Yesterday afternoon I poked my head in to the almost finished East Vancouver Brewing Company at 1675 Venables Street between Clark Drive and Commercial Drive. Owners Steve Jennings and Andy Agnesini took possession of the new building last Spring and have been hard at work turning the raw, 6,000 sqft space into a multi-purpose, multi-level production facility with offices, storage and a 66 seat tasting room (the maximum allowable) that will come complete with a long bar and a couple of oversized cable spool tables when it open in the next couple of weeks.
It’s south facing so there is a ton of natural light that flows into the space. The top level – offices and keg storage – is going to see most of it but there should be plenty of light hitting the lower level with its tasting room in the front and brewery in the back. There was still paper on the windows when I was in yesterday but once it comes off I imagine there will be little use for lightbulbs until the sun goes down. The design is still a work in progress so I won’t comment on it except to say I expect it will be fleshed out in the coming days/weeks.
Crafting the beer is Head Brewer James Labbe, formerly of Steamworks and Deep Cove Brewers and Distillers. He’s making ten different types to start, all of which will be represented on the bar’s 12 taps (the extra two taps being reserved for nitro-charged versions of two of the 12 so beer nerds can sample them side by side). Six of these beers will be mainstay regulars (for table and growler service) while the remaining four will be seasonals, like his 6% Scotch Ale. I knocked back a few tasters yesterday (on a wooden board shaped like the East Van Cross) and was glad to find each brew showing real personality, including an especially delicious EPA.
This place is dangerously close to my house so there’s a good chance I’ll be something of a regular customer once the doors open to the public in November, especially if the food program is passable. They hope to lean on a few neighbourhood suppliers for snacks and such, but Jennings owns a bunch of pubs around town (eg. the London, Two Lions, Brixton, Manchester, Morrissey) and I expect one or two of them will act as commissary suppliers to the brewery’s tiny kitchen and prep area. Let’s hope we can have our cake and eat it too!