Being Granville Island Brewing’s ‘Beer Guy’ isn’t just about talking and drinking. While I do get to enjoy the occasional beer, there’s also a lot of work that goes into my day. From educating people on glassware, to teaching the differences in malt varieties and keeping up with the ever-changing craft beer scene, this is a day in the life of Mike ‘The Beer Guy’ Sharpham.

8:00 AM – Breakfast of champions: earl grey tea, and Cheerios.


9:00 AM – Helping one of our retail partners create an educational video on keg storage, clean glassware and how to serve the best pint of beer.

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I also prepped a segment on various malts and how they affect the colour, taste and style of a beer. From left to right you can see our pale, crystal and chocolate malts. Pale malts provide the light, bready-like flavours. Crystal malts are often richer providing a caramel or coffee taste. Chocolate malts provide the rich, roasted aromas reminiscent of chocolate.

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12:30 PM – I do a lot of work with our Small Batch program so I frequently set aside time to hang around and bother our brewers. I happened to stop in before the hop addition in our Shipload of Hops Imperial IPA, but the aroma of the unhopped wort was fantastic.

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4:00 PM – We had a few guests from Toronto in town, so we put together a small ‘sample pack’ to share with our ‎thirsty friends. Welcome to YVR, we hear it’s good to be here.

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7:00 PM – My schedule often revolves around events and today was no different. We took our out-of-town friends on a tour to check out the Vancouver craft beer scene. Every pub we went to offered a different experience.


First stop was the Alibi Room. With over 50 taps that are constantly changing, and a menu designed to pair with unique local beers, the Alibi Room is perhaps the only self-declared ‘modern tavern’ around, and one of my favourite spots in the city.

8:30 PM – For our next stop we headed back towards Gastown to the Portside Pub to meet up with GIB’s Marketing Manager, Dave ‎Nicholls. This Maritime pub is laden with wood and has a very ‘east coast’ pub feel.

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9:30 PM – I considered taking our guests on a walking tour of the Brewery Creek area of Main Street, but after a long day, we decided to make a stop Steel Toad Brewpub and Dining Hall instead.

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We capped off the night at Craft Beer Market where we enjoyed some beer from their extensive selection of over 100 taps.

The variety of beers and breadth of pubs visited today nicely sum up where the local beer scene is headed in Vancouver. Giving thirsty drinkers choices far beyond the two-beer menus of the past shows how far the industry has come.

By the end of the year, there will be over 100 breweries in BC, and the selection of local beer available will grow even more. It’s an exciting space to be in, and we are thrilled to be a part of it.

It’s good to be here.



Brace yourself – it’s a brewhaha in a bottle. With caramel, biscuit, and bold hop flavours all taking a turn fighting for your attention, this tawny coloured American Brown Ale is anything but traditional.

The caramel flavours make this brew a perfect match for your favourite Prime Rib recipe. Bloody as hell, or burned to a crisp, this brew can hold its own.

As Vern’s last brew, it’s only fitting that the rose on the label represents the transition between old world and new world styles. This modern American take on an old British classic is the perfect way to say good-bye to the one and only Brewmaster Vern, and usher in a new and exciting era!

Ye olde ale’s been bit with a fistful of new world hops; now it’s bolder, brasher, and bitter about it. Available at all fine retailers.

American Brown Ale

OG: 14.8
IBU: 40
ALC./VOL: 6.2%
Colour: Tawny
Flavours: Caramel, Biscuit, Bold Hops.
Pair With: Prime Rib – Medium Rare

Granville Island was once the dangerous heart of industrial Vancouver. Tangled ropes. Rusty chains. Noise. Soot. Rickety shacks. Now it’s bustling markets, high drama, excellent West Coast dining, and a dockside artsy vibe that’s famous across Canada. It’s also the place where we’ve been brewing up good times since 1984.

Introducing the complete Under the Bridge Series: four beers as unique as the ‘island’ that inspired them. Using local ingredients, the Under the Bridge series is a natural progression for the beer lover in all of us.

