Marten Brewing Co. owners Stefan Marten, left, and Pearl Marten lounge behind the bar at Marten Brewpub in Vernon. The pub will be hosting a craft beer seminar and tasting, led by Joe Wiebe, on Wednesday, April 5, prior to the Great Okanagan Beer Festival in May. - Parker Crook/Morning Star

Putting Vernon on the map, one beer at a time

Vernon isn’t a leader in the craft beer industry, but local enthusiasts hope to put it on the map.

Parker Crook

Morning Star Staff

In Canada, B.C. is known for its craft beer. Unfortunately, Vernon hasn’t been a frontrunner in the microbrewing industry until recently, but local beer enthusiasts hope to put it on the map.

At least, that’s the goal for Stefan and Pearl Marten of Marten Brewing Co. with Joe Wiebe’s April 5 seminar on B.C.’s craft beer revolution. The event includes a beer tasting.

The event will be focused on educating Vernon beer enthusiasts on the history and future of the province’s craft beer industry.

“We want to bring craft beer and awareness of craft beer to Vernon,” said Stefan, who opened Marten Brewpub with his wife Pearl in late-2015. “I think it gives everyone here the opportunity to hear about something that is not going away. It’s only getting bigger and bigger and bigger.”

Pearl said she is excited to hear what Wiebe has to say about the blossoming industry in the Okanagan.

“In the past we had all the hop farms that turned into wineries, and now they’re turning into hop farms again, so I’m kind of interested to see what (Wiebe’s) going to say,” she said. “He has such a wealth of knowledge with all the research he’s done. It will be interesting to hear what he has to say about the Valley.

“We don’t get mentioned in Vernon as being a part of the craft beer scene, which is kind of a bummer.”

Known in the craft beer industry as the Thirsty Writer, Wiebe and the Martens spoke in the past about holding an event.

“I was really excited when Marten Brewpub opened, I wanted to see what they could do,” said Wiebe.

This will be Wiebe’s first time at Marten’s since it opened.

“I hope to both entertain and educate about how craft beer came to be in B.C.,” said Wiebe. “The more they know about the origins, the more excited they get about drinking the beer on tap.

“I find that people really like that they get to taste what I’m talking about. It’s a fun time (and) it’s funny. People usually have a really good time.”

The Martens were on board with Wiebe’s event proposal.

“We thought it would be a really great way to get awareness of it,” said Stefan.

In addition to informing Vernon’s beer drinking masses of B.C.’s brewing history, the event promotes drinking locally sourced craft, a practice that has fallen by the wayside in Vernon.

“The whole idea of supporting local, rather than transporting beer across the nation, you just get it fresh from the source and it’s a superior product,” said Stefan. “So we’re just trying to bring that awareness to Vernon.”

Pearl agrees, and said bringing things closer to home is important.

“It’s nice to use local products,” she said. “We buy all our malt from Gambrinus (in Armstrong). We’re using as much local hops as we can.”

Stefan used to live in Germany, and said buying local beer was commonplace.

“The cities or towns would have a brewery, and the entire community would support that brewery because it only made logistical sense that you get a fresh product rather than transporting things back and forth,” he said.

Okanagan Spring Brewery, established in 1985, originally put Vernon on Canada’s craft beer map.

“When Okanagan Spring opened, it was the leader. It was the beer,” said Wiebe. “Since its buyout, it kind of lost its status as a craft (microbrewery).”

When the Marten’s opened, putting India Pale Ale (IPA) on the menu was unheard of, said Stefan.

“Vernon’s kind of on the sideline,” he said. “So we thought, what a cool way for Vernon to learn about craft beer, through the history and everything that’s happened over the last years and the direction it’s going.”

“I think it really helps promote Vernon as well. We’re trying to get more tourism here. We’re trying to bring more people into the city. We’re trying to bring more fun events into the city.”

“We’re trying to put Vernon on the craft beer map, again.”

The event will be held at Marten Brewpub on Wednesday, April 5. Tickets are available for $25, and include five beer samples served during the seminar as well as a glass of a special beer created in Wiebe’s honour by Martens Brewing Co. To purchase tickets, visit https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/craft-beer-revolution-seminar-beer-tasting-tickets-31951410529

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