One on One With Vern Lambourne | The Beer Reporter

One on One With Vern Lambourne

Vern Lambourne, Brewmaster at Granville Island Brewing, making beer.

This week I spoke with Vern Lambourne, Brewmaster at Granville Island Brewing, about the Lion’s Winter Ale. I recently covered the Lions Winter Ale’s arrival in Ontario. Since then I have had the pleasure of discovering even more about the ale itself, but more importantly about the environment it comes from.

Lambourne was educated at the University of Victoria in biochemistry. I asked him about his transition from university to brewing. He said his original plan was to work with wine. However, he soon discovered beer and its relaxed trade was more his pace. Following university, as most recent grads, he left for a trip to Europe, which eventually landed him at the Orange Brewery in London. I was curious about how an English training in brewing has affected his work in Canada. He said that when he first arrived at Granville Island Brewing the brewery focused production on lagers. However, over his career at Granville, Vern helped to introduce a wider selection of ales (an English standard) into their line up. This selection of ales includes their popular Robson Street Hefeweizen and the seasonal Lions Winter Ale.

Along with discussing his own history, he provided me with background information on the Lions Winter Ale. Like all of Granville’s brews, the Lions Winter Ale follows a standing tradition from 1986 of naming their beers after local landmarks. Vern informed me that the Lions are a pair of twin peaks in the Vancouver area that are the first to see the dustings of snow and the last area of Vancouver to hold onto the snowfall of winter. The Lions Winter Ale, like its namesake is a perfect match for the winter season.

Lambourne, like many Brewmasters and breweries in today’s brewing environment, plays an active role in both the production and publicizing of the beer they brew. Resources like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and blogs allow for breweries of all sizes to better connect with their customers and fan base. It is great to see that the art of brewing beer has kept up with these modern modes of connection. If you are interested in finding out more on Granville’s Brewmaster, check out his blog and connect with him!


The commanding officer of the USS Enterprise

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