Fires have long left their legacy in the arid South Okanagan, claiming many historic buildings such as the “Big Teepee” Hotel in the old Fairview mining town. When the mines ran out of gold, the residents moved down to the young village of Oliver, where a newly built irrigation ditch brought different riches to the parched landscape: agriculture. The town of Oliver still stands, but the fire station siren is often heard screaming across town in the desert air.
In recent times, the volunteer firefighters built a modern fire station, leaving the original “Old Firehall” downtown in the heart of Canada’s Wine Capital. It is now the home of our brewery, where we pump out thirst-extinguishing ales with courageous flavour and alarming drinkability. Our passion for real craft beer is only rivalled by our love for music and the great outdoors.
kick axe lager
Crisp, light, and refreshing... everything you'd want in a premium, European-style lager! This is an all-barley brew, so you won't find cheap sugar or adjuncts in the recipe. It's fermented cold and slow, and then lagered until perfectly smooth. We've kept the hop bitterness mild, but the hop flavour and aroma just has to be there, for a proper craft brew experience. Cheers to Kick Axe beers!
ABV: 5% // IBU: 10
white hat witbier
Brewed in the traditional “Witbier” style from Belgium, the recipe goes beyond barley and hops to also include wheat, oats, orange peel, toasted coriander, and a couple other secret ingredients. The cloudy haze from the wheat and oats gives this refreshing ale the appearance of hand-pressed lemonade. Its fruit-like aromas of orange, green apple, and banana mix with a floral springtime essence, and a dash of clove-like spice from the Belgian yeast strain. Its mouthfeel starts off creamy from the wheat and silky from the oats, but finishes dry with a zesty tang. Its low bitterness allows the juicy orange and malty sweetness to shine through, but is balanced with a mild tartness from the wheat and a herbal character from the spices.
ABV: 4.6% // IBU: 6
In case of emergency (ex: extreme thirst / dry palate), extinguish thirst with this hearty blonde ale. A voluptuous malt body dances in with flirtatious biscuit flavours and a subtle caramel sweetness. Seductive citrus hints and spicy intentions are insinuated from the recipe's 'finishing hops'.
ABV: 5.2% // IBU: 15
FALSE ALARM BITTER
Pale Ale / Bitter
Some mishaps are bittersweet! Responding to a recent call for more beer, our Beer Department made an accidental recipe mix-up. But, after an emergency assessment, we can report that the error resulted in a delicious Pale Ale. The British term for Pale Ale is “Bitter”, which we find more fitting for a false alarm. Always prepared with a safe malt foundation, just in case you wish to take a risk and brave the “Bitter”. If you follow the drill, you can rely on a dependable routine of hop subtleties: citrus, floral, fruit, evergreen, and earthy.
ABV: 4.8% // IBU: 35
STOKED EMBER ALE
Extra Special Bitter
This flavour inferno is fueled by eight different barley malts, including caramelized malts that smoulder with complex toffee & biscuit flavours, emitting a warming red incandescence like glowing embers. Our unrivaled roster of BC-grown hops equips this brew with fresh citrus aromas, and an evergreen essence reminiscent of our BC forests. Ancient glacial meltwaters filtered through different aquifers blend to give us a mineral-rich brewing water, providing a unique South Okanagan taste. Sweet foreplay and a hoppy ending!
ABV: 5.0% // IBU: 35
Stop, Hop & Roll is a safety technique taught to workers as a component of well-being protection. It involves three steps that a victim of work should follow to minimize stress in the event of inflamed anxiety. The victim must STOP working, and treat themselves to a pint of this small-batch India Pale Ale. The victim then noses the wafting citrus HOP aromas. Finally, the victim must ROLL a mouthful around the palate, savouring the silky mouthfeel contributed by the recipe’s rolled oats. If conducted properly, the victim of work will experience a soothing sense of relief.
ABV: 6.2% // IBU: 50
HOLY SMOKE STOUT
Fire-dried barley trips the alarm with engulfing smokiness, but roasted coffee and dark chocolate flavours are quick to respond, rushed to the scene by toasted grains. It's dark and daring, but still drinkable all night... tried and tested! Bold and brave without being too thick. It's not something you'd drizzle on pancakes, though we wouldn't rule it out as a breakfast option.
ABV: 4.7% // IBU: 25
THE "OLD FIREHALL"
The Old Firehall was built for Oliver’s Volunteer Fire Department in 1948. The firefighers built themselves a new fire station in 2000, and the "Old Firehall" was purchased and renovated in 2003, becoming the Wine Country Welcome Centre and Toasted Oak Wine Bar & Grill. Pappa’s Firehall Bistro now resides in the restaurant space, serving house-made recipes, craft beer, and local wine & cider.
FAMILY OWNED & OPERATED
Today the brewery is operated by a team that includes Sid & Marie-Eve Ruhland and the management of neighbouring Pappa's Firehall Bistro, and has evolved into a family-friendly social hub, with an exclusive menu of local beverages and fresh food, and regular events that celebrate arts and culture. Centered downtown in the Wine Capital of Canada, we're in the unique position of being both the fuel for winemakers and the palate cleansers for wine-drinkers.
CROWDFUNDING THE BEER SHOP + SOCIAL
Despite steady business growth, there was something missing from the very beginning: a proper social space for visitors and locals to gather and interact with the brewers (and drink beer). So, in the spring of 2016, community generosity crowdfunded the creation of the Beer Shop & Social, now located beside the brewery on the alley-access, lower level of the Old Firehall.
While Sid studied at the Okanagan School of Business in Kelowna, BC, it was the evening’s self-guided beer education that taught him how to brew. He was fresh out of high school, so him and his friends were not quite old enough to buy beer yet, forcing them to brew their own in Sid's dorm room.
FOUNDED BY FATHER + SON
The idea to put a microbrewery in Oliver’s ‘Old Firehall’ was born of father and son, Jim and Sid Ruhland. Planning for the Firehall Brewery launch began in early 2011, and equipment installation began in July later that year. We heard a local bootlegger was selling his brewing system, and soon enough we were busy piping it into the Old Firehall’s cavernous bunker with the help of friends & family. For an inside look at the whole process, check out "Brewing a Brewery".The first batch was released at the end of March 2012, and since then we’ve been pumping out unfiltered, unpasteurized, & uncompromised artisan ales, again with much help from friends, family, a team of awesome staff.
In August 2016, we announced the addition of two new active business partners to our brewery team: Danielle & Dermott Hutton! For three busy years, their hospitality talents and natural passion for craft, culture, and family helped to grow the business from a small wholesale operation to an exciting destination experience.
We welcome you to come visit, downstairs by Brewery Alley, to celebrate craft and culture with us in our little corner of paradise.