In Vancouver BC the beer scene is growing and changing in the blink of an eye. We made a recent trip up to see what’s new, and while we focused our attention on the burgeoning East Vancouver area, we also made a few other enjoyable beer touring (and other) stops in the greater Vancouver area:
Central City Brewers – 11411 Bridgeview Drive, Surrey.
Located in Surrey, about 30 minutes from Downtown Vancouver, Central City just increased in size exponentially from their original brewpub with small brewhouse to a massive new production facility and taproom. That gave them room to undertake ambitious sour and barrel-aged programs in addition to churning out loads of their regular beers. Round that out with a distillery and plans to make cider. The taproom is Disney-like with tons of merchandise, art and beer by the taster, pint or growler. The brewery offers tours on the weekend, but be sure to book in advance.
Four Winds Brewing – 4-7355 72nd St, Delta.
In a business park in Delta, BC, south of Downtown Vancouver, Four Winds is making a splash. Of all the recommendations we received prior to our trip, this was the most highly touted new brewery by far. Somehow, a la Black Raven Brewing, they turned their business park taproom into an elegant, cozy tasting room where they are doing it family-style: brothers, uncles, long-time family friends are combining to brew, pour and sell their beers. We liked their entire line-up, but two beers were good enough that we grabbed a bottle to bring home: their Nectarous dry-hopped sour, and their Phaedra Belgian rye IPA.
Tap and Barrel – 1055 Canada Place.
This small Vancouver chain of restaurants has a strong focus on locally produced beer and wine. The Convention Center location is convenient to many downtown hotels, with 36 beers on tap, plus over 20 local BC wines on tap. We enjoy their friendly and knowledgeable service, and their solid pub menu line-up focusing on locally sourced foods.
Devil’s Elbow – 562 Beatty Street.
Squamish’s popular brewpub, Howe Sound Brewing, just opened a tied house pub in Downtown Vancouver, and instead of sticking with the same formula as their previous location they created a whole new concept. Devil’s Elbow is a pleasantly dark and cozy room, packed with a wait for tables on the Friday night we visited. Their robust taplist includes 16 Howe Sound beers plus a short guest list of three or four additional beers and ciders. What really knocked our socks off was the menu – with nearly every menu item revolving around their house-smoked meats. Even the chopped salad was based on grilled halves of romain, grilled tomatoes and house-smoked chicken and bacon.
Postmark Brewing – 55 Dunlevy
Entering the two-story doors at Postmark you feel instantly that you’ve arrived, and for sure – it’s one of the swankiest brewpubs I’ve ever been in. I’m not sure you can even call it a brewpub, as it’s a combination brewery, restaurant and winery. Their four tap beers were fantastic, and their chocolate blueberry porter was a particular favorite, not at all sweet, but with just an earthy hint of blueberry and chocolate.
Fairmont Waterfront and ARC Restaurant – 900 Canada Place Way
The Fairmont Waterfront was kind enough to put us up in one of their newly remodeled rooms, a partial harbor-view suite. Built for Fairmont in 1991, the rooms are undergoing renovations in stages. I’m not sure what the older rooms are like, but our room had a firm king-size bed with luxe sheets and down comforter, a couch and large flat-screen TV. In the morning, I took a pre-beer workout in the also newly renovated exercise room with all new equipment, lemon ice water, cushy towels to keep my brow dry – the works. Next time we’ll bring a suit for the hot tub and heated outdoor pool – apparently open year-round.
On Saturday night, we were treated to dinner at the Fairmount’s newly updated restaurant, ARC, sampling tastes from the special Vancouver Dine Out menu. We tried dishes ranging from beet salad to steelhead to housemade ice cream. With eight local beers on draft, we found a good pairing for each course.
Jugo Juice – Locations throughout Vancouver (we visited the one in the mall attached to the hotel)
No really. The perfect breakfast stop on a beer tour, because nothing refuels the body like a kale smoothie with spirulina powder.