Picking the best breweries in Vancouver is a dangerous game seeing as every Vancouverite has their favourite places to drink craft beer in the city and the debate is nothing if not subjective. Vancouver takes our beer just as seriously as we take our beards and our bikes: we want them unique and hip, but cheap and tasty. We also want our Vancouver breweries to be comfortable with a dash of class, and if there is a hint of hipster, we’re there!
8 of the Best Breweries in Vancouver East
(Tried and Tested by Yours Truly!)
The Vancouver craft beer movement has been around for a while, but in the last 10 years the numbers of awesome breweries in Vancouver just exploded. Within 400 metres of my house there are at least 7 breweries serving all types of brews any of which anyone might say are the best in Vancouver.
Beyond my sweat pant radius (destinations far enough away where I probably shouldn’t wear sweatpants) lays a city full of breweries, so many that the exact number is up for debate. So no, I will not discuss them all and so for those post my picks are all located in East Vancouver, where I live, and where doing a self guided walking tour of Vancouver breweries is super easy, even for us lazy folks, because of the proximity of all of these tasting rooms.
And let’s be clear, I’m not a professional beer connoisseur. But I do love drinking beer, hanging out in comfy places drinking beer, and trying new types of beer. So these are my picks, I would be thrilled to hear more, giving me an excuse to check out more breweries!
Welcome to Yeast Van!!
No list of Vancouver Breweries is complete without Storm. Storm is located on Commercial Drive at Hastings, and is known as the longest running brewery in the city. It is also as close as you can get to being someones garage without actually being in someones garage. There is nothing classy about Storm, but there is everything perfect about their beer lists.
Storm has a range of beers with names and flavours that sound more like a tropical produce section or a quirky bakery than a beer list. At this very moment, the list includes a Lavender Vanilla Ale, a Pineapple Upside Down Cake Ale, a Passionfruit Pilsner, and a Cherry Bomb Sour Ale. These are batch beers, meaning when it’s gone it’s gone and they brew up something different, so the list will never look different from week to week. The list of ‘mainstays’ that are always available include a gambit of pilsners and ales, though of note is the Kreik Lambic at 8% and the Imperial Lambert Sour Ale clocking in at 11%. That is some boozey beer!
What I dig about Storm is that you can’t actually sit and have a pint. You walk into the beer smelling garage, and get a plastic cup. You can then have up to 6 free tasters (though the tasters are decent sizes), so you can try a bunch of different brews. Then most people will walk out the door with a growler full one one type of awesome beer.
Definition Detour: Growlers are large glass jugs that come in a variety of sizes that are branded to each different brewery. You can purchase a growler and then keep reusing it to take your favourite craft beer home with you. They are both sustainable and bad influences all at once! Almost all breweries do Growler fills, they would be bonkers not to!
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The first time Sandra and I went to Storm we both walked out with litre sized growlers full of a random flavour. And then drank them with great joy in the comfort of our own home!
Storm has no real place to sit and drink beer, and they serve no food. It’s not a place to chill, there is beer drinking business to be had! The industrial feeling of Storm may have you needing to wash your hands, but I’m not sure if there is a bathroom on site, so tough.
Doan’s Craft Brewing Company
Opposite from Storm, Doan’s is a warm, cozy nook of a place perfect for a quiet beer and a social. With tight seating capacity for around 20, Doan’s isn’t the place for a big party, but it is great to drink some of their signature Kolsch or one of the guest brews that changes all the time. Doan’s is run by a band of bearded brothers and has an at home vibe where one can’t help but feel relaxed. It has a great earthy ambiance, and is clean and fresh.
Doan’s is located on Powell street between Victoria and Commercial in the heart of ‘Yeast Van’ as they so whimsically call it.
Andina’s Brewing Company
Andina’s combines two of my favourite things, beer and good food. A huge yellow building, Andina’s fuses BC and South America into magic. I mean what is better than drinking a blond ale and eating fresh ceviche? Nothing, nothing is better than that! I will also recommend the plantain chips or the pachos, which are basically nachos but made with plantain chips.
Created by two beer-obsessed Columbian/Canadian brothers, Andina’s is a true family affair. Andina’s is actually a pretty big place, and is open until 11pm which is later than a lot of breweries, so it’s actually feasible to get a big group in here and stay for a party. Which is good, because there are 4 mainstay beers, and always at least 4 temporary beers that change with the season. Right now there is a guava beer that I can’t get enough of, which isn’t a great thing because I can basically see Andina’s from my bedroom window.
