The Barley Merchant's Tim LaHay Keeps His Guests Always Topped Up - WestCoastFood

By Brittany Tiplady

If you love BC craft beer and culture, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve heard the name Tim LaHay once or twice. LaHay is the BC and beer enthusiast behind the moniker @crafttourist, a digital ode to all things BC craft beer, spirits, cider, and scenery.
LaHay’s love of craft brews has amassed an engaged following of nearly 22,000, not including the readership on his blog. His account is dedicated to travel, hiking, and of course, BC craft beer.

“I’ve been a craft beer enthusiast for over 10 years now. The BC craft beer scene has really evolved as many people are aware, and it all started [for me] with a visit to a Winter Cask Festival at the Central City Brewpub in 2012. It opened my eyes to the amazing flavours that exist in the craft beer world,” shares LaHay in a phone interview.

“Working at the [Redwoods] Golf course, I had winters off basically and so we often went on vacation at that time of year. When we were travelling, we were hitting all craft beer destinations, and I called myself a professional ‘beer-cationist.’ We built entire itineraries around brewery tours and visiting tap houses like the one I own now. Our vacations were going for a hike in the day #earnyourbeer and then go drinking. I started blogging, and I created an online brand called the Craft Beer Tourist, creating beer itineraries and documenting my travels.”

While @crafttourist is still very much active, LaHay has his hands full managing his new taphouse, The Barley Merchant: a 210 seat tap house in Langley with an impressive, rotating lineup of 50 local craft beers and ciders and a full-fresh kitchen led by Chef Hiran Perera.

With over 30 years of restaurant experience under his belt, LaHay has become a beloved fixture in the Langley hospitality industry. It should come as no surprise that the Barley Merchant, after only officially opening this summer, is already a busy, bustling spot for Fraser Valley craft beer lovers.

“We’ve been open for four months, we’ve already poured over 190 different BC craft beers through our taps from over 60 breweries,” he says. “We’re on pace to tap over 500 different types of craft beers in our first year.”

When I asked LaHay what his favourite Metro Vancouver beers are at the moment, he let me know that favouritism isn’t his thing—he prefers to share his love equally.

“I always tell my staff, we don’t put beer on tap, we put people on tap. I can tell you a story about every single brewery, about all the people that I’ve met,” explains LaHay. “This is a level playing field for every brewery in BC. But, I can tell you a couple of the beers we have on tap right now.”

New and notable at the Barley Merchant:

  1. Old Yale Brewing– Himalayan Salted Caramel Porter (Chilliwack, BC)
  2. La Cerveceria Astilleros – Cara Cara Orange Safflower Blonde Ale (North Vancouver, BC)
  3. Locality Brewing--Vanilla Porter (Langley, BC)

Want to know more? Check out what’s pouring here.

The Barley Merchant Taproom & Kitchen is open 7 days week. Located at 20090 91a Ave Building B – Unit 101 in Langley BC, next to the Colossus Langley theatre. Learn more about Tim LaHay and his story here.

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