The Craft Beer Atlas of Vancouver will keep you informed not only on where your beer scene is going but also on where it has been. We’ve plotted local tastings rooms, restaurants with extensive tap lists, craft beer-friendly liquor stores, and fascinating, brew-centric points of interest on a zoomable map that functions as well on your phone as it does on your desktop. It’s an A-Z of our city’s relationship with beer that aims to encourage locals and visitors to responsibly explore every facet – both past and present – of our little corner of the brewing world. Hit the map button above to start exploring, and note that this is a work in progress that will be added to over time.
Created and maintained with the support of Scout members 33 Acres, Alibi Room, Bells & Whistles, Brassneck Brewery, Chambar, Colony Bar, Craft Beer Market, Dageraad, Darby’s, High Point, Legacy Liquor Store, Monkey 9, The Parkside Brewery, Pat’s Pub & Brewhouse, Postmark, Steamworks, Steel & Oak, Storm Crow, Strange Fellows Brewing, Strathcona Beer Company and Four Winds.
To support Scout and the continued expansion of The Craft Beer Atlas of Vancouver through membership in its community (and take advantage of its many benefits like posting news to our Bulletin Board and jobs to our Opportunity Knocks section), please contact michelle [at] scoutmagazine.ca.
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Founded in March of 2013 by an art director turned brewery owner Joshua Michnik, this Mt. Pleasant brewery was immediately well received on account of its solid branding, good-looking tasting room and Brewmaster Dave Varga’s excellent beers. Bonus: really good food, especially during weekend brunch. Arguably the most tightly wrought establishment of Vancouver’s craft brewing renaissance.
Named after its high-traffic corner of Kingsway and 12th, 12 Kings is a cavernous sports bar in Mt. Pleasant. Best known for tacky black-and-white faux cowhide booths (also pinball machines, foosball and pool tables, big screen TVs), its secret weapon is it killer craft beer selection, which comes courtesy of 14 taps and a cask engine. Add to that a steady calendar of tap takeovers (and its close proximity to the Biltmore Cabaret) and you can expect quite the hodgepodge of beer aficionados, pre- and post-show and dance partygoers, and major sports fans here sipping quality brews on any given night.
Located at 921 West Pender Street in the Abbotsford Hotel building built in 1911 by contractor John McLuckie. In the 1930s the walls of the beer parlour featured landscape murals by Vancouver artist Gordon “Kit” Thorne (1898-1981). The building still stands today and is home to the Days Inn.
The bar that every self-respecting BC brewery wants to be pouring at. More than any other tap room, pub or restaurant in town the Alibi Room has nurtured and grown our love of top quality beer. Since moving from employee to manager and part-owner in 2006, English expat Nigel Springthorpe (who also co-owns Brassneck) has overseen the transformation of this awesome Railtown spot into an anchor of Vancouver’s craft beer scene. And while that same local scene may have grown exponentially over the last 12 years with scores of breweries, tap rooms and restaurants featuring great bottle lists, there’s still nowhere better in the city to explore the range of flavours and possibilities that good beer has to offer. With an ever-changing, and increasingly BC-focused beer list, knowledgeable, friendly staff, and a laid back, TV-free vibe (with only the passing trains and the ambient conversation to provide your sonic background) this is the place to try the best beer being produced in Vancouver and beyond.
A bright and colourful Colombia-inspired brewery founded by brothers Nicolás and Andrés Amaya in an 112-year-old factory/warehouse in 2016. The address (1507 Powell Street) puts them in East Van’s old Cedar Cove district, which was once upon a time the city’s industrial anchor (nearby businesses included the likes of BC Vinegar Works, a casket factory, Ross & Howard Iron Works, P. Burns & Co. Packing House (abattoir and cold storage), and the massive BC Sugar Refinery complex. Home to some interesting coffee-infused beers and plenty of delicious ceviche.
One of BC’s brewery newbies, Beere Brewing is a humble, family-run operation that has been serving up a selection of familiar and experimental brews in North Van since October 2017. The tasting room is as minimal as their low-key branding, with high ceilings, white-washed brick, wood accents and a big, street-facing, garage-style window that opens to an impending patio bar. The brewery’s location on the expansive North Shore Spirit Trail makes it a hub for cyclists looking for beer-dration. The unassuming aesthetic and outdoorsy, athletic patronage is balanced by a dark humour evident in beer names like Mental Floss, Light Blondage and Weisse Grip.
A sports-friendly, craft beer-focused establishment in the Fraserhood with an always interesting selection of beers flowing from their 18 taps. Bells and Whistles was opened in 2017 by the same team that gave us Wildebeest, Bufala and Lucky Taco, so the food is pretty damn good. (Scout has profiled their two best handhelds: the Fat Stevens and the All-Day Breakfast Burger.) Bonus: sun-soaked patio.
Originally opened as Stella’s Tap and Tapas Bar (2005), the Biercraft rebrand came to be in 2010 and further strengthened the corner location’s magnetic effect on craft beer lovers. Deep list (100+) of local and imported brews with an emphasis on Belgian styles. Operates as a full restaurant well known for its moules frites and sidewalk patio. Co-owned by Don Farion and Dean Mallel, who would later launch Bomber Brewing in 2014. (See also Cambie Village and UBC locations.)
About as Canadiana as your dad’s old Gordon Lightfoot record or your beloved childhood copy of ‘The Hockey Sweater’, Bomber Brewing was conceived by a few friends over beer at Britannia Rink, just a few blocks from the brewery’s current location on Adanac Street (opened in February, 2014). Named after ‘The Bombers’, a beer-league team with a roster that featured top local Cicerone and Biercraft owner Don Farion, designer Cam Andrews, and brewer Blair Calibaba. After every game the team would decompress with some of Calibaba’s awesome homebrew, and the story goes that one night when Calibaba really nailed a batch of his Pilsner the three friends decided to open a brewery. The rest, as they say, is history. Brewers of approachable, award-winning beer, including Calibaba’s awesome Pilsner, which is as delicious as ever.
