The aptly nicknamed "Yeast Van" neighbourhood is brimming with new breweries and tasting rooms.
There are 12 craft breweries spanning from Railtown to Hastings-Sunrise, including flagships such as Strange Fellows, Bomber Brewing, and Parallel 49. But, as brewery culture continues to grow across Vancouver, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a tasting room that offers an environment that stands out amongst the rest. But settling into the neighbourhood are three new craft breweries making a unique mark on Yeast Van. Powered by the inevitable charm of a family-run business, each spot is brought to life by cultural infusions that help set them apart.
After years battling the city on red tape, construction delays and, of course, endless permitting nightmares, Andina Brewing unofficially opened its Powell Street doors in February. Co-founders, Colombian/Canadian brothers Nicolás and Andrés Amaya, run a family-powered ship, having set their sights on opening a craft beer spot with their wives nearly four years ago. Offering a selection of brews that harvest South American flavours and inspiration, Andina is the first brewery in Canada (with the help of head brewer Andrew Powers), to brew with Patagonia malt, and the first in B.C. to bring a splash of South America to the West Coast. “I never imagined this. I knew if I worked hard, I could give my family a good standard of living. But I never imagined that I could own a business even though I have always wanted to. That’s one of the things we love about Canada: if you really work, and if you really want it, you can do it. You just have to want it,” says Nicolás. If you’re out for a East Van beer stroll, Andina is a tough one to miss. Designed by Simcic and Uhrich Architects—the firm behind Brassneck, Strange Fellows, Faculty and Strathcona—the Andina tasting room is minimalist, yet cozy, housed in a bold yellow, two-storey landmark. Beyond the beer, the new East Van locale serves up classic South American dishes, specializing in a broad selection of ceviches, drawing inspiration from the regions that stretch along the Andes mountains. Along with Andina’s principales (a selection of four staple brews), two new seasonal rotating taps will be making an appearance soon. “The next beer that we have coming out is a fruit beer. It’s a Lulo Gose: it’s a sour beer lulo; a fruit that is from Ecuador,” says Nicolás. “It’s a way of integrating something new. We will also do an Imperial Red Ale. So, we will have something more adventurous, and then something for everyone.” Must taste: The Maraca, Passionfruit Black IPA (ABV 5.7% / 50 IBU), sweetened with passionate fruit imported from Colombia.
In October, just in time for the Eastside Culture Crawl, Luppolo Brewing opened its doors on Venables, serving a generous selection of beer types, and rotating taps in their spacious tasting room. Luppolo ("hops" in Italian), is owned and operated by two couples: Eleanor Stewart and Ryan Parfitt, and Anique Ross and Federico Stucchi. The Italian inspiration for Luppolo derives from the heritage of two of the owners—the familiarity of Italian values like quality, community and family can be found in the brewery’s food menu (hello charcuterie!)—and the family-business dynamic between the founders. “Part of our whole model is to constantly have rotating taps,” says Parfitt. “You could come here one week, and the tap list will have a bunch of new beers." Must taste: New World Sour (ABV 4.5% / 54 IBU), a tart sour that boasts fruity notes of grapefruit and citrus.
Coming to 675 Venables Street this summer is the much anticipated East Van Brewing Company tasting room. The team has been teasing their social media following with ambiguous construction photos of their namesake in progress, but an official opening date is yet to be made public. The team recently announced that James Labbe, formally at Vancouver Brewery Tours and Deep Cove Brewing, will be the head brewer for EVBC. “It’s going to be a little bit smaller of a brewhouse and tank farm to start,” says Labbe. “But it’s a good opportunity for me, and it will allow me to expose my creativity.” In the meantime, you can still find East Van Brewing's beer on the taps at local pubs including Two Lions Pub, London Public House, Manchester, and Stateside Craft.