The newest brewery in Kamloops hasn’t even officially announced that they are open, but they are already flooded with customers.
According to co-owner and brewer Bryan Craig, staff have been pleasantly overwhelmed with the volume of customers coming in during the first three days of business, despite not even having a grand opening celebration yet.
“Without announcing, we’re still having some pretty big wait times at dinner so I think doing any kind of grand opening in the next couple of weeks could cause a bit of a problem for the kitchen and our customers,” Craig says.
Bright Eye Brewing is a two-storey space with big windows opening on to Tranquille Road, and the owners took advantage of the big space while creating the restaurant.
“We had a lot of time to develop the space and we did everything ourselves in there, we built it from the ground up and we came up with ideas over time,” Craig says. “It kind of just came out the way it did and were all pretty excited with how everything turned out.”
Some of the decor includes a refurbished Mini Cooper, a mural by local artist Kelly Wright and live tree in the centre of the dining area.
“(The tree) kind of just happened naturally, we have the big two-story space with all windows and a lot of natural daylight,” Craig says.
The idea for Bright Eye brewing came about when Craig and the other brewer, Tyler Windsor, were disappointed with the craft beer choices in Kamloops.”
“It all started in myself and Ty’s garage, we're big craft beer nerds, and we decided to start making it ourselves because there wasn’t great selection in the liquor stores in Kamloops six or seven years ago,” Craig says. “We decided we eventually wanted to do it for a living so we created the Instagram to create a backstory so people could follow us along on the journey.”
The pair created beers in their garage and took inspiration from some of their favourite dishes, and were supported by friends and family who donated to the craft beer cause.
“We got pretty creative, there was a curry pineapple hefeweizen at one point,” Craig says. “We had enough friends and neighbours that would pitch in on all the ingredients so that we could keep brewing every weekend and keep learning so we could eventually open up our own place.”
Now, the pair use their creative take on beer creation and the experience gained over the years to create an ever-changing tap list.
“Everything on the menu was stuff that we brewed at home over the years,” Craig says. “A lot of the recipes that I make are culinary-focused and inspired. If I eat something I really enjoy I try to find ways to incorporate those flavours into a beer, same with cocktails.”
The two brewers were friends with Mitch Forgie, and then met Richard Marken, who became the fourth and final piece of the partnership.
Some of the most popular beers at sold within the first few days of business include the Hazy I.P.A. and the Strawberry Milkshake I.P.A., but Craig says the fastest moving has been their Raspberry Stout. With great beer must come great food, and Craig says their head chef has been delivering unique, delicious recipes.
“We also have a pretty diverse menu that we opened up with meals that are inspired from Indian dishes, Vietnamese, Japanese, cajun, it’s pretty unique. Our head chef Sterling Lamarsh is hitting it out of the park right now, he’s a culinary mastermind,” Craig says.
Lamarsh will continue to test and create new dishes, and Craig expects new additions to the menu every season. There is no flagship beers at Bright Eye, and Craig says what sets them apart is their constantly rotating taps. The restaurant employs about 50 part-time servers, bartenders, and back of house staff, and Craig says they will wait until the New Year to have their grand opening and put on events.
You can try Bright Eye for yourself by visiting them at 292 Tranquille Road.
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