Follow beer writer, Troy Burtch, as he explores the wonderful world of craft beer and the pubs that serve it. Great Canadian Beer is a place to come to catch up on beer news, read tasting notes, check out event listings, and for pub previews and reviews.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Meet David Woodward: Tofino Brewing Co.

Meet David Woodward, the brewmaster at the Tofino Brewing Co. in Tofino, BC. 

Woodward came to Tofino after spending some  time with the Whistler Brew House, where he was known for brewing a number of big beers in a variety of different styles. He brought his experience (trained in England) to the small coastal town (pop. 1650), much to the pleasure of Tofino Brewing Co. co-owners Bryan O'Malley, Chris Neufield and Dave McConnell, who opened for business earlier this year.

The brewery has produced four beers for the locals (Tuff Session Ale, Hop Cretin IPA, Fogust Wheat Ale and Dawn Patrol Coffee Porter) who have welcomed the brewery with open arms. Tofino sells their product at the brewery in growler format, in two sizes actually. Tofino recently introduced customers to a smaller 1 litre growler, which joins has the popular 1.9litre growlers that locals continue to buy at a healthy rate. And, keep an eye out for Woodward's creations at your local (BC) liquor stores in the near future as it appears some Tofino beer will soon be bottled. 

Meet David Woodward!

Where is the Tofino Brewing Co. situated and what beers do you currently produce?
TBC is located on Industrial Way just 5 mins on the way into Tuff City if you're coming into town. Just keep your eyes out for some blue signs on the road pointing the way into our place on the left. Walk on in and we'll be happy to give you a sample our our craft beer and show you around our compact little brewery!

Describe the history behind the brewery.
I can't really take credit for the start of the brewery as I came in a little later.. The idea of starting a small craft brewery in Tofino had been kicking around in the back of founder Bryan O'Malley's head for quite a long time. Bryan, a Tofino local with a family history of brewing, began sharing his dream with members of the community who shared his love for great beer and was quickly able to put together a small group of partners. Soon after, Tofino Brewing Company was born.

What is your best selling beer?
Our best selling beer is our Tuff Session Ale which is a West Coast Style Pale Ale. As the name says it's a very sessionable and drinkable Ale. For complexity we use liberal English Specialty Malts for a complex body and toasty flavour and aroma. It is well bittered with Oregon grown Warrior and Cascade for flavour for aroma and has a nice subtle ester profile from our ale strain. I'm quite proud of this beer as we didn't take the easy route and feel we had to dumb things down for our customers by brewing a overly malt forward, somewhat sweetish Amber ale.

What's new at the brewery?
Well we've been open for less than a year so everything is new! We had a very successful start due to as soon as the doors opened the beer was flying out the door which is great feedback! We won best beer at the Mt Washington beer fest this summer for our Tuff Session which was cool. New beers next year will be some different seasonals and I'm happy to be bringing our Hoppin Cretin IPA on full time next year due to very enthusiastic response from our customers. Plus next year look out on your local shelves for some bottled Tofino Brewing Co beer.

How did you get into the brewing industry?
I started studying brewing in England back in 2002 and worked over there for a few years. When I came back I got a gig at the Brewhouse in Whistler which is part of the MJG empire. After five years doing the Brewpub thing I was looking to get back to my roots on the island. Once I got in contact with Brian O Malley and Chris Neufeld and heard their plan for a Brewery here in beautiful Tofino I was like "Sign me up!"

Tofino is a small place. How have the locals supported the brewery?
The locals have been extremely supportive of us, which has been great. From the months of construction to opening day we had all sorts of curious folk popping by and being really excited about having a truly locally own brewery in their town. People here are very supportive of local business and help each other out here in Tofino which I've really come to admire. I've also been pleasantly surprised how developed the palate for Craft Beer has been on the West Coast of Van Isle. We've had great feedback with our Hoppin Cretin IPA and hope to launch more interesting seasonals next year.

Where can someone find your products?
Currently we're on Tap at several locations in Tofino including Shelter Restaurant, The Maquinna Pub, The Dockside Pub and Restaurant, and Tuff City Sushi. We're expanding to a few locations in Ucluelet (or as the locals call it "Ukee") and have been in tap intermittently at The Alibi Room in Gastown over on the mainland for most of the past year. When you're in Tofino if you come on by the brewery you can purchase a growler with a fill or bring on by another 64 oz growler and we'll give you a refill.

Tell us something about Tofino Brewing Co. that not a lot of people know about.
We all like to wear flannel here? No everybody knows that by now..

Which Tofino Brewing Co. beer do you find yourself drinking most these days?
Most days Tuff Session Ale but recently i've been drinking quite abit of our newest seasonal Dawn Patrol Coffee Porter. I'm a big fan of good coffee and was quite happy to collaborate with Mike Farrow of Tofino Coffee Co. to select a variety of beans that would work well in our beer. We had a very strenuous afternoon of brewing various beans and roasts, spiking dark beers and sampling the results to see what worked best. Sometimes the lengths you have to go to in this job can really suck...!

What is the highlight of your brewing career - to date?
So far - this gig, honestly! After working for a larger corporate structure like my previous employment it's been a great change to be involved with a brewery from the ground up and to have a real impact regarding shaping brands, setting production goals, and just helping run a Craft Brewery!

Name your favourite non Tofino Brewing Co. produced beer?
I don't have specific favorites right now honestly... To sip and savour anything by Cantillon... For a dark beer North Coast Old Rasputin. And I have been known to reach for a IPA on occasion...

Best time for a pint?
Once the cleanings been finished, the FV temps been checked and the grains been measured out for the next days brew then bottoms up!

Check out the TAPS The Beer Magazine short video with Tofino Brewing Co. 

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