Lance Verhoeff insists he isn’t a “beer snob.”
That’s not to say the general manager of Langley’s Trading Post Brewing, which celebrates its public grand opening this Saturday, Feb. 13, isn’t somewhat of a craft beer connoisseur.
After all, his passion for stouts, ales, and lagers is a big reason why he decided to open the brewery/tasting room at 20120 64 Ave.
“I absolutely love craft beer but had only been introduced to it three or four years ago,” Verhoeff said. “My love for different styles of beer changes with the weather. Right now, I’m all about stouts, but come summertime, my beer choice will change to wheat ales or a crisp lager on a hot summer day.”
Trading Post is part of a craft brewery movement that’s sweeping across B.C. and much of North America. Last year, 22 craft breweries opened in B.C.
Combine that with the 24 openings in 2014, and 46 craft breweries that opened for business in the province over the past two years.
B.C. Craft Brewers Guild executive director Ken Beattie noted that another 15 are slated to open in the province this year, and that there are craft breweries located in roughly 50 communities across B.C.
Trading Post joins Aldergrove’s award-winning Dead Frog Brewery as prominent commercial craft brewers in Langley.
Meanwhile, Langley’s Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Brewing and Brewery Operations program is the only brewing diploma program of its kind in B.C. – and one of only three in Canada. This spring 26 students could possibly graduate from the program, and therefore be fully qualified to be employed by one of the more than 100 craft breweries in B.C.
Verhoeff – who is co-founder of Trading Post along with his dad Paul – envisions the B.C. craft beer-making industry growing “astronomically” over the next few years.
“Many people talk about the hot spots in the USA like Portland and Denver, but I’ve been down to these hot spots, and the people down there talk about Vancouver and B.C. as an amazing craft beer scene in North America,” Verhoef said. “I don’t see this slowing down any time soon. Like most trends, they start on the coast and work their way in.”
Verhoeff shared that he met someone who is planning on building a brewery within walking distance of Trading Post. He welcomes the possible addition to the brewery family.
“For most industries, this would be a negative thing, but for the craft brewing industry, it is actually a positive as it creates a place where customers can go to a district and experience different craft breweries within walking distance,” Verhoeff said.
He cited Port Moody as a “great example” of this.
“There are currently three breweries on the same road, all within walking distance. Moody Ales, Yellow Dog, Twin Sails, plus another brewery is going open this year, Parkside Brewing on the same street,” Verhoeff said.
He believes this creates such a tight knit community within the craft brewing businesses that all try to support each other in any way possible.
“There were many breweries in B.C. that were extremely willing to help me in any way possible to open our doors,” he added. “We hope to be able to help the same way for the breweries planning on opening up in the future.”
Fittingly, the vision of Trading Post Brewing began over sharing a couple pints of beer at a brewery.
“My wife Marissa said, ‘How amazing would be it run a brewery that is focused on making great beer and building community all at the same time?’” Verhoeff shared.
So the idea of Trading Post took shape.
Verhoeff deals with the day to day operations with his dad and Uncle Stephen being the other partners in the business
Verhoef said his decision to have the brewery in Langley is two-fold: first, because Langley is his hometown, and secondly because he believe there is a huge need for quality craft beer in Langley.
“Our brewery is focused around building community; we have a tasting room that has an open concept to the whole brewing area,” Verhoeff said. “Where anyone can come enjoy a pint, or two, and fill up a growler to go.”
Verhoeff believes it’s important to not only have an inviting place to come with friends and family, but also to see the brewery up close and understand exactly how their beer brewed.
He already has big plans for the summer.
“We also in the process of opening our Taphouse and Eatery in Fort Langley,” Verhoeff said.
The Eatery will be open before summer 2016.
“This is a place where we will have a similar atmosphere to the brewery, but with a full menu of upscale gourmet pub dishes, along with other guest taps of some great breweries in B.C.”
As for the here and now, Verhoeff will be overseeing operations but he’s leaving the brewing part up to the expert: a man, he pointed out, who has “a ton of experience.”
“We’re lucky enough to have Tony Dewald as our head brewer,” Verhoeff said. “Tony is very creative and has brewed up some innovative beers for the Langley community. One of our core values is innovation and Tony definitely embodies this with our beer styles.”
Trading Post will open with six different beers on tap, and have eventually eight beers on tap at a time.
All of them are named to tell the story of the history of Langley and especially stories that came from Fort Langley. Some of the beer names are: 1827 Helles Lager, Derby Hop Session Lager, Captain Cooper’s Cranberry Ale, Owhyee Tropical Wheat Ale.