During my most recent trip to Vancouver Island, hyper-local Sooke Harbour House featured several beers from nearby breweries, including Category 12 Brewing. Michael Kuzyk brews in the agricultural hotbed of Saanichton and runs Category 12 with wife Karen, who leads branding and operations. Their blonde ale goes by Simplicity, but is hardly basic.
Karen later explained that Category 12 beer styles fall into two “families” – hoppy for Michael, and Belgian-inspired for her. She discussed the beer’s background and origin, saying, “Simplicity is the culmination of a beer originally brewed for a local pub’s anniversary event. Our cask (originally called our “Ancient Grain Spelt Saison”) was very well-received, and provided a delicious alternative to “entry-level” beers like pilsners and lagers. We felt that it had enough character that we, as a team, would proudly have it as part of our beer portfolio. In the taproom we often describe it as an amped-up version of Stella Artois: not too bitter, light, balanced, and pairs well with many foods and delicious on it’s own. With a lower alcohol content than many of our beers (and all wines, obviously), it’s been a solid seller throughout the year!”
To brew Simplicity, they stick with local sourcing for their certified organic Canadian spelt grain, milled in small batches from Anita’s Organic Mill in Chilliwack, B.C. I’m sure these types of practices help to produce fresh, high-quality beers, but during my dinner, I was more focused on how the golden, judiciously hopped ale beautifully paired with my salmon.