Perfection in a pint at Postmark Brewing

 

Postmark brewmaster Dominic Giraldes, and co-founder and managing director Nate Rayment. Dan Toulgoet photo

Postmark brewmaster Dominic Giraldes, and co-founder and managing director Nate Rayment. Dan Toulgoet photo

 

Postmark Brewing was the winner for Best Vancouver Craft Brewery category in Westender’s annual Best Of The City: Dining readers’ choice poll. Here’s a profile I did on this great little brewery. Check out the full results here.

 

It’s been little more than two years since Postmark Brewing opened its massive wooden doors in Railtown, but already the fledgling craft brewery has seen some big changes.

Chief among them has been the arrival of Dominic Giraldes, who took over brewing operations close to a year ago. Recipes changed, practices changed, and soon the entire culture of the brewery changed, says Postmark co-founder Nate Rayment.

“It was a big transition, for sure,” he says. “In many respects it was like starting all over again.”

And those changes have certainly proved to be positive ones. In the past year, Postmark’s business has more than doubled. Postmark brought home its first-ever gold medal at the 2016 Canadian Brewing Awards for its Postmark Stout, as well as silver at the recent BC Beer Awards for Postmark Blonde. And beer-savvy Vancouverites have clearly taken notice, as evidenced by Postmark’s first-place win in Westender’s readers’ choice poll for Best Brewery.

“We’ve grown immensely since Dom started,” says Rayment. “It’s been a great year for us.”

Originally from Northern California, Giraldes moved north 20 years ago to pursue his love of canoeing, of all things. The longtime homebrewer decided to leave his career in physiotherapy a decade ago and pursue the dream of brewing professionally after what he calls his “mid-life-crisis moment.” Giraldes studied at the American Beer Institute in Vermont and interned with Oregon craft beer pioneer Deschutes before returning to Canada to brew at the now-defunct Taylor’s Crossing Brewpub in North Vancouver, and then Central City.

When it comes to Giraldes’ brewing philosophy, he says balance and drinkability are first and foremost.

“Our beers are sessionable and food-friendly,” he says. “I follow the four-pint rule: the fourth pint should taste as good as the first.”

Postmark’s beers are indeed approachable and exceptionally well-balanced. While other breweries seem content to jump on the latest trend and release all manner of weirdness in the name of creative expression, Giraldes is more concerned with creating perfect examples of traditional styles. Postmark’s beers are not risky, but they are sublime, and in that sense, they are unique.

Part of the reason for Giraldes’ approach is that, unlike other craft breweries, Postmark boasts an attached high-end restaurant, Belgard Kitchen.
“The biggest thing that I try to do is not make any one thing overpowering in the beer,” he says. “It needs to be subtle, even the IPA, so it can be paired with food.”

One year and 30 new recipes into his tenure at Postmark, Giraldes says he’s finally starting to feel settled.

“I’m really liking our beers,” he admits, modestly, “but I just want to make them a little bit better.”

That dogged perfectionism is apparent in the beer he brews, a result of his kaizen-esque approach to brewing: Giraldes even has his own rating system that he applies to his beers, and rarely praises his own work.

“Dom is the most critical person of his beer,” says Rayment. “Without a doubt.”

Looking forward, Giraldes says he would like to introduce a barrel-aging program and expand into sour beers.

“I think we’ll start playing with things outside the box,” he says.