With dozens of craft breweries, brewpubs and in Vancouver and the lower mainland, it is both convenient to find craft beer and hard to choose which brewery you will go to and then which style of beer that they have available to enjoy. I have this same problem each time I go to the city, yes of course I’d love to go to Four Winds, P49, Bier Craft, The Portland, Powell St, and Dageraad on each trip, but that’s not always possible.
Throughout the summer I made several trips to the city and as always I am looking for something different. Generically I am always looking for firstly an IPA, secondly a stout and thirdly something Belgian/sour. Now stouts are a little harder to find and are definitely a seasonal style. IPAs are easier to find, however the styles of IPAs vary from season to season. Now Belgian styles are amazing, the way they can use their yeast strains to bring out the best and most unique flavours from their hops, grain, fruit and herbs.
This summer I visited Steamworks, 33 Acres, Brassneck, P49, Strange Fellows, Postmark, Main St, Black Kettle, Deep Cove, Bridge, and Steel Toad. As well I managed visit some other great spots around the city that had some excellent beers on tap.
I stopped in at Steamworks in Burnaby on a sunny afternoon in August and I was pleasantly surprised by the amount space that they have in their tasting room and I think it would a great place for an event. I sat down and started with a glass of Frambozen, which was a nice relief in the afternoon heat. After that I met up with John Folinsbee the lead brewer at Steamworks, he took me through their production facility and proved this isn’t just your neighbourhood brewpub. Seeing the brewing process, including using a hop back on most of their brews, their science room (which I could spend days in their watching all the processes), canning line in full operation, conditioning tanks, oak barrels for aging and their huge walk-in hop storage fridge. I can really appreciate the amount of money they continually re-invest in the business of making better beer through premium equipment, locally sourced ingredients whenever available and supporting community events and non profit organizations. My favourite brews include the Jasmine IPA, Heroica Red, my favourite Pilsner on the market.
I had the chance to stop by Bridge Brewing in North Vancouver with a couple of great friends a few months ago and I need to stop in again soon. Since moving from their original opening location Jeremy and his team have been able to take on a lot more projects like their holding tank of sour, the bourbon barrel aged Grinch and I’d like to see what else Jeremy is working on. I find that Bridge is actually taking a step in a different brewing direction than most breweries are. They have developed a great partnership with Tap and Barrel and they are helping each other to build their businesses through great tasting craft beer. My favourites are their Blood Orange Bourbon red ale, and their Hopilano IPA. I will also admit that they brew my favourite West Coast Pale Ale in their North Shore Pale Ale.
Stay tuned for Part two coming soon!