to go towards research. Meeting the makers, the dreamers who were just building out their new breweries, and bringing my editor and “writer” out on frequent occasions to accompany me on my research trips.

What came out of that journey was my film Brew Love.



Getting the opportunity to chase the story and meet many of the new brewers was a lot of fun. Being that I had recently relocated to North Vancouver, I was a little North Van-heavy on my interviews (including Green Leaf Brewing, Black Kettle Brewing Company & Deep Cove Brewing), but I wasn’t exactly lazy. I even met with John Mitchell (who coincidentally lives in North Van) who co-founded B.C.’s 1st craft brewery Horseshoe Bay Brewing (with Frank Appleton). I also made it out the BC Beer Awards, met the crew from Strange Fellows who were still building their brewery, got down to Yaletown Brewing and caught Tariq’s interview just before he became a distiller, found time to grill notable beer enthusiast Dave Shea (who let me give him that title), met the Thirsty Writer Joe Wiebe (who had to summarize the history of the BC craft beer scene in under 60 seconds) and gathered a couple of cool members of the CAMRA Vancouver executive at the time. I also got into the guts of Craft Beer Market while it was being built to try and understand why someone was about to open a facility in Vancouver with 140 taps…I was doubtful at the time that it made sense, but I was clearly wrong.

Graham_WithWhat was really interesting was that Telus did not demand exclusivity, so the film was free to tour the film festival circuit. And it was just after I’d learned about a Vancouver-based easy submission platform called Film Freeway. It made festival submissions a snap, especially helping me find the free ones. And surprisingly enough the film got some serious play. Enough that I needed to make an English subtitled version and provide a timed transcript…because someone may want to show it in the Ukraine.

Dave Shea
Dave Shea speaks Russian. With the help of subtitles in a Planetarium in Ukraine.
The film played at 25 official film festivals, as well as pop-up screenings, beer festivals, and several of Joe Wiebe’s events, and even featured at a BC Business conference called The Business of Craft Beer.

The film’s continued success was satisfying – enough so that I thought we might be ready for a short piece on our local distilling scene (I had just discovered Sons of Vancouver), but traction was hard to get on that one.

Ultimately I got onto a lot of invites to really interesting craft beer events and met many more people in the scene…and it’s been hard for me to lose interest the more I learned.

So this blog, which is a pretty ego-centric concept, is my next craft beer project since I’m enamoured with the idea of bringing all these pretty bottles and cans to someplace to special.