The winds of change have brought an exciting new business to Tilbury Industrial Park as a family of four has opened a craft beer brewery.
Just in time for Vancouver Craft Beer Week (May 31 to June 8), the Mills family—consisting of Adam, 31, Brent, 28, Sean, 29, and their father Greg—opened Four Winds Brewing at 4-7335 72nd Street last Saturday.
Growing up in Tsawwassen, the Mills brothers have deep roots in Delta. Their great grandfather started Mills Paints in 1930, a business that operated on River Road for 35 years. It was that business which helped them get a start in their first brewery today.
“We sold the business in 2006 and started drinking a lot of beer,” says Adam with a smile.
Brent, who is the company’s brewer, confirms his brother’s role as an expert taste tester for their recipes.
“Adam has been a passionate beer drinker,” Brent says.
Brent worked at R&B Brewing in Vancouver as a production manager and head brewer for three years, with formal brew training at the Siebel Institute in Chicago. He came up with the idea for a craft brewery with his father a year and a half ago.
Greg has been a home brewer of IPAs for six years, even winning an award for his “schwarzbier” black lager from Van Brewers, a home brew club in Vancouver.
The family acquired and renovated the former tile warehouse in six months with their own hard work and sweat under the management of Adam, who has been a painting and construction contractor for the past five years.
“It was kind of a learn as you go experience when we built this place,” says Brent. “None of us had build a brewery before.”
The Mills feature four full-time beers. Their Saison is a Belgian farmhouse ale. Originally brewed as a light beer in Europe in the early twentieth century, it was given to farmhands to refresh them in the fields where there was a lack of potable water. It has evolved over time to become a strong beer and is fermented hot, which makes the beer unique.
They also have an India Pale Ale, always popular with micro breweries. Originally brewed by the English to send to India, they added more hops to keep the beer fresher and free from microbes.
“Ours is a very West Coast style IPA, meaning very hop forward and it’s got a huge citrus, piney, floral aroma,” says Brent.
They also have an American style pale ale, and their fourth beer is a Czech-inspired Pilsner, with hops from New Zealand.
Brent has brewed each recipe between four and five times each to get the taste just right, but will continue to tweak it as the Mills brothers quaff beers.
“It’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it,” jokes Brent, who says it’s still a surreal experience to own a brewery.
He says they’ve been too busy with customers to have to really sink in yet. On their opening day last Saturday there were 400 visitors sampling their new beers.
“It’s an industry that brings a lot of joy and happiness to people, so it’s a great industry to be involved with,” says Adam.
“Our goal is to have a really local following,” adds Brent. “We want people to come in and fill up their growlers.”
You can sample Four Winds Brewing in their tasting room from Monday to Saturday, noon to 6 p.m., at their location in Tilbury (take an immediate right turn after getting off River Road). Sharkey’s Seafood Bar and Grille in Ladner also has the beers on tap.