The last five years has seen a sharp rise in the number of Craft Breweries and Distilleries opening in Metro Vancouver, but one visionary man was busy concocting his own microbrews long before the locavore movement began trending. James Walton of Storm Brewing, located at 310 Commercial Drive, has been crafting small-batch beer for over two decades now. “Storm is the longest running independent craft brewery in the city of Vancouver,” shop manager Heather tells us enthusiastically. “That’s something we’re really proud of.” “James Walton is our owner and brewer, and he started it back in 1994 – way before the craft beer ‘revolution’ came about. I think he’s totally a pioneer, not only for Vancouver but the country,” Heather says. “He’s one of the first brewers to commercially brew sour beer in North America, like that’s amazing. He’s a living legend.” Heather been with the company since 2013, when Storm Brewing first opened their doors to the public. “When we started we had no idea if people were going to come in,” Heather says, “or if people were going to be into the fact that we’re an old working brewery. We don’t have a new fancy tasting room… everything is just a bit more gritty and East Van,” she continues with a laugh. “Now I’m here full-time, and it’s really exciting to see that kind of growth in just two years. James has done this completely independently, which is both amazing and completely rare.” When we ask Heather what it is she likes most about the no-fuss atmosphere of her job environment, she says it’s the down-to-earth vibe that resonates most with her. “I like that Storm makes craft beer really accessible to people,” Heather says. “We love talking about what we do here. There is no behind-the-scenes tour, everything is just laid out. When people first walk in there like right in the middle of what we’re doing, and there’s just no pretentiousness about it. We’re just happy to share what we’re doing with people, and I think that’s really exciting.” Heather’s also a dog lover, which means you’re more than welcome to bring by your pooch to their dog-friendly brewery for some cuddles. “We have a Dogs of Storm Instagram account,” Heather says with a big smile. “We’re sponsoring a weiner dog named Lenny for the upcoming weiner dog race at Hastings Racecourse. We’re so excited. Lenny is number one! Go Lenny!” With 4 mainstays and over 110 different ‘brainstorm’ brews rotated each week, there’s likely something for everyone at Storm. But you may be surprised to learn that the team only brews once per week. “We’re creative,” Heather explains, “and we use our mainstays as a base for our brainstorms. Because of the style of our keg, we can add in fresh ingredients, we juice things ourselves, make our own extracts, things like that.” Some of Heather’s stand-out favorites are Pineapple Pilsner, Basil IPA, and the Apple Pie Ale. “They mostly all work out,” she says. “There’s only been a couple where we’ve been like, ‘yeah, not making that one again!’” With a tight-knit team and a dog-friendly shop, it’s easy to see why Heather loves her job so much. “Storm is the kind of place where I’ve seen people make new friends. There’s a really great sense of community here. I’ll see people meet here, and then come back in together for beer the next week. That’s pretty cool.” Visit Storm Brewing’s website to learn more, and don’t forget to stay social on Twitter and Instagram.