Beer of the Year award goes to Old Yale Brewing Co.

Chilliwack brewery gets the highest marks at Canadian Brewing Awards for 2014

Old Yale brewmaster Larry Caza.

The brewmaster couldn’t stop smiling all day on Monday.

Old Yale Brewing Co. of Chilliwack won the coveted Beer of the Year 2014 prize over the weekend from Canadian Brewing Awards for their Sasquatch Stout.

“It’s like winning the lottery, and it feels good after all the hard work,” said Old Yale brewmaster Larry Caza.

The Beer of the Year award was handed out in Fredericton, New Brunswick, on Saturday night, and Caza was there.

He was sitting in the audience as they called the winners to the stage for bronze, for silver and more.

“And there it was. It was the last award of the night. It was for brewery of the year, and our Sasquatch Stout got the highest marks of all the beers entered into the competition.”

The adrenaline was pumping.

“It was exciting. I almost fell off my chair when they called our name.

“I’d been enjoying the night, and there were so many good breweries represented. We were eating scallops and lobster sandwiches and the beer was unbelievable.

“All of a sudden I heard our name, and everyone was staring at me. So I ran up onto the stage and received the award.”

The judges had high praise for the dark and complex stout.

It’s a toasted oat, coffee and chocolate flavoured brew made at the brewery on Venture Place.

“It’s a fun beer to make,” said Caza. “When you mix all the grains together it’s like the tastiest chocolate chip cookie porridge. It’s an interesting recipe for sure.”

Caza thought he was going to have a normal day at work Monday, making beer, but he was bombarded by media calls all day asking about the aftermath of the Beer of the Year award.

The CBA officials had strongly hinted that the brewery should have reps in the audience for the awards gala.

“We had to send a case of stout down to them as well,” Caza said, so they had an inkling that something was up.

Caza has been brewing up the beer since 2000, and through a change of ownership. An expansion for Old Yale is in the works.

“This will help get us started in the new direction,” he said.

The impressive win will be a feather in the cap for the brewery.

He came back inspired after being around craft beer creators from across Canada.

Plus there’s already a new beer flavour on the go.

“There’s one in the tank that’s about 2 weeks away,” he said. It’s going to be mango wheat beer, which will be perfect for summer.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Twitter.com/chwkjourno