Vancouver is a hub for many industries, including tech, film, and mining. But a more relatable ‘industry’ is the craft beer scene – no, craft beer isn’t just a ‘hipster’ thing. (Are hipsters even a thing anymore? I’m not a ‘hipster’, and Brit most certainly isn’t one.) In a city and province where ‘big beer’ has strong roots, craft beer has taken over with creative spins on classics, focus on flavour, and top-notch tasting rooms.
The Brit and I have been exploring these tasting rooms, on the hunt for the perfect IPA (for him) and stout or porter (for me). If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve likely seen me documenting this as a #pintandaflight. I love the brewery tasting rooms because they are usually on the smaller side and you immediately feel at home when you sit down. There’s a community feel – which I touched on in my guest post with Townsite Brewing – and they can be quite cozy during any season. Perfect for a date or an outing with a few friends. (We experienced another couple’s first date at a place called Brassneck last weekend (as they were sitting across from us at the long table), and it was fairly entertaining and very sweet. 🙂 )
When we moved to New Westminster, we had a stroke of luck that not only did we move to a beautiful area, but said area is a five minute walk from what is currently the city’s only brewery and tasting room: Steel & Oak (1319 3rd Ave, New Westminster). There’s also a winery nearby, but that’s an entire post of its own!
Until recently, Steel & Oak did not have an IPA or a porter on tap, but both our hop dreams came true a couple weeks ago with their seasonal releases of the Eleven Boroughs IPA and Windrose Porter. They also have a seasonal brew called a Smoked Honey Doppelbock, which gave the Brit a me moment when he tasted it and said: “this tastes hygge” (which he always pronounces “higgy” to make me laugh). He was serious, though, and absolutely right. It absolutely tastes hygge.
The Steel & Oak team very kindly let my friend Jessica and I take over their tasting room for a mini photo shoot (part of an upcoming blog refresh!) before they opened last weekend, and Jessica made me look very glam while having a flight and some snacks and listening to Amy Winehouse and Carole King on the record player. I also found A Charlie Brown Christmas in their record collection and that made me especially happy.
I like to get a flight for two reasons. One is that I occasionally have a hard time choosing just one thing from a menu, and the other being that I like the variety and trying new things. My flight that day consisted of (L-R):
- Royal City Ale*
- Eleven Boroughs IPA
- Windrose Porter
*Need a Refill? – Steel & Oak has partnered with Monarch Place for the month of December and is donating $1 from every growler refill of Royal City Ale to the organization. Monarch Place provides safe environments and alternatives for women and children in need in the community – especially important at this time of year.
Steel & Oak has clearly been added to my tasting room favourites list. My other favourites in the Metro Vancouver area are:
- Faculty Brewing Co. (1830 Ontario St.) – A newer brewery, I really like their tasting room. Also, try the Oddity Kombucha that they have on tap.
- Brassneck Brewery (2148 Main St.) This place can get quite crowded with lineups down the sidewalk, but when you’re in, it’s golden. Dog friendly.
- Off the Rail Brewing Co. (1351 Adanac St.) – Hidden up a set of stairs, I consider this place a bit of a gem (and very hygge! and not just because they always have some darker beers all year round.
- Luppolo (1123 Venables St.) – Italian for ‘hop’, Luppolo has a varied selection on tap and really nice bread rolls. Dog friendly.
- Green Leaf Brewing Co. (Lonsdale Quay Market, North Vancouver) – Located inside Lonsdale Quay Market, the beer is good, but my favourite part is that you can bring your meal in with you, or order it market vendor and they will deliver it to you at the tasting room.
- Parallel 49 (1950 Triumph St, Vancouver) – Check out their new tasting room and street kitchen!
- Alibi Room (157 Alexander St, Vancouver) and Craft Beer Market (Salt Building, 85 W. 1 Ave, Vancouver) aren’t tasting rooms, but their beer selections are on point and the food is very good. Reservations recommended.
Do you have a favourite tasting room in Vancouver or where you live? Tell me all about it in the comments below! Cheers!
This post was created partly in partnership with Steel & Oak. A big thank you to them for letting us use the tasting room for our photo session! As always, all opinions are my own.
Photography: Jessica Glass
“In a study, scientists report that drinking beer can be good for the liver. I’m sorry, did I say ‘scientists’? I meant Irish people.”
~ Tina Fey on SNL’s Weekend Update