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Vancouver Updates

Discuss beer travel and regional information, including the best bars and places to check out around in Canada and around the world, and other chat that is not specific to Ontario.

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Provost Drunk
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Post by Provost Drunk »

seangm wrote: Thu Oct 06, 2022 10:26 am I'll be in Vancouver early November, so I'll be sure to update this thread. Superflux is on my radar, but apart from that I don't know too much about Vancouver breweries (apart from the big ones). I also think we'll be in North Van most of the time, just a quick trip to visit family. Curious if any of the breweries on that side the harbour are must tries.
Not a brewery, but if you have any interest in gin, amaro or cocktails, then I would say that The Woods Spirit Co. is a must try. All of their products are excellent and their Chiaro Amaro is truly unqiue and special. It is now a permanent fixture in my home bar. Just a block over from Woods is another distillery, Sons of Vancouver. SOV gets more local hype than Woods and while both are worth a visit, Woods would be my priority if I could visit one.

Bridge Brewing and Wildeye Brewing are both in North Van and just a short walk from Woods/SOV. I thought both were pretty mediocre.

Most of the brewieries are concentrated in East Vancouver, not far from Superflux, which can make for a nice brwery crawl. Superflux was far and away the best of the bunch for me, with Luppolo as the only other really standout. Strange Fellows does some adventerous stuff, although not all of it was too my liking. Bomber and Container were in that average camp for me.

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Tapsucker
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Post by Tapsucker »

I have had a soft spot for 33 Acres on 8th Ave. W. They have a nice simple and social taproom with good beers. Next door is their "separate" experimental operation. Some interesting things have come out of there.

They do the rotating food truck thing out front for food.


I recall being told there is a brewpub at or near Lonsdale Quay, but I have no further information or recommendation.
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Cass
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Post by Cass »

Tapsucker wrote: Tue Oct 11, 2022 6:18 pm I have had a soft spot for 33 Acres on 8th Ave. W. They have a nice simple and social taproom with good beers. Next door is their "separate" experimental operation. Some interesting things have come out of there.
I also remember quite liking 33 Acres when I was there for a biz trip a couple of years ago (probably 2018). There was a bunch of stuff around there.

I believe it was reported that 33 Acres was going to open up a taproom in Toronto, I wonder whatever happened with that.

Edit: it was reported, way back in 2016. A bit of searching revealed that the site they were looking at (376R Dufferin) was just approved by council in March 2022 to do whatever the owners are doing to it. However, I can't imagine 33 Acres is involved anymore.

seangm
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Post by seangm »

Provost Drunk wrote: Tue Oct 11, 2022 4:10 pm
seangm wrote: Thu Oct 06, 2022 10:26 am I'll be in Vancouver early November, so I'll be sure to update this thread. Superflux is on my radar, but apart from that I don't know too much about Vancouver breweries (apart from the big ones). I also think we'll be in North Van most of the time, just a quick trip to visit family. Curious if any of the breweries on that side the harbour are must tries.
Not a brewery, but if you have any interest in gin, amaro or cocktails, then I would say that The Woods Spirit Co. is a must try. All of their products are excellent and their Chiaro Amaro is truly unqiue and special. It is now a permanent fixture in my home bar. Just a block over from Woods is another distillery, Sons of Vancouver. SOV gets more local hype than Woods and while both are worth a visit, Woods would be my priority if I could visit one.

Bridge Brewing and Wildeye Brewing are both in North Van and just a short walk from Woods/SOV. I thought both were pretty mediocre.

Most of the brewieries are concentrated in East Vancouver, not far from Superflux, which can make for a nice brwery crawl. Superflux was far and away the best of the bunch for me, with Luppolo as the only other really standout. Strange Fellows does some adventerous stuff, although not all of it was too my liking. Bomber and Container were in that average camp for me.
Awesome, thanks for the tips. My partner loves gin, so she'll be pretty excited about that; convenient too since that's close to where we'll be staying. As far as North Van breweries go, Beere and House of Funk look like the best choices from a little more reading that I've done.

I have a feeling we won't get to as many breweries downtown as I'd like, but 33 Acres sounds like the priority pick here! Hopefully I can convince them to head down that "far" since I'm already grinding them down on going to Chinatown for hand pulled noodles.

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Tapsucker
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Post by Tapsucker »

Enjoy and please return with a full report!. I should be getting out there in the near future and fear many of my favourite spots may have succumbed to the plague. New reconnaissance will be welcome.
Brands are for cattle.
Fans are cash cows.
The herd will consume until consumed.

seangm
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Post by seangm »

Alright, so Vancouver. First off, I don't think one can visit without commenting on how beautiful it is. Not just the mountains and ocean, but the city itself is so vibrant, urban and walkable. It's very conducive to brewery touring as there are often lots of stops close by to each other. It's certainly a better planned city than Toronto, which by comparison feels like a sprawling hellscape.

Now the less-than-glowing commentary - and I'll say that obviously I can't try every beer/brewery in a weekend - but nothing I had particularly blew me away, at least in the sense that our second tier stuff would be top tier over there. Certainly lots of great spots, but we really are spoiled in Ontario, which I'd say rivals almost anywhere in North America for quality of beer.

33 Acres seemed to be the most recommended here and it was a great spot. Nice space, good variety. Their IPAs wouldn't necessarily stand out back home but were solid. They had some nice experimental stuff, including a dry-hopped French saison that I liked. After 33 Acres we stopped in at Brew Hall which is definitely more of a touristy space. Ok beers but a good spot if you have a group with some less adventurous or casual drinkers. Families seemed to like it with the arcade games, lots of TVs for sports fans, huge patio; something for everyone. We didn't make it to Superflux, but I've had a few of their beers before and would say that's probably Vancouver's bets spot for trendier styles and hazy IPAs. I tried a few other beers from places like Stanley Park, Russell, Project Pandemonium and more. Never had a bad beer, I'd say most of what I tried was typically solid and well-executed.

Now, like I mentioned earlier, we spent most of our time in North Vancouver and there's a fantastic little strip of breweries and spots near the Shipyards. Several breweries, gin distillery, cidery and even meadery can all be found pretty much in a row. The highlight here is obviously House of Funk; I'd tried them before and they are very good to excellent, but would say places like Small Pony or Reverence are still a step ahead. I didn't get a chance to try Beere, but it's generally considered near the top of North Van breweries. The gin spot, Copper Kettle, was very nice, as was the cidery if you have any non beer fans in the group. Either way, you can make quite the afternoon/evening there. While we didn't visit Wildeye, I drank a bunch of their Czech pils and it was good enough I'd be sure to add it to a future visit.

Overall, Vancouver is a fantastic city and you'll be able to find lots of great spots. As a tl;dr for anyone, I'd say highlights are 33 Acres, House of Funk, Superflux which generally seems to be the consensus online and whatnot.
Provost Drunk wrote: Tue Oct 11, 2022 4:10 pm
Not a brewery, but if you have any interest in gin, amaro or cocktails, then I would say that The Woods Spirit Co. is a must try. All of their products are excellent and their Chiaro Amaro is truly unqiue and special. It is now a permanent fixture in my home bar. Just a block over from Woods is another distillery, Sons of Vancouver. SOV gets more local hype than Woods and while both are worth a visit, Woods would be my priority if I could visit one.
Just wanted to say, your Woods suggestion wasn't ignored, but rather we stupidly didn't check hours and missed our chance to stop in. Next time, I was looking forward to trying their stuff.

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JerCraigs
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Post by JerCraigs »

seangm wrote: Wed Nov 09, 2022 1:10 pm nothing I had particularly blew me away, at least in the sense that our second tier stuff would be top tier over there. Certainly lots of great spots, but we really are spoiled in Ontario, which I'd say rivals almost anywhere in North America for quality of beer.
This was my impression a few years ago as well. Several solid breweries, decent beer, but I have been saying for a while now that if I had to pick a province to only drink beer from Ontario would be it.

I did 33 Acres and Brewhall on a Friday night and it aged me 10 years lol. I was the oldest guy at 33 Acres by a large margin. Brewhall was the first place I have been carded in quite a long time (by a guy so young I was tempted to ask for his ID lol), music was deafening. I suspect they are very different experiences when less busy!