This brewery within a brewery pressed play back in 2016 as a contract operation with founders/friends Kent Courtice, Phil Spurgeon and Ryan Seller crafting their first beers out of East Van’s collaborative-incubator Callister. The crew moved on to Dogwood for a spell before settling in at Parallel 49, where they continue to toil to this day. Boombox is known for such beers as the “Arcade Glow” pale ale; seriously hoppy double IPAs like “Don’t Call it a Comeback”, “Just The Hits” and “Legend of Citra”; and IPAs such as “Red Seeker” and “Holotape”; not to mention interesting collaborations like the blood orange-soaked “Tone Def” Double IPA with Twin Sails. Their brews are most reliably found on tap at Parallel 49. but you can also count on at least some of their slickly branded cans making their way into the coolers at our better liquor stores.
Launched in 2013 by Brewmaster Conrad Gmoser (previously Steamworks) and Alibi Room co-owner Nigel Springthorpe, Brassneck is one of Vancouver’s must-visit breweries. This is true not only because they don’t keg or package their beer for outside retail or restaurant taps (except on very special occasions), but also because the tasting room has got a great feel to it. There is no doubt that the staff and omnipresence of ownership have a lot to do with that, but Brassneck is also an exemplar of the hard work, dedication to craft and risk-taking that’s required to succeed in this industry, and it’s a good thing to support such efforts with dollars…just so long as they are laid down in exchange for beer. Famed for their Dry Hopped Pale Ale, aka “Passive Aggressive” and the seclusion offered by its hideaway booth at the back (seats 6), which is known as The Cave. Many of the images and compelling labels we associate with the Brassneck brand were created by local artist Maggie Boyd. Bonus: there is almost always a food truck parked outside.
If you’ve ever caught a complex zephyr of multiple meat smells wafting up your nostrils on a late July Sunday on the northeast corner shore of False Creek, chances are they’ve emanated from Brewery & The Beast, the outdoor meat and beer festival launched by Phillips Brewing Co. in 2012. Sprawled across the vacant Concord Pacific lot, the annual good time brings together several dozens of the city’s best restaurants to do their carnivorous best to impress a sold out crowd of meat-loving beer drinkers. (The festival will very likely have to relocate when the property is developed as per the City’s new Northeast False Creek plan, at which point this particular entry in the Craft Beer Atlas of Vancouver will be tagged as “historical”.) Brewery & The Beast is included in Scout’s list of 1,000 Cool Things About Vancouver.
A famously hop-happy three block stretch of Port Moody’s Murray Street. It was so named on account of its crazy concentration of breweries. There are four: Yellow Dog (the oldest), Moody Ales, Twin Sails, and Parkside (the newest). It takes just a few minutes to walk the entire “row”, but we suggest doing it in a couple of hours with – it should go without saying – a designated driver in tow.
Long recognized as Vancouver’s top bottles shop, under the guidance of product expert Chester Carey, Canada’s first certified Cicerone, Brewery Creek has played a key role in exposing Vancouverites to different tastes and to top breweries from near and far. Long before the local scene was buzzing with daily beer releases, Brewery Creek was supplying us with a steady stream of US and Belgian beers that you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else in the province. And while the city is now home to several great bottle shops, Brewery Creek still comes out on top in just about every yearly poll as Vancouver’s best.
Vancouver’s first ever nano-brewery was Bridge Brewing Company, which has been operating out of North Van since 2012. Adding to their list of bragging rights is their commitment to sustainability: the brewery boasts a 99% waste-free rate in no small part due to their creativity and attention to detail. They use low-impact hybrid cars for their sales team, exclusively recyclable materials for their packaging and have even brewed a beer using unsold bread destined for the dump.
No local brewery better epitomizes the spirit of collegiality and connectivity that defines craft brewing more than Callister. A collaborative ‘brewery incubator’, Callister’s model sets it apart from every other entry in the Atlas. ‘Associate Brewers’ join the team and sign up for one-year terms to brew out of Callister under a distinctive name, and their awesome creations get sold under the ‘Callister’ brand umbrella. With husband and wife team Chris Lay and Diana McKenzie at the helm (Chris is Callister’s accomplished head brewer and Diana makes their line of delicious organic sodas), and alumni like Superflux, Boombox and Real Cask, you really can’t go wrong with a visit to their awesome east side brewery lounge. Named after Callister Park Stadium, a long-demolished facility on the site of present-day Callister Park in Hastings-Sunrise (where Lay’s grandfather was live-in caretaker from 1949-1970).
Incorporated in 1909 (but starting operations in 1908) under the leadership of President Henry Reifel (formerly of San Francisco Brewery). The brewery was located on the west side of Yew Street at West 11th Avenue. From 1911 to 1918 it became one of the held assets of Vancouver Breweries Ltd.
Capilano Beer and Masamune Sake were both brewed at 1445 Powell St. under the leadership of Fritz Sick starting in 1934. In 1944, the company was renamed Sick’s Capilano Brewery Ltd. It moved to 1550 Burrard St. in 1954 and stayed until 1958 when Molson’s purchased it.
Launched in 2009 and named after a long defunct but once popular beer once brewed just a few blocks from here (Cascade was “the beer without peer”), The Cascade Room was one of the engines that helped drive Vancouver’s recent craft beer boom. The tap list isn’t as deep as, say, St. Augustine’s or the Alibi Room, but The Cascade has nevertheless been impactful in introducing area palates to a wide assortment of brews. (Its owners launched Main Street Brewing in the old building known as The Garage, which used to be home to Vancouver Breweries Ltd., the same company that brewed Cascade beer.)
750 Granville Street was once upon a time home to the four-storey, 135-room Castle Hotel (previously known as The Windsor, built in 1908), which saw its gorgeous, elaborately tapestried main floor bar and lounge transformed into men and women’s beer parlours a year after the end of prohibition in 1922 and a full three years before beer parlours were legally allowed to exist in Vancouver (using the law’s “private club” loophole, wherein patrons paid a small membership fee).
