Chris Frederiksen and Alex Blais celebrate Vanbrewer competition success. The Lazo Barrel Collective is a collaborative brewing project founded by Alex Blais, Adam Crysler, Ryan Steffler and Chris Frederiksen.

Comox Valley homebrewing team gaining recognition across the country

The Lazo Barrel Collective is winning awards at competitions near and far

By Sarah Blais

Special to The Record

With several new breweries and a taphouse opening in the past year, there’s no doubt craft beer is booming in the Comox Valley.

It seems fitting then that a group of local homebrewers has been making a splash of its own on the national homebrewing stage. The Lazo Barrel Collective is a collaborative brewing project founded by Alex Blais, Adam Crysler, Ryan Steffler and Chris Frederiksen. The group collaborates on recipe development and ferments its beers in oak barrels which previously held wine and bourbon to achieve complex, mixed fermentation sour beers.

Incorporating local ingredients whenever possible (one of the beers was aged on Blais’s homegrown quince), the group brews a wide variety of beers but has been gaining recognition in the industry by virtue of mixed fermentation, barrel-aged beers which have seen the Lazo Barrel Collective win medals in homebrewing competitions across the country.

The group’s successful year began at the BC homebrew competition, with a near clean sweep of the ‘Wild Ale’ category, winning both the gold and silver medals, as well as a gold medal in fruit beer for a sour aged on pineapple.

Silver and bronze medals followed at the Winnipeg Pro/AM Challenge (the only competition in Canada that pits amateur homebrewers against professional brewers). Building on that success, at the Saskatoon homebrew competition in November, the group’s latest barrel-aged golden sour took home a gold medal and then beat out over 300 entries from across the country to win Best in Show.

“We were pretty ecstatic when we got the news,” said says Blais. To close out the year, the collective took home another gold medal for sour beer at last month’s Toronto BrewSlam, the largest homebrew competition in the country.

But alas, the product is not for sale.

Blais, whose workshop doubles as their barrel-aging and bottling space, explains that as homebrewers they aren’t able to sell their beer but are always happy to share a bottle.

“We all love introducing friends to sour beer,” he said. “A lot of people have tried kettle sours but we find the mixed fermentation, barrel-aged beers we make have a lot more complexity. We like to describe the beers as being more of a cross between beer, cider, wine and kombucha – they’re pretty unique.”

Just Posted

Untrending: Maybe it’s time to define success on your own terms

Take a closer look at how to set and achieve your goals

Morris Moss: ‘One of the most colourful figures this coast has ever seen’

So one historian termed the handsome Jewish pioneer whose life was more exciting than fiction

VicPD confirms wolf sighting in James Bay

Police ask that children and pets be taken inside

Victoria hotel awards couples for baby-making with Valentine’s freebie

Have a baby nine months after your stay and enjoy 18-year Valentines deal

Vancouver Island woman’s research helps volunteer firefighters cope with stress

VIU professor Leigh Blaney developing tools to help emergency responders become resilient

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

VIDEO: Drone footage shows extent of damage in Highway 4 rockslide

Tofino, Ucluelet still cut off from rest of the island, as crews work to repair roadway

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Most Read