3 Gingers brew “Soulless” beer
By Clea Sherman
Powell River’s Townsite Brewery gave two former residents the perfect reason to visit their old stomping ground.
Growing up in Powell River in the late 90s, Graham and Garrett Sherman were a memorable pair. So much so that when they called to book accommodation in the town after a 15-year absence, Seabreeze Resort owner Elaine Thoma exclaimed that she had been recounting tales about Garrett just a few days earlier.
Although both brothers often reminisce about bonfires by the beach and taking daring jumps off the cliffs at Eagle River, their lives and careers have taken them far from home.
Graham relocated to Calgary to study after high school and has remained there with his wife and children, while Garrett migrated to Australia in 2006.
From opposite sides of the world, both brothers developed a passion for brewing beer. After completing his studies at the renowned University of Ballarat Brewing Program, Garrett brought his talents to Sydney’s popular 4Pines craft brewery in 2010.
Not to be outdone, Graham started his own venture, launching the Tool Shed Brewery with partner Jeff Orr to widespread acclaim in 2013.
When Garrett realized that his beloved home town now also had a craft brewery, he was quick to get in touch. Having waited so long for an opportunity to come home for a visit, the brothers now had the perfect excuse. They booked their trips and organized a cross-continental collaboration brew with Townsite brewmaster Cedric Dauchot.
After exchanging numerous emails and ideas, the three brewers settled on a Belgian Red Ale that would reflect Cedric’s Belgian heritage. Garrett brought along Lemon Myrtle and Tasmanian Pepperberry to incorporate some flavours of his adopted country. Graham’s contribution was the spicy notes of cedar, a smell that always reminds him of his carefree days in Powell River.
When they finally got together in May of 2016, the three brewers realized that the one other thing they had in common was red hair. Thus the name of the beer was nominated as Soulless–a cheeky reference to the ongoing joke that redheads have no soul.
The brew day was a big success. “It really was the essence of a great collaboration,” Graham explains, “It brought together three brewers from around the world who all share a love for Powell River as well as the product we all make. Townsite is one of the most elegantly simply breweries I’ve had the chance to visit and it really suits the town.”
All of the brewers played a role in making the red ale.
“It was a fantastic opportunity to learn from each other. I was able to share marketing tips with the team at Townsite and Garrett and I took note of the things that Cedric does differently, such as making Belgian candied sugar from scratch,” says Graham.
Adding to the excitement of the day was several of the Sherman brothers’ high school friends dropping in to watch them at work and talk about old times.
“Even though I live thousands of miles away, Powell River has a strong place in my heart and I think of my mates back here often,” says Garrett, “I’m so chuffed to be able to say that I’ve contributed something to the community that I grew up in.”
Townsite’s General Manager Chloe Smith is gearing up to release the new beer to the increasingly enthusiastic Powell River market.
“When we opened in 2012 we thought we’d mostly sell our beer in Vancouver,” she explains, “but we underestimated how quickly it would catch on here. Powell River’s diverse and changing population was looking for something different, they were ready for a local product to get excited about.”
For Chloe and Cedric, setting up in Powell River has been a hugely productive venture, with overwhelming support from the town for their delicious range of beverages.
Powell River locals and visitors will be able to look out for Soulless Cedar on tap and in bottles at the Townsite Brewery and from outlets around Powell River from June. Drinkers can expect a unique beer that mixes thirst quenching Belgian ale with intriguing flavours of Canada and Australia.