Beers, most likely local stuff from Vancouver Breweries Ltd. and the like, were sold here for twenty cents a bottle.
Note that gender-segregated drinking wasn’t enshrined in local law until the middle of the Second World War (1942); The Castle Hotel was thus ahead (more accurately, behind) the curve on this by two decades.
According to Glen A. Mofford’s excellent “A History of the Castle Hotel, 1908-1990” by Glen A. Mofford, the beer parlour was known as a gay and transgender hangout from the early 1950s on. In the early 1970s, despite a straight management that often kicked same-sex patrons out (for physical expressions of affection), the beer parlour was a social hub of Vancouver’s gay community and the location of a legendary “kiss in” protest by the Gay Liberation Front.
Here’s Gordon Hardy reminiscing in a 2008 Daily Extra article:
“Our first political action took place at the Castle Hotel beer parlour on Granville St, a straight-owned and -operated gay pub that strictly enforced a no-touch rule, ie. if bar patrons of the same sex so much as touched, let alone kissed, each other they were ejected. A bunch of us, straight and gay, packed the bar one night and held a public, very wet “kiss-in” to protest the no-touch policy of the bar. We had a ball.
“We ignored the waiters’ demands to stop. Management called the police. My favourite recollection of the kiss-in was the reaction of the young police officers who walked into the bar and then walked out again as soon as they could, looking acutely embarrassed and arresting no one.
We only called it quits when the waiters started to beat on people. Then, as a group, we left, drunk and happy.”
The Castle closed in 1990 and the building was demolished immediately thereafter. The location would later see a Salad Loop franchise and The Royal Canadian Mint Store.
Established in 1902 by proprietor John Benson at the southeast corner of Westminster Rd. (Kingsway) and Knight St. After about a year, the Cedar Cottage Brewery (The Royal Brewing Co. Ltd.) moved its operations to the Stanley Park Brewery at 725 Chilco St. and Benson used the former brewery as his residence.
The massive role that Central City’s legendary brewmaster, Gary Lohin, has played in growing craft beer in BC really can’t be overstated. Central City’s ‘Red Racer’ line (especially their Westcoast IPA) introduced many drinkers across the province to the category, and since opening in 2003 the brewery has consistently produced a lineup of widely-available, unfailingly solid beer. Twice recognized as Canada’s best brewery at the Canadian Brewing Awards (2010, 2012), Central City also produces a line of beer under their own name, including their awesome Imperial IPA and their multiple award-winning Thor’s Hammer Barleywine, still the best example of the style in BC. Since opening their shiny new 65,000 square foot brewery and pub in Surrey, Central City has opened a brewpub at the old Dix space on Beattie Street and moved into distilling and making cider.
One of the first restaurants in town to understand the potential of beer as a pairing companion and to set aside space in the cellar for some Grandes Bouteilles. When this casual Belgian-Moroccan mainstay first opened its doors over a decade ago, you’d be hard pressed to find too many local gastronomes who knew beer paired with more than nachos and chicken wings. Not anymore. Along with a handful of other top spots about town, Chambar has normalized the practice of applying as much care and forethought to their beer lists as to their wine and cocktail programs. If in doubt, ask your server for pairing suggestions, but a Saison Dupont on the patio with a happy hour charcuterie plate is never a bad call, nor is a rich, dark chocolate-forward dessert with a glass of Rochefort 10.
Coal Harbour Brewing’s deceptive name belies its location on Triumph Street in the East Van neighbourhood, where they’ve been steadily producing beer since 2010. They’re especially known for one beer in particular: 311 Helles Lager. Their narrow focus and lack of a tasting room has set them apart in Vancouver’s brewery scene, but they’ve recently started branching out into other beer styles and hosting monthly “open houses”. They also have plans to open a public taproom in the near future (it’s currently under construction).
Colony Bar’s original location is a modern, casual neighbourhood pub, located on West Broadway in the heart of Kitsilano. The food menu is unpretentious and includes familiar bar fare as well as some West Coast inspired additions. The beer selection includes a frequently rotating tap list of local, seasonal brews displayed in sharpie marker on a tearaway craft paper wall hanging. The bar keeps busy with weekly events, like Trivia and Industry nights, plus daily specials, a solid Happy Hour, and more than a few televisions.
Colony Bar’s second location on Main Street maintain’s the original’s modern, casual neighbourhood pub vibe, including its signature craft paper and sharpie menu of seasonal, rotating local taps and pub food faves. The seating sees a mash-up of booths, large high-tops, low two-seaters and bar seating, which makes for a medley of date-nighters and big groups. When there are clear skies, regardless of the temperature, the small sidewalk level bar patio is always bustling. The same weekly Trivia and Industry nights, daily specials (like an all-day Tuesday beer deal that’s hard to beat) and Happy Hours at the Kits location also apply here.
Serving the sawmill workers of Hastings Township and Cedar Cove from 1889 to 1912, this small brewery (that left behind a single awesome photo), was located at the present day intersection of Powell and Wall Street, where Cannery Row now sits. Like so many images Victorian Vancouver, it’s pretty amazing to try and mentally transport yourself back to the old growth expanse captured in the image and imagine what it must have been like for mill workers or visitors to Hastings Park to trek a few kilometers on foot through a now unrecognizable landscape to enjoy glass of cold local beer at one of Vancouver’s first commercial breweries.
A concept transplanted from its original 2011 digs in Calgary, CRAFT is the beer-brainchild of Founder PJ L’Heureux, along with childhood pals John Liwag and Rob Swiderski. Mere steps from the Seawall, the patio is a virtual extension of the Olympic Village Square, making the False Creek address an optimal location for fair-weather drinking, dining and people watching. The massive barn-style heritage building boasts a tap list that’s equally expansive with over 100 taps and a focus on local brews. Its setting and selection can be overwhelming, and a tourist trap, to boot, so consider this a good place to “belly up” to the central circular bar for a Happy Hour pint off the “Rotating Handles” menu, or else be prepared to be caught up in a flurry of activity and acoustics.
