There’s beer, there’s pro-Ukraine sentiment and, in Port Coquitlam, they’re both brewing.
On Brown Street in Port Coquitlam, PoCo Brothers Brewery’s head brewer Rick Dellow is waiting for his first taste of a golden ale with a not-so-subtle name. The beer is called: Putin Is A Dick.
The ale, which is currently in the fermenting stage, is part of a fundraiser intended to get meals to hungry people in Ukraine through the charity World Central Kitchen.
“[They’re] doing great work feeding displaced Ukrainians,” Dellow says.
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The beer’s journey
Before Russian President Vladmir Putin ordered missile strikes on major Ukrainian cities last February, Pravda Beer Theatre was a burgeoning, internationally recognized brewery based in Lviv, Ukraine.
By early March the brewery had stopped making beer, opting to use their knowledge of chemicals to make Molotov cocktails, according to brewer Yuri Zastavny.
“It’s very much a now or never moment,” he said in one dispatch, explaining his staff is now training in military tactics, medical aid and weapons handling. “All your experience, all your education . . . must be used now to focus on winning the war.”
Searching for a way to get the international community to understand his country’s heritage as well as the plight of Ukraine’s displaced people, Zastavny reached out to a fellow brewer.
He contacted a Star Trek-themed brewery based in Vulcan, Alta. called Federation of Beer.
Having done beer exchanges with Pravda before, Federation’s chief operating officer Vern Raincock took the request from Lviv and made it his mission to find partners across North America to brew and distribute Ukrainian recipes.
The idea appealed to Dellow. He figured they could get eight breweries on board and brew 24 kegs, with each brewery getting three kegs.
“We should be able to sell that,” he remembers saying.
The universal language of beer
The work wasn’t quite as straightforward as Dellow might have hoped. The recipe for the beer was, naturally, in Ukrainian.
“If it was in French then I’d just type the French words into Google and translate it,” he explains.
Instead, he opened up the Ukrainian alphabet on Wikipedia and went about creating the recipe one cut-and-pasted letter at a time.
“Even then it wasn’t totally successful. But it was close enough,” he says. “Brewing’s a fairly universal language.”
Given that the beer usually has a 10 percent alcohol content, Dellow opted to lower the strength a little bit. The beer also has a few spices including coriander.
“When you crush it, it gives a lot of citrusy notes without using any citrus,” he says. “It will be nice to taste it when it’s ready and see if we got it right.”
The beer is tentatively set to be ready a little before Easter.
“It’ll be available on draft only in the eight breweries and when the three kegs are gone, they’re gone,” Dellow says.
Whenever a pint is sold, $2 will go to World Central Kitchen.
Dellow says he wants to get more breweries involved to support Ukraine with similar endeavours in the near future.
“I would like to put out a challenge for some other breweries to get together and do it. It doesn’t have to be a one-off. The more people who get involved, the more money we’ll have to donate.”
To learn more about World Central Kitchen, click here.
- Boardwalk Brewing (Port Coquitlam)
- Tinhouse Brewing (Port Coquitlam)
- PoCo Brothers Brewing (Port Coquitlam)
- Five Roads Brewing Co. (Langley and Steveston)
- R&B Brewing (East Vancouver)
- Brassneck Brewery (Mount Pleasant)
- Deep Cove Brewers & Distillers (North Vancouver)
- Main St. Brewing Company (Mount Pleasant)