Fahr Beer may be locally made in Canada, but the method and taste borrow from hundreds of years of German brewing
“It takes nerdiness to make our Hefe,” says Jochen Fahr, founder and owner of Fahr Beer, who in 2011 first brewed his Bavarian-style Hefeweizen beer. “Nearly ten years later, it would be crowned the best in the world.”
Jochen’s upbringing in Germany sparked his lifelong passion for brewing. His father worked for the Fürstenberg Brewery in Donaueschingen, Bavaria, and as a child, Jochen recalls, “I would ride in the beer trucks on their delivery runs.” Some of his earliest memories occurred in the Fürstenberg warehouse. “I would walk barefoot beside the barrels; I couldn’t grasp the scale,” he says.
After being accepted to do a Biomedical Engineering PhD at the University of Calgary, Jochen relocated to Canada. “None of the beers there reminded me of home,” he says. “Even the imports didn’t taste quite right.” Unwilling to accept this, he began brewing for himself. It proved fortuitous – by the final year of his PhD, he had created a beer that won best in show at a beer festival.
Jochen went on to work at a biotech company until 2015, when a simple conversation started the story of Fahr Beer. “One of my personal advisers told me, ‘You’ve been talking about starting a brewery for years – if you don’t do it now, you never will’.” Jochen heeded the advice. He left biotech and opened a brewery in Turner Valley, Alberta.
Fahr Beer adheres to the German Reinheitsgebot, or purity law, a provision that stretches back over 500 years. It requires that barley, hops, water and yeast are the only ingredients used to make beer, with no preservatives or additives. “This limitation forces you to focus on what matters: craftsmanship and technique.”
It was the adherence to these principles that saw Fahr Beer’s ‘Hefe’ win that Best Hefeweizen in the World title. “After a German newspaper ran the story of the award,” says Jochen, “we were sold out for the next two months.”
Fahr Beer has continued to invest in the future, with work beginning on a carbon negative brewery. However, the company is still focused on the craft of making “beer-flavoured beer” while maintaining its signature “balance”. “Like a luxury car,” explains Jochen, “the interior has to match the bodywork.”