This year, we're trying something different with our Restaurant Awards. In years past, we always struggled with trying to give every winner their proper due in the Restaurant Awards issue, and while it's always our biggest of the year, there's still never enough space to properly fete the great winners. That's why we sometimes rotate certain categories in and out.
But this year we had an idea: our Jan/Feb issue is traditionally concerned with all things drinking, so why not transport the drinking categories of the Restaurant Awards—Sommelier of the Year, Bartender of the Year, Best Bar, Best Brewery—into their own special edition of the magazine?
The winners will still be part of our yearly bash, but they'll also get an issue of their own where we can properly sing their praises. The Drinking Issue will come out in February, but here's a sneak peek of the watering holes that will be vying for best brewery.
Brassneck opened in 2013 and... hasn’t changed all that much. That’s a good thing. The beer is still top-notch and inventive, as evidenced by old favourites like the Passive Aggressive, a big dry-hopped pale ale, and their newbie rotating changelings (raspberry was a favourite). And getting a table at the Main Street haunt is still incredibly difficult and immensely rewarding.
Beautiful design and thoughtful, creative takes on traditional Belgian beers are the hallmarks of this Burnaby stalwart. That’s reflected in everything from the flagship Blonde ale, a 7.5-percent alcohol mixture that has become the defining B.C. blonde beer, to the Rosetta, a golden ale brewed with pink peppercorns and rose petals.
Since opening in 2016, Field House has merged a simple, elegant and colourful label (not surprisingly, founder Josh Vanderheide is a former ad exec) with forward-thinking beers. The latter have been especially evident in terms of the Abbotsford brewery’s recent experiments with wine, like its Pinot Gris Sour Saison and an Imperial Gewürztraminer Gose.
The bold branding and impeccable beers make Four Winds one of the more admirable outfits in the province. The brewery’s Zephyrus series, named after the Greek god of the west wind, produced two of the more successful brews in B.C. history: Juxtapose, a wild IPA, and Nectarous, the brewery’s renowned sour.
The North Van brewery opened in 2019 and quickly started pushing the boundaries of style with wild beers, sours and barrel-aged beers out of their packed-to-the-brim tasting room. House of Funk picked up two BC Beer Awards in October and just recently got their bottles and cans in liquor stores around the city.