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Infamous IPA: Granville Island wasn’t always pretty parks and public markets. This place has a tough, gritty past; firetrap factories, shadowy characters, dark dockside tales. A bitter start, and a bright finish. Sound familiar? Our-well hopped IPA pays homage to this patchy history, with plenty of Pacific Northwest flavours. Find out what made this beer infamous here: Infamous IPA.

Swing Span Amber Ale: Way back when, this bridge swung aside to let tall ships through. We’re blowing a horn to that heritage with this medium-bodied, deep amber ale – rich with aromas of premium Mosaic and Cascade hops. Swing over here for more beer info: Swing Span Amber Ale.

Hey Day Hefeweizen: Look back, look forward, and look to Granville Island, where this brilliant Hefe was born. Inspired by the West Coast, this classic wheat ale is cloudy, crisp and dry, with aromas of banana and clove – great with brunch, patios, and bright dispositions. Try it with breakfast and let your day shine! Explore more about this cloudy treat here: Hey Day Hefeweizen.

Maple Shack Cream Ale: This malty, smooth maple cream ale has a hint of maple syrup, with mild hop bitterness. It’s a tribute to both
Quebec’s legendary sugar shacks, and the tin roofs that littered Granville Island back in the day. Big saps welcome. Take a sip and enjoy the caramel malts, light hop bitterness, and hints of maple. This beer pairs perfectly with roast beef or BBQ ribs. Discover how it shacks up here: Maple Shack Cream Ale.

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Make things. Do things. Craft things. Brew things. That’s what we’re all about on Granville Island. Always have been. With this revamped Under The Bridge Series, we’re staking a new claim in #ItsGoodToBeHere – Have we wet your appetite? Find out where you can purchase the whole series here: where to buy.



A wise man once told me that the only way to slow down time is through change. It’s now time for me to do exactly that. I’m looking forward to a new chapter in my career, as I move into the world of brewery consulting. Happy to report that my first consulting gig is with GIB.

When I first came to GIB, I thought it would be a five-year stint. 13 years later, I feel that I’ve accomplished everything (and more) at GIB that I set out to. Wow – time flies.

Thank you to all of the great people that I have worked with at GIB and Molson – both past and present. It’s been an incredible ride! We’ve created an innovative and varied Small Batch program, and we’ve strengthened our incredible reputation for making great craft beer. I’m proud of what we’ve done over the last 13 years and I’m excited to keep working in this great industry getting my hands dirty with new brewers.



“Beer mixology is not about destroying beer. It is not an attempt to make beer better or to alter and change the quality and flavour of beer…it is about improving the cocktail.” Says Ashley Routson, founder of

We loved this, so we talked to our team and asked them to come up with a few beer cocktails. This is what we got:

Beer Mimosa

The Swing-Tang: This one may seem a bit adventurous, but it’s definitely worth a try. Pour a bottle of our Swing Span Amber Ale into a mug, and add 4 oz.’s of orange juice. It’s like a beer mimosa. Magically delicious!



The Red Eye: Sometimes a Caesar is just a bit too much. Try our Island Lager, and Clamato juice with a salted rim.




The Berry White: Get into the mood with this Barry approved drink. Mix 8 oz.’s of our False Creek Raspberry Ale and top up with our Hey Day Hefeweizen. This fruity, refreshing mix will bring you summer flashbacks.



The Weissen Sour: This sunshine-bright cocktail contains bourbon, lemon juice, orange bitters and Hey Day Hefeweizen. It’s basically a whisky sour with a beer thrown in. Can you even handle it?



The Christmas Morning: We all know that Christmas Eve is usually a blow out, so this simple cocktail is designed to help you wake up as fresh as a daisy. Take a pint of our Cocoa Loco Chocolate Imperial Stout, and drop a shot (or 2) of espresso vodka into the mix. Your morning mocha is served.



