Riot Brewing Co, one of Vancouver Island’s newest breweries, is open for business in Chemanius, BC.
Riot was co-founded by life partners Aly Tomlin and Ralf Rosenke, both brewing industry veterans, alongside new “life partner” Morgan Moreira. in April 2013, Ralf and Aly moved to the Cowichan Valley, with hopes of opening their brewery there. By the end of 2014, after being chewed up and spat out, Aly and Ralf were on the verge of leaving the Cowichan Valley, when the manager of the Cowichan Valley Economic Development called Aly and Ralf to ask them to give her one more day. Chemainus called and expressed interest in having a brewery in their town. Shortly thereafter, a Chemainus land developer called and said he could get Aly and Ralf a building. Their amazing facility opened its doors in November 2016 after an extended period of anticipation. Find out more about the Riot Story here, or see below for some memories including a great video.
Located in the cozy quarters of Chemainus Village Square, Riot is steps away from local favourite, the Sawmill Taphouse And Grill, currently also featuring Riot on tap, along with their famous pizza oven and great menu. Everything you need for a superb after-work experience is right there.
Riot Brewing may have had a long gestation period, but she was born with a sense of humour. Aly and Ralf are hardly the conventional politically correct type (was their brand a clue?), and their product lineup reflects the attitude of the owners and the rest of the Riot Squad.
The tribulations of getting started are memorialized in product names like Sorry We Took So Long Saison and Barcode Blues (Extra Special) Bitter. Also, their label artwork is off the charts. Beginning Spring 2017, Riot’s products are available in cans, and the wraparound designs adorning Junk Punch IPA, Lipslide Lager and Life Partners Pale Ale are not for the faint of heart.
The core beer lineup is below. Riot also aims to release a seasonal beer approximately once per month. Examples include Vortex Porter and Barcode Blues ESB.
A Helles style lager that celebrates some of the best Canadian and German malts. This beer finishes with a slight hop spiciness lending a brightness of flavour unparalleled in other styles.
Life Partners Pale Ale
This hop forward Pale Ale, with hints of citrus, was brewed with a variety of specialty malts. The end result is an easy drinking beer with a clean malt finish.
Junk Punch IPA
Westcoast style IPAs owe their flavour to a range of bold hop character; this one is no different. Brewed with a variety of hops including Mosaic, Cascade and Dr. Rudi, this IPA possesses strong notes of citrus and tropical fruit.
Working Class Hero Dark Mild
Brewed with Chocolate and Crystal malts, this Dark Mild has some roasted notes of chocolate and coffee. Staying true to style, the beer is lower in alcohol and remains fairly light in flavour and mouthfeel.
Sorry We Took So Long Saison
This Saison, brewed with Belgian yeast is crisp and dry with a slightly fruity finish. Complex tropical aromatics add to the mystique of this sessionable beer.
Head Brewer Fabian Specht is a veteran. Fabian started out as a homebrewer, working at a Brew-on-Premise in North Vancouver BC. In 1998 he began his first professional brewing job at Sailor Hagar’s Brewpub, under the tutelage of Brewmaster Gary Lohin. In 2003, Fabian left Sailor Hagar’s and began brewing at Howe Sound Brewing in Squamish BC. Fabian continued to brew at Howe Sound until 2008, at which time he joined the Central City Brewing team in Surrey BC – once again under the direction of Lohin. Now he’s got his dream job, as head brewer at his own facility.
Fabian says, “It was a big learning curve in the beginning (and always is). The detail to which every ingredient and process in beer making can be analyzed still fascinates me.” He has taken the passion that the Central City crew has for making excellent, consistent brews to his new home at Riot Brewing. “I’m so excited about my future in the beautiful town of Chemainus, and I really appreciate the trust that ownership has invested in me.” He notes that Riot’s aspirations have lined up very nicely with his personal vision of classic, sessionable, flavourful and delicious beer. He also gives a special shout-out to all the hard workers at Newlands Stainless: “The Riot brewhouse looks amazing! Thank you, I’ll take good care of her!”