The days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer – the conditions are perfect for a “brewery stroll”.
I use the term “stroll” rather than “crawl” to get away from the concept of a drunken, and usually messy, contest to drink the most beer at the most places in the least amount of time. And also to differentiate it from a brewery tour. A brewery stroll could definitely include a brewery tour or two - the stroll is about taking your time and exploring a neighbourhood or area of town via its tasting rooms and craft beer pubs.
There is at least one running group in
that runs to breweries, pubs and restaurants (East Van Run Crew). It’s a very efficient use of time to fit in a
work out during social drinking – not to mention a way to net out your calories
at zero! Vancouver
If you’re going to be filling growlers, though, you might prefer to cycle between breweries, so you’re not sloshing that beer around too badly. With so many bike routes in
it is a great way to get from brewery to brewery. Just make sure you’re watching your
consumption to stay under the legal limit.
This is where session beers come in very handy! Vancouver
If you prefer to let someone else do the planning, you could go on a guided cycle tour of three
There is a new shuttle in town, linking several areas:
, East Van and North Vancouver Main Street. Wildside Vancouver
offers one way rides for $5, or all day rides for $10. The shuttle runs every Saturday in 90 minute
intervals with more frequent loops as the evening progresses. One can “hop on”
the shuttle at any stop. “Cheaper than a cab, more convenient than transit and
more fun than both!”
Currently the stops are at 12 Kings Pub and Main Street Brewing in
For a less physically active afternoon of brewery visits, there’s the always entertaining and informative VancouverBrewery Tours, who will chauffeur you around to three breweries, where you get a tour and samples. (http://vancouverbrewerytours.com/) You can sign up for a public tour, or get them to help you plan a private tour.
How to plan your brewery stroll:
Having some prior knowledge of an area and its breweries is an asset, but it isn’t required. Any brewery you stop in at will happily tell you about all the others in the area. The market may be hopping (!), but the breweries all support each other rather than compete against each other. So it’s easy to be spontaneous about your brewery stroll.
If you prefer to plot your own course ahead of time, there are a couple of handy online guides. BC Mag’s newly published Ultimate Vancouver Craft Beer Brewery List names all the breweries in the Metro area; the Hoppy Ending blog has a map of all the Vancouver breweries; and the Beer Me BC website has a map of all BC breweries.
Whatever you want to call it, East Van, Yeast Van, Cedar Cove or
In addition to the five breweries listed on the map, Off The Rail and Strangefellows are also in the neighbourhood. And Doans and Callister are both expected to open in the next couple of months. That will make it hard to actually fit in that many stops in a single day! It's a great time to be a beer geek!
Strangefellows Twit Wit 1 and 2 – one batch of beer split into two and fermented on two different yeasts. Compare and contrast the subtle differences. And at 4.5% they’re perfect for brewery strolling. Available on tap at the tasting room.
Bridge Brewing Wunderbar Kolsch – 5% - a North Van take on a German kolsch. Light and refreshing. Available on tap at the tasting room and bottles at liquor stores.
Four Winds La Maison – 4.5% brett fermented Grissette (light saison) brewed with spelt and rye. Available on tap at the brewery and at craft beer bars around town.