Tag Archives: brewery

Hoyne Brewing Co.: Sean Hoyne

31 Jan
Brewmaster Sean Hoyne// Photo by Megan Cole

Brewmaster Sean Hoyne// Photo by Megan Cole

Hoyne Brewing Company may be unfamiliar to you, but what you don’t know is, if you’ve been drinking craft beer in Victoria since ’89, you’ve likely been sampling some of Sean Hoyne’s beer.

Hoyne – who admits to drinking Molson Export as a teenager – got his start as a professional brewer under the tutelage of British Columbia craft beer founder Frank Appleton.

“He’s the brewmaster who spear headed the craft brewery movement in British Columbia, really by putting together Horseshoe Bay Brewing Company and then Spinnakers with the Hatfields and John Mitchell,” he said. “[Appleton] and I built the brewery at Swans back in 1989. That’s where it started professionally for me.”

But like many brewmasters, Hoyne started experimenting with brewing beer long before he met Appleton. He began brewing beer at home around the time he discovered Molson Brador.

With his brothers, they began trying different hops and malts to see what kind of flavours and styles they could create.

“That sparked our interest in international beers,” said Hoyne. “Guinness was a big beer at that time and you could get a Heineken and all of these really great beers from far away, and then as the craft brewery movement took hold we were right there at the very beginning.”

Instead of creating wild flavours – like Rogue Ale’s Voodoo Donut inspired beer the Bacon Maple Ale – Hoyne is focused on quality and outstanding ingredients.

“It’s really fun to play with flavours,” he said. “The type of brewery that we are building here is where we do have some experimental beers. We have an espresso stout but for the most part our beers here are our take on some very tried and true classic beer styles.”

Growlers lined-up at Hoyne Brewing Company's Bridge Street location// Photo by Megan Cole

Growlers lined-up at Hoyne Brewing Company’s Bridge Street location// Photo by Megan Cole

Two of Hoyne Brewing Companies most popular beers are examples of where Hoyne isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel, instead he’s trying to do his take on traditional. The pilsner – one of the brewery’s top sellers – is their answer to what the Eastern Europeans have been making for decades.

“We’re trying to make our version of a classic pilsner and people are responding to it,” he said.

As Hoyne and I sit in the office of the small brewery, where his wife, Chantal O’Brien, does the books, it isn’t hard to see his passion for the product he’s creating.

The words he uses to describe the Dark Matter are comparable to listening to an artist talk about his masterpieces.

While the focus is primarily on quality, some of Hoyne’s more experimental beers – like the wet hopped pale ale called Wolf Vine – have sold out in as little as a week.

“We’re not trying to be the most outlandish brewery,” he said. “We’re not trying to make a pumpkin chipotle mayonnaise beer, what we’re trying to do is make some really classic style beers and do them really, really well.”

The fact that Hoyne is able to produce and sell his Big Bock beer every year, and the customer comes knowing what they are buying is a reflection of a change in the market, something Hoyne describes as a dream come true.

“This is the dream that we have been aspiring towards for a long time (me especially because I’ve been in this business for 24 years now,)” he said. “We’ve been waiting for the day where the general consumer has an educated palate and where they are appreciative of these very fine beers, and now we’re there which is an amazing thing.”

When Hoyne isn’t busy sampling his own beers his enjoying a lot of the other craft beer being created in Victoria.

“I really do enjoy a lot of the stuff that is coming out of Driftwood, I like a lot of the stuff that comes out of Phillips,” he said.

He also recommends the beers at Moon Under Water and Dan Murphy’s beers at Canoe Brewpub.

“I have a deep appreciation for anyone in the business whose heart is in the craft of making the beer,” said Hoyne. “If they are into it for the right reasons, I support them 100 per cent and as a result we have developed a really cool brewing community in Victoria.”


Coming tomorrow: Hoyne Brewing Company

30 Jan

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It’s Wednesday(also known as hump day.) You’re half way through the week and I bet, if you’re like me, you’re craving a nice cold beer. Well, I can’t pour you a cold one right now but stay tuned tomorrow as I bring you the latest on Victoria Culinary Underground, one of Victoria’s craft beer legends, Sean Hoyne of Hoyne Brewing Company.