A perennial Scout fave. Dageraad shared their awesome story and unique vision with us on our Brewer’s Blog long before they opened up shop, and after consistently making some of the most delicious and honest Belgian-style beer in Canada, Dageraad was deservedly recognized as Canada’s best brewery at the 2018 Canadian Brewing Awards. Their multiple-award winning Blonde is one of the best beers made in the province, and their Burnabarian, a Belgian-Style Tafelbier, is the kind of beer that should always be in your fridge. It pairs effortlessly with everything from charcuterie and barbeque to Thai Curry, and manages to be refreshing and unassuming while simultaneously being complex and deeply satisfying. Dageraad’s Burnaby brewery lounge is a must-visit, and their lineup of seasonal beers is solid and ever-dependable.
A legendary east side home brew shop that has supplied the city’s home brewers with top quality supplies and, more importantly, knowledge and encouragement, since 1991. Although its eponymous founder, Dan Small, left us far too early of lung cancer at the age of 50 in 2013, the award that bears his name at the BC Beer Awards, established in part by Bomber’s head brewer Blair Calibaba, is a testament to the massive impact Dan and his shop had on nurturing generations of local home brewers, many of whom have gone on to take the helm at some of BC’s top breweries.
Embedded in the unlikely setting of Kitsilano for over 35 years, Darby’s Pub and Liquor store is a neighbourhood haunt and insider go-to for their incredible selection of bottles and cans plus 33 rotating taps. The relatively innocuous and mostly residential location can make Darby’s a good place to lay low with the regulars while sipping on exceptional beers. Weather-permitting, the rooftop patio is a must.
Darby’s Gastown Pub is a craft beer destination at the centre of the Downtown Eastside, primarily due to its steady calendar of tap takeovers. The bar’s sleek interior is in stark contrast with the location’s immediate surroundings, views of which are afforded by two walls of North- and East-facing floor-to-ceiling windows. The central U-shaped bar dominates the space and is equipped with 30 rotating taps that feature local, domestic and imported beers.
Deep Cove Brewers and Distillers opened their doors on the North Shore in 2013, hot on the heels of the Vancouver brewery boom. Inspired by their natural surroundings, the ingredients that go into Deep Cove’s beers are sustainable and produced in Canada. Their style inspirations are mined from craft beer history. The beer extends beyond their tap list with an impressive list of lounge menu food items that incorporate their brews. For example, the ‘Tin Can’ pale ale is used in the Mac and cheese sauce, as part of their fondue, and in the Reuben sandwich’s mustard. There’s also a ‘Sentinel’ IPA braised onion flatbread topping and a ‘Crawl’ stout mustard.
John “Gassy Jack” Deighton’s hotel and saloon on the southwest corner of Carrall St. and Water St. — the hospitality foundation of Gastown and some of Vancouver’s first beers were downed. Launched in 1867, it burned down in the Great Fire of 1886, just three months after the photograph above was taken. The smoking wreck was immediately cleared to make way for the Byrnes Block, which stands to this day (now home to Peckinpah BBQ).
Along with fellow Mark James Group brewpub, Yaletown Brewing Company, the long shuttered Dix was the epicentre of good beer in Vancouver in the early 2000s, and the list of brewers who honed their chops at Dix is pretty impressive. Strange Fellow’s Iain Hill, 33 Acres’ Dave Varga, and Trading Post’s Tony Dewalt all had stints brewing at Dix, which was not surprisingly a brewers hangout, and (along with Main Street’s the Whip) played a big role in introducing local palates to cask ales. It closed in 2009, but the original Dix sign can be found at Central City on Beatty (the very spot where Dix once stood), and Dix’s brewing equipment is in the good hands of Brassneck’s Conrad Gmosser, who invites Dix alumni every December to brew the ever-popular holiday fave ‘Spirit of Dixmas’ on the old system.
The Doan brothers truly embody the adage that you should do a few things in life and do them really, really well. You won’t find a constantly rotating spate of 20 beers on tap at Evan and Mike Doan’s cozy Powell Street brewery lounge (home to a gorgeous mural by local phenom Ola Vola – who also designed their logo and labels), but what you will find on most days are their delicious Altbier, Kolsh and Rye Stout (which is essential drinking on cold, wet Vancouver nights). Since partnering with Craft Collective (formerly Factory Brewing – a dedicated, industrial contract brewer), Doan’s has expanded distribution beyond its tasting lounge and a few select accounts to the Island and the Interior.
Any brewery would be so lucky as to have a hotel and full-service restaurant umbilically connected to it. Such is the case with Dockside, a veteran in Vancouver’s craft brewing scene. Launched in 2001 and situated on the eastern extreme of Granville Island in arguably one of the best brewery locations in Canada (sandwiched between the waters of False Creek and the green of Ron Basford Park), the multi-purpose place has given us such interesting brews as their odd, hibiscus-infused Jamaican Lager (people either love it or loathe it), delicious Haupenthal Hefeweizen and, rather refreshingly, the juicy Strawberry Blonde.The brewing program and signature line-up have been maintained under the guidance of talented brewmasters like long-time fixture Peter Haupenthal and, most recently, the restaurant’s former bar manager (and certified Cicerone), Craig Ludtke. Bonus: stunning patio.
In 1891, Charles Gottfried Doering (founder of Vancouver Brewing in ) and Otto Marstrand paired to create this brewery in what is today Mount Pleasant (the exact location is now occupied by Main Street Brewing). It merged with Red Cross Brewing in 1902 to create Vancouver Breweries Ltd.
Dogwood Brewing’s ethos is a game changer, as they are committed to using entirely certified organic and vegan ingredients sourced from local growers in every step of the process of brewing their four core beers and rotating seasonal selections. They’re likewise conscientious about the packaging process, which utilizes cans exclusively for their low environmental impact, better taste and imperviousness to light. Beer drinkers looking for a clear conscience with their quaff can definitely feel good when popping the top on a can of Dogwood or visiting the brewery’s tasting lounge off of SE Marine Drive.
