A month or so back I wrote about a bad experience I had with Russell Brewing. Russell found the post a short time later and contacted me. Angie Harris, a marketing manager at Russell, invited some friends and I in for a tour of their brewery and a tasting. Living not so far away, I gladly took them up on the offer last Saturday.
We were met by Angie and her brother Paul, a brewer with Russell, at their brewery in Surrey, BC. It turns out that Russell is somewhat of a family affair, employing many of the Harris clan. It also turns out that Angie, who is on maternity leave at the moment, and Paul came into work this past Saturday specifically to meet us and give us a tour. Right off the bat they showed great commitment to their product. They were also effusively apologetic for the bad batch of Russell Cream Ale I came across. They were very nice, very passionate people who were very excited to tell us about all of the great improvements that Russell is making to their business. They admitted that they’d had some problems with their canning process a few months back. They’ve since made changes to their equipment, improved filtration, and hired one of the top quality control guys in the brewing industry. I thought it was really great of them to be so open and honest. I can tell you from first hand experience that these people love their beer and are doing their best to make it awesome, even while on maternity leave.
Paul showed us around the brewery while Angie prepared a tasting for us. It was really cool to see how a microbrewery operates. We got to see everything from Russell’s new bottling line to the latest forklift dent in the refrigerated storage area. When it came to tasting, it was refreshing for me to taste how good Russell Cream Ale really can be. I hadn’t purchased any since last summer, but will surely do so in the future. We were also able to taste Russell’s Lager, Honey Blonde Ale, and Pale Ale, as well as the Pale Ale and Dark Ale of new Manitoba partner Fort Garry Brewing. All were very simple, good quality beers. Angie was also kind enough to suit us up in some Russell t-shirts, which you’ll see us sporting in the pictures below.
Russell more than made up for their mistake in my books. I thank them very much for the tour and the tasting, which made for an excellent Saturday afternoon.
Pictures of the tour I took with my iPhone:
NOTE: I linked to these from Facebook and the album no longer exists for some reason, so here’s one of us at the end: