I left My Liver in Vancouver, or How I Visited 43 Craft Breweries in 48 hours and Lived to Tell the Tale

Do you ever have a really stupid idea to do something, then against your better judgement, do it anyway? Well, that’s pretty much a way of life for me!

In May I had the ridiculous idea to visit Vancouver for the weekend and attempt to visit 43 craft breweries by public transit. It was quite an adventure, with lots of highs and lows—mostly resulting from the dangerous amounts of alcohol I imbibed. 🙂

I did it, so you didn’t have to. You are welcome!

Day 1

I arrived on the ferry at 11 a.m. with a suitcase containing 20 bombers of beer for a friend I trade beer with on the mainland. He was supposed to pick me up and collect the beer, but messaged me to say he’d had a family emergency, so I was a little screwed, as my AirBnB wouldn’t let me check-in till 3 p.m and I couldn’t really go all over town with this huge amount of beer.

I quickly changed the plan and decided to start with Four Winds, Fuggles, and Brittania, but as I was stressed out, I ended up getting the express bus to River Rock and completely missing them. Damn!

It was 1:30 by now, so I decided to head over to Dogwood, which was close to my AirBnb at Oakridge. Bit of a later start than I originally intended…

Dogwood

Vancouver’s only organic brewery. This place is a bit off the beaten track, but has nice a little tasting room, with plenty of benches, a relaxing atmosphere, and lots of games to play.

As this was my first stop after a stressful morning, I did a flight of six beers. This may not have been the best decision to start off the day.

Super flight:

  • Organic Fest
  • Organic IPA
  • Organic Stout
  • Apricot Sour
  • Vanilla Bean Lager
  • Organic Honey

Brassneck 20170527_163020

Finally, I got to my AirBNB and was able to offload my heavy suitcase of beer.

Now that I was unencumbered by luggage, I decided to head down to the Mount Pleasant area to try out the first big cluster of breweries. How could I start anywhere bu the inimitable Brassneck.

Brassneck has a fantastic tasting room with a nice warm environment and an amazing selection of some of the best beers in BC. It’s the sort of place you could hang out and relax in all evening. However, as I was settling into my flight, I got a message from my friend saying he was waiting outside in his car and didn’t want to some in, so I had to chug all of this fine beer. 🙁

Flight:

  • Ambiguation
  • Bjørn Again
  • Free Radical
  • The Geezer

Strathcona

The plan was to head out to Port Moody, but my friend decided to stop in at Strathcona to pick up their new Beach Radler. Much like my previous visit to this place, I came away with a sour taste in my mouth, and it wasn’t from the beer. The service was just abysmal—It took forever to get served and the server was very surly.

Glasses:

  • Left Imperial IPA
  • Rye ESB

Steamworks

Then we made an impromptu stop into Steamworks’ Burnaby location. I’m not a huge fan of the touristy downtown brewpub, but this was my first time going to the Burnany location and I was very impressed. The tasting room had a really nice open atmosphere and much, much better prices than the brewpub. They also had an old fashioned car right in the middle of the lounge for some reason.

Glasses:

  • Tropical Tart Ale
  • Killer Cucumber Ale

IMG_20170527_182129Twin Sails

… and I finally got to Twin Sails! If you read my blog, you will no doubt know that I am a huge fan of this brewery. As an added bonus, they were releasing their new Disco Nap double IPA that same day, so I got to pick up a 4-pack straight from the brewery and try it on tap. I was a little happy

Glasses:

  • Slam Dank
  • Disco Nap

Yellow Dog

A short stumble next door took us to Port Moody’s first brewery, Yellow Dog. These guys are probably my #2 Port Moody brewery, so I was super excited to finally check this place out. The tasting room / lounge was large and funk, but sadly, while they had a huge tap list, I’d drunk everything on offer multiple times. Whoops…

Glasses:

  • VCBW Hazy Pale Ale
  • Super Secret Sour Ale

The Parkside Brewery

We then took a quick stop into Port Moody’s newest brewery, The Parkside Brewery. These guys have been in business a year now and they’ve begun to break away from their standard line-up and experiment a little, with great results. The tasting room was awesome and had a nice community environment. It also had a large patio area featuring fake grass to fit the park side theme.

Flight:

  • S.M.a.S.H Ekuanot
  • Radical Red Ale
  • Dim Wit
  • Hampstead Brown Ale

Moody Ales

Last but not least was Moody Ales, the second brewery to open on the row. Another warm and inviting tasting room with a great little patio and great ales on tap. Fellow Blogger Mike Garson of mikescraftbeer.com even joined us here.

Flight:

  • Sublime Pineapple Hefeweizen
  • Dry Irish Stout
  • Intrepid lemon Matcha Saison
  • Special Bitter

20170527_222739Parallel 49

I really needed food at this point, so somehow we ended up at the new P49 street kitchen and tasting room. I wanted food, but you know, there was booze too!

The new tasting room is pretty cool and had a nice “street” chic to it, but I kind of miss the old tasting room, as it was a lot more low key. They had 40 taps of P49 beers on though, which was insane!

Flight:

  • Experimental IPA 005 (Trash Panda V2)
  • Experimental IPA 002 (Trash Panda V1)
  • Tasty Mon
  • HBC 344 SMASH IPA

Glass (not that I needed it at this point):

  • 2014 BA Barley Wine

After this, sleep was needed, so I got driven back to my AirBnB. However, I got dropped off a few doors down and didn’t know where I was, so I decided to call a cab, which drove me half way across town before I demanded he stop. After a huge argument with the cab driver, my phone died and I was lost. Eventually I found a bar where I could charge my phone and finally made it back around 2 a.m. Urgh!


Day Two

Day two started with a gentle walk from Oakridge down to Main Street. Thankfully, with no hangover!

20170528_121356Main Street

First stop of the day. They have a smaller tasting room, but it had a nice atmosphere and good staff. They’d only opened a couple of minutes earlier, so it was a little empty.

Flight:

  • Witches Brew
  • Flahute
  • Breffny Irish Red Ale
  • One Man Band

Red Truck

As tempted as I was to go back to Brassneck. I didn’t want to repeat myself, so I popped into Red Truck. I’m not a huge fan of their beer, but their restaurant / tasting room is probably one of the most unique I’ve ever been to. Called The Truck stop, it’s done up like an old fashioned diner.

Flight:

  • Blackberry Bourbon Ale
  • Tropic Thunder
  • Ryzenshein Crystal Rye Gose

Steel Toad

More a brew pub than anything, Steel Toad is pretty much a swanky restaurant that brews its own beer. Their beer was OK and they had a legit guest tap list, but they’ve since started serving sub-zero macro beer and I am not a fan of that!

Glasses:

  • Kermode
  • Blood Orange Sour

20170528_130608Faculty

Faculty is an awesome little brewery with a dinky little tasting room where you can literally touch the tanks from your seat. They always have interesting beers on and the staff is always fantastic.

Flight:

  • Rhubarb Pear Sour
  • 404 Cashmere Pale Ale
  • 699 Earl Grey Ale
  • 710 Oaked Stout

R&B

Last time I went to R&B I guess I was a little drunk and just went to the growler bar, but they have actually have a full restaurant and bar set-up where you can also order fantastic pizza. Who knew?

Flight:

  • Belgium Amber Ale
  • White India Pale Ale
  • Lil Haze IPA
  • East Side Bitter

33 Acres

I’m not a huge fan of this place. It’s far too hipster for my taste. Everything is decorated in white, all the beer labels are black on white and even the beer tastes a little white.

Flight:

  • 33 Acres Of Darkness
  • 33 Acres of Genesis – Batch 2#
  • 33 Acres of Sisu
  • 33 Acres of Euphoria

20170528_141912Big Rock Urban

I chose an interesting day to attend. They had a special collaboration beer event the day before, so had none of their regular beers on tap, but I got to try some amazing collabs leftover from the event. This is something of a bonus, because their regular beer is a little bland.

Flight:

  • Kicking In Speakers (Twin Sails / Boombox)
  • La Casa (Four Winds / Luppolo)
  • Fotzel (Powell / Strnage Fellows)
  • Hoppy Mess (Big Rock / Strathcona)

Granville Island

Huge-ass tourist trap parading as a craft brewery. I had a drink and left quickly.

Glass:

  • California Common

Yaletown

Another tourist trap parading as a craft brewery. Meh.

Glass:

  • Ariana Golden IPA

Postmark

This place has a fancy restaurant in a gorgeous building with these massive ornate wooden doors. Their beer is decent, but it’s not the sort of place I’d like to hang out and drink beer in all day. Good for a date, maybe?

Flight:

  • Loral IPA
  • Mandarina Wheat
  • Raspberry
  • IPA

20170528_154530Powell Brewery

Now we’re getting back to the good stuff. Formerly called Powell Street Craft Brewery before randomly changing it to Powell Brewery, these guys make some fantastic beer. The tasting room is an intimate affair, but the place was full of beer nerds and the staff was really friendly.

Flight:

  • Old Jalopy
  • Ode to Citra
  • Dive Bomb
  • Cumulus Lupulus

Andina

Andina is East Van’s new kid on the block. Founded by Columbian/Canadian brothers, Andina has a distinctly South american influence, with Hispanic music playing, Andean food on offer and much more. It’s a very different experience and a lot of fun!

Flight:

  • Monita – Blonde IPA
  • Andina Session Ale
  • Totuma – Kölsch
  • Mapalé – Milk Stout

Doan’s

Do you like rye? Because Doan’s has all of the rye! I love these guys. Lots of solid German-style beers with a twist and a tiny but fun tasting room.

Flight:

  • Rye IPA
  • Altbier
  • Kölsch
  • Doan’s German IPA #3

Coal Harbour

Dang! they don’t have a tasting room. Come on guys! Get on that!

IMG_20170528_165412Storm

Storm brewing is one of the oldest breweries in East Vancouver and also one of the sketchiest. That’s kind of what I love about the place though. It has an odd smell and you drink beer out of plastic cups by donation. They’re really capturing the East Van vibe. 😉

Oh god, the beer! I love how they have a beer labeled as a cinnamon bun ale and it will actually taste like a cinnamon bun. They are not fucking around. It’s like black magic!

  • Root Of All Evil
  • Cinnamon Bun Ale
  • Vanilla Whiskey Stout
  • Raspberry Apple Ale
  • Old Fashioned Ale
  • Storm Damage

Bomber

After those big Storm beers, I was a little tipsy and I dropped my phone. It’s a Galaxy S7 Edge, so the case did little to protect it from the impact. Oh well, just a casualty of my war on my liver.

Next up was another East Van Classic. Bomber has a decent size tasting room with a bar and ample seating. I love being able to watch people brew through the glass behind the bar.

Flight:

  • Red India Session Ale
  • Marzen
  • ESB
  • Pilsner

20170528_181301Callister / Boombox / Lightheart / Real Cask

This one is cheating a bit. Callister is a sort of brewery incubator. It’s four breweries operating out of one location, so I’m counting it as four!

I love the variety you get in this place. every brewery has a very distinct style. Sorry to the other guys, but Boombox was my favourite! Sadly they’ve now moved on, but I was lucky enough to try some of the leftover beers at Farmhouse Fest a couple of weeks ago!

Flight:

  • Short N’ Stout (Callister)
  • Sabroso (Lightheart)
  • Blood Moon (Real Cask)
  • Tropic Thunder (Boombox)

Off the Rail

At first glance, you wouldn’t think there was a tasting room here, but after wandering up the stairs to the second floor you will find a really nice little tasting lounge that looks down on the neighborhood.

Flight:

  • Equinox ISA
  • Raybuck Red Ale
  • Belt Up ESB
  • Classic Pale Ale

Luppolo

Luppolo is an Italian-inspired brewery with a warm and inviting tasting room with an inviting rustic feel to it. The beer isn’t really Italian-style, but a mix of different styles from across the globe.

Flight:

  • Hoppy Rye Saison
  • West Coast Farmhouse Ale
  • Table Beer w/ Peach
  • Black Lime Gose

20170528_185041Strange Fellows

Another favourite of mine, Strange Fellows specializes in creative takes on traditional styles. They brew lots of wild ales, sours, IPAs with experimental hops, and more. I’m actually a member of their Fellowship club, so get access to lots of rare barre-aged beers not available to the public.

Flight:

  • Saison De Printemps
  • Cyclhops Bramling Cross IPA
  • El Jefe
  • Guardian White IPA

Central City

Central City has an impressive custom built production facility out in Surrey that is almost as big as some of the macro brew facilities. They have a nice beer tasting bar, retail store, and cocktail bar right in the lobby.

Glass:

  • Thor’s hammer

Steel & Oak

Another favourite. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad beer from S&O. The tasting room is more of a bar than anything. You don’t get to see much of the production side of things, but the atmosphere is always good.

Flight:

  • Radler
  • Red pilsner
  • Dark Lager
  • Smoked Lager

Dageraad

Oh wow! The last time I came to Dageraad, the tasting room was ridiculously small, but they’ve since built a new one that is gorgeous and incredibly spacious. I’d have spent more time here if they we’re closing in five minutes!

Glass:

  • 10° (2017)

20170528_210239Deep Cove

My friend Greg then drove me up to North Vancouver. I don’t know what I would have done without him. I’d have been screwed!

This place had a swanky-ass tasting room with barrels all over the place and a gin still in the corner. I’ve never tried their beer before, but they had some pretty good choices.
Flight:

  • Picnic Apricot IPA
  • The Crawl Stout
  • Scout Rye IPA
  • Yuzu Wit

Bridge Brewing

Probably the most well-known North Van brewery. The tasting room is small, but cozy, which I kind of like. Some of the fancy swanky restaurant ones feel artificial to me.

Glass:

  • Oat ISA

Greenleaf

This place had a nice little tasting room and patio. This was the first time I’ve friend their beer, so I had to go with something special.

Glass:

  • 2 Years Oak Aged Brett

Black Kettle

This place has a nice little tasting room that is right is smack bad in the middle of the brewery. Well, not as bad as Storm, but close. It’s cool to see all of the tanks around you. The beer is so-so.

Glass:

  • White IPA

20170528_212853Hearthstone

Heathstone is a great brewery with a really nice restaurant and bar attached to it. They put out some really unique beers and try a few things that no one else does locally.

Glass:

  • Chocolate Milk Stout

Craft Beer Market

Not a brewery, but holy cow, this place has an insane amount of taps and amazing food. This was the best way to end the night!

Glass:

  • Mountain View Black Currant Sour

Day Three

My last day! My friend steven picked me up and we hit the last few stops on the way to the ferry.

20170529_113307Four Winds Brewing

What better way to start the day than drinking Four Winds and eating delicious tacos? Four Winds is my favourite BC brewery and perhaps one of the best in Canada. I’ve never had a beer from them that was less than excellent!

Glasses:

  • Elementary Lager
  • Wild Marmalade Farmhouse // Coolship Collaboration Series 04/04

Fuggles & Warlock

Fuggles! I am a huge geek, so how can I not love this place with all of its nerdy decorations and old school video game machines. I wish I could have stayed all day.

Flight:

  • Yuzu
  • The Last Fruit Salad
  • Takumi Saskatoon Berry Wheat Sour
  • Personas

Britannia Brewing

One last stop on the way to the ferry. Basically another restaurant that brews some beer. The beer wasn’t bad, though.

Glass:

  • King of the Sea Saison

And done! I arrived at 11 a.m. on friday and left at 11 a.m. on Monday. 43 breweries and a craft beer bar. I’m not sure how I did that.

I even went out on a date when I got home and had a few more beer!