Field House Brewing Co
By Tracey Rayson

Community roots

Abbotsford hasn't always been on people's radar. For years it was more likely in their rearview, merely a jumping off point to exciting destinations out of Abbotsford. But thanks in part to startups like Field House Brewing Co., founder and owner Josh Vanderheide is helping make Abby its own exciting destination.

"I recently moved from Vancouver back to Abbotsford, where I grew up, and saw a town with great people and so much potential, but not a lot of really unique experiences," he recalls. "I opened Field House in January 2016 to bring something new, fresh and inspiring. We started this business to address some key needs of the community, which meant being a place for everybody: where kids felt welcome, for guys after work and for couples on dates. We created different ways for different people to experience the business."

Josh became passionate about the industry while running a design studio in Vancouver that worked with craft brewery clients. He was exposed to an industry based on camaraderie, creativity and community, and was strongly influenced by the collaboration between the breweries. "I saw people helping each other out; I really loved that about the industry."

If we have the ability to affect Abbotsford in a positive way and be a voice in this community for change, that's something we can be really proud of. - Josh Vanderheide, founder/owner
The fox in the company logo reveals how the business sees itself against big breweries, small but clever, creative and resourceful. Photo courtesy of Field House Brewing Co.

Farm-fresh food

Josh reveals that the Field House name was meant to honour the roots of Abbotsford, which was built on an agricultural community. "We thought, you know, when you work a long hot day in the field, you head back to the field house for a great beer and some good food because you earned it."

It's the same cycle that plays out to this day. "We just started the Farm Co-op Project with JJ Mills Farm; our staff farms the land from scratch, planting hops and vegetables," says Josh. "We work in the field and have beers at Field House Brewing Co. afterwards. When we bring new staff on, we tell the field story and why we started this business. It's come full circle, because we're actually living it out."

The Field House tasting room seats 30 and includes a communal table and a wood-burning fireplace.
The Field House tasting room seats 30 and includes a communal table and a wood-burning fireplace. Photo courtesy of Field House Brewing Co.

The farm-fresh vegetables end up in the carefully considered menu at the Field House Canteen, under the creative hand of chef Bonnie Friesen. Her strong relationships with local purveyors and her first-rate reputation in the Fraser Valley for farm-to-table cuisine is evident in the quality seasonal dishes, which she creates in-house from scratch. "From our pizza dough, down to every sauce, everything is prepped on site. There's nothing frozen or prepackaged," says Josh. "We control all those flavour profiles; it's something we're really passionate about."

Enjoy a jar of Field House craft beer from one of their 10 taps, a glass of local wine, or Sunday Cider, Vancouver's first craft cider company.
Enjoy a jar of Field House craft beer from one of their 10 taps, a glass of local wine, or Sunday Cider, Vancouver's first craft cider company. Photo courtesy of Field House Brewing Co.

Craft beer culture

Josh likens craft beer to wine culture, where it's about creativity and pairings. "It's about having two really great, interesting beers that pair well with food or align with your mood and experience," says Josh. "That's more what we're excited about."

Field House Brewing Co. has 10 taps with four core beers available year-round, which cross the spectrum: dark beer, sour beer, classic pale ale and IPA. They also produce a lot of wild beers, using wild yeasts that produce unpredictable and unique flavours. Other taps include limited releases and seasonal batches, plus an adventure tap, where they experiment with new flavours and new ideas. "Every week we have one or two new beers coming out," explains Josh. "They're small, limited batches, but we get to have some fun trying new techniques and styles to see what we want to create on a large scale."

Sample your choice of any four Field House craft beers with a tasting flight.
Sample your choice of any four Field House craft beers with a tasting flight. Photo courtesy of Field House Brewing Co.

Crafting good beer, providing new experiences and working collaboratively with other independently-owned and operated businesses to drive change in the community is the backbone of Field House Brewing Co. "If we have the ability to affect Abbotsford in a positive way and be a voice in this community for change," says Josh, "that's something we can be really proud of."

[Header photo courtesy of Field House Brewing Co.]

Field House's fully licensed 3,000-square-foot outdoor beer lawn is family-friendly and the second of its kind in B.C.
Field House's fully licensed 3,000-square-foot outdoor beer lawn is family-friendly and the second of it’s kind in B.C. Photo courtesy of Field House Brewing Co.
Close menu