A record number of craft breweries are popping up on the west coast’s capital of cool, so much so that Vancouver is now the largest producer of craft beer in Canada. Circa 1900, “Brewery Creek” was the moniker for a stretch of stream in what is today Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood. Centred on what’s now known as Main Street, the trickling water supply powered water wheels for nearby beer and soda producers. After decades of urban development, the stream closed and the consequent Prohibition years led to a shutdown of the breweries – until now.
Thanks to the city’s change in liquor laws, a new crop of breweries are popping up in Mount Pleasant and the area is reclaiming its rightful name, Brewery Creek. Each year Vancouver has surpassed the previous record of craft brewery openings. By the end of 2016, if all anticipated openings go ahead as planned, there will be upwards of 130 breweries in British Columbia, proving once again that the West Coast is indeed the Best Coast.
Strap on a pair of comfy walking shoes and prepare to enjoy a sud-sloshed self guided tour of Vancouver’s revitalized historical brewery district!
Best Vancouver Breweries
54 E 4th Ave, 604-336-0275
R&B Brewing is one of Vancouver’s original microbreweries which has been serving up hoppy, golden froth since 1997. Located just off Main Street, you’ll hear punk rock, ska and folk music blasting out of their doors as you take in the sweet smell of boiling wart and the grinding roar of the mill out back. The team have recently given the space a total makeover, offering thirsty guests a retail growler station, funky fireplace meets book nook and spacious bar.
Best Beer: Lavender Saison
Steel Toad Brewery
97 E 2nd Ave, 604-709-8623
Steel Toad Brewery is located in the historic – and newly restored – Opsal Steel building. Small-batch craft beers are sold exclusively on site and paired with a mouth watering menu curated by Chef Robbie Robinson. Hop up at the bar and you’ll find your jaw dropping at the sky-high ceilings and army of brew tanks which stand righteously at the rear. Pop by in the evening and you’ll likely find a local band crooning while you whet your whiskers.
Best Beer: Raspberry Sour
Big Rock Urban Brewery
310 West 4th Avenue, 6044-798-8311
Big Rock Urban Brewery got its start in Calgary but recently flew west to open up a state of the art facility in Vancouver where they prepare craft brews exclusively for the YVR market. It’s a great place to sip with an empty stomach as the breweries urban eatery offers a comfortable lounge featuring floor-to-ceiling glass wall looking into the brewery, and a stage for live bands to play to the boisterous beer crowd. Nibble on the kimchi poutine and fire roasted jalapeno cheddar grilled cheese while sipping through a fancy flight poured fresh out of a choir of casks.
Best Beer: Citradelic IPA
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2148 Main Street, 604-259-7686
Step into Brassneck Brewing and you’ll feel as though you’ve floated into a boutique hoppy heaven. The petite space offers an intimate vibe where you can fill up growlers for the road or quench your thirst on a frothy flight. Tried, tested and true beer nerds are sure to enjoy sipping through the Brassneck’s small batch offerings in their industrial-chic inspired Tasting Room.
Best Beer: Ten Times Ten Centennial Hopped American Pale Ale
Main Street Brewing Company
261 E 7th Ave, 604-336-7711
Main Street Brewing Co. resides in one of Vancouver’s few surviving industrial heritage buildings, the “Vancouver Breweries Garage” which dates back to 1913. History fans will get a kick out of walking through the breezy space while shopaholics can enjoy a beer inspired stroll in the retail store where unique items such as beer infused soap make the perfect gift for the handsome man on your hit list.
Best Beer: Saison #7
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Craft Beer Market
85 West 1st Ave, 604-709-2337
While not a brewery, the Craft Beer Market in the heart of the Olympic Village is an absolute must for beer fans looking to sample suds produced from Toronto to Tokyo. The jaw dropping interior features a massive central bar serving up over 100 beers on tap – from classic lagers to obscure ales. It’s the perfect spot to kick up your feet and sample through the best brews produced across Canada and the world at large.