East Vancouver brewery tour: 10 must-see spots for craft beer fans
Recently Yellow Pages launched an article promoting the craft breweries of Yeast Van, one of our favourite brewing districts in town. When they went looking for advice and tips for first timers on how to visit the breweries in the area, they interviewed our very own VBT Owner Ryan Mackey!
See the article by Megan Jones on the Yellow Pages site entitled East Vancouver Brewery Tour, or keep reading below!
From the Yellow Pages Website:
Visitors have historically flocked to Vancouver for its gorgeous natural parks, beaches and ski hills. But more recently – thanks to the city’s flourishing craft beer scene – one can add a tour of a local brewery to the must-see list. “Vancouver has experienced an explosion of new craft breweries since 2012,” explains Ryan Mackey, owner of Vancouver Brewery Tours, which takes guests on inspired, informative journeys to the city’s breweries. Many of Vancouver’s most popular breweries have congregated on the city’s east side, in neighbourhoods such as Mount Pleasant and Hastings-Sunrise, where industrial-chic buildings abound and dense pockets of breweries support and encourage one another – hence the district’s latest nickname, Yeast Van.
“East Van is by far our largest brewing district with 10 craft breweries and more on their way,” Ryan explains. “You can sample many beer styles in a short time without travelling far between stops,” he continues. So, next time you’re in the city, head to East Van for a well-deserved tour of the area’s finest breweries. [Photo credit: Vancouver Brewery Tours]
1. Doan’s Craft Brewing Company
Start your brewery tour in eclectic Hastings-Sunrise with a little-known local favourite, Doan’s Craft Brewing. Doan’s was started by three university friends who began brewing in their apartment, and later opened their own brewery and tasting room. Offering four German-style beers, Doan’s is the place to go if you love gaming: the intimate tasting room offers tabletop and arcade games to enjoy with your beer and vegan/vegetarian snacks. Artwork by local illustrator Ola Vola adorns the walls in this whimsical, wonderful brewery; it’s an ideal spot for nerdy-types and beer fans from all walks of life.
2. Storm Brewing
For a highly unique beer, Ryan suggests the Imperial Flanders Sour Ale at Storm Brewing, an outfit much older than others in the area (in operation since 1994, to be exact) that uniquely lacks a tasting room, chairs, tables or food. Rather, visitors sip samples right in the thick of the action (the brewing room itself) by donation or free of charge. Storm’s beers are stocked at bars throughout East Vancouver including Alibi Room, The Brickhouse and The Foundation
3. Callister Brewing
According to Ryan, “Vancouver’s craft beer scene is very supportive and collaborative,” and this one-of-a-kind brewery encapsulates that indestructible community spirit. A co-working brewery, Callister offers independent brewers the tools and commercial facilities necessary to grow their business, without having to set up shop themselves. Between the four brewers represented – Callister, Boombox, Lightheart and Real Cask – the cozy tasting room in Hastings-Sunrise offers more than 10 beers on tap most days of the week.
4. 33 Acres Brewing Company
This ultra-minimalist brewery and tasting room/café is appropriately located in the heart of Mount Pleasant, home to Vancouver’s booming tech, architecture and design industry. Most evenings, 33 Acres is packed with creative-types, who love the brewery’s smooth ambience and beers with creative names – such as 33 Acres of Sunshine and 33 Acres of Nirvana, two beers that get lots of play in this tight-knit community. Gourmet menu items range from in-house roasted pear salad to hot pizza from rotating food trucks out front.
5. Brassneck Brewery
Another popular Mount Pleasant spot, this wedge-shaped brewery and tasting room is less minimal, more Twin Peaks of the future, with its geometric wood paneling, live-edge bar and industrial fixtures. Brassneck‘s tasting flights are especially divine, and well priced at under ten bucks, and growler fills are a reasonable $12 per litre (and that includes the stylish growler). Taps change regularly, which means you’ll never have the same experience twice.
6. Strathcona Beer Company
Once upon a time, a group of 10 friends – who bonded over a love of craft beer and Vancouver’s Strathcona neighbourhood – opened their own brewery in the historic residential area. Strathcona Beer Company‘s four in-house beers – IPA, Belgian Ale, Mild and Seasonal – are excellent and even award-winning, but it’s the brewery’s location that really turns heads: this 12,000-square-foot building constructed in 2016 offers a 67-seat tasting room, gourmet pizza kitchen, and retail area for apparel and brand collaborations.
7. Red Truck Beer Company
The grandfather of Yeast Van, Red Truck Beer Company dates back to 1946, when its founder, Weird Arnold named the brewery after his first vehicle, a 1946 Dodge truck, which he used to transport kegs to the Minor League baseball stadium. Today, the company supplies hundreds of liquor stores, bars and restaurants across the country, and operates weekend tours and tastings at its impressive brewery in Mount Pleasant. The on-site Truck Stop Diner offers all-day beers and food as well as nightly entertainment.
8. Parallel 49 Brewing Co.
This brewery’s story all started with three friends who grew up in East Vancouver, just blocks away from where the brewery now stands just off Victoria Drive. Parallel 49‘s tasting room is open from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm each day – a good thing, too, because prices are excellent. For example, enjoy a 4 oz. glass for just a buck, 12 oz. for three, and four 4 oz. glasses for just four dollars in total. Now, that’s a delicious deal!
9. Strange Fellows Brewing Company
Taking inspiration from the Old World brewers, Strange Fellows’ barrel program provides aged beers and plenty of sour beers that suit those who adore traditional flavours. Depending on the day, you’ll find about seven packaged beers in the cooler, and just as many on tap in a tasting room that also offers locally-sourced snacks and meals. Around the corner, the brewery’s Charles Clark Gallery shares rotating exhibitions from local artists.
10. Postmark Brewing
Postmark Brewing takes inspiration from rugged West Coast lifestyles to produce traditional beers with surprising twists born of collaborations with local groups. Take, for instance, the Oyster Stout: connecting with Fanny Bay Oysters, Postmark added their oyster shells to the boil of this traditional stout beer, gifting it with a delicious, briny flavour. Postmark’s spacious Railtown tasting room offers unique beers, comfort food, and an upbeat, social atmosphere that will entertain for hours.
- Plan ahead. “If you’re looking for someone else to the driving and planning, then one of our popular Vancouver Brewery Tours is a great way to get introduced to our craft beer scene. Alternatively, check out Beer Me BC for a list of breweries in the area, and plan your own walking adventure.”
- Avoid peak times. “If you arrive at peak times [weekend evenings] you may have to wait in line. So don’t expect to roll in with a large group on a Saturday evening!”
- Expand your horizons. “Most importantly, keep an open mind and try something new!”