B.C. Beer Blog

The who, what, where, when, why, and how of B.C. craft beer

All Aboard for Boxcar Bitter

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Janet and Steve Forsyth, owners of The Railway Club in Vancouver, decided to support their local brewers through the recent hop shortage by planting an acre of Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Crystal, East Kent Goldings, Fuggles, Magnum, Mount Hood, and Zeus on some spare land they own near Mission. After seeing which ones thrive, they will select the best eight varieties and expand the hop yard by another half acre.

This season already yielded a sufficient harvest to produce a beer. Consequently, the Forsyths contracted Victoria’s Phillips Brewing to brew a fresh hop beer exclusively for The Railway Club using only organic Chinook, Centennial, Cascade, Zeus, Magnum, Mt.Hood, and a small amount of Goldings from their farm.

For these ventures to succeed, it will depend on the growers working closely with the brewers to ensure their needs are met. It will also depend on the willingness of brewers to make some adaptations to use whole hops. Most of B.C.’s craft brewers use hop pellets. But until hops can be grown on a sufficiently large scale, it is presently uneconomic for local growers to purchase the necessary machinery to supply them. They may end up only supplying fresh hop cones for dry-hopping.

Thirty-six kegs of Boxcar Bitter are the result of this collaboration. It will only be available for a limited time, so be sure you don’t miss the train, um, boat.

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