Bomber Brewing was once described to me as “kind of dank”. Because it has basically no natural light source. Despite the lack of windows, Bomber has great vibes and a killer menu of brews, plus an epically high ceiling. There are also actual board games to play, any of which can be turned into a drinking game, trust me! The sporty decor of the tasting room, which only can seat probably 20, means that it’s a casual place for a simple beer, and maybe a pickled egg.
Bomber has the classic mainstay brews of Pale Ales, Pilsners and IPA, but the real charm comes with the seasonal varieties like the Choqulette Porter, the Spicy Nuggs Imperial Stout and Passionfruit Ale. There are small bits of food, like I said about the pickled egg, two of which my friend Jeff indulged in one night, but it’s not the place for a big feast. Just enough food to legally keep the taps flowing.
Bomber is also wicked because of it’s Movie Mondays. Every Monday they screen classic comedies up on the wall, sell $5 beers and offer free popcorn to all ages. Can you beat watching Clueless and drinking cheap craft beer? Nope!
Strange Fellows Brewing
I just went to Strange Fellows Brewing for the first time last week after work with my friend Emily. We whipped in quickly for an end of week beer and soon found ourselves surrounded by other people doing exactly the same thing. Located on the west side of Clark Street, Strange Fellows is the perfect location for people who are leaving downtown to stop off, have a quick beer and head home. You don’t even have to make a left hand turn!
Strange Fellows has been around for a while, and is definitely a bit more mod than some of the other more hipster places on this list. They love the more sour types of beer, with a Triple IPA on tap that clocks in at 10% booze rate. That’s a high percent for an after work beer, but hey, each to their own. Strange Fellows is one of the only places on this list that actually packages more beer than you can sample in the tasting, which is a little strange for East Van.
Strange Fellows also hosts a ‘strange’ event at least once a month, of some kind of weird variety, like this past month’s Feast of Fools. The brewery hosts a monthly brewers lunch to taste beer and eat meat and cheese. So like, basically the best lunch I can imagine?
Powell Street Brewery
Powell Street Brewery‘s tasting room is tiny, like, maybe 16 people can sit down on actual seat. That said, Powell Street beers consistently receive rave reviews from the people who give out those kinds of awards, and since it was established in 2012 has grown to one of the more prolific micro-brews in the city.
Specializing in ales but with limited edition beers like an ale called Lemonade Stand and blonde ale called Staycation, Powell Brewery may be big time with the gold medals but it’s just as classic of an East Vancouver brewery as the rest of them!
Off the Rail Brewing Company
Off the Rail is another hipster classic, with wildflowers in Mason jars, and tables and benches made from reclaimed wood, with a sort of industrial chic motif. Off the Rail has 6-7 ‘mainline beers’ that are always available, mainly ales and lagers, with one IPA thrown in for kicks. Additionally, there are any number of seasonal beers that come and go with both the tides and the trends of the time.
Off the Rail haas been around since 2015, and touts themselves as a perfect stop off on the Adanac bike route just east of Clarke (does it get more hipster than stopping at a brewery on your bike?). Being only a 5 minute walk from my front door, I tend to agree. They’re also located right next door to a wholesale bagel place… Beer and a bagel? Don’t mind if I do!
Callister’s Brewing Company
Callister’s makes this list because it’s got great ambiance, and a pretty weird and hidden location. The other cool thing about Callister’s is that it is a ‘collaborative’ brewing company, meaning that they welcome other master brewers to brew alongside them meaning there is a good variety of beers to be had.
I loved the feel of this tasting room, just really chill and meant for people to sit and chat. It’s definitely a good place for people with a diverse taste in beer, since the variety of brewers means there probably is something for everybody. Additionally, they serve cider and cocktails from alcohol, because there is always someone in the group who isn’t a beer drinker.
Some may say, “BUT WHAT ABOUT PARALLEL 49?!?!?!?!” To that I would respond: “You spend 3 years making your own blog and you can write about Parallel 49 on it.” But really, I’m not a fan of probably the biggest brewery in East Van mainly because it’s the biggest brewery in East Van. It’s huge, it has tables that are miles long and a million beers to choose from. On a Saturday night, it feels like a raucous backpacker bar on the East Coast of Australia, not a vibe I love in a brewery (been there done that ammaright?). Nothing against the beer though, it’s tasty, it’s just not my kind of place.
Vancouver Brewery Tours
Maybe self-guided isn’t your thing, well luckily, there are still some great options for brewery tours in Vancouver! Check out these beer and food tours and save yourself the Google Maps overload…
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