Barley's Homebrewing opens in New Westminster

Curtis Van Marck has rigged a stationary bicycle to a grinder to grind the grains which are amongst the beer homebrewing supply store he
Curtis Van Marck has rigged a stationary bicycle to a grinder to grind the grains which are amongst the beer homebrewing supply store he's opened in Sapperton.
— image credit: MARIO BARTEL/NEWSLEADER file

Curtis Van Marck brewed his first batch of beer only a year ago. Now he's helping others discover his hobby.

Van Marck, 27, recently opened Barley's Homebrewing, a supply shop for do-it-yourself brewers, in Sapperton.

All the rage in the 1990s, home brewing kind of fell off the radar over the past 10 years. But the surge in popularity of craft and nano breweries like Parallel 49 and Bridge Brewing Company have sparked renewed interest among beer lovers to explore new flavours by creating their own.

That's what inspired Van Marck, a biology grad who paid the rent doing commercial painting, to brew his first beer, a hefeweizen, in his basement suite.

"It was drinkable," he says, smiling. "But it was much better because I brewed it myself."

He followed that up with a tangerine vanilla porter that he admits "was a little weird."

But it was a lazy grey pale ale blended with earl grey tea that won him over to his new avocation. He even built his own masher for mixing and heating the grains and water to create a rich sugary wort that is eventually fermented to create alcohol.

Van Marck says making beer is less complicated than it sounds.

"If you can cook a meal and follow a recipe, you can brew your own beer."

And more people are doing it, not just to save money but as a way to explore the growing culture surrounding beer.

"People aren't happy with good-old Canadian lager anymore," says Van Marck. "Everybody wants to do something different, to get a new flavour."

Brewing your own beer also creates a relationship with the product that can't come from popping the top off a bottle.

"They know what goes into it," says Van Marck. "They stay connected to it.

The shop is located at 455 E. Columbia St. Visit:

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