Opened in 2017 by Steve Jennings (see also The London, Two Lions, Brixton, Manchester, Morrissey) and Andy Agnesini with James Labbe on as Brewmaster (formerly of Steamworks and Deep Cove Brewers and Distillers). The 6,000 sqft operation includes a 66 seat tasting room and bar fitted with 12 taps, 10 of which pour house brews like Labbe’s 6% Scotch Ale. Conveniently located within a stone’s throw of Commercial Drive.
Opened in the Spring of 2018, the fun and irreverent Electric Bicycle was two years in the making by young owners Elliot McKerr, Matt Ryan and Leigh Matkovich. They launched with four brews by Brewmaster Paddy Russell (formerly of Spinnakers in Victoria) and hope to have to up to eight before too long. Small and colourful tasting room seats 47 people. Simple food program anchored by a grilled cheese sandwich.
You’ll find small Faculty Brewing at the bottom of the Ontario Street bike path, slightly south of the 2nd Avenue thoroughfare and inside the reconstructed Pedal Depot bicycle shop. The 7 barrel, 1,450 sqft brewery contains six fermentors and six bright beer tanks within eyesight (but slightly out of arms reach) of their 30 seat tasting room. Owners Mauricio and Alicia are not only husband and wife but also head brewer and brewery designer. (Alicia was an intern architect at Simcic + Urich Architects during Faculty’s construction.) Mauricio’s past life as a professor is the inspiration behind the name, although these days he’s devoted to educating beer drinkers via the brewery’s weekly rotating tap list and sharing every beer’s exact recipe. Consider Faculty for your continuing education on beer, as well as a pit stop before or after conquering that brutal Mount Pleasant hill on your next bike ride.
Consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top breweries, since brothers Adam and Brent Mills, along with dad Greg Mills opened this Delta outfit in 2013 the brewery has amassed a seemingly endless slew of local, national and international awards, including well-deserved recognition as Canada’s best brewery at the 2015 Canadian Brewing Awards. ‘Nectarous’, a dry-hopped sour first produced as a limited release in 2015 (and now widely available year-round), was subsequently awarded the highly-coveted ‘Beer of the Year’ at the 2016 Canadian Beer Awards, and is a fantastic ‘gateway beer’ for wine drinkers. And while head brewer Brent Mills’ ‘standard’ series (Saison, Pilsner, Oat Porter) are fantastic, his ‘Zephyrus’ Series (Nectarous, Juxtapose, Vexillium) and his bottle-conditioned Eurus series (Operis, Pomona) contain some of the best beers being made in BC.
Fuggles & Warlock’s motto of “Keeping Beer Weird” is apparent in the brewery’s selection of niche, “Geek Culture” inspired creations like the award-winning ‘Bean Me Up Espresso Milk Stout’, which has doubtlessly fuelled many a gaming session. The full line-up includes four core beers, an experimental IPA series, collaborations, rotating seasonals and limited editions, all with equally referential names. Venture out to Richmond to visit the tasting room and set your tastebuds out on an exploratory mission that will appeal to your inner fanboy/fangirl.
While the stories of the breweries that served our nascent city in the 19th century have been sadly relegated to the yellowed pages of a few volumes in the VPL’s archives, Brewery Creek’s Garage Building lives on as a rare physical reminder of the storied past of our local brewing scene. Originally home to the Doering and Marstrand Brewery in the late 19th century, the building later housed Vancouver Breweries, and is now home to Main Street Brewing, sitting protected on the City’s heritage registry. A great spot to grab a pint of cask ale in a rare, surviving artifact of Vancouver’s storied brewing history.
Located inside the Lonsdale Quay Market, Green Leaf Brewing is as “green” in their brewing practices as their name suggests, from their eco-friendly water recycling program to the brewhouse lighting and custom brewing system. The beer list includes three core styles (a lager, pale ale and IPA) plus a selection of sours and rotating seasonal brews. Within steps of the seabus terminal and with a water-facing patio, Green Leaf is a “must” first or last stop for a North Shore day trip and/or brewery crawl.
A liquor store that has been highly supportive of Vancouver’s craft beer renaissance. Knowledgeable staff and impressive diversity of local product (over 130 different beers) make exploring the shelves at High Point an education. East Van is lucky to have it.
Owner Angelo B. Calori built the Hotel Europe at 43 Powell Street in 1909. The ground floor space at the flatiron-shaped building’s apex was a beer parlour. The basement and areaways below housed its keg cellar. It was once considered to be one of the city’s finest beer parlours and was a popular spot for conducting business in Gastown. Oh, how we wish it still existed!
Opened in 1982 by English ex-pats John Mitchell and Frank Appleton to supply Horseshoe Bay’s Troller Pub (where Mitchell was the manager) with proper British-style ale, this was Canada’s first ‘craft brewery’. Although it shuttered just a few years after opening, by throwing that first stone at the iron grip held by Molson, Labatts and Carling-O’Keefe on Canada’s beer industry, its impact can’t be overstated. Mitchell went on to open Canada’s first brewpub, Spinnakers, in Victoria, and Appleton helped open Vancouver’s first brewpub, Yaletown Brewing, where he mentored a young Iain Hill – now brew master and part owner of Vancouver’s Strange Fellows Brewing.
From 1905 to 1906 Lansdowne Brewery is in operation in the former Lion Brewing Co. (1896) building at 288 Front Street (later E. 1st Ave). The 1906 City Directories lists brewer August Hasenfratz living down the block at 264 Front Street.
At 8,000 sqft, Legacy is one of the largest (if not THE largest) privately owned liquor stores in Western Canada. Located in the heart of Olympic Village and staffed by people who know what they’re talking about, the store has been hugely supportive of Vancouver’s craft beer scene since opening in 2010. Cruising the shelves and coolers here is a rite of schooling passage for those looking to orient and immerse themselves in what the Lower Mainland (and beyond) offers on the brewing front.