The Stout Diplomat: Dessert beer cocktails? Yes please! All the ingredients for this cocktail should be pre-chilled. Mix 1oz mild dark rum, such as Diplomatico, 1/2oz of Pedro Ximenez sherry, and 6oz chocolate or regular stout. Combine all these ingredients in a straight glass and serve immediately. Your post dinner food coma will thank you.



I Dream of Raspberry: Grab 3/4 cup of frozen raspberries, three-and-a-half bottles of our False Creek Raspberry Ale (the half is for you to drink while mixing), one bottle of frozen raspberry lemonade concentrate plus half a cup of vodka. Mix all the ingredients together in a large punch bowl. Garnish with lemon and lime slices, serve over ice and kick back and enjoy the ‘punch’.



Winter Float: This one came to us from @WinnieHoang. Take a bottle of our Winter Ale, a scoop of candy cane ice cream, and plop it in. Voilà! A beer float!

Do you have a beer cocktail you can’t live without? Tell us about it on Facebook and you could win a GIB swag bag.

Vern is all smiles with this 3 year vertical of aged Barley Wine

Vern is all smiles with this 3 year vertical of aged Barley Wine

Aging a beer is a little like enjoying music. You either chase the newest release, or you stick to the classics. Some like bass, some like treble, and some just love to sing kumbaya. But no matter what your taste, there is one thing that we can all agree on; and that’s the love of better beer. So we’ve devised your step-by-step guide on how to age your beer.


First things first:

3 year vertical of aged Barley Wine. From L to R: 2012, 2013, 2014.

3 year vertical of aged Barley Wine. From L to R: 2012, 2013, 2014.

There are a few things you need to look for. For starters, look for brews that have been ‘bottle-conditioned’. The active yeast will continue to ferment the beer as long as you store it, lending it new and exciting flavours.

A hoppy or seasonal beer that takes advantage of fresh ingredients should stay that way. Hops fade with time, so drink your favourite seasonal beer, IPAs, or any other hop forward beer as soon as you get home.

High-alcohol beers tend to age better. Look for a brew with an ABV of 8-10% or higher. Typically, higher percent beers are so complex that some amount of age will take off the sharper edges and you will get a velvety finish.

Now with all of this in mind, you’re ready to get started. We recommend you try aging your favourite Stout or Barley Wine. Try our: Cocoa Loco Chocolate Imperial Stout or 2014 Barley Wine (available at our brewery, and all great liquor stores).


How to store it:

  • Find the right spot. A dark cool area that’s kept around 10-12 degrees Celsius. This prevents the heat or light from degrading your beer and turning it into skunk water.
  • Store your bottles upright. Most beers are capped with a crown bottle cap, which has a plastic lining that protects the beer from the metal. If you store a beer on its side, the beer will eat away that lining over time, and eventually spoil the beer.
  • Keep track of when you put it into storage, and drink your beer at its prime.


How long should you age your beer?

Enjoying a vertical of aged barley wine

Enjoying a vertical of aged barley wine

This is the fun part, but it’s also an exercise in restraint. For starters, we recommend buying 4-6 bombers of the same beer. Try one when you get home, one in 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, 5 years. Make it your special occasion beer. Commit to drinking one of your bottles every Canada Day for as long as they last for instance. And always remember to invite the homies.


Flavours to expect:

Although every beer is different, here is a quick look at what you can expect to happen over time:

  • Harshness increases
  • Alcohol sharpness decrease
  • Fruity and floral esters decrease
  • Catty/blackcurrant character increase
  • Bready character increases
  • Sweetness (toffee/honey) increases
  • Caramel flavours increase
  • Earthy character increases
  • Straw character increases
  • Woody character increases
  • Wine/sherry/stale fruit flavours increases
  • Meaty-like/broth flavours can develop

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Just like a good 24-hour marinade gives you the meat sweats, by the time you’re ready to crack your first aged brew, you’ll be salivating with the beer sweats. Believe us when we say, it’s worth the wait.
Happy aging!

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Always wanted to know the difference between an Ale and a Lager? Or when hops are added? Or the correct serving temperature for a stout?

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