Vancouver is in the midst of a microbrewery boom, with more than four dozen craft brewers now operating across the metropolitan area. Pop into any area pub or restaurant and ask for what’s local; you can’t go too far wrong. But if you’d like to inform your sampling and look for specific labels or try out some tasting rooms, we’ve got the sudsy scoop on where to sip.
What to drink where
Vancouver’s craft breweries are concentrated on the city’s East Side, with a cluster of breweries in the Main Street area and another farther east around Powell Street.
Opened in 2013, 33 Acres Brewing, right off Main Street, gives its well-regarded beers names like 33 Acres of Life (a hoppy lager-ale hybrid) or 33 Acres of Sunshine (a fruity summer ale). The tasting room is wildly popular for the weekend waffle brunch.
Other local brewers recommend trying whatever Brassneck Brewing is concocting. You can sample their frequently changing, small-batch brews in the compact Main Street tasting room.
Three hockey buddies, who also happened to love beer, launched Bomber Brewing in 2014. They brew a British-style ESB, a Czech Pilsner, and a classic IPA, among others, available in their East Side tasting room.
Started by another friends-who-love-beer team in East Vancouver, Parallel 49 Brewing Company is known for its Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale, the drinkable Craft Lager, and the distinctive Tricycle Grapefruit Radler, a blend of lager and red grapefruit juice. This year, they’ve introduced a summertime variation: Meyer Lemon Tricycle Radler, a lager blended with Meyer lemon juice.
Named for a local square in the Flemish city of Antwerp, Dageraad Brewing takes its cues from classic Belgian brews. If you don’t have time to trek out to suburban Burnaby to sample their wares at the tasting room, look for their Belgian-style beers at Vancouver pubs and restaurants. Try their signature unfiltered Dageraad Blonde.
Prefer to do your tasting closer to downtown? Central City Brewers has opened a tap room on Beatty Street to showcase their Red Racer IPAs, along with other local brews. The Olympic Village district along False Creek is also home to several pubs serving local microbrews, including Craft Beer Market and Tap and Barrel.
How to plan a beer crawl
One of the easiest ways to explore the Vancouver craft beer scene is aboard the WildSide Vancouver Craft Brewery Shuttle, a hop-on, hop-off service that operates on Saturdays and stops at a number of local breweries. WildSide runs guided beer tours as well.
Several other companies offer organized beer tours, including Vancouver Brewery Tours, Vine and hops and Vancouver Food Tour, which does a Craft Beer ‘n Bites tour of the Gastown neighborhood. Prefer to get some exercise while you sample? Consider Cycle City Tours’ Craft Beer Tour, which takes you to several breweries by bike.