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Cheers to Vancouver's Craft Beer Scene

08/09/2015 10:11 EDT | Updated 08/09/2016 05:59 EDT
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Craft beers are served together in a sampler tray for the beer enthusiast at a restaurant in Oregon.

As we all know, Vancouver is in one hell of a drought right now, so while we wouldn't necessarily recommend bathing in it, or using it to clean your car, let's all save water by drinking more beer! In the past few years Vancouver's craft beer scene has exploded into a myriad of fabulous places to imbibe fresh, local beer, and we're here to give you the heads up on some of the best.

Brassneck Brewery

A Lumbersexual's paradise of reclaimed wood and one of our favourite spots to grab a pint in town. Wind your way between the plaid clad hipsters and find yourself a spot to perch in this homey and rustic tasting room with your bat of 4 delicious, flavourful beers. With an ever changing line up of inventive and exciting beers you really can't go wrong. From staples like the Passive Aggressive ale, which is somewhere between a pale ale and an IPA, to unique favourites like the Changeling, which is a fruit beer brewed with whatever's in season, there's something for everyone. Brassneck also has some of the most beautiful growlers in town, with new designs seeming to pop up almost every week.

Parallel 49 Brewing

These guys are a fan favourite for a reason; with delicious, accessible beers in a vast array of flavours, there's something for everyone. Prefer something hoppy? The Filthy Dirty IPA is for you! Like it sweet and fruity? Try the Tricycle Radler! Not sure what you like? The Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale is their flagship beer with a solid hop to malt ratio. If you can stop by their tasting room be sure to try their daily infusion -- it could be a rhubarb mango blueberry lager, or a chamomile lemon IPA, depending on what they feel like that day! They have a decent sized tasting room in the industrial corner of East Van that's fast becoming Brewer's Row, but if you can't make it out there don't panic! Their beers are available all over the city.

Storm Brewing

If not the grandaddy, then Storm is definitely the wacky uncle of the Vancouver craft beer scene. Around since 1995 (that's 20 years, friends) they've been thinking up crazy concoctions ever since! They brew some excellent staples such as the Black Plague Stout and the Imperial Flanders Red Sour Ale, as well as their weekly rotating Brainstorms which can vary wildly from a Vanilla Whisky Stout, to a Basil IPA! While they don't have a tasting room, per se, you are very welcome to stop in and try some beers before filling your growler - the staff are all super friendly!

33 Acres Brewing

If Brassneck is Vancouver's Lumbersexual's paradise then 33 Acres is the West Coast Hipster equivalent -- you know what I'm talking about. With a small but perfectly formed beer list, every one is worth trying and savouring. Each with a cute name beginning with "33 Acres of..." we love Life, a California Common that you'll find in a number of pubs around Vancouver, and Sunshine, a wheat ale that's perfect for summer! Stop by their tasting room to try Euphoria, Nirvana, and Twee in a gorgeously minimalist, extremely West Coast space filled with air plants, wood, and lots of white, clean lines.

Strange Fellows Brewing

A relative newcomer on the scene, Strange Fellows has exploded out, staking its claim as a Titan of Vancouver brewing! While they might seem out of the way over on Clark, the #22 bus stops under a block away, and there are a few parking spots right out front. Their tasting room has that rustic-industrial feel that makes you feel right at home, and the large glass window looking into the brewery connects you to the process that created your delicious beverage. Although the menu can be hard to decipher, trust us, it's worth it! From the Talisman West Coast Pale Ale to the Framboise Noir Blackberry Hefeweizen each beer is packed with flavour. If you've seen strange mermaids and wolf carvings on tap handles at your favourite restaurant recently, that's Strange Fellows -- give them a shot, you won't regret it!

Powell Street Craft Brewing

This little engine that could has already moved once because demand was so high, and once you try their beers you'll see why. The Ode to Citra and White IPA are fan favourites here, and whether you want to kick back in the lounge with a pint or fill your growler and go the staff will be happy to point you in the right direction. Their tasting space now has ample seating, including a cosy couch, and table sharing is encouraged during busy times! Enjoy your libations and don't forget to fill your growler so you can enjoy all week long.

Main Street Brewing

Located just a block from Brassneck, this completes the trifecta of Main Street breweries bringing the old Brewery Creek area back to life. Set in a gorgeous, cavernous old building, Main Street Brewing knows what they're doing. Long, communal tables fill the room, and the high ceiling and large windows provide lots of light. There are also trees and Christmas lights in the space, making it feel like some kind of beer-filled wonderland! They were lucky enough to collaborate on the Vancouver Craft Beer Week official beer this year, so pick up the Campfire Kolsch if you can -- this smoky, light beer is a real treat. Failing that, you won't go thirsty with their wide selection of regular beers, as well as their rotating casks. Try the Main Street Pilsner and the Redback Ale and enjoy!

Off the Rail Brewing

Located just a couple of blocks off the Drive, Off the Rail is a rare beast -- a taproom with a view! Not only this, but the beers are pretty great too! With such inventive names as Kama Citra, and the Czechmate Pilsner, you know you're in for a treat. There is ample seating in their taproom, and the staff will be happy to pour you a glass of your favourite beer, or help you decide what to fill your tasting glasses with. The Lancaster Cream Ale is a popular choice with its smooth taste, and just the right amount of creaminess, and if you're looking for something heavier give the smoked porter a shot -- it has a bold, strong smokiness perfect for when the temperature starts to drop.

Postmark Brewing

Located in the same building as Vancouver Urban Winery and Belgard Kitchen there's a buzz of excitement about this spot. The growler fill station is just inside the door -- don't be too put off if there's a line, they're probably waiting for a table at the excellent restaurant inside. If you choose to wait too you won't be disappointed, and they serve lots of Postmark beers inside. The Dry Irish Stout is a fan favourite, but the real fun comes with their seasonals; they choose playful, fun combinations that challenge the palate -- in a good way! Feel like a Mango Wit? How about a Raspberry Lemon Zest Hefe? You'll always find a delicious surprise here, so get stuck in!

Bomber Brewing

Located just down the street from Off the Rail this is an excellent stop to make while touring East Van's finest. A large window lets you peek in on the brewers while you enjoy the fruits of their labour -- and doesn't beer taste better while watching other people work? Don't miss Tuesdays at Bomber where they offer $2 off growler fills (already very reasonably priced at $10 for a 2L), and Wednesdays where they feature cask creations from brewery staff. The Park Life Passionfruit Ale is a great choice for summer -- light and fruity enough for non-beer drinkers to enjoy, but with enough beery flavour that even seasoned pros will be reaching for a refill. Don't want to commit to a growler? Bomber has six packs to go!

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