First off, this should be a short post, so hopefully that means I'll actually get it done. I know it's been ages, and it's not for lack of things to share, more it's been a lack of time to get through the photos I've taken on a few of my last trips. I promise I'll get tot hem soon, as I spent all last week processing photos. So I have things from the short trip back to Ontario for Lisa's 40th, as well as many photos from Justine and I and our trip to Hood River. I'm sure there are others as well.
Anyway, this past Saturday Justine and I were invited to join my friend Stuart and some of his friends on a bike brewery tour of a number of the new micro breweries that are popping up all over Vancouver. It seemed like a fun idea - I like beer. :-)
We met on our bikes over near Science World, and headed off to East Van to our first stop for the day at Parallel 49 Brewing Company. It was a good little rode through a part of East Vancouver that Justine and I don't normally see too much of. One of the older micro breweries in Vancouver, 49th has been making great beer for a while, and may not even be a "micro" really.
Parallel has a great tasting room, and is really well set-up for the type of day we had in mind. They offer a 4-beer tasting sampler for $4, with extra tasting sample for $1. Justine and I shared a sampler of the four seasonal beers they had on tap. They were all pretty nice, with the grapefruit beer being the best of the bunch.
I'm a fan of bitters, ESBs and IPAs, so I added a sample of the ESB to our 4-pack. It was nice - nothing out of the ordinary, but nice. We stayed for a while, then headed off to the next brewery - which was closed for renos.
The City of Vancouver (or maybe it was the Province - I've never clear on that) recently changed the liquor laws, and as a result, many new and interesting brew pubs, micro breweries and even craft distilleries have been popping up all over the place. It's been great for the local market, and we're getting a lot of interesting new product as a result.
So, back to the tour. After the disappointment of the closed brewery, the next one was close by, and we were there in no time. Storm Brewery is at the opposite end of the spectrum of 49th - the "tasting" room and the brewery are pretty much one in the same. You have to be careful not to trip over things as you walk around.
Storm had the most interesting variety of beer - they seem to do a lot of experimentation - not all of which worked. Samples are by donation, which is super-cool, and they had the widest assortment available. I tried a "sour" ale, which frankly was pretty awful. Not my thing at all, and pretty much no one else the group could stomach much of it. Not sure about that one. The scotch ale was great, and I tried both a grapefruit and pineapple ale that were pretty great. They seem to change their taps all the time, so I'll have to go back and try some others.
After hanging out at Storm for a bit, it was off to the last stop in this part of the city - Bomber Brewery. We had actually passed by Bomber on the way to the start of our little tour, so we knew where we were going.
I have to say, I love their logo. It's just got such a great vintage feel to it. Bomber is closer to 49th than to Storm, with a proper tasting room and sample flights on offer.
The tasting room here was pretty busy, and while they had a little less variety, I might have enjoyed their beer the most. The ESB was quite good, and the Marzen (a German dark lager) was really good, and I grabbed a growler of it to take to the North Shore later that day.
We had a few snacks, tried some beer, then hopped back on the bikes to head to our next (and what ended up being last) stop for the day.
Not surprisingly, the day disappeared pretty fast. We started about 1:00, but Justine and I had to be on the North Shore for a family event by about 6:00. After riding back from East Van to closer to our area, we only had time for one of the last three breweries that we had originally planned to visit. We'll have to try this again soon, and hit the rest!
Brassneck Brewery ended up being our last stop. Right on Main Street, this place was a little more commercial, and the tasting room, while twice the size of the others we had visited, was packed.
The beer here was also quite good. We had a couple of snacks as well as a full tasting sampler with a full range of wheat beers, IPAs and some seasonal. I liked them all, but found the atmosphere in the place a little bit off-putting. It was just too commercial and operation, especially after some of the earlier stops.
Sadly, after finishing up at Brassnecks we had to end the tour while most of the rest of the group continued on. It was an awesome afternoon - we made some new friends, had some great beer and got to see some new parts of the city. We'll be doing this again soon!