On Tap: BierCraft’s Benjamin Fredrickson

Noa Glow | April 2012

photo by Miranda Paley

If it’s a great beer you’re after, head to BierCraft to pick Benjamin Frederickson’s brain.

Want help choosing a fine wine? Ask a sommelier. But if it’s a great beer you’re after, a cicerone’s your best bet—or just go to BierCraft (3305 Cambie Street, with a second location on Commercial Drive) to pick Benjamin Frederickson’s brain.

“There is a certification course you can take, but I’ve just always had an underlying interest in beer,” says Fredrickson, adding that his director of operations, Don Farion, is a certified cicerone. “Working at BierCraft has given me a great outlet to talk about beer.”

Over 120 of them, in fact. With ales that range from blonde to brown to beers blended with fruit to “very rare” bottles that come in limited quantities, being served by an expert like Fredrickson can help you navigate BierCraft’s extensive list.

“I love working with customers who come in with little or no knowledge or who think they don’t like beer,” he says. “It usually takes five or six questions before I can pinpoint the right beer to suit you, and I can usually change a non-beer-drinker’s mind.”

Fredrickson says beginners may want to start with BierCraft’s “Flight to Belgium,” which lets them sample four terrific beers. For something a bit different he recommends a lambic beer, made with natural wild yeast and sweetened with fruit for a dry, cidery flavour.

“Right now we’re carrying one of the best beers in the world, Westvleteren, made in one of the last remaining Trappist breweries,” he adds. “It’s brewed by monks in really small batches, so we’re quite lucky to have it.”

Though he prefers Belgian ales to North American, Fredrickson says B.C. breweries like Phillips and Driftwood, both in Victoria, are turning out respectable beers, too. “It usually takes breweries a number of years to perfect their recipes…so, we’re getting there.”