The city’s craft beer scene has really exploded over the last decade, with consumer interest and sales burgeoning as well. According to the Government of B.C., approximately 80% of the province’s breweries are smaller scale, with many of them located in Vancouver.
Vancouver has numerous establishments where you can sample their in-house beer, as well as the plethora of others produced locally. These establishments also serve scrumptious bites that have elevated our conception of food for pairing with beer. During the pandemic, delivery and takeout options have expanded, making these establishments one-stop destinations for both good beer and great eating. Beer enthusiasts definitely have an abundance of options.
Until January 8, 2021, in line with the public health order updated on December 7, non-essential travel into and out of BC is not recommended. BC residents, let’s do our part by continuing to stay local and support local with our immediate household, in accordance with the latest guidelines.
Now four locations strong, Colony Bars has developed a winning concept, with their massive Entertainment District location (265 Granville Street) opening last year. What makes Colony so popular is undoubtedly the wide selection of local beers on tap and a food program that serves comforting favourites done well. Rotating taps include Phillips’ crisp Blue Buck Pale Ale, Parkside’s Dreamboat Hazy IPA with melon and citrus notes, Twin Sails’ Would Crush (a raspberry wheat ale), and Phillips’ Dinosaur Blackberry Sour Ale with hints of watermelon and sour apple. Pair your drinks with great eats like house-made corn dogs served with Dijon mustard and ketchup, panko onion rings with parmesan aioli, and chicken tacos with avocado cream and queso fresco. Handhelds include a veggie burger with a mushroom and brown rice patty, red lentil hummus, cucumber, tomato, pea sprouts, herb mayo, and avocado on a ciabatta bun, while mains feature a Thai curry rice bowl with Jasmine rice, sesame crunch, toasted coconut curls, and a lime cheek, with your choice of chicken, prawns, or tofu. Takeout and delivery are available.
The magnificent Settlement Building is an example of an ingenious use of space. The building houses Vancouver Urban Winery, as well as the Settlement Brewing Manufacturing Collective, in addition to the restaurant Belgard Kitchen (55 Dunlevy Avenue). Settlement Brewing, which originally began as Postmark Brewing, has shifted to become a Collective by which cider and beer companies (e.g. Paper Brewing Co.) can also contract tank space.
Belgard Kitchen offers lovingly crafted food that focuses on fresh, local ingredients. Bites that are available for dine-in as well as takeout/delivery include avocado hummus with crumbled feta, fresh mint, extra virgin olive oil, and seasoned pita; and mushroom and bacon pâté with pickled mushrooms, smoked bacon, grilled sourdough with confit oil, and crostinis. More substantial offerings include the Belgard burger with Cache Creek beef, aged white cheddar, caramelized onion, house red pepper relish, confit garlic aioli, leaf lettuce, seasoned tomato – all on a brioche bun and served with daily popcorn. In the restaurant, go for the tasting paddle, allowing you to try any four beers on tap, like the juicy “Good News” Hazy Pale Ale by Settlement Brewing or their Tranquilo Lime Lager with hints of coriander and tequila and a dry finish. Both are available for takeout as a 6-pack.
Strange Fellows Brewing
Located on Clark Drive, just down from the iconic East Van Cross landmark, Strange Fellows Brewing (1345 Clark Drive) wears its East Van identity with pride. Their name signals their willingness to be creative beyond the ordinary, with beer that melds the old (e.g. traditional Belgians) with the new and west coast (e.g. seasonal fruit beers). The tasting room showcases Strange Fellows’ strength in sours, with Philly the Tart and Roxanne, a black raspberry sour. Also on tap is the Talisman, a super flavourful West Coast pale ale; Blackmail, a Northwest stout; and Beldame, an Old World Pilsner — all of which evidence the broad range of styles that Strange Fellows brews. Delivery of select beers is possible for certain areas of Vancouver.
The food menu is kept simple, yet ideal for beer tasting, including Elbo Jamaican patties, Tall Shadow cheese tapenade buns, and assorted pepperoni. Various food trucks, like Henry’s Hip Eats, a Vietnamese fusion company, are scheduled for select weekend dates.
Yaletown Brewing Company
Part of the successful Mark James Group, the Yaletown Brewing Company (1111 Mainland Street) is the father of the brewpubs in the city, founded in 1994 back when Yaletown was still a nascent trendy neighbourhood. Its large inviting space, excellent selection of drinks, and extensive food menu have made it a consistent choice for Vancouverites for nearly three decades. You can choose from 8 craft beers on tap, 4 flagship beers that are always available (e.g., the very drinkable 604 Lager) and 4 seasonal beers (e.g., the refreshing Lemongrass Thai-PA with hints of pine and a floral hop aroma). The taster 4 pack (with 2 oz. servings) is a good way to take a tour of what’s on tap.
