I have the pleasure of knowing and being friends with one of the most passionate and intelligent guys I know! I thought I had a unusually large resource of random and useful information but nothing compares to Jason Meyer, Owner/Brew Master of Driftwood Brewery. His passion and understanding of beer just floors me and the proof is in the final product. Jason’s motivation and experience is a result of an apprenticeship that has taken him all over Canada along with travels through Europe on beer geek expeditions. The result: Beers that are crafted with great skill, uniqueness, passion and enthusiasm.
I heard of Jason and Driftwood beers through a mutual friend who mentioned he had a friend who was a real foodie and philosopher and kept telling me I should meet him. Jason and I met one night at our mutual friends surprise birthday party and starting talking food, wine and our philosophy on these topics and found that we share the same ideas. The whole time I didn’t realize that this was the “Jason” I was supposed to meet! It was only after seeing the bottles upon bottles of Driftwood beer he brought that finally clued me in. This is how my love for his beer and our friendship started.
The following is a sit down chat that we had recently. I find that having insight into his passions and inspirations has made his beer taste better! Not that it’s needed but I just love stories.
1. Why beer? Why that and not some other passion of yours?
I guess because brewing was my first foodie/making stuff interest. Who know, maybe if I had got into sausage-making as a young man I would be running a charcuterie now!
2. Where did you get your start?
I got my first “brewing” job working at a Brew-on-Premises in Fort St. John. From there I managed to get a job in Montreal, and eventually in Edmonton at a brewery called Alley Kat.
3. What are your favourite beer styles?
Man, tough question as there is a beer for every mood or meal. I enjoy the challenge of brewing Barleywine, and I love to drink it too. Anything hoppy is welcome. I like the Sour Browns of Flanders…to many to list really.
4. What is a brief story behind starting Driftwood Brewery?
Really Driftwood is the realization of the dream of owning my own brewery, which I’ve had since I was in my early 20’s. My partner Kevin Hearsum and I were working together at Lighthouse for 4 years. We talked a lot about our dream of having our own place and it slowly morphed into a real desire to make it happen. So we started working on a business plan and eventually everything fell into place. During the three month startup we were fortunate to see our third partner, Gary Lindsay come aboard and we were ready to take Victoria by storm!
5. What are the most important values and goals for Driftwood?
By far the most important thing for us is to produce beer we are truly proud of. We have an un-compromising approach when it comes to the quality and uniqueness of the beers. We will never brew boring beer. We believe (call us crazy) that what is inside the bottle is actually the most important thing!
6. What are you doing currently with Driftwood beers that you are really proud of?
We are unafraid of using multiple strains of yeast, including Brettanomyces, which scares the shit out of some brewers. We have embraced Belgian styles more than most of the other breweries in the region, and are sort of staking out our place as the brewer of Belgian style beers around here.
7. How do you and continue to set driftwood apart from your competitors?
By always, always putting the beer first. No compromise.
8. Where would you like to see the brewery in 5 years?
Being established enough to brew an even greater variety of beers and have the resources to innovate further. To have a small and dedicated crew of beer geeks working here with us. To have won a place amongst some of the best breweries in North America as having a reputation for brewing world-class beers.
9. Tell me about yourself, what are your inspirations, your idols?
Brewer/owner Jean-Pierre Van Roy of Cantillon in Brussels because he brews beer by his rules and has a waiting list of customers! Michael Jackson (our Michael Jackson, the deceased beer writer) because he did so much to elevate beer in people’s minds in the 80’s and 90’s.
10. What are some of your other passions?
Music, charcuterie, cheese-making, gardening, cooking, coffee…
11. How does your love of food play in your life?
Love of food translates to love of life! What greater joy is there than preparing a beautiful meal and sharing it with the people you love?
You can find Driftwood Beers through this really cool map on their site.