Located near the slaughterhouses at the mouth of Brewery Creek at 286 Front Street (later E. 1st Ave.) and Scotia Street across the street from where the Red Truck Beer Company is today. In operation for just one year: 1896. The same address would later be home to Lansdowne Brewery.
Opened by Federico Stucchi, Anique Ross, Ryan Parfitt and Eleanor Stewart in 2016 in the heart of Strathcona, this Italian-accented brewery and 67 seat tasting room is an asset to the community with eight taps of always interesting brews (Luppolo means “hops” in Italian). Bonus: tasty piadine sandwiches (and focaccia bread on weekends).
Opened in May, 2014 by the same crew that gave us The Cascade Room, Union Bar and El Camino’s, this modern brewery is located in The Garage buiding, the the same building that used to house the Doering and Marstrand Brewery in the late 19th century. It was later used by Vancouver Breweries Ltd., and is protected by the City’s heritage registry. As noted in the Atlas entry for The Garage, it’s “a great spot to grab a pint of cask ale in a rare, surviving artifact of Vancouver’s storied brewing history.” Want to remember opening day? Scout was there right before they served their first customers. Take a look.
Coquitlam-based Mariner Brewing loves dogs almost as much as beer, and pups are always welcome to join their beer-swilling humans in the brewery’s outdoor Beer Garden. The brewery has been producing a line up of solid beers and pushing beer boundaries with their Exploratory Batch series since August of 2017. The brewery also invites you to conquer the Coquitlam Crunch trail with them and be rewarded with a discounted growler fill. Bonus: Sunday brunches.
Built in 1953 by the Sick family (see also ‘Capilano Brewing’), this iconic brewery on False Creek was taken over by Molsons five years later in 1958. It ceased operations in 2016 after the land was sold by Molson-Coors to Concord Pacific for $185 million. (The company moved the old brewing equipment to its a home in Chilliwack in 2018.)
A new Richmond brewery that not only has a 145 seat restaurant attached to it but also adjoins Lucky 9 Lanes Bowling Centre for extra good times. Front of house highlight: long-time industry veteran Sean Hamilton! Eight signature brews (including Silverback Stout and Redtail Ale) complimented by good pizza and those newfangled “Beyond” burgers.
Launched in 2014 by Adam Crandall and Brewmaster Dan Helmer, this Port Moody brewery with over a dozen taps has given us such deliciousnesses as the Vienna Amber Lager, Hardy Brown Ale and a quaffable Pineapple Hefe. Its ‘Brewers Row’ tasting room is at its boisterous best during Wednesday trivia nights. There’s room for about 100 people inside and another 75+ on the patio.
The family of Off The Rail founder/brewer Steve Forsyth was behind Vancouver’s legendary Railway Club. It was at this institution that he began to share his love of craft beer with the local public. After the Railway’s sale in 2008, Forsyth moved into organic hop farming out in Mission and starting brewing his own beer, which led him full circle back to Vancouver and the launch of Off The Rail on the Adanac Bike Route in the winter of 2015. The small, second floor tasting room offers 15 taps, a dozen of which flow with beers brewed on site. Our fave? Czechmate Pilsner.
Launched in 2012, Parallel 49’s is a true product of East Van with its three founders having grown up in the neighbourhood and within a short stroll of the brewery. Their new facility on Triumph St. is packed daily with sippers who appreciate the broad diversity of beers brewed on site, plus the tasty food made in the permanently parked food truck that sits in the middle of their tasting room floor. Greatest hits include the Filthy Dirty IPA, Trash Panda Hazy IPA and Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale.
Launched in the early summer of 2016 and located in Port Moody across from Rocky Point Park, Parkside is the work of former Red Truck sales director Sam Payne and veteran brewer Vern Lambourne, who was the brewmaster at Granville Island for 13 years. Reliable and representative year round brews include their Humans IPA, Dusk Pale Ale and Dawn Pilsner, but keep an eye for one-offs (eg. Pineapple Milkshake IPA) and the occasional collaborations. Excellent tap room with dog-friendly patio.
Although Pat’s has been brewing their own in-house beer relatively under the radar since 2006, in December of 2014 they began construction on their current 2-barrel system in the basement of the adjoining Patricia Hotel, in what used to be a wood shop. The brewery rebranded itself as Hastings Mill Brewing Company in August of 2017, named after the city’s landmark turn-of-the-century sawmill. In true pub fashion, Pat’s ambience comes as much from regular patrons as it does from its unpretentious anti-aesthetic, independent spirit and heart. A lot of the latter can be credited to their tight-knit and passionate team, which includes General Manager Daryl Nelson; his sister, Front Desk Manager and Everywoman Lindsay Thomas; and brewmaster Lonnie McConnell. In addition to 20 local taps, at any time you’ll find 6 taps of house-brewed beer available in tasters, proper 20oz pints, and growler fills (all gallon fills are only $10!) including their Classic Lager, Bricktop Pale Ale and Skid Row IPA, not to mention their rotating seasonals, like the award-winning Griswold Winter Ale.
Paying homage to the original PNW beer Mecca town of Portland, Oregon, Portland Craft has been bringing a little piece of their gastronomic culture to Main Street since 2012. One of the first beer-forward restaurants to capitalize on Vancouver’s burgeoning obsession with craft brews before the city-wide brewery boom, they continue to pour their love for our sister city while also featuring local and California breweries. You can count on these guys to throw one killer tap takeover that always fills up with the usual beer-loving offenders. Bonus: really good fried chicken and waffles.
More than just a brewery, Postmark is a lifestyle brand that epitomizes the West Coast culture of yoga, the outdoors, music, photography and a lineup of sessional beer to fuel it all. The born and brewed Vancouver establishment lists Lululemon and Shaper Studios custom surfboard shop as two of their collaborators. Postmark has been operating from the historic (nearly a century-old) warehouse, the Settlement Building, in Railtown since 2014, exclusively filling up the beer taps in Belgard Kitchen, the comfort food restaurant it shares the building with.
