Langley’s craft beer scene is booming right now with close to half a dozen new breweries recently opened or currently in the works. Five Roads Brewing Co. officially opened its door (and its taps!) a couple weeks ago, so we chatted with co-found Aaron Fourt about his new brewery and why Langley is turning into such a craft beer destination.
First off, congrats on opening! Tell me a bit about the process that led you to where you are now.
Much appreciated! We have had a long journey to get to this point so are super excited to now be open and serving our beers in the community. We had encountered some issues as all breweries do in the process of setting up and getting open, each unique to the circumstances that we found ourselves in. One big hurdle we had was parking (despite the fact of having abundant parking on site) and the way in which our operation was being classified. Brewery lounges are definitely a new type of use in a traditionally industrial setting but in the end a solution was crafted that allowed us to get open with a level of seating appropriate for the space we have.
You guys were originally slated to be called Metal Edge Brewing, what happened there?
In terms of Metal Edge, it was a name we had considered with some potential partners, who were perhaps a bit too enthusiastic in getting it out there. In the end we did not proceed with the name or the partners and remained with the core group of people that started the brewery from the beginning. Five Roads was born out of this journey and is now a name and a brand that we all can stand proudly behind and reflects our ownership group and the way in which we connect to the community.
Why beer? What got you interested in craft beer enough to open your own brewery?
The two main partners in the venture are an uncle and nephew, and it was through a combination of factors that led us to opening a brewery. One of the partners has owned and operated companies in the food and beverage production industries for over 40 years and the other was living in China for a number of years where he saw craft breweries opening in some of the major cities and how these brought people from all around the world together to enjoy locally made craft beers. He also got to know some brewing equipment manufacturers and when he returned to Canada, after discussions with the other partners, a decision was made to begin the process of starting a brewery. We are all avid craft beer enthusiasts and through putting our knowledge and experience together we ended up this path that has now resulted in Five Roads Brewing Co. It has been challenging, enjoyable, and ultimately rewarding to see this project come to fruition and the people we have involved in things now are absolutely amazing and inspiring to work with.
Craft beer is booming in Langley right now. What makes it a good place to brew?
Langley is undergoing a huge shift in its demographics and growth right now as more and more young families move here to establish roots. Along with the community that has been here for generations, this makes for a very interesting set of dynamics shaping the growth of the entire region. A city is taking shape in a traditionally farming community and it seems like Langley is on the forefront of this change in the Fraser Valley so we can expect more breweries to come in other areas as well. I also think the farming and culinary influences that draw people to the region and create connections between the people and the physical environment help bring brewing naturally into the fold. Langley has long been known for its exceptional wineries and food offerings so what better way to expand on this than by adding a tremendous grouping of local and unique craft breweries in this mix.
How has the local response been so far?
We have been extremely happy with the positive reception we have received from customers visiting our facility and the feedback we have heard about our beers, the food we offer, and the community gathering space that we have created. It is so nice to see the diversity of customers, in terms of age groups, backgrounds, and interests, who come to the brewery and interact around the enjoyment of craft beer. Going back to why we wanted open a craft brewery, this is exactly it. Bringing everyone in the community together and allowing for this space to grow organically is exceptionally rewarding and we truly value this.
How big is your operation? What size batches are you brewing?
We have a 10 hectolitre brewing system along with 14 fermenters, so we are planning to be always offering new and exciting beers that remain true to craft beer. This gives us flexibility and an ability to be creative while keeping the favourite beers always on tap.
Is there a tasting room onsite? Will your beers be available outside of Langley?
We have a 50-seat tasting room on site. Currently we are only selling our beers in the tasting room and in growlers, but we do have plans to do some packaging in the future once we get to that point. Our model is definitely focused on the local/regional and having people come to our facility for the experience that we offer.
What beers will you be offering?
Here is our current lineup of beers:
- Langley Gold: Delicate Kolsch-style lagered ale (5.4% ABV)
- Whiplash Wit: Belgian-style witbier with orange peel and coriander (3.9% ABV)
- Jimmie D’s ESB: Extra special bitter with a malty backbone layered with floral fruity hops (5.8% ABV)
- Remedy Rye Pale Ale: Smooth malty rye meets citrus and pine (5.0% ABV)
- Resident IPA: Boatloads of citrus, ripe fruit and pine (6.3% ABV)
- Hello Darkness (my old friend): Dark chocolate, coffee and biscuit (4.2% ABV)
- Coming Soon: Five Roads Pilsner
What makes Five Roads Brewing unique?
I think the combination of backgrounds and influences we draw on makes us different than other breweries. The people involved all come from very different backgrounds and so the unique melding of all these perspectives and ideas produces something greater than a sum of the parts. We try to bring things together that would otherwise not be in contact with one another if that makes sense. This applies to styles, tastes, interests, people, and the community as a whole.
Why should people come and check you out?
The space and environment we have created is conducive to socializing and being open to new things and that’s really what we want to enhance in the experience people have here. It’s a place where you will always be able to find a rotating lineup of great beers that offer up new tastes and certainly is a physical space that is a true reflection of a vibrant and growing community, full of life and always a place you can cross paths with friends and good times. Our beers help bring all of this together!
Anything else you want to share?
Come visit us in our tasting or at the community events we will be participating in. Check out our website for further details on upcoming plans for Five Roads Brewing! Cheers!