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30TH ANNIVERSARY SERIES | Homebrew Happenin's

Legends of DIX Pt II: When Hops Popped Up In Vancouver

Thirty years of What’s Brewing! Could Phil Atkinson ever have imagined his little newsletter would become the amazing province-wide publication it is today?

I have been involved with CAMRA BC, homebrewing, and our craft beer community for a large part of those 30 years. As I have divulged previously in this column, I started homebrewing in 1998 when I obtained my first mortgage. Due to a lack of funds I found a creative way to keep beer in stock while spending a fraction of what I would have laid out on commercial beer. It took a few years of brewing to perfect the process and make award-winning beers.

In 2005 Tony Dewald (now of Trading Post Brewing) was the brewer at DIX BBQ & Brewery. Thursday evening was cask night and DIX was the location where all of the craft beer fans and brewers would hang out. Tony was changing his IPA recipe each brew based on feedback from his customers. Two beer fans that were regulars were Adam and Gillian Gile. They had moved to Vancouver from the San Diego area and brought with them an appreciation for over-the-top west-coast-style IPA. They were fans of Pizza Port, a small (but highly influential) chain in the San Diego area offering pizza and craft beer made in-house.

Keith Lemcke and Warren Boyer host the CAMRA Vancouver booth at the first DIX Caskival, 2004. Note What’s Brewing on table. Photo: Brian K. Smith

Tony decided to have a homebrew contest specifically for IPA. The winner would be given the opportunity to brew their winning recipe at DIX and have it served to DIX patrons. If memory serves, the contest was called the Ironbrew homebrew contest.

I entered two beers into the contest. They placed first and second. The winning one had a single hop cone in each bottle. When the bottle was opened the carbonation would cling to the hop causing it to rise in the bottle and block the neck. After a small build up of pressure the hop would shoot out the top of the bottle. I dubbed this brew the Hop Poppin IPA. I brewed the beer at DIX with Tony and it was on tap for almost two months. It was delicious.

I have recently seen a bit of a resurgence of West Coast IPA, which makes me very happy. To take you back to those days I have reworked that Hop Poppin IPA recipe to adjust for efficiency and hit the target gravity.

If there are any details missing here that you think you need to brew an accurate version, please send me an email or personal message and I would be happy to answer any questions. I am including percentages to make it easier to build a new recipe in your favourite brewing software. This recipe is for 20 litres at 60% efficiency.

President Warren Boyer and membership secretary Dave Smith recruit a new member, using the shining example of current member Tim Green (right) at DIX during Caskival II: Return Of The Bung, 2005. Photo: Paul Morris

Hop Poppin’ IPA

  • Original Gravity approx 1.062. Final Gravity approx 1.012. Aiming for 6.5% ABV and 90 IBU.
    • Mash: 60 minutes at 154 F
    • 5.8 kilos ESB malt for 82.4% of the malt bill (I used Gambrinus in 2005)
    • 280 grams Biscuit malt, 4%
    • 825 grams Carastan light, 11.7%
    • 130 grams flaked barley, 1.8%
  • Boil: 90 minutes
    • 56 grams (2 oz) of Centennial (10% AA) for 75 minutes.
    • 28 grams (1 oz)  Cascade (7% AA) for 15 minutes.
  • Ferment with Wyeast 1318 at 20°C (substitute White Labs WLP002 or Omega Yeast British Ale VOYL-011)

For making this in the Lower Mainland, and for maximum accuracy, do not adjust the brewing water by adding salts or acid. For maximum authenticity place one single hop cone of Cascade in each bottle before capping and conditioning for six weeks.

I am going to brew this recipe very soon. Likely it will be conditioning when this edition of the magazine is released.  If you decide to brew it, please drop me a message letting me know how it turned out. As always if there is something specific that you would like to see in this column, just let me know.

Now go make some old school West Coast IPA!

Legends of DIX Pt I: Birth of CAMRA Vancouver


Warren Boyer

Warren Boyer of Fraser Mills Fermentation Company is an award-winning home and commercial brewer, a Certified Beer Judge, Director at Tri-Cities Cask Festival Association, and Past President of CAMRA Vancouver. Warren writes the Homebrew Happenin's column for What's Brewing. Reach Warren at [email protected]

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