Beer-lovers are never short of reasons why the Pacific Northwest has so many great microbreweries and brewpubs: the coastal breeze, the pure waters from the Rocky Mountains – heck, maybe even the pleasant demeanor of the brewers themselves. While Portland is undoubtedly the microbrewery all-star, Vancouver has a few brewpubs of its own that are absolutely worth a visit if you want to get away from the big-name bottle brands that are boring your taste buds. Tip: arrive hungry and ask your server to help you pair your pint with some nibbles.
Yaletown Brewing Company is the city’s ‘original brewpub.’ There are seven permanent brews along with a rotating seasonal selection. Every Thursday evening is Cask Night, where customers can get in on the tapping of special small-batch casks. (Nagila Pale Ale is good for a citrusy hop, Downtown Brown for roasted nuttiness, Warehouse Stout for ‘roast coffee, chocolate and smoke’ flavors.) Open until 3am on weekends.
Dockside Restaurant and Brewing Company: In the Granville Island Hotel, this restaurant offers the option of getting a sampler of all the on-site beers or, alternatively, savoring one at a time. It also has snazzy outdoor fireplaces, waterfront views and multiple areas to socialize. Most suitable if you’re the trendy patio-lounging type. (Lager-lovers will appreciate the Alder Bay Honey Lager and the Hibiscus-flavored Jamaican Lager.)
Steamworks Brewing Company – so-called because of the steam line running through the premises – is in Gastown and has six year-round beers along with seasonal brews like Sour Cherry Ale in summer and Great Pumpkin Ale in fall. The building is very atmospheric, and the ‘Old World’ Gastown area is itself a must-see.
There are plenty of other brewpubs out of downtown, too, like Taylor’s Crossing in North Shore, Pat’s Pub and Brewhouse in Strathcona and, if you’re making the scenic trip anyway, the Brewhouse at Whistler.