Canadian craft beer hits the spot


A recent trip to Vancouver was full of surprises. Great food, lovely people but more importantly amazing craft beer.

For a city that’s half the size of Birmingham it’s blessed with 16 craft beer breweries. So when in craft beer heaven it’d be rude not get a taste for the city.

Where to start? On a recommendation from a bartender in Gas Town we headed from downtown to East Vancouver AKA brewery central.

Vancouver East Village Flags

Welcome to East Van

Our cab pulled up on Commercial Drive, a pretty industrial part of the city. Not entirely convinced about what beer we were going to find we made our way to our first destination, Storm Brewery.

Storm Craft Brewery Vancouver

Storm Brewery in all it’s glory

What we found inside (besides a few flies) was the Willy Wonka of the craft beer world with a menu of weird and wonderful beer.

These guys were apparently the first micro-brewery in Vancouver setting up shop back in the early 90s. Their tasting set up is pretty basic – an old couch dumped in the middle of the brewery, beer spilling out all over the floor and Mr. Wonka perched on a rickety old ladder slurping his latest concoctions.

Inside Storm Craft Brewery, Vanvcouver

James Walton brewing up his latest concoction

Owner James Walton is an experimental brewer, not only with flavours but also his method of brewing. Take old Pepsi canisters, fill them with the base beer and then shove in whatever flavours take your fancy. Dusty shelves around the brewery held jars of potions ready to make the next concoction.

Inside Storm Craft Brewery Vancouver

Ingredients lined up ready for Storm’s next creative craft beer

Our favourite beer from Storm was the vanilla whisky stout, we honoured it with our ‘Wild Card’ award.

Storm Craft Brewery Beer Menu

The extensive beer menu at Storm Brewery

After three decent sized samples we were starting to feel a little merry. Time to walk it off and find our next watering hole.

The lovely lady who served us at Storm gave us a handy craft brewery map and recommended the other breweries we should try.

Vancouver East Village Craft Beer Map

Our handy guide to the best breweries in East Van.

Next on the map was Powell Street Craft Brewery my favourite of the day. Despite only setting up in 2012 they have a pretty sophisticated looking operation. And from tasting their beers I can see why they’ve grown so quickly.

Inside Powell Street Brewery

Inside Powell Street Brewery, shiny equipment making the freshest beers.

We purchase two flights which covered off all the styles of beer they brew and boy were they good.

Powell Street Craft Brewery Tap house beer flight Vancouver

Beautiful flight of beer from Powell Street Brewery

As we were supping our way through the various styles we observed a few locals coming into ‘fill up their growlers’. For reference a growler is the glass bottle used to sell take-away beer.

Powell Street Craft Brewery Vancouver Grab a Growler

Come on in and grab your growler. Never get tired of saying that.

The beer-dispensing unit is a real innovation for the nano and micro brewers. Customers bring in their pre-cleaned growler, select their desired beer and let the machine do the rest. Powell Street Brewery used the Pegas CrafTap that sucks out all C02 and re-fills with beer from the keg with no foam.

Powell Street Craft Brewery Vancouver Pegasus Growler Refill Machine

Clever growler refill machine.

Our favourite beers from PSCB were the Citra, Hopdeminium IPA and the Jalopy Pale Ale. I’m pleased to see Jalopy has won some Canadian beer awards already.

Powell Street Craft Brewery Vancouver Beer List

A faultless line up

The third stop on our tour was Bomber Brewery. Another cool looking industrial unit with a great viewing window into the brewery itself.

Bomber Brewery Vancouver Clarity Comms Social Media Agency Birmingham

Nailing the cool craft brewery logo design

 

Again we ordered two flights which took us through all the beers on the menu. Although not my favourite of the breweries I was extremely impressed with the beer fridge and the view from the bar…

View behind the bar of Bomber Craft Brewer

View while the brew

Bomber Craft Brewery Beer Fridge

Someone went a little OCD when stacking the fridge. Looks great though.

And finally we rounded off the afternoon with Off The Rails brewery, one of the newest kids on the block. So new in fact they don’t officially have a license to sell beer to the public but are allowed to sell a limited number of samples.

Off The Rails Craft Brewery Vancouver

Cool branding and some fine beers from a fairly new brewery on the block

For a Tuesday afternoon the small tap room was pleasantly busy with cool Vancouverites.

We supped our way through the flights and found a real gem. The Smoked Porter was an absolute treat.

Off The Rails Craft Brewery Vancouver

The smoked porter was so good I drank it before I could take a picture. But these beers were pretty good too.

All in all we were thoroughly impressed with quality and accessibility of craft beer in Vancouver. Small brewers showing off some great skill and opening up their operations to the public. It just shows you don’t need to have huge budgets to connect with local customers. Good beer, small sampling rooms and take away facilities bring a new dimension to drinking, something which we should look to emulate in the UK.

Cheers!

 

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