Brewpub Roadtrip: Vancouver, Canada!

Canadian dew worms

I’m at Lucky lab in downtown Portland, Oregon, or PDX as its known around here. The conversation is good and the beer better. Lucky Lab, like almost every self-respecting bar in PDX, brews its own beer.

With my glass full of hops, my mind on malt, I learn that I’m about to have a three-day weekend. Its President’s Day and I’m in Portland. What to do? Where to go? I know – Vancouver! And not as in Vancouver, Washington, but Vancouver as in Canada!

At first, I was tempted to make the five-hour road trip solo. I wanted to go that bad. I figured this might be my only international trip in 2008, and I didn’t want to miss the chance to cross another border.

Its not that this would be my first trip to Canada – I went to Montréal with my family long ago. But this would be my first trip as an adult and I was excited. Both because I’d heard it was a beautiful city, filled with amazing sights, but also because it is another bastion of good beer.

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VBC Brewpub Tour – Granville Island Brewing

Where’s the beer tube?

On our Brewpub Roadtrip to Vancouver, Brett and I rolled into Granville Island Brewing a little early for the locals. Apparently, the pub doesn’t start serving until noon, so we bought tickets for the beer tour and went looking for brunch.

Returning at the appointed hour, we went on the world’s shortest brewery tour. Granville only brews small batches at the brewpub, its major production facilities are elsewhere. Still, we had a fun viewing of mashers, hopers, and other assorted empty steel containers until the real fun began – beer tasting.

With six little beers in front of us, Brett and I shared tasting tips and tales with an assortment of Canadians and a token American couple. Quickly, the topic turned to politics and a favorite quote was heard:

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VBC Brewpub Tour – Dockside Brewing

no good
Skip Dockside Brewing

I don’t know what we could have expected from a brewpub located in a hotel restaurant. The scene wasn’t promising when we walked in and felt a serious tourist vibe. Still, Brett and I were on a Vancouver Brewpub Tour and so we were determined to drink at the Dockside Brewing restaurant.

Again, we got a taster of beers, this time six or eight unremarkable and tasteless beers. Wait, there was a taste to the pilsner – it was foul! Now it could’ve been just a bad line or the actual taste of the beer, but neither Brett nor I could finish the schooner.

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VBC Brewpub Tour – Yaletown Brewing

cheers everyone
Cheers to good beer

After we broke breakfast rules, Brett and I headed out to Yaletown Brewing for the next stop on our Vancouver Brewpub Tour.

Sadly, at first we were denied seating by Yaletown. Seems they require a food purchase if you want to drink beer in the restaurant. Full from breakfast, we declined and were seen to the bar. For our troubles, we got a free round, quickly cooling our frustration and making the beer taste even better.

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VBC Brewpub Tour – Steamworks Brewing

beer focused
Focused on beer

Wow! Steamworks Brewing has a stunning view of Vancouver Bay and the snow-capped peaks that rise from the water beyond it. Better yet, Steamworks backs up that view with stunning beers.

I fell in instant love with the espresso stout, a dark, chocolaty, coffee beer that both woke my taste buds and my mind. Brett, ever the hops man, went with the IPA and was equally impressed. Both beers embodied the majestic scenery – both, distinctive, memorable.

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