There are a million places to grab a pint or a flight in this city—but these 10 serve up excellent atmosphere alongside their brews.
The beer revolution that’s been on the rise for a few years is still going strong—on the east side, along Main Street or just beyond—and it’s best served in these tasting rooms that are like microcosms of the microbrew movement.
Part of Main Street’s microbrew revitalization (where long-since-paved-over Brewery Creek was the source of a turn-of-the-century brewing scene), Brassneck’s reclaimed-wood tasting room is a rainy-day hideaway (snag the back booth) in which to sip their flagship Passive Aggressive Dry Hopped Pale Ale. Location, location, location makes it the ideal hub for a craft-brewery crawl. Bonus points for the best illustrated growlers for purchase in the city. 2148 Main St., brassneck.ca
Main Street Brewing Company
Vancouver’s answer to a beer garden (yes, pretzels are on the menu, as well as free-range chicken wings) with leafy trees and twinkly string lights inside an exposed-brick, 20-foot-ceiling tasting room that’s set within a historic industrial warehouse. Oh, and the cool-graphic beer labels (like Naked Fox IPA) make for merch you actually want. 261 E 7th Ave., mainstreetbeer.ca
33 Acres Brewing Co.
The all-white, Insta-worthy aesthetic of this abuzz hipster hangout near Brewery Creek/Main Street is tempered by serious beer cred, from new-mainstay 33 Acres of Ocean Pale Ale to black lagers and other seasonals. And for non-imbibing patrons (shout out to designated drivers), there’s also a full-on coffee program. (Here, baristas know their craft coffee and beer.) 15 W 8th Ave., 33acresbrewing.com
Faculty Brewing Co.
Tucked along Ontario Street’s busy bike route, this hey-it’s-a-hidden-hole-in-the-wall microbrewery is a cool classroom (with beer names like course numbers: take 408 or 710). And, like a college or university, the open-source brewery is keen to engage and encourage craft-beer education with its public recipes. Try its super-small-batch “pilot” beers released on “Experimental Beer Thursday” or the on-tap kombucha. 1830 Ontario St., facultybrewing.com
Strange Fellows Brewing
The black-walled tasting room with idol-like animal masks and adjoining art gallery has East Van edginess, while the award-winning beer program is helmed by veteran guru brewer Iain Hill, who consistently puts out inventive but crowd-pleasing stuff (think sour-beer pioneer). There’s a cult feel here . . . in a good way. 1345 Clark Dr., strangefellowsbrewing.com
Canada’s first collaborative model of “nano” breweries co-working on-site, Callister is an incubator and a place to try cask beers (get a flight of beer-in-the-making), as well as hand-crafted sodas and on-tap local cider—and also a spot for the one-of-a-kind artwork of Goldmoss Satellite. Think of it as a lab of sorts—where you’re the happy guinea pig. 1338 Franklin St., callisterbrewing.com
One of the original players in Vancouver’s beer evolution, brewer James Walton (a.k.a. “Mad Scientist”) began making unpasteurized concoctions some 25 years ago, and that gritty aura of ’90s-era East Van lingers here (to wit: the graffiti-style mural outside). Sample gnarly brews (“Brainstorm” beers, like Orange Creamsicle ale) in the “yes, this is a warehouse” tasting room. 310 Commercial Dr., stormbrewing.org
Part of the Settlement Building collective (brewery, winery, eatery) in Railtown, it’s known for high-profile partnerships (with Lululemon’s SeaWheeze, for one), oh-so-West-Coast brew (think seasonal Spruce Tip Saison) and a very-Vancouver vibe (like a Union Wood Co. growler carrier for single-speed bikes). Postmark’s strategy has been so successful that it was recently bought by Craft Collective Beerworks, which just means more experimental beers and small-batch collaborations in what’s now the “Postmark Innovation Facility.” 55 Dunlevy Ave., postmarkbrewing.com
R&B Brewing Co.
Likened to the “well-loved hoodie” of Vancouver’s brewery scene, R&B’s beloved (and award-winning) brews include Vancouver Special IPA, Dude Chilling Pale Ale and Stolen Bike Lager. (The tongue-in-cheek names alone are award-worthy.) And the ’70s-era rec-room feel and soundtrack of its Ale and Pizza House make it a go-to gathering spot in the East Van ’hood. 1-54 E 4th Ave., randbbrewing.com
Red Truck Beer Company
Another longtime brewery that found its niche and stuck to it with a signature scarlet truck and truck-stop vibe (read: unpretentious and easy-going). Its Mount Pleasant digs are a retro-cool, beer and live-music lover’s playground, with a sprawling outdoor patio space that showcases a sweet summer concert series. (Here’s to an Endless Summer Golden Ale.) 295 E 1st Ave., redtruckbeer.com