Back in May of 2013, a mere five months after first opening their doors, this small outfit’s phenomenal ‘Old Jalopy’ Pale Ale was recognized as Canada’s best beer at the Canadian Brewing Awards. To keep up with the crazy demand, brewmaster David Bowkett was soon forced to quit his day job as an architectural engineer, and he and wife, local photographer Nicole Stefanopolous, moved their operations from 1830 Powell (now home to Doan’s Craft Brewing) to their current location near the foot of Clark Drive. Since that move, the local, national and international recognition has kept rolling in for Powell, and while core beers like Bowkett’s ‘Dive Bomb’ Brown Ale, ‘Ode to Citra’ Pale Ale, and Belgian Witbier are all still being crafted at Powell’s new digs, the added space and resources have given Bowkett the freedom to really experiment and to develop a solid barrel program.
Opened in 1997 on Ontario Street, long before ‘Brewery Creek’ became the revitalized core of Vancouver’s beer scene, R&B played a similar role to Storm and Yaletown Brewing Company in exposing local palates to the potential of good beer. A training ground for many industry types who’ve gone on to make their own impact, it was at R&B that Brent Mills honed his chops before breaking off to open Delta’s award-winning Four Winds in 2012. Since being taken over by Squamish’s Howe Sound Brewing in 2015, R&B has expanded its operations by opening its popular Ale & Pizza house on East 4th.
Established in 1882 by E.E. Barker (and partners), this small operation with the ironic name would merge with two other small breweries (Doering and Marstrand) to create Vancouver Breweries Ltd. in 1902. In its time, Red Cross –
located in the shadow of today’s Financial District on a section of West Hastings St. that was then called Seaton St. – made Vancouver’s most popular beers.
Founder Mark James started Red Truck delivering kegs of lager and IPA in his bright red 1946 Dodge pickup truck. They moved from their North Van facility to their new location on East 1st Ave in 2015. The address puts them very close to where the old, long dried-up Brewery Creek used to flow into the False Creek tidal flats. The new operation is huge, coming complete with a communal style tasting room and Truck Stop restaurant that dishes up diner-style indulgences.
Launched in 1995, Russell is one of the older operations in the Lower Mainland, though the Russell family sold it in 2005. Succeeding Brewmaster Dave Van Allen makes unpasteurized, 100% natural beers without preservatives. Located in the Strawberry Hill section of Surrey, its best known brews are (arguably) their Angry Scotch Ale and Blood Alley Bitter. In 2013, the company expanded operations to China, where it opened a brewery and a pair of restaurants.
Founded in 1888 by Henry Reifel, Jack Reifel and Charles Miller, San Francisco Brewery was located along Brewery Creek on the northwest corner of Westminster Ave. (now Main St.) and 11th Ave. One of the earliest breweries to set up shop in Mount Pleasant. Closed in 1890.
Opened in the summer of 2008, this large craft beer institution has room for 170 people and pours from over 60 taps that are always changing. (The list here never gets boring and is a challenge to keep up with!) Located on Commercial Drive just off East Broadway, it’s extremely popular with Lower Mainland pilgrims who are deeply appreciative of quality brewing (it helps that it’s within stumbling distance of the Skytrain). Bonus: good pub fare.
Frank Foubert started Stanley Park Brewery along with brewer John Dyke in 1896 in a house built in 1889 by G. G. Mackay at the foot of Alberni Street near the entrance to Stanley Park (later 725 Chilco St.). In 1903, the brewery was leased to The Royal Brewing Co. Ltd. The operation was eventually sold to the City and closed in 1909.
A true Vancouver brewery anomaly, Steamworks’ Gastown brewpub has been literally functioning off of steam since 1995, when the owners repurposed the historic building’s steam-powered heating system to fuel their brewing process, with delicious and award-winning results. The first of its kind in Canada, Steamworks has since expanded into canning and off-sales, but to get the true experience you have to delve into the bowels of the building which personifies its heritage with its warmth and charm – think dark wood accents, a winding staircase and tile flooring.
The first ever brewery to open its doors in Burnaby was Steamworks, in the former location of a stone work business and coinciding with the great big Vancouver brewery boom, in the summer of 2013. Although the 30,000 square foot building was erected in 1955 – more than half a century after its Gastown location – the wood beamed space still maintains heritage elements associated with the Steamworks brand identity. It includes a spacious taproom as well as brewing and bottling and canning facilities.
Opened in 2014 by New West locals Jorden Foss and James Garbutt, S&O initially bucked the new-world leanings of most West Coast brewers, choosing instead to focus on traditional central European styles like pilsners and hefeweizens. Their delicious Red Pilsner, an awesome pairing companion for everything from Chinese barbeque and dumplings to tacos, traditional holiday fare and southern barbeque, is S&O’s top seller (it is now widely available in 473 ml cans). Since their first head brewer, Peter Schultz, moved on and was replaced by Eric Moutal, many of their original core beers have remained in production, but the brewery has expanded to make a wider array of offerings, including their brilliant ‘Brewers Series’ of bottle-conditioned beers.
Opened at the foot of Commercial Drive in 1994 by self-styled ‘Mad Scientist’ James Walton, this chaotic, ramshackle little brewery, now probably best known for Walton’s ‘Brain Storms’ (think Mango Pudding Ale or Watercress Pilsner) played, along with Yaletown Brewing and R&B Brewing, a pretty big role in introducing the good people of Vancouver to a world beyond fizzy, industrial lagers. Walton’s Scottish Highland Ale, Black Plague Stout, and Imperial Flanders Red were all pretty revolutionary local offerings back in the day. It remains Vancouver’s longest running craft brewery.
