Brewing things differently

The couple that brews together, stays together.

Theresa Cashen and Mitchell Kehoe, co-owners of Kelowna's newest brewery, began dating in 2012 after meeting at university in Halifax, and they began brewing beer in their apartment together shortly after.

The hobby quickly developed into something bigger.

“I started to collect a bigger and bigger library of different strains of yeast in my fridge until I needed a bigger fridge just to hold yeast, on top of all the space for beer, bottles, and kegs and carboys,” Kehoe said, adding they eventually added a freezer specifically for hops to their Halifax apartment.

In the spring of 2017, the couple moved west to Kelowna, where Cashen grew up, and after months of searching for the right spot, they found a commercial location just north of Reid's Corner for their brewery.

Wild Ambition Brewing opened its doors on Dec. 8, and Cashen and Kehoe were blown away by the turnout.

“Our opening Saturday was incredible ... we couldn't have imagined a better response,” Cashen said, adding people came from nearby UBC Okanagan and other businesses in their industrial park, in addition to beer lovers coming from across the city.

“We've got so many other great breweries in town now. It's a wonderful community to be a part of and they all came out and showed their support.”

Cashen and Kehoe's beer is made a little differently than most, focusing on “mixed-fermentation” brewing, which utilizes different types of yeast and other microbes to produce unique flavours instead of relying solely on hops and malt for taste.

“That kind of mixed-fermentation beer rather than just fermenting with a single, purified monoculture of brewer's yeast is something that not a lot of people in Canada are doing,” Kehoe said.

“When I started brewing it didn't take too many batches before I started getting a lot more interested in the kind of mystique of the flavours imparted by the microbes rather than just the input ingredients – the malt, the hops.”

“When Mitchell sets his mind to something, there's no stopping him in terms of the amount of information he's going to try and absorb and research and experiment with,” Cashen added.

Wild Ambition had three beers for sale when they opened, and they added a fourth on Friday – a dark sour beer that was aged for several months in French oak barrels from Okanagan wineries.

The brewery, located at 1-3314 Appaloosa Road, is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. As the brewery is only a two-person operation at this point, weekdays are for brewing.

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