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Who's CowDog? New brewery opening up in East Vancouver

"My friends tell me I make good beers so I thought I'd make a go of it."
A new brewery is opening in East Vancouver, B.C. in Callister's former space. CowDog Brew Co. hopes to open in March.

The space left behind by the Callister Brewing Company wasn't empty long.

CowDog Brew Company has already moved in.

The new brewery is essentially a one-man show, with owner and head brewer Michael Hodgson getting some help from his wife.

Some may recognize the CowDog brand; it has been active in the region for a few years as Hodgson was contract brewing out of Five Roads Brewing in Langley and selling kegs and cans in the area. But now he's going for it at 1338 Franklin St., taking over the brewery space and taproom Callister vacated at the end of 2023.

"Scary, absolutely terrifying," he says of striking out with his own space. "It's just, it's a lot more; you're at the mercy of a lot more outside organizations."

While he's hoping to open the doors to the taproom in early March, that depends on licensing coming through before hand.

The administration side of things may be a point of stress, but he's got plenty of brewing ideas. A generalist, Hodgson won't be focusing on particular styles and instead leaning on what people want to guide his creations.

"Right now I'm trying to find my way," Hodgson tells Vancouver Is Awesome. "I am going to be sending out questionnaires to my email list; they will have a say in the following weeks and months what I make."

"They're the ones that are going to pay the mortgage."

A navy veteran and his dog

While in the navy, Hodgson started making beer in Victoria in 2011 with a home brewing club. After a medical retirement forced him to leave the navy, he and his wife decided he should pursue brewing as a new career.

"My pension is not enough to live off of, so I had to think of something else to do," he says. "My friends tell me I make good beers so I thought I'd make a go of it."

His background isn't just a few years of home brewing; he's completed the two-year brewing program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and worked in some capacity at a few companies, including Moody Ales and Russell Brewing.

The name CowDog comes from the nickname for Louis, the rescue dog Hodgson adopted in 2015.

"He really is the basis for how I started maturing from being a young military guy," says Hodgson.

Once CowDog gets rolling he hopes to work both with rescue dog and veteran organizations.

"I know what it's like to have a dog that a really rough go," he says.

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