Friday, 12 December 2014

The Best Beer Bars in Vancouver: Part 2

BierCraft Flight via
Seeing as there are so many great beer-centric pubs in  town, I figured the previous list wasn't nearly finished with just five pubs on it.

Thanks to everyone who commented and shared their thoughts on which local pubs deserved a shoutout. It was great to hear from you and get a discussion about craft beer and the local pub scene going online!

Here are five more craft beer spots that you should definitely check out!

With three locations around town, you're never far from this Belgian beer mecca. Their beer list boasts over 120 Belgians and craft beers. Good luck finding anywhere else with Chimay Red and St. Bernardus ABT 12 on tap! BierCraft takes their beer seriously and they've got something for everyone. Whether you're a beer geeks, a newbie to beer or somewhere in between, you will be happy if you stop by BierCraft.

A snug Gastown spot with nine rotating taps and an exceptional bottle list; Find them right behind the Gassy Jack statue. If you're feeling adventurous order the bottle of Driftwood's Lustrum Sour Ale for $22.75.

Howe Sound Brewing's newest venture; This pub is located just a block from Rogers Arena which makes it an ideal spot for pre and post-game pints. With sixteen taps of Howe Sound's beer and six more guest taps of six different local breweries, you can't go wrong here. As a final note, the food is top notch.

Another group with three locations, you can view their "Live Tap List" on their website. They've got 26 taps which regularly rotate and offer excellent Happy Hour deals on their drinks. My current favourite that they're pouring right now (This will be rotate through soon, I'm sure) is Hoyne's Voltage Espresso Stout. Give it a try if you get the chance, if you miss out, there will undoubtedly be something on the beer list that you'll enjoy.

Over 100 beers on tap. Where do you even start with that many beers? That's the best part, you have so many options that you don't have to have the same beer twice. As a fun change, they offer beer blends; "The Great Ape" blends Pyramid's Apricot Ale with Storm's Black Plague Stout. Make a reservation as the wait can be long at times. 

There you have it, five more craft beer oriented pubs for you to check out. Are there more pubs that I've missed out on? Let me know in the comments or on twitter at @VancityBeerGuy. Cheers!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The Best Beer Bars in Vancouver Not Named Alibi Room or St. Augustines

By now you know that there are two clear cut answers when it comes to the question "Which is the best beer bar in Vancouver?" It's either Alibi Room or St. Augustines. Everyone knows those are the top locations to imbibe at that aren't tasting rooms or brewery lounges, and that's the reason they're full all of the time!

The question has now become "Which are the best beer bars in Vancouver that aren't named Alibi or St. Augustines?".

Here are some recommendations for you.

Tap & Barrel

Best known for their amazing patios, the two locations each carry a tap list of 28 BC craft beers. Sit back and enjoy the views with a pint of something local. If you're feeling adventurous, try their unique food menu. PB&J burger, anyone?

The Donnelly Group's newest location, it recently grew its tap list to 48 beers. The list is BC heavy with new guys like Barkerville and Yellow Dog available, they also offer a nice selection of American beers such as Stone Brewing. Every day from 3-6pm all craft beers are $5 for 18.5oz during Happy Hour. I'll drink to that!

Kitsilano's main craft beer hangout, this pub is serving up full 20oz pints from 30 taps and a regular cask program. If you're anywhere out near Kits, this is the place to have a beer. Check out what's coming up on their cask list HERE.

Another Donnelly spot, this Gastown pub boasts fifty taps. They've got everything you need from Red Truck Lager to Central City's ISA to the 82 IBU Star Struck Rye IPA from Deep Cove. Stop in on Wednesday evenings and join the Vancouver Facial Hair Club for a round of Bourbon & Bingo. It's a great time.

Portland Craft

Looking to get away from BC beers? Head to Portland Craft on Main Street for a taste of what's going on South of the 49th Parallel. The 16 tap list is always rotating and always top notch.

Bonus: 12 Kings

Vancouver's newest craft beer bar, these guys are on my radar to check out. With the president of CAMRA on board, you know that they'll be serving up great brews!

Next time you're hitting the town and looking for somewhere new to go for a beer, give these spots a try. Surely I didn't get all of the best craft beer bars in town on this list, share your recommendations in the comments or tweet me at @VancityBeerGuy

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The Best BC Beer to Pair with Sushi

Sushi is Vancouver's go-to meal, there is a sushi restaurant on every corner in town. While Asahi and Sapporo go nicely with a California Roll there are better selections from BC for you foodies out there.

Here is a list of local brews to pair with your next sushi meal.

Phillips Brewing Ginger Beer

This is a great ginger beer and it pairs perfectly with anything on the menu but it is killer with fish and veggie rolls. This brew goes down easy while also carrying a nice hit of fresh ginger. Available in bombers around the Lower Mainland. All sushi restaurants should carry this beer!

Driftwood White Bark Witbier

Another clean, crisp ale from the island, this beer goes well with sashimi. According to the brewery's website "this traditional Belgian-Style wheat ale is brewed with the addition of freshly ground coriander and curacao orange peel."

Parallel 49 Old Boy Ale

The lighter ales like Farmhand and Ginger Beer go nicely with the fish and veggie plates, but the maltiness of the Old Boy accentuates the teriyaki flavour of this meat dish well. Old Boy isn't available year round so nice alternatives would be Deep Cove Brewing's Loud Mouth Pale Ale or Howe Sound Brewing's Rail Ale Nut Brown.

For the most part, when pairing beer with sushi you should be looking for lighter beers that don't overpower the flavour of your dish. Try the beers listed in this article and search out new beers that pair well with your favourite dishes. Share your favourite beer pairings in the comments or tweet me at @VancityBeerGuy.


