Hoyne Brewing – First Look

Victoria has just gained another brewery: Hoyne Brewing, with the motto: “Drink Hoyne for Smarts, Strength, and Stamina.” Sean Hoyne has had the dream of opening his own brewery for a very long time. “I put my dream on hold while I was raising a family”, says Sean. “Meanwhile, I was perfecting my brewing craft at Canoe and Swans brewpubs. I figured it was now or never!” Sean started with a science degree specialising in biochemistry and microbiology. Along the way he also did a one year business degree, and then switched to a MA in literature at the University of Victoria. “I’m quite liberally educated”, laughs Sean. It was while he was at UVic that he met legendary BC Brewing guru Frank Appleton. Frank was setting up the brewery at Swans Hotel in Victoria, and interviewed Sean for the job of brewer there. Sean recalls that he brought a six-pack of his homebrew with recipes to the interview, but “Frank and I just talked about literature.” New-hire Sean worked with Frank for a few months before Frank left, leaving Sean on his own. After his time with Swans, Sean moved down the street to open Canoe Brewpub, where he remained for 13 years, establishing their beer program and distinctive style.

Sean’s goal now is to have a sustainable, environmentally responsible, financially viable company, one where he is surrounded by great people. Sean goes beyond the company when he mentions the latter – he says that he loves just hanging out with other brewers. He was renowned for inviting the brewing community to regular Friday afternoon “safety meetings” during his tenure at Canoe.

Hoyne Brewing will have a significantly large number of beers in the future. There are nine on the planning board, with four currently in production. Down Easy Pale Ale is made with Superior Pale, Golden Promise, and Thomas Fawcett Marris Otter malts, with some Crystal and Carastan added to get the lovely round mouth feel. Northwest hops used are mainly Willamette and Cascades. This reminds one very much of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. For the Hoyner Pilsner Sean went for a strong malt character using tons of Vienna and Munich malts plus some German Carapils and Aromatic malts. The bittering hops are primarily Saaz, with Hallertauer Mittelfruh, and German Select for the finish. This beer pours with a beautiful thick white head, a hint of the excellent full body that this authentic Pilsner has.

Devils Dream IPA was brewed with seven different hops including the big citrusy NW varieties: Amarillo, Simcoe, Citra and Centennial. Sean did not want to discuss IBU’s as he considers that a poor way to describe a beer. “It’s all about hop character,” he said. When I visited the brewery in early January, Sean was just adding the hops to the boil for the first batch of Big Cock Bock. “This is going to be a malt bomb. I’m adding just enough hops to give this beer balance” he said. The main malt is Superior Pilsner malt, together with Chocolate, Carastan, Crystal, Vienna, Munich, Carapils, and Aromatic malts. The hops are German Hersbrucker. If these beers are typical of this brewery then the future looks well for Hoyne Brewing.



DRINK Editor Treve Ring contributed her tasting notes & bottle shot above:

Hoyner Pilsner 5.3%
Bright, pale yellow gold in the glass, with crisp citrus and mild cereal notes, opening up to honey aromas. Bright and refreshing, with grapefruit rind finish.

Down Easy Pale Ale 5.2%
Tangerine orange in hue and aroma, with easy-drinking mild hop character.

Devil’s Dream IPA 6%
Golden tones, with assertive toasty earth, grass and hop characters. Quite smooth with good mouthfeel, and a touch of caramel on the lengthy finish.

Big Cock Bock 6.5%
Amber-brownish pour, with a subtle roasted malt, cocoa powder nose. Creamy, mouth filling midpalate, so smooth it deceptively tricks you into thinking it’s lighter than it is. Cocky Bock.


*Read about EAT’s experience at Oak Bay Bistro’s Hoyne Brewmaster Dinner here


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