A couple of weeks ago I took a long-overdue trip down to ‘Yeast-Van’ to check out Callister Brewing and Doan’s Craft Brewing Company. Simply put, it was great to finally visit these two welcome additions to the neighbourhood.
Cycling down to the area was a breeze with the two-way bike lane past the Cordova Diversion and over the new Powell street overpass. There are certainly other ways to get down to the area by bike, but coming from downtown, this was the best.
The first stop was Callister. Their bright red facade was a welcome sign amongst the other drab, light industrial buildings and warehouses on Franklin Street. Inside is bright and airy, with skylights letting in plenty of natural light that reflects off the white walls and stainless steel brewing equipment.
There’s two things I loved immediately about this brewery: first, that they had three hand-pulled taps with proper English-style ales in them; second, they bill themselves as a collaborative brewery, encouraging people to work together that may not have the means or equipment to brew beer. The cooperative nature of that endeavour really makes me smile, and you can feel it in the atmosphere: both in terms of the brewery’s atmosphere, and the people themselves. It just feels great to be there.
The next stop was Doan’s where they offer you something a little different than anywhere else I’ve been in Vancouver. The artwork displayed around the brewery gives a feel like Strange Fellows’ own gallery space, but it’s a little smaller and cozier. The brewery is housed in Powell Street’s original location, and they’ve already more than made it their own. Their beer is great, but you can’t miss the awesome mural in their tasting room. It’s almost worth going just for that. Friendly and inviting, Doan’s is more of what you’d expect from a smaller brewery with a smaller tasting room, but in no way does that drown out their personality. From labels, to decor, to staff, to merch, to music, it’s all there and you can tell that Doan’s wanted the space to reflect them as people and as brewers, just as much as their beer does.
Finally, I went and stopped off at Doan’s predecessor, Powell Street Brewing. I’ve been to Powell a number of times since they started and I always love going back. Without fail their beer is delicious, their staff knowledgeable, and their atmosphere simultaneously clean and quirky. From the vintage sofa in the corner to old paintings scattered throughout, the brewery is certainly not without its charm and personality. I love staring at the brewery through the glass in the tasting room, though I often wish it were open so we could see, hear, and smell the brewing process while there – but that’s personal preference, I suppose.
What I really love about Yeast-Van is how incredibly accessible it is from all transportation options, and how many breweries you can visit, particularly on foot or by bike. East to west you can visit Parallel 49, Doan’s, Storm, Powell, and Callister. Head south for another short walk or bike and visit Off the Rail, Bomber, and Strange Fellows. Truly, Yeast-Van is an epic place for your own personal brewery crawl. Just to prove it even further, I’ve included a walking map below.