Dave Paul, owner and brewer of Love Shack Libations, with some of his creations. Paul opened the business, which is located in Qualicum Beach, last February. — Adam Kveton photo

A small Qualicum brewery doing its darndest to stay small

Love Shack Libations a one-man show, but getting plenty of attention

You walk into the back room (which is also the brewing room, the bar, storage, etc.) and you step up to an odd-shaped log on wheels.

Cut in half, the sanded-down, twisted trunk is the bar table, and your barman is the carpenter, owner and brewer himself – Dave Paul. And that’s just the way he likes it.

Paul is a newcomer to the commercial brewing scene, having opened up Love Shack Libations last February.

Like his bar table, his story of starting the business is quirky and homemade but sprinkled with help from people who know a thing or two about a thing or two.

Paul and his family moved to the Island in 2005. They’d gotten a piece of land from Paul’s mother-in-law and her partner. The plan was for the small family of three – their daughter just nine months old – to tent until Paul could knock together a 9 foot by 15 foot shack for them to live in (until he could build the proper house).

If you’re assuming Paul is a carpenter by trade, you’d be wrong.

But, despite their month in a tent being one of the wettest in recent memory, it worked out with some help from family and friends.

A waiter/bartender of 28 years, Paul began brewing after his mother-in-law gave him a kit.

A lover of beer, Paul found he loved the process as well, and rather enjoyed what he was making so he built his whole all-grain system about two years ago.

Paul said he found making beer easy and made kits for years.

“I thought, ‘Well, this is really good beer’ and then two years ago I built my first all-grain system,” he said.

He said he realized before that he wasn’t making good beer, but just drinkable beer.

“I likened it to before I was making Betty Crocker cake mixes and then all of a sudden I was making Martha Stewart angel food cake and then I realized there’s a whole world of cakes out there and then I just got carried away.”

Paul said every time he brews at home, he wonders what he can brew next or how he can brew better.

“It’s still like that. Every time I brew I think when can I make another batch?”

After tasting for the first time what would become his signature brew (Dave Paul Ale, or D.P.A.), it was his wife who suggested he should start a brewery.

Yes, the women in Paul’s life are great, he said, including his daughter, now 13 who helps out at the business as well.

Paul opened Love Shack Libations (naming the business after the shack he built to get out of that wet tent) and has since gotten plenty of attention.

Paul said he enjoys the process of brewing.

“You taste all these beers and you’re like, ‘Wow.’ Beer is four ingredients; it’s only four ingredients and yet, there’s how many different flavours and combinations you can come up with is incredible,” he said.

But, he said, if the water is different or the temperature is different, the beer will come out completely different.

“It’s just that whole process of something so simple can create something so amazing and taste great — not always, but most of them taste great most of the time. There’s no bad beers, but beer that’s better than others.”

From social media and word of mouth, word eventually got out about the brewery that’s open for tastings eight hours a week.

Now, it’s often visitors from the mainland, and not their parents who live nearby, that suggest they go check out the brewery, he said.

Paul brews four mainstay beers and four experiments. His beer is available in seven local restaurants.

Love Shack Libations, #1-4134 Island Highway W. in Qualicum Beach, is open Sunday-Tuesday, Thursday and Friday by appointment only, Wednesday from 5- p.m. and Saturday from 12-4 p.m.

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