9 Breweries Revitalizing Vancouver’s Craft Beer Scene
There’s never been a more interesting time to do a Vancouver beer crawl, sampling everything from barrel-aged sours to wild yeast hybrid brews.
By Just Beer Community Collection on Jun. 13, 2017
Over the past few years, Vancouver has gone through a beautiful (and weird) craft beer renaissance. Thanks to new breweries popping up across the city, creating micro-beer districts like Yeast Van and Brewery Creek, there’s never been a more interesting time to do a Vancouver beer crawl, sampling everything from barrel-aged sours to wild yeast hybrid brews.
Opened by father-son duo Brian and Josh Michnik in 2013, 33 Acres Brewing Co. has quickly become one of the city’s most popular breweries, inadvertently beginning one of Vancouver’s most famous craft beer districts: Brewery Creek. Housed in a small converted storefront, this beautifully minimalist brewery serves up ice-cold pints, bottles and growlers of small-batch beers like their West Coast-style pale ale, 33 Acres of Ocean, or their beautifully grassy Indian sessions, 33 Acres of Echo. Besides a great menu for brunch and late-night noshing, you can also find rotating food trucks parked outside, depending on the day. Want to bring your kids along? They’re totally allowed.
While Brassneck Brewery makes a range of delicious beers worth checking out at their rustic, industrial space on Main Street, what sets them apart is their experimental small-batch stuff. Check the rotating chalkboard for little-seen styles and taste their latest experiments, like the tart Viognier Changeling made with grape must, for example. Because production is so small, you’ll likely have to head to the tasting room to give yourself a try. Luckily there’s a growler shop, as well, so you can take some to go just as easily.
This brand-new tasting room from one of Vancouver’s favorite craft beers is finally back after a six-month hiatus, and the city’s beer nerds couldn’t be happier. Like pop stars reinventing themselves, Parallel 49 decided to go big or go home, crafting a tasting room with 40 beers on tap, including their hoppy, grapefruit-riddled Wobbly Pop and their Filthy Dirty IPA. Oh, and they literally brought a food truck inside the building, so you can snack on steamed pork baos and corn dogs while you imbibe.
Old-school tradition meets West Coast style at East Van’s Strange Fellows Brewing. While some of their more notable beers include the Guardian White IPA and the wonderfully punny Czarcasm Russian Imperial Session Ale, what Strange Fellows does best are their unique, barrel-aged sour beers. The brewery hosts the Charles Clark Gallery, too, so you can take in some rotating local art alongside your tasting flight.
You can’t celebrate the newcomers without paying tribute to the OGs that set the scene for the rest to follow—for the Vancouver craft beer scene, that means R&B Brewing. Operating since 1997, R&B is just as relevant and beloved in the craft beer scene today as the day it opened its doors. With beers named after things that would make a local smirk knowingly—like the Dude Chilling Pale Ale or the Stolen Bike European-style lager with bright hops—drinking at R&B is like getting a drinkable lesson in Vancouver.
One of the newer kids to join Vancouver’s burgeoning “Yeast Van” brewery district on the east side, Luppolo is just as much about community-centric hospitality as it is about making good beer. Named after the Italian word for hops, Luppolo offers a selection of eight beers rotating on tap, so there’s always something new and different to try. From mixed fermentation batches to brews made with wild yeast and bacterial strains, Luppolo has something unique for all palates.
This small, graffiti-covered, cinder-block building off Commercial Drive is strictly about the beer. There are no pints, no flights and no food—just really, really good beer. Led by brewer James Walton, one of Canada’s most renowned, straight-up punk-rock beer makers, Storm’s claim to fame is the over 200 different unfiltered, unpasteurized “brainstorm” brews they’ve made. The beers are never bottled or canned, and no matter what they happen to have written on the chalkboard that day, we can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
This small tasting room found along the Adnac bike route is a must-visit when touring Vancouver’s beer scene, for the beer as much as for the story (but mainly for the beer.) Some guys who played on a hockey team called “the Bombers” convinced one of their teammates who made a bangin’ home brew to open a brewery. Next thing you know, Bomber Brewing was born. Hockey to craft beer? It doesn’t get more B.C. than that.
Housed inside an industrial heritage brewery garage from 1913, Main Street Brewery is equal parts approachable and satisfying. The perfect place to spend an afternoon with a tasting flight, Main Street offers perfectly executed beers that won’t necessarily challenge your palette, but they will make you realize how delicious a straightforward style, like their Naked Fox IPA, can be when done properly.
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