Farm to table? Why not bring the table right to the farm? This is the concept behind the Ladner, BC based Barnside Brewing Co. Since January 2020, this brewery has been serving up its unfiltered beer, crafted from their own farm-grown ingredients to a growing group of appreciative locals. That’s why their slogan is “good beer, grown here.”
Co-Founder Ken Malenstyn explains, “We use all of our own hops and a good portion of the grain is ours. We are all actively farming here, which makes us a little different from other breweries. Our beer is a representation of our land, our family. You can’t taste anything like it anywhere else because it has our terroire.”
Terroire is a French word that refers to the special character that the land and a farmer’s agricultural practices bestow to a crop. In the case of Barnside Brewing, that special character is a sparkling fresh, complex flavour.
“The soil here is called ‘Ladner clay’,” says Ken. “It’s mineral heavy. It’s why the food grown here is of such an excellent quality. Where our farm is, the overall terroir, all plays a big role in the taste of our finished product.”
Terroire aside, Barnside Brewing is just a great place to be, a real destination brewery. Visitors get to sip their beers surrounded by heritage wood from other barns in Delta. They get to enjoy the view of cranberry fields and hop yards. Just like in times long past, people from the community gather in the barn.
“We’re really proud to have created a space for people to come together. There’s a real need for that in our society as people become more isolated through technology.”
But the road to creating this beautiful gathering place was not without major hurdles. Namely, after four years of “solid work” to open up, they just so happened to do so right before the pandemic hit. For a while, it seemed like timing might undo all of Barnside’s work.
“Fortunately, we had great support from the community. They really wanted to see us succeed. When the weather was nice, so many people would bike over to us, buy beer, and just stand in the parking lot, making it a great socially distanced gathering place. That carried us through the difficult parts.”
Of course, Barnside also ended up needing to sell canned products faster than they imagined they would. That necessitated finding a packaging partner like Great Little Box Company/Ideon Packaging (GLBC), who now manufactures the brewery’s corrugated cardboard packaging as well as all of their labels.
“Any kind of business relationship comes down to people, and we just love the people we work with at GLBC. There seems to be a proliferation of packaging companies these days. Maybe they’re cheaper, maybe they’re not, but I know we would not find the level of service we get at GLBC. This is a collaborative partnership.”
Nowadays, there is a lot to look forward to at Barnside. Their successful Harvest Festival has got the team excited about future events. They have started selling Road Pop, a non-alcoholic soda, and are mulling over the possibilities for de-alcoholised beer.
If you’re ever in Ladner, do yourself a favour and visit Barnside for a totally unique brewery experience. We’re so grateful to support these hardworking and visionary farmers.