Out in the hills and dales surrounding Sorrento, B.C., a taste of Ireland is brewing at Crannóg Ales, Canada’s first certified organic microbrewery. Located on its own 10-acre certified organic Left Field farm, the on-farm micro-brewery includes a hop yard where Crannóg grows eight varieties of hops.
“The brewery is the marriage of two dreams: to farm organically, and to have our own brewery,” says co-owner and brewer Brian McIsaac, a proud Gael who creates all of Crannóg’s recipes. These are based on the old-world Irish tradition of using simple, pure ingredients, such as the organic russet potatoes that add what he describes as “silky body” to the Hell’s Kitchen Ale.
“Our market garden feeds our family, and the surplus goes to support the farm,” McIsaac explains. Crannóg grows all its own hops, and uses all of its spent grains to feed the farm animals or for compost. It also treats and re-uses its wastewater, creating a zero-emissions system.
Crannóg’s labour of love and its reverence for its Irish roots are evident in its award-winning brews: Crannóg’s Back Hand of God stout won first place for best beer at the 2007 Okanagan Fest-of-Ale.
Crannóg Ales’ beer is available at a number of Vancouver establishments, including Irish Heather, Diva at the Met and The Alibi Room.