After posting about a self-guided walking tour of Yeast Van a few months back, I’ve been asked a few times to write up a new one for the Brewery Creek neighbourhood. For many locals the stops in that area may be a given, but for visitors and newbies to the craft beer scene in Vancouver these places may yet to be explored.
A visit to Vancouver is incomplete without taking a walking tour through Brewery Creek, and for any craft beer enthusiast this neighbourhood is a must. With plenty of beer options, a very walkable distance, easy access to transit, and plenty of shopping, gallery, and food possibilities, a craft beer walking tour through this area is easy choice.
For the TL;DR check out my bespoke map below that outlines the stops mentioned here.
Brewery Creek and Mount Pleasant
At the north end of Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood is the spot commonly known as Brewery Creek. This area of the city was the historic ‘brewery district’ in Vancouver’s infancy, with many breweries using the water that drained into false creek as the water source for their breweries. Since the craft beer revival in British Columbia, Brewery Creek again became the nexus for this growth prior to being eclipsed by Yeast Van – the part of East Vancouver that is home to over 10 breweries.
Depending on where you draw the line, Brewery Creek holds as few as three breweries, or as many as eight. A walking tour of all eight breweries is certainly possible, but it may be a challenge to sit down at each brewery for a flight and still maintain equilibrium! Nonetheless, the neighbourhood is easily walkable and transit accessible so your own personal walking tour of the original brewing district is sure to be incredibly easy.
A Vancouver favourite and one of the original breweries that popped up as the craft beer boom began, Brassneck Brewery is popular with locals for its ever-rotating tap list. This is a brewery that doesn’t sit on it’s beer – they make relatively small batches that move very quickly. You’ll often hear people say they’ve never had a bad beer from this brewery, Brassneck is known for consistency. Aside from their 2 mainstays – the Brassneck Ale and the Passive Aggressive IPA – they may have as many as 12 beers on offer at any given time. From sours, to stouts and everything in between, the folks at Brassneck love to experiment and ensure that you rarely find the same beer twice when you come in for a visit. Although you may find a beer you like with subtle changes, such as the addition of different hops or a new type of fruit, it’s never certain the beer will return in the same form. If you only had time to stop at one brewery in the neighbourhood, this should be it.
Main Street Brewing
Around the corner from Brassneck you’ll find Main Street Brewing. Housed in one of few remaining heritage industrial buildings, Main Street Brewing’s building is as interesting as their beer. Known for their renditions of English beers as well as their use of Australian hops, Main Street is definitely worth stopping in for a flight or more. The brewery typically offers 4 cask versions of their beers, as well as their normal lineup of six to eight beers for patrons to sample. They’ve also begun to make greater use of their kitchen to provide patrons with warm snack foods, as well as more substantial food options to help soak up the drink. Not only are they known to have delicious snacks and tasty beer, they also use their beer in some of the food as well to give that extra zing.
33 Acres Brewing
Crossing Main Street and a couple of blocks to the south west is 33 Acres Brewing. Another one of the early startup breweries in Vancouver’s recent boom, 33 Acres is known for it’s distinct design and killer social media presence – not to mention their quality beers! The tasting lounge is often packed (and loud) so if you can find yourself there on a weekday afternoon just after lunch time, you’re likely to enjoy bit quieter flight with more seating. 33 Acres typically offers 5 or more options on tap and to fill your growler, as well as the occasional seasonal beer (or two) and some cider. They offer snacks, sandwiches and share plates for patrons that are provided by other local businesses such as Nelson the Seagull and Cartem’s Donuterie, making it a great spot for lunch or an afternoon snack if you fancy.
As I mentioned earlier, there are plenty of more breweries around the neighbourhood if you feel like you’ve got some steam leftover or if you want to go and grab a meal to settle things out.
One of the original craft breweries in Vancouver, R&B Brewing is currently working on their new pizza house, tasting room and growler bar (sadly not yet open at the time of this writing), but if you want to stop in to grab a bottle or a growler fill they’re just down the street from 33 Acres Brewing.
One of the newest breweries in the city, Faculty Brewing hasn’t yet opened their doors to the public at the time of this writing, but when you read this they may indeed be serving so be sure to check them out if you can. They’re located just around the corner from R&B Brewing.
Big Rock Urban
A short walk from the Olympic Village skytrain station, Big Rock Urban offers a good selection of their classic styles originally brewed in Alberta, as well as those that are brewed in Vancouver and geared towards the local crowd. Don’t be fooled, this place brews some excellent beer. It’s also a fantastic place to stop for a bite to eat to fill your belly before or after your tour.
Red Truck Truckstop
Red Truck Beer expanded it’s operations and opened a diner style tasting room for burgers and hot dogs and other classic diner and truck stop grub. The brewery also expanded its repertoire to keep up with the ever changing demand for different beers in Vancouver. While they haven’t abandoned their popular lager and pale ale, they aren’t shying away from dabbling in more niche styles such as Belgian Tripels and Fresh Hopped IPAs. During the summer, be sure to check out the live music that the brewery lines up on weekend nights.
Steel Toad Brewery & Dining Hall
Steel Toad is located in a converted steelworks building on 2nd Avenue and boasts an well-designed interior and glassed-off brewhouse. They have a selection of classic and new styles and offer an impressive menu to boot. Check them out and then walk off your meal (and beer) with a jaunt around the False Creek seawall as you make your way to Main Street Skytrain station or keep going around the seawall towards downtown on foot.