We have some big news here at Granville Island Brewing (GIB) and we can’t keep it to ourselves any longer. We’re excited to announce that we’ve found our next Brewmaster: Kevin Emms.
Kevin joins GIB from Deep Cove Brewers and Distillers where he spent his time crafting original recipes for local beer fans. Kevin started his career at Coal Harbour Brewing after finishing his Masters in Brewing and Distilling from Heriot-Watt University in the UK. Kevin is an award-winning brewmaster creating a number of great beers for Deep Cove and Coal Harbour. For our thirsty beer lovers, we wanted you to get to know the man behind the beer so we sat down with Kevin for a little Q&A as he takes on his new role.
GIB: Skier or snowboarder?
KE: Snowboarder for sure, since I was young.
GIB: What’s in your fridge right now?
KE: I’ve got a few different things in the fridge right now – a couple of Seattle-based Orval in the fridge and in the cellar, since they get better with age. Also, living in East Van, I like to try a lot of the local beer like Doan’s Rye IPA.
GIB: Where did you take your last vacation?
KE: I took a trip down to Seattle to see a soul musician, Allen Stone, and pick up some new vinyl on records release day.
GIB: Did you find anything good?
KE: Ya, a range of things – Dave Brubeck live in Copenhagen, Danny Brown and some old rap records. I was pretty lucky starting off my record collection after meeting a man in a bar who offered me his over 350 classic records because he wanted them to go to a good home. I bought him a few beers and picked up the records the next day.
GIB: If you were a style of beer, what would you be and why?
KE: Let’s go with a Saison, because I’ve got a lot of character, but I’m adaptable and can fit into a bunch of different things.
GIB: As a brewmaster, do you have a signature style?
KE: I really like working with rye grain, it’s really difficult but when you get the spicy tropical flavours out of it, it’s a great thing. I’m also into Munich style lagers and after training in the UK I’ve got a soft spot for British ales and basically all Belgian beers.
GIB: What’s your favourite part of the brewing process?
KE: … long pause… having a completed product on the other side in my glass. But in all seriousness, it’s incredibly important to manage the yeast. Make sure your biological ingredients are healthy and doing their job properly.
GIB: Is there a trick you like to use.
KE: If there was, you’re not getting it on a blog post.
GIB: Has distilling gin and vodka changed the way you brew beer?
KE: The process starts very similar, but what I got from it was playing with botanicals in gin. Gin is like the IPA of spirits. How we play with hops, gin plays with botanicals, so it has taught me to play with various herbs and spices, and incorporate those into various brews.
GIB: What are you most excited to brew?
KE: I’m looking forward to getting into the brewing schedule, but there are a few things I’ve been thinking about – around winter maybe a strong Belgian Tripel ale. A brew with a hint of coriander, and just warms your entire body when you get a good mouthful.
GIB: What made you want to brew at GIB?
KE: Working on Granville Island is beautiful but more than that joining a brewery and brand with a long established story and history. They know what they’re doing and this is a team of high flyers.
GIB: What’s the first Granville Island Brewing brew you ever had?
KE: It was definitely Island lager.
GIB: And your favourite Granville Island Brewing beer?
KE: I really enjoyed trying out the Small Batches that Vern was creating near the end of his time with Granville Island Brewing; the Brash Knuckles American Brown Ale really went well with a good steak. The new Two Tides ISA is also a great brew that’s easy to put back.
Kevin officially takes the brewmaster reigns today, Monday May 25th. Stay tuned for more details on Kevin’s first Small Batch release in the coming months!