Pizzas are a must, like one with house-made lamb sausage, roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions, and fresh arugula, or the very original One Night in Bangkok, with chicken confit, pea shoots, red onions, carrots, red peppers, cilantro, sesame seeds, and peanut sauce. Tasty appetizers range from fried ale battered tempura asparagus with a spicy Bangkok sauce, to fish tacos with crispy local Pacific cod, marinated coleslaw, fresh cut salsa, and avocado purée in warm flour tortillas. If you’re feeling hungry, go for the 10 hour smoked, sliced brisket sandwich with Ennis Texas BBQ Sauce and crunchy ranch coleslaw or the Delhi butter chicken Jasmine rice bowl. Takeout and delivery are both available.
This longstanding establishment (two decades) in the Granville Entertainment District offers an intimate and refined drinking and eating experience, with its brick-accented room and striking side bar. Granville Room‘s (957 Granville Street) curated tap options feature local and international staples, like Parallel 49’s Trash Panda Hazy IPA, Phillips’ Phoenix Gold Lager, and Guinness stout. Bottle selections include New Brunswick’s Moosehead Lager and Jamaica’s Red Stripe Lager.
The food draws upon global flavours and is designed for sharing, such as prawn lettuce wraps with ginger, coconut curry, sriracha, cucumber, and mint; jerk chicken wings (salt & pepper and hot wings also available); and Cubano sliders with ham, gruyère, spicy mustard, and pickle. Larger eats encompass the signature rotisserie chicken with kale slaw, punched fries, and gravy; and steak frites (6 oz flank steak with gentleman’s butter, greens, and jus). Delivery and takeout available.
The lofty ceilings of BREWHALL (97 East 2nd Avenue) give the space an impressive grandness, while still retaining a welcoming accessibility. The aim of BREWHALL is simple: to offer a fun experience with great food, and of course, great drinks, including 22 craft beers and ciders on tap, with 8 of the beers made on site and other rotating guest taps (e.g., North Point’s whiskey hazelnut porter; 33 Brewing Experiment’s blood orange gose) also making an appearance. Currently on tap, you can find the BREWHALL Neon Lights Pale Ale (a 2019 BCBA Hazy Beer Winner), BREWHALL’s Azedo Tropical Sour (2019 BCBA People’s Choice Award), in addition to the limited release collaboration with Superflux, the Days Like This DIPA with tons of fruity notes, like passionfruit and pineapple, and a citrusy finish.
The food menu is designed to be comforting and tasty, with a commitment to the fresh and the local. Shareables include tender, flash-grilled Maui ribs with a tropical soy glaze, green onion, and sesame seeds; fully loaded nachos with a cheddar and mozzarella blend, corn and black bean salsa, pickled jalapeños, cotija, cilantro, and valentina – topped with sour cream; and a pound of chicken wings (Frank’s Hot, salt and pepper, or Korean hot). There are numerous delicious burger options, like the awesome Big-Stack burger with two hand-smashed patties, a three-part bun, onions, double cheese, pickles, shredded iceberg, and secret sauce. Healthier options include the Mediterranean chicken salad with garlic chicken, quinoa and kale tabouli salad, dates, tahini yogurt, feta, za’atar, almonds, and lemon.
Delivery and takeout options are available.
Steamworks Brewing Company
Since 1995, Steamworks has occupied their Brew Pub location (375 Water Street), running a traditional steamed powered brewery. The two-level establishment, at the gateway to historic Gastown, brews onsite and serves well executed pub fare, as well as a range of beers on tap. Currently available are the refreshing Lions Gate Lager, the Hazy Pale Ale (3rd place 2019 BC Beer Awards North American Pale Ale), the Apricot Grove – Barrel Aged Gose, and the Niro Stout with aromas of dark chocolate and coffee. Bottled/canned selections include the Black Angel IPA, the Salted Chocolate Porter, and the Tango – Dry Hopped Sour.
Food selections include pub favourites like crispy dry ribs with rock salt and coarse black pepper, yam fries with balsamic glaze and pesto mayo, and nachos featuring corn tortilla chips, jalapeños, scallions, tomatoes, olives, fresh tomato salsa, and sour cream. Also popular are the thin crust pizzas (e.g., pepperoni and spicy banana pepper), handhelds (e.g. cajun-spiced sockeye salmon burger), and the award-winining chili with fresh ground beef, mushrooms, red peppers, aged cheddar, and sour cream – served with tortilla chips and cheese bread. Takeout and delivery are available.