B.C. Beer Blog

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

Red House Rollout in Comox

with 9 comments

BC’s newest brewery is now open for business. Surgenor Brewing in Comox held a soft launch celebration on March 21 attended by family, friends, and local dignitaries. It was a proud day for owner, Bob Surgenor who has realized his dream after seven years and $2 million.

Surgenor hired brewing consultant Mark Simpson to help design the brewery and formulate the recipes. Douglas Rae is Surgenor’s brewmaster. Both Simpson and Rae have experience working at Granville Island Brewing and Molson.

Abbotsford’s Newlands Systems Inc. fabricated the lauter/mash tun, brew kettle, and tanks, while Surgenor Industrial Electrical Contracting installed the state-of-the-art automated process controls. The 24 hl system is operated from Allen-Bradley PanelView 1000e graphic terminals mounted on the brewer’s platform and in the brewhouse office. This allows Surgenor to achieve the consistency of an industrial brewery while producing a craft product.

The brewery currently produces an Irish red ale and a Czech pilsner — Red House Ale and Steam Donkey Lager. The ale is brewed with Chico yeast and Cascade hops, while the pils uses Saaz hops, Caramalt, and Augustiner yeast. While both beers are quite accessible, they have depth of flavour and pronounced hop bitterness that distinguishes them from macro American lager. A stout and a wheat beer are contemplated additions to the Surgenor lineup. For the latter, Simpson is thinking of using local wild blackberries and grape must.

Bob Surgenor standing in front of his brewery beer cooler at the brewerys soft launch, March 21, 2009.

Bob Surgenor standing in front of his brewery beer cooler at the brewery's soft launch, March 21, 2009.

Surgenor will be the first BC brewery to utilize Exal aluminum bottles. These were chosen because of their unique design, light weight for reducing shipping costs, opaqueness to provide protection from sunlight, low energy requirements for recycling, ease of chilling, and safe portability as use of glass outdoors and in various facilities becomes increasingly proscribed.

Currently, the brewery is shipping its beer in kegs. Early customers include The Old House Restaurant, The Pier Pub & Bistro, and the officers’ mess of 19 Wing, CFB Comox. Packaged product in open six packs is expected to ship in four weeks. Red House Ale and Steam Donkey Lager already have LDB listings.

In the meantime, feel free to stop by the brewery for a tour and tastings. The tap room wasn’t yet hooked up to pour beer when I visited, but that should be taken care of soon. If you are interested in carrying Surgenor Brewing beer, contact:

Bob Jeffery
Sales Representative
Tel: (250) 339-9947
Cell: (250) 898-7862
861 Shamrock Place
Comox, BC V9M 4G4

See Flickr for more photos…

9 Responses

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  1. It is great to hear that Surgenor Brewing will be using aluminum bottles. I am pretty tired of skunked beer in clear bottle.


    March 26, 2009 at 11:18 pm

  2. Great news! I love the aluminum bottles. The beer stays cool longer that in the glass and it has a good feeling in your hand when cold.


    April 3, 2009 at 1:10 pm

  3. Laura, you don’t want to drink ale too cold. Otherwise, you won’t taste the full flavour of the beer. You also are better off drinking it out of a glass so that you can smell the aroma of the beer which plays an important part in experiencing the flavour as well. When you drink out of a bottle, it’s like eating food when you have a cold and your nose is plugged — it doesn’t taste as full-flavoured.


    April 6, 2009 at 8:01 am

  4. […] a new brewery opened in Comox recently. While it was covered in the town’s local paper and in this blog, there was not a word of it in the Victoria Times-Colonist, The Province, or The Vancouver Sun. […]

  5. Congrats to Surgenor! Its great to see new business in the Comox Valley.

    Comox Valley Guide

    May 7, 2009 at 8:50 am

  6. Looking forward to sampling them at the “Steam Donkey Classic” fastball tourney!

    Milt Michael

    May 14, 2009 at 6:13 am

  7. When are the aluminum beer bottles comimg out?


    May 18, 2009 at 7:34 pm

  8. […] the launching of two new microbreweries and a beer destination in the Kootenays. Surgenor Brewing opened its doors in Comox on March 21, while Smithers got a reason to drink local with the grand opening of Plan B Brewing on […]

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