Saturday, 22 November 2014

5 Winter Ales To Drink In Vancouver


The seasons are changing and with the colder temperature, Christmas markets and gingerbread men come the winter seasonal ales to keep us warm at night.

Here are five excellent choices to search out this year.

1. Woolly Bugger Barley Wine - Howe Sound Brewing

Arguably the best barley wine produced in BC. Very aromatic and cellarable. Clocking in at 11% abv, this is a classic sipper on a snowy night.

2. Coco Loco Chocolate Imperial Stout - Granville Island Brewing

While GIB is best known for their Lions Winter Ale, and that's always an excellent choice, I love the seasonal bombers that Brewmaster Vern is producing. Nice cocoa and coffee flavours in this one. Pair it with ice cream!

3. Ugly Sweater Milk Stout - Parallel 49 Brewing

The holiday season isn't complete with an ugly sweater or two. Using lactose this beer is quite sweet. The most sessionable on this list, grab a six pack and enjoy.

4. Hermannator Ice Bock - Vancouver Island Brewing

Hermannator Day, when this beer is released each year, should be a public holiday. This chocolate  masterpiece is aged for over three months and doesn't last long on liquor store shelves. Grab some while you can.

5. Russian Imperial Stout - Parallel 49 Brewing

Parallel 49 makes a second appearance on this list and for good reason. Aged in whiskey barrels to provide an extra kick of flavour, this winter seasonal weighs in at almost 12% abv. Big flavour is the name of the game for the Russian Imperial Stout. Big chocolate, big coffee, big whiskey. You can age this bottle for a long time and the flavours will continue to meld together and develop.

Bonus: Singularity.

Singularity sells out within days of availability each year. If you see one, scoop up a bottle. It's one of the highest rated beers in BC.

Happy holidays and drink responsibly!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Fridge Magnet Bottle Opener Trick [Video]

I'm not sure how this works but it's pretty great if it's real. I tried it a couple of times with different sized magnets and wasn't able to get the lid to pop off. Give it a try and let me know if it works for you!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Australia Day in Whistler

January 26th was Australia Day around the world and if you live just an hour away from Whistler, the Australian Capital of Canada, you head there for the party. Our group only decided to book the night in Whistler a couple of days beforehand. Due to our lateness the only hotel rooms available in all of Whistler Village were $300 or more, not quite within our budget. After some searching we found the perfect room for us just outside of the village at Riverside Resorts: a Yurt. For those of you who don't know what a Yurt is, here you go.

A yurt is a mongolian tent used by nomads of the Steppes. With enough room for 5 people and a short cab ride from Whistler Village, it was a steal at $79 a night. The winter chill wasn't a factor inside of the Yurt as well, it's a great spot to stay and I'm definitely going to be going back with friends.

The drinking starts early on Australia Day as many of the Aussies take the day off from work and hit the pubs when the doors open. My group, like many of the celebrators, hit up the Longhorn Saloon & Grill. The Longhorn is located right at the base of the ski slopes and is the top spot for après drinks. By the time we arrived in Whistler on the glorious 'Bluebird day' the patio was already packed with a loud and boisterous crowd of Australians decked out in their country's colours.

We immediately grabbed a pitcher and sat down with a group of strangers who seemed exceptionally fun. Being that they were Australian and had a couple of beers in them, we were immediately welcomed into the group. The members of the table were from all across Australia: Melbourne, Canberra, Perth and Sydney were the representative cities.

A member of my group lost their wallet in the bar early on in the evening so we weren't able to do the bar-hopping we were expecting to, so we stuck it out at the Longhorn with everyone and partied the night away.

The next morning we were a bit groggy, as was the rest of Whistler, so we hit up my favourite brunch spot in the Village, Elements. If you stop in, make sure to try their selection of eggs bennys along with one of their caesars.

Australia Day is Whistler's biggest party due to the large number of Australians working the slopes during the Winter season. The party goes late into the night with lots of beer, dancing, singing and "Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!" chants. I had an absolute blast with all of the Aussies and to wrap up the night in a Yurt was a great experience. If you enjoy a wild party with a bunch of fun, exciting foreigners then Australia Day in Whistler is the party for you.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

#CoffeeBreak - Milano Boutique Coffee Roasters

After a brief vacation from our #CoffeeBreak routine Jayda and I continued our quest to visit all of the top coffee shops in and around Vancouver by stopping in at Gastown's Milano Boutique Coffee Roasters

Known for their exceptional espressos and recommended by many, Milano was an easy choice to check out.

While looking at the selection of espressos they all looked so delicious that we couldn't choose which one to go with. After our barista, who was very knowledgable, described each espresso to us we decided to have a taster flight of them all. She gave us three of the five for our flight - the house blend "La Futura", "Conca D'Oro" and "Classico". 

While we didn't try it, the pour over option had many positive reviews from people we talked to during our visit. Will have to try it out next time!

Jayda and I loved the different spots to sit around the room. There was a hanging table, solo spots to sit at and ponder and various tables for two. We chose to sit at the communal table made of cement. It was a nice change from conventional seating arrangements.

The espresso flights with steamed milk and a chocolate flavoured and rose-water flavoured macaroon. The rose-water macaroon made for a great palate cleanser between sips of the three espressos. 

In order from lightest to darkest we had Conca D'Oro, La Futura and the Classico. Jayda was partial to the Conca D'Oro while I enjoyed the roastier and more fuller flavours of La Futura.

Milano was, like the other coffee shops we have visited on our #CoffeeBreak experiment, top notch. The staff were knowledgable and accommodating, the shop itself was unique and well put together and the espresso was exceptional! 

You can follow Milano on twitter and Instagram at @MilanoRoasters and if you aren't already