Vancouver’s original “Nerd Bar”, the Storm Crow Tavern, opened up its first location on Commercial Drive in 2012 as a haven for fantasy lovers, game players and general weirdos. In addition to a large selection of boardgames on hand for your entertainment, you can expect absolutely no games screening on their televisions – only old school horror films and the like. If swilling a mug of one of their half-dozen local draught beers amid a dark, medieval inspired atmosphere and sci-fi kitsch decor with likeminded people sounds like your jam then there is no other bar besides Storm Crow.
Storm Crow’s second location is more spacious but no less cavernous or nerdy than its Commercial Drive sibling. Situated in the less likely Kitsilano area, directly next to an Earl’s restaurant, the “Alehouse” is a black sheep of sorts by being a beacon of darkness and subculture in Vancouver’s typified yoga and beach-loving neighbourhood. With 20 rotating taps of BC brews, though, it’s also a beacon of beer.
Long before brewing a sour was practically a requirement for any self-respecting local brewery, Strange Fellows’ co-owner and head brewer Iain Hill was crafting an award-winning array of Oud Bruins, Flanders Reds and Krieks as Yaletown Brewing Company’s head brewer (1994-2010). When word broke that Hill would be opening up a predominantly Belgian-focused brewery with extensive sour and barrel programs, local craft beer circles rejoiced. Convincing your business partner to tie up inventory in barrels from months to years on end (let alone package ‘niche’ beers like Oud Bruins) can be a tough sell, so having someone like Hill’s vision-aligned co-founder Aaron Jonckheere at the helm of Strange Fellows has been key to their success and their ability to carve out a key spot in the local craft beer scene. By selling their phenomenal limited release bottles by the glass in their lounge space and using part of it for the Charles Clark gallery, Strange Fellows single-handedly raised Vancouver’s brewery lounge game to a whole new level.
About as ideal a brewery/hangout as any neighbourhood could ever hope for. Located on East Hastings St. in Strathcona (natch), this good-looking, 12,000 sqft operation launched in the summer of 2016 with Adrian McInnes managing the brand (rather superbly) and Michael “Fezz” Nazarec brewing the beer. Home of Strathcona Gold, a smoked porter, a refreshing seasonal radlers, and one of the best pizzas Vancouver has ever seen.
Superflux is a cult operation (formerly known as Machine Ales) that brewed small doses out of Callister and Dogwood before finding more settled digs at Strathcona Beer Company in 2017. Overseen by thirty-somethings Adam Henderson and Matt Kohlen, the unheadquartered company has quickly engendered the devoted affections of local beer lovers with several interesting collaborations with bigger players and a diverse string of tasty, often elusive IPA iterations (eg. Colour & Shape, Happyness, Rainbow Machine, Craft Beer is Dead, Barracuda). In the crowded space that is Vancouver’s craft beer scene, Superflux Beer Company regularly cuts through the clutter with the quality of their limited release beers and quite possibly the most consistently attractive branding of any beer ever brewed in Vancouver. They have no website, choosing instead to promote/communicate their creations via Instagram, albeit in limited fashion, a practice that likely only adds to their allure.
The newest location of Tap & Barrel has taken the business model of spectacular views and brews to North Vancouver’s The Shipyards, within easy walking distance of the Lonsdale Quay Market and ferry terminal. The spacious, airy restaurant and seasonal patio definitely play up its surroundings – particularly the view of the Burrard Inlet and Vancouver proper. Add to that 36 taps of exclusively BC beers and you’ve got a quintessential North Van experience.
The first of Tap & Barrel’s locations features 24 BC brews, including a few special collaborations available only at Tap & Barrel. The Olympic Village restaurant is also home to one of Vancouver’s most covetable year-round patios, directly next to the False Creek Seawall in Olympic Village, and it’s unsurprisingly not rare to encounter a long queue of patio-crazed locals and tourists at any given time.
At their Coal Harbour location, Tap & Barrel continues to tap into Vancouver’s exceptional waterfront views while serving up three dozen BC beers. This is inarguably a hot spot for out-of-towners, due to its address in the Convention Centre’s West building, and proximity to the cruise ship docks. It’s also a convincing locale for a beer-fuelled stay-cation amongst a diverse crowd, watching the planes and reminding yourself of the beautiful natural and delicious merits of our city and province.
By releasing a seemingly endless spate of on-point, small-batch IPAs, Twin Sails has done a great job of maintaining the crazy hype that surrounded their first forays into contemporary American ales back in late 2016. And as the constant line-ups outside of Cody and Clay Almin’s Port Moody tasting room on any given Saturday will tell you, Twin Sails’ popularity goes well beyond the assorted chin beards and limited-release traders who go out of their way to buy up the latest batches of Str8 Flexin’ and Short Pants. Their clean sweep of the Imperial IPA category at the 2017 BC Beer Awards surprised few, and was a great illustration of Twin Sails’ increasingly lofty position in BC’s craft beer industry.
Vancouver’s first brewpub, YBC opened back in 1994. The role played by YBC’s first head brewer, Iain Hill, (who stayed at the helm until 2010 to open Strange Fellows), in developing Vancouver’s beer scene and maturing local palates really cant be overstated. Not only was Hill producing incredible old world beers at YBC back in the 90s (like his multiple award-winning Oud Bruin) but – true-to-form for an industry built on collegiality and community – he took the mentorship he received from Frank Appleton (co-founder of Canada’s first craft brewery, Horseshoe Bay Brewery), who designed YBC’s brewhouse and trained Hill on it, and paid it forward by mentoring numerous young brewers who today can be found making beers at numerous locations across town and beyond.
Since opening in 2014, Port Moody’s family-run Yellow Dog Brewing Co. has established itself as a perennial favourite amongst BC’s craft beer intelligentsia. Producing a consistently solid lineup of core offerings and some fantastic seasonals (their wet-hopped Play Dead IPA is superb), Yellow Dog came to many peoples’ attention when their ‘Shake A Paw Smoked Porter’ won Best in Show at the BC Beer Awards only a few months after the brewery first opened. Large tasting room leads out back to an awesome, tree-shaded patio filled with picnic tables and good times.