Penticton breweries bring home Canadian Brewing Awards

Bad Tattoo Brewery and Cannery Brewing Co. bring silver medals back from Canadian Brewing Awards.

Co-owner Martin Lewis (centre) of the Bad Tattoo Brewing Company and brewers Lee Agur (left) and Robert Theroux with the two silver awards the business received recently.

They may be one of the newest craft breweries in the province, but Bad Tattoo Brewery earned some major bragging rights with a double win at the 2015 Canadian Brewing Awards.

The Penticton brewery brought home silver medals in the North American Amber ales and Belgian Abbey ales categories. The wins are quite an accomplishment for an operation that has been brewing for less than a year.

“We started brewing a month before we opened. I think we started brewing on the 22nd of June. So it’s almost a year,” said director of beer Martin Lewis. “We’re very happy with our progress so far. It’s quite an honour to win an award in your first year.”

Los Muertos Cerveza Negra, the amber lager, was the first beer they conceived for the brewery, according to Lewis, thinking that the Mexican-style dark lager would fit in the Okanagan niche and be a match for the hot weather and Mexico-like climate.

The beer they entered in the abbey ales category was a brew of a different order. Dia De Los Muertos Cerveza Fuerte is a beer which the brewery plans on releasing only once a year. On Nov. 1, the Day of the Dead. Lewis said they wanted something “incredibly special” for that event.

“It’s an extremely complex, complicated beer to brew. It took two mashes, it took twice as much grain as a normal brew,” said Lewis adding that it has a pound of malt per bottle and had to be hand-bottled.

“It took over a minute to fill each bottle and then we had to cap them and wax-dip them and then hand-apply the labels,” said Lewis. “It was a labour of love.”

Lewis said they’re ecstatic about the performance of the restaurant and the walk-in business at the brewery in downtown Penticton.

“Bad Tattoo has been a big hit from day one. Our restaurant and patio filled within the first half hour of opening in mid-July last year,” said manager Lee Agur, who thinks the secret of their success lies in a combination of the brewery’s eccentric name, urban-industrial setting,  locally designed labels, rock oven-fired pizza, and most importantly, their excellent craft beer.

The Canadian Brewing Awards is the only true national competition bringing together breweries from across the country to compete in a blind tasting to determine who brews the best beer in a variety of style categories.

“You have to imagine that there was 1,234 beers entered in this competition. To be in that company was amazing,” said Lewis.

Cannery Brewing Co., also won a silver in the Strong Porter category for their Baltic Porter.