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Cass
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Post by Cass »

Thanks for the great writeup @seangm!

Yeah, Vancouver has stunning beauty and the beer is totally fine. I obviously enjoy it when I'm there but probably wouldn't dedicate a trip to Vancouver just for beer.

seangm
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Post by seangm »

JerCraigs wrote: Wed Nov 09, 2022 4:07 pm
seangm wrote: Wed Nov 09, 2022 1:10 pm nothing I had particularly blew me away, at least in the sense that our second tier stuff would be top tier over there. Certainly lots of great spots, but we really are spoiled in Ontario, which I'd say rivals almost anywhere in North America for quality of beer.
This was my impression a few years ago as well. Several solid breweries, decent beer, but I have been saying for a while now that if I had to pick a province to only drink beer from Ontario would be it.

I did 33 Acres and Brewhall on a Friday night and it aged me 10 years lol. I was the oldest guy at 33 Acres by a large margin. Brewhall was the first place I have been carded in quite a long time (by a guy so young I was tempted to ask for his ID lol), music was deafening. I suspect they are very different experiences when less busy!
Yea, we were at Brewhall relatively early so it was a bit more of a mix with families, music wasn't too loud. I got the sense the vibe changes quite a bit, in fact by the time we left (6-7ish) there were bouncers at the door. 33 Acres was packed (Saturday afternoon) and I'd agree, young and "hip" crowd. God I sound old...
Cass wrote: Wed Nov 09, 2022 7:58 pm Thanks for the great writeup @seangm!

Yeah, Vancouver has stunning beauty and the beer is totally fine. I obviously enjoy it when I'm there but probably wouldn't dedicate a trip to Vancouver just for beer.
For sure, although I find myself wanting to move there after our visit, but I'd certainly miss Ontario beer!

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Tapsucker
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Post by Tapsucker »

Thanks for this. I must revisit.

It's interesting what the fog of memory/nostalgia can deliver. At one time Central City had a shine to it compared to Ontario, and maybe they are still good, but it seems the lustre is gone. I still feel Howe Sound is on the mark, but I don't know if they have had the sour/adjunct/trendy creep going on. I hope not.

One brewery out there that has been kind of a quiet lurker is Four Winds. I don't think they have a taproom or are widely distributed, but when I have had a chance to enjoy their core products I have always been pleased.
Brands are for cattle.
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The herd will consume until consumed.

seangm
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Post by seangm »

Tapsucker wrote: Fri Nov 11, 2022 8:40 pm Thanks for this. I must revisit.

It's interesting what the fog of memory/nostalgia can deliver. At one time Central City had a shine to it compared to Ontario, and maybe they are still good, but it seems the lustre is gone. I still feel Howe Sound is on the mark, but I don't know if they have had the sour/adjunct/trendy creep going on. I hope not.

One brewery out there that has been kind of a quiet lurker is Four Winds. I don't think they have a taproom or are widely distributed, but when I have had a chance to enjoy their core products I have always been pleased.
When Fat Tug first made it to Ontario I thought it topped any of our local offerings. Central City Red Racer was a favourite of mine too, though at that time I liked Mad Tom and Boneshaker just as much. I feel like Ontario was behind and then we've just leapt out ahead in the past few years.

Nostalgia is funny though, as I still find myself remembering some of those OG craft beers I tried to be my very favourite. Perhaps the unintended side effect of so much choice and quality is that we're not blown away as much anymore; an excellent beer is the default, if that makes sense. Hard to complain about that though...

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S. St. Jeb
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Post by S. St. Jeb »

seangm wrote: Mon Nov 14, 2022 10:57 am Central City Red Racer was a favourite of mine too
Oh man, you just brought back a memory for me of being in Calgary in 2011 and having this. I thought it was out of this world.

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S. St. Jeb
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Post by S. St. Jeb »

seangm wrote: Mon Nov 14, 2022 10:57 am Perhaps the unintended side effect of so much choice and quality is that we're not blown away as much anymore; an excellent beer is the default, if that makes sense. Hard to complain about that though...
You've hit the nail on the head. There have been many times in recent years that I've tried a beer and found it to be "fine", but I'm sure I would have been blown away if I'd had it 10-15 years earlier.

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