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Tank heist didn’t stop Port Coquitlam brewery from opening its new taproom in time for summer

Thieves stole two massive tanks last October, but the owner and manager of Boardwalk Brewing said the theft was just a 'hiccup' as it opens its taproom and restaurant in Port Coquitlam's up and coming Dominion Triangle neighbourhood
Phil Saxe Boardwalk Brewing
Phil Saxe, owner manager of Boarwalk Brewing in Port Coquitlam.

Nine shiny beer-making tanks stand proudly in a new brewery and restaurant that opened this month in Port Coquitlam’s Dominion Triangle district.

And a 10th is on its way to replace one that was damaged in a heist of two one-tonne fermenters, which were snatched from a parking lot last fall and taken to a scrap yard.

Owner-operator Phil Saxe said the theft was a headache but it didn’t do much to delay the opening of the large facility at 2155-575 Seaborne Ave. that can host up to 50 people for fresh suds as well as Southern California-style meals.

One of the beer tanks was so badly damaged it had to be replaced; the other was repaired and has already been installed. 

“It was just more of a hiccup and a really stressful week,” said Saxe, a longtime restaurant professional.

Saxe told the Tri-City News it’s been a dream of his to open a restaurant bar, and when some partners involved in Vancouver’s Electric Bicycle Brewery asked him to come on board, he jumped at the chance.

Port Coquitlam was picked because Saxe and his partners saw the area near the growing Fremont Village as “an up-and-coming neighbourhood.”

They’ve spent several months getting the space ready and obtain the approvals.

On the day the Tri-City News visited, people were flocking to the place just as it opened at 3 p.m. on a Friday.

“We just wanted to check it out,” said one resident, who also teaches locally, and dropped by for lunch with his wife.

Port Coquitlam may be the biggest brew town in the Lower Mainland.

Another brewery that opened up during the COVID-19 pandemic is PoCo Brothers Brewing at the Cat and Fiddle Pub, located at 1979 Brown Street.

Starting operations in November, 2020, it now has 11 beers on tap, under head brewer Rick Dellow. (On tap are a Fraser Valley honey ale, a hazy IPA, a Belgian pale ale, a citrus radler, a blueberry radler, a Vancouver-style cream ale, a peach sour and a low-alcohol Ultra lager).

The two new PoCo breweries brings to seven the number of local craft alcohol establishments in Port Coquitlam: Tinhouse, Taylight, North Paw, Patina and Provincial Spirits.

Recently, the city removed restrictions on the size of patios as long as operators stick to their provincially legislated occupancy maximums.

Boardwalk Brewing doesn’t have a patio set up yet, but is currently working with municipal staff, Saxe said.

As for the brewery tap room that opened on July 9, it serves four beers on tap, including Falling Backwards West Coast Pale Ale, Superbloom Hazy Norwegian IPA, Dance Dance Dance American Lager and A Weak Heart Hazy Pale Ale.

Saxe said the brewmaster, Darcy Parks, has a lot of experience with the goal of making “broad spectrum” beers that are “very accessible.”

A food menu is also on offer, including tacos, salads, rice bowls and shared plates. “We want to create a very inclusive space, with a neighbourly, upbeat and lively atmosphere,” he said.