Scroll to the bottom for locations to purchase 442 Squadron on tap or packaged product. This beer was brewed in collaboration with Monkey 9 Brewing Co, Richmond, BC and the #BCAleTrail as part of the recent ‘Learn to Brew’ contest. (Anastasia Lavrik was the lucky winner!) The beer is named in honour of the 1951 Royal Canadian Airforce Reserve Fighter Squadron based out of Sea Island flying de Havilland Vampire Jets.
Recently, I had the pleasure to sit down with Anastasia Lavrik, the winner of Richmond’s ‘Learn to Brew’ contest. Turns out this type of win can be life-changing.
Brian: Congratulations on your contest win!
Anastasia: Thank you!
B: Are you from Vancouver?
A: No, I was born and raised in Moscow, Russia. I moved to Vancouver eight years ago. I studied finance and came here to do my Masters at SFU. Currently, I work at BC Hydro. My interests include bikes, beers, hiking — pretty much anything outdoorsy. That’s why I am in Vancouver, obviously. I love it!
B: How did you get interested in craft beer and brewing?
A: I love brewing. My only experience so far has been at Fuggles & Warlock, which was the “Learn to Brew” contest with Richmond Tourism, BC Ale Trail, and Monkey 9 Brewing as well.
B: How did you get that opportunity?
A: I won a contest from BC Ale Trail. You had to check-in at the brewery on the app and then write a short answer of why you love beer. Basically, I wrote a pretty long answer saying it allows me to connect to people. I have found so many amazing friends through beer, just through liking beer and going to breweries.
B: What is the craft beer scene like in Russia?
A: It’s actually growing. I follow a couple of breweries there just to see what they are doing. It is definitely booming now. Of course, it’s very much behind North America — specifically Vancouver and Portland. I was never into beer drinking back in Russia — I was still under age. But I have now made up for all those years!
B: You came to Vancouver eight years ago?
A: Yes. I felt like I was on vacation for the first three months. I definitely discovered beer right away. I started with Russell Brewing Company and Steamworks Brewing Co. When I got my first job, I had this amazing co-worker who was really into beer, IPAs specifically. He introduced me to Superflux Beer Co. Back then, in 2015, they were still a very small operation. You had to hunt for those colourful cans. So I have to thank my previous co-worker, Glen, who was also the best manager of all time. From there I tried all styles.
B: What have you done in the last eight years, as far as craft beer? Before COVID did you go to a lot of beer events and festivals?
A: Not really. I have just gone to breweries. Anytime we travel in BC or down to the States, I always try to go to as many as possible. It’s really fun, and you really get to the place where local people go — because breweries usually are a pretty quintessential local experience, I think.
B: So what is it about craft beer that attracts you?
A: I love trying different ones — any crazy experiments, like Superflux or Backcountry Brewing’s, but I also like staple beers. I like finding a good pale ale, or really good Pilsner.
B: Winning the contest, what has the experience given you?
A: Well, I got an amazing day with Tony from Fuggles & Warlock. He was making beer and I was basically watching him and turning a few knobs, and helping. I got some first-hand knowledge on how he does it in a big brewery. Part of the prize for this contest was a homebrew kit. I have it sitting in my living room — our apartment is pretty small so it’s just going to be beer in the living room. I haven’t used it yet, just because I know you need a whole day. I will have to do something about the temperature of the place because it can be unstable.
B: What type of beer did you make with Tony?
A: We made a Rye IPA. I can’t wait to try it.
B: What did you learn while you were there?
A: I learned lots of interesting facts about the history of beer. One of the interesting things was when Tony heard I was from Russia, he mentioned Imperial Stouts that originated because beer was being shipped to Russia. In order for it not to freeze, they increased the alcohol percentage. It became this thick, viscous, very heavy ABV beer. That’s why a lot of imperial stouts are named after Russian Emperors.
B: Were you surprised that you were making a Rye IPA?
A: Not really, I didn’t know what to expect. I’m glad we made something new because it was the first time that Tony was also trying this recipe so it was very exciting. The big difference in the process is in the beginning, when you are adding malt, you are also adding rye at that step.
B: In the experience at the brewery, what surprised you?
A: What surprised me at the brewery was how much cleaning contributes. The beer process is pretty straightforward. You follow the recipe, make sure the temperatures are right, move the beer from one tank to another — but the cleaning is a big part. The tanks were cleaned the day before by Tony and his assistant, Chris, so it was a lot easier for me to help them. I don’t know how they do it; I would like to see it.
B: Do you think homebrewing is something you will take on as a hobby?
A: I think so. I would love to brew my own beer and experiment with it too. Of course, that is a long way to go for me. I’m going to start with a pale ale and see how it goes.
B: If you have friends come to visit you from Russia where would you take them?
A: Definitely East Van. I love all the East Van breweries: Powell Brewery, Strange Fellows Brewing and Superflux. Strange Fellows is my go-to brewery. I find their core lineup so solid. Like whichever style you want. You want a wit beer, they have the Jongleur, which is amazing. You want an IPA, there’s Guardian — it’s so nice.
A: I just wanted to add that during that day brewing with Tony, I really enjoyed working with my hands — actually making a physical product versus my regular job where I am just on the computer the whole day. Eventually, I think I would love to have my own brewery. It’s something I talk to my friends about, but of course, it is a long way to go. Maybe someday I could have my own brewery.
B: Maybe you will end up at KPU taking the brewers course.
A: Yeah, I wouldn’t be too surprised! In the last couple of years, winning this contest was the single greatest thing that happened during the pandemic and it really kept me going. I found that I won in December of 2020, but we couldn’t do the brew together for a long time because of all the regulations.
At the beginning of December, the beer that Anastasia had helped brew was released. We met up at Fuggles & Warlock for the inaugural tasting. I asked Anastasia for her review of how the beer had turned out.
A: The first thing you notice about the beer is its beautiful amber colour. It looks like a rye ale! The first sip is primarily hops, and you can tell there’s more than one variety in it. Pine notes of Centennial hops stood out to me the most. I haven’t had too many rye beers before, and it was very different from other northwest IPAs, a little spicy and maltier. I noticed how it changed as it warmed up. Hops were dialled back and the depth of rye flavour came forward. It was also really smooth and creamy on the finish, which may be thanks to the new yeast that hasn’t been used at Fuggles & Warlock before this brew. The 7.3% ABV definitely sneaks under your radar and is a pleasant surprise.
The contest was sponsored by Tourism Richmond, BC Ale Trail, and Monkey 9 Brewing.
442 Squadron (7.3% ABV | 55 IBU) by Fuggles & Warlock and Monkey 9 is a Double Rye IPA. It is named in honour of the 1951 Royal Canadian Airforce Reserve Fighter Squadron that was based out of Sea Island (now YVR) flying de Havilland Vampire jets.
Available on tap at:
Anar Persian Cuisine
Fuggles & Warlock Tasting Room
Hog Shack Cookhouse
Hub Restaurant (New West)
Monkey 9 Brewpub
The Park Pub (Sands Hotel)
And at these liquor stores:
BC Liquor Store # 070 (Richmond Ironwood)
BC Liquor Store # 076 (Richmond Brighouse)
BC Liquor Store # 098 (Tsawwassen)
BC Liquor Store # 244 (Richmond Seafair)
Blundell Liquor Town
Clover Crossing LRS
Eldorado Liquor Store Kingsway
Eldorado Liquor Store Squamish
Everything Wine River District
Free Bird Beer, Wine & Spirit
The Landing Liquor Store
Lulu Island LRS
Sardis Liquor Store
Steveston Hotel LRS
Sunshine Hills LRS