I’ve postponed this week’s recipe because something is happening in this city.  These past couple of weeks it seems that Vancouver has grown significantly in terms of beer maturity and beer recognition.  As someone who tries to support our local beer scene as much as possible, I felt this deserved some specific attention.

You’ve only made it big when you’ve made it in LA

First off, there was the article by John Lee in the LA Times that pointed to Vancouver not only as a craft beer destination, but also as the craft beer capital of Canada.  The article makes it clear to a significant audience that Vancouver in particular is now firmly on the map of places to visit for beer aficionados.  This can be attributed in large measure to the concentration of breweries in Vancouver, but the quality of product being brewed by many of the breweries in the city cannot be overstated.  Both of these factors are bound to lead to some measure of recognition.

Those of us that frequent haunts in Brewery Creek, Yeast Van, the city of Victoria, or pretty much anywhere else in BC, know that there are some fantastic breweries in this province creating some exceptional beer.  Yet to have that knowledge validated from outside our little bubble certainly helps fuel our egos and give us some confidence.  Prepare for an even greater influx of folks from out of town trying to get their mitts on our precious nectar.

Getting a permit to expand the cellar

The other development is the emergence of many more breweries that are barrel-aging their beer or producing limited releases for a select few lucky individuals.  

While BC breweries are no strangers to the limited release (I’m looking at you, Four Winds), the expansion of barrel-aging, cellaring, and general experimentation by our local breweries is beginning now to spread to many of the newer players in the beer scene.  BC beer drinkers are eager to get in on the action.

Strange Fellows is offering a few limited Fellowships that provide members with a number of free bottles of their limited releases over the coming year.

Storm Brewing made headlines just yesterday with their $1,000 bottle of beer.  Much of that price is the bottle itself, but the beer is no slouch either: James’ Imperial Flanders Sour, cold-distilled to produce a beer that seems to be more akin to a port than a pint.

Add to that Driftwood’s recent wax-sealed release of their Old Cellar Dweller, Powell Street’s announcement of its barrel program, and Bridge Brewing about to release some of its own barrel-aged beers later this week and it’s clear that the brewing scene in this city is maturing just like the beer in their barrels.

Clearly, Vancouver is carving out a niche in the brewing world, and I for one could not be happier for what is in store.

Here’s a look at the barrels aging some sure-to-be delicious beer from Powell Street Brewing.

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