One of the oldest continuously operating neighborhood pubs in the province is hitting a pretty significant milestone this month. Coquitlam’s John B Pub is celebrating 40 years of serving pints to the thirsty masses on March 14, and to mark the occasion they’re collaborating with Mariner Brewing to produce Main Sale Pale Ale.
The classic pale ale uses English yeast, toasted caramel malt, and 100 per cent Cascade hops. The beer will be available in cans and on draft at the John B Pub and Mariner Brewing’s tasting room.
The pub was named after the classic Beach Boys’ tune “Sloop John B” by owner John Lepinski, and the name of the beer pays homage to the lyrics of the song.
The John B Pub first opened in 1978, across the street from its current location at Austin Plaza. In 1990, the pub moved to newer digs across the street, and in 2013 underwent an extensive renovation, adding the ridiculous draft selection it has today. With 86 draft taps, the John B has among the most beer taps of any pub in the province (it’s currently No. 2 by our count, behind Vancouver’s CRAFT Beer Market).
“When we first added the taps, there weren’t nearly as many B.C. breweries as there are today, so our focus was on U.S.-based craft selection,” says general manager Owen Coomer (and son of the John B’s original GM, Brian Coomer). “We were the No. 1 seller of Lagunitas and Deschutes [in B.C.].”
When the pub first opened, however, it didn’t have any draft lines at all as it could only legally sell bottled beer, nor was it allowed to be open on Sundays or on election days. To even get the licence for the pub, the owners had to collect more than 10,000 signatures from the community in support.
“Things were a lot different back then,” says Coomer. “We’ve seen every possible change in the liquor laws. From the smoking ban to happy hours, we’ve gone through it all.”
Coomer says he practically grew up in the pub; his godmother is one of the original servers at the pub, and he’s been working there since he was 15 years old.
“It’s a pretty tight knit family here.”
The John B is celebrating its 40th with giveaways and specials all month long. Check out its Facebook page for details.