From the Chilliwack Progress Archives: The origin of the Old Yale Brewing Company

From the Chilliwack Progress Archives: The origin of the Old Yale Brewing Company

From Larry Caza’s dream came a microbrewery that’s become part of the fabric of Chilliwack.

Since first publishing on April 16, 1891 the Chilliwack Progress has been the newspaper of record in Chilliwack.

One hundred and 28 years later the Progress remains the longest continuously published newspaper in British Columbia. With the addition of a thriving digital operation anchored by, the Progress delivers more news to more people than ever before.

‘From the Progress Archives’ is a journey into the past, to see what was making news decades ago.


Headline: The Art of Suds: Ready to open the tap on premium microbrew

Date: January 30, 2000

Reporter: Mark Falkenberg

In a corner of Vedder Crossing near the old CFB Chilliwack, Larry Caza is getting ready to open the tap on a dream.

It won’t be long now before he starts filling kegs of Chilliwack’s first microbrewed beer at the Old Yale Brewing Company, the flower of Mr. Caza’s longtime obsession with zymurgy – the last word in the Oxford Concise Dictionary and “the branch of applied chemistry dealing with the use of fermentation in brewing etc.”

In other words, the art of suds.

But not just any suds. Far from it. What Mr. Caza is aiming for is a malt and hops elixir, the quality of which has seldom if ever been poured into the mugs of Canadian drinkers.

The idea got its start in his passion for home brewing. Like many enthusiasts, he started with store-bought kits and knocked off decent brews with the malt syrup extract and a few buckets and carboys.

Then he really got into it, learning how to brew from scratch: buying malted barley, grinding it, steeping (mashing), rinsing (sparging), boiling and fermenting the whole brew himself, and experimenting with his own recipes.

“You can gain a lot of experience working in small batches,” he says. “It’s very rewarding. It’s almost like art.”

He started meeting people who owned microbreweries, got familiar with the business end of brewing. Then he made up his mind to do it himself.

One of the big hurdles, finding suitable brewing equipment, cleared only in the past two months. After looking for years, he pegged a great stainless-steel setup that the Deschutes Brewing Company in Bend, Oregon, had put on the market when the U.S. brewer decided to upgrade its facilities. Having secured the crucial equipment, Mr. Caza is now focusing on his main goal, bringing locally made Northwest-style beers to the Fraser Valley.

“The Americans make excellent beers – they don’t hold back on anything,” he says.

Especially the microbrewers, who make a product that hearkens back to a time when beer had character and individuality, as opposed to what happened once mega-production and mega-marketing got through with it. Microbrews are as different from your standard six-pack as fresh-baked sourdough down the street at the B.C. Connections Cafe is from Wonder Bread.

Mr. Caza figures there’s a big untapped market for the kind of brews he wants to make. Canadian beer lovers are mostly used to decent microbrews of the kind made by Granville Island Brewing, Shaftebury and Okanagan Springs. Those Canadian beers are good, he says – but there’s a lot of room for a new kind of beer.

“I feel there’s an opportunity to make beers that are more like the ones from the Pacific Northwest – full flavoured, lots of hops, even a nice after-taste.”

Canadian drinkers are mostly strangers to the explosively hoppy, full-bodied estery brews that typify the Northwest style that has come to dominate the U.S. microbrew market – south-of-the-border beers typified by the Red Hook, Full Sail and Alaskan breweries.

But the king of them, and one of the few getting a ‘classic’ rating from British beer guru Michael Jackson, is the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, a super-premium bitter, fragrant and strong-bodied brew. And it’s that kind of style that Canadian beer lovers aren’t getting the chance to enjoy, says Mr. Caza – something he hopes to remedy with his Chilliwack venture.

In keeping with the local character reflected in the name of the business, Mr. Caza has some tentative titles for beers he hopes to make: brews like ‘Cultus Pilsner,’ or ‘Tamihi IPA.’ He hopes to sell them locally too, to restaurants, pubs, golf courses, hotels and the like.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A total of $7,230.85 was raised for Chilliwack Community Services as a result of The Home Depot Canada Foundation’s Orange Door Project in December 2020. (
Thousands raised from Orange Door Project to help homeless youth in Chilliwack

Home Depot Canada Foundation hands over more than $7,000 to Chilliwack Community Services

RCMP Emergency Response Team members on Charles Street in Chilliwack on Jan. 15, 2021 after an undisclosed threat was made by a male. The matter was resolved peacefully. (Darcy Loewen photo)
Heavy Chilliwack RCMP presence on Charles Street Friday after ‘disturbing’ phone call

Man who made threats to harm self and others eventually taken into custody unharmed

Two people were in a vehicle that rolled over on Highway No. 1 near Lickman Road. They are now out of the vehicle. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vehicle rolls over on Highway 1 near Lickman Road in Chilliwack

Two people in SUV at time of collision in westbound lanes

Both eastbound lanes are completely west of exit 135 on Highway 1. (Google maps)
UPDATE: Traffic now getting through following car collision on Highway 1 in Chilliwack

Incident happened shortly just west of exit 135 for Agassiz/Harrison Hot Springs

Carin Bondar announced Nov. 26 that she will be running in the upcoming byelection to replace outgoing school trustee Dan Coulter. (Sarah Sovereign Photography)
Chilliwack school board candidate Carin Bondar calls for vote-by-mail option

As the COVID pandemic continues, Bondar fears voter turnout will be low for next month’s byelection

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Most Read