The first half of my September vacation day in Vancouver was spent on Grouse Mountain taking in spectacular views on a simply perfect fall day. Being 4,000 feet above the city breathing in fresh mountain air allowed me to work up quite the thirst for my afternoon pursuit – a craft beer crawl through East Vancouver. First stop was Parallel 49 Brewing, oddly, a brewery whose beers I hadn’t tried before even though a number of their offerings are available in Saskatoon.
I was really happy with my selection of this as the first stop (as my palette was at its freshest) and of the samples I selected for my tasting here. These beers were all outstanding. From left to right: Holy Smokes (a smoked lager), Schadenfreude (probably the best pumpkin beer I’ve ever had with a full pumpkin and spice flavour), Summer Smash (an ISA that if it were available in bottles would be my watching a baseball game game beer) and their Filthy Dirty IPA. What a great start to a craft beer crawl!
A few short blocks away, my next stop was Doan’s Craft Brewing Company. I knew this was going to be my kind of place by the sign outside. They have a very small, homey tasting room, decorated with local art and growlers from Vancouver breweries. On a weekday afternoon, there were a few folks in and out to pick up a growler or stopping in for a drink while I was there. Definitely a neighbourhood hangout.
I tried five samples at Doan’s – their Whirlpool Party (far left, below) was an easy drinking pale perfect for a warm day. I was most fond of the Rye Stout (far right, below). It was a perfectly balanced stout, a bit toasty and a bit sweet from the rye – a lovely beer.
From there, I made my way a few more blocks back toward downtown Vancouver to Powell Street Craft Brewery. On entering the door, I knew immediately I was visiting another great neighbourhood hangout. This was my kind of low-pretense, welcomes all visitors type of joint. I selected a wide range of styles for my tasting flight here – from left to right: a citra hopped pale ale, an imperial IPA (incredibly smooth for the high alcohol content and my favourite at this brewery!), a peach sour, and a beechwood smoked lager that I think had a hint of pork or bacon flavour. Perhaps that was an indication it was time to get some food in my belly.
For my last stop, and needing to get some food into me to help balance out the afternoon of tastings, I hopped a bus then a train to the Main Street area (where I had a great craft beer crawl last year!) to visit R&B Brewing Company. Although I loved the three tasting rooms I had already visited, this was my favourite. For vibe and environment alone, this would be my home away from home if I lived in this neighbourhood. The room had mismatched 70s era furniture, a variety of seating for groups and individuals, a wall of windows to watch the world walk past, board games and books, and an amazing sound system.
I chose four samples and an excellent prosciutto and arugula pizza and settled in. Two beers here really caught my attention. The Sun God Wheat Ale (second from the left) was a perfect summer beer and their Vancouver Special IPA (far left) was a hoppy yet balanced and drinkable IPA.
Not a bad way to spend a vacation day, eh? I was in Vancouver for a few more days to attend a conference and when I realized I had a hotel room with a million dollar view, I picked up a couple of British Columbia craft beers so I could sit in a chair, put on some music, open the window and enjoy a delicious beer while staring out over Coal Harbour. My way of extending a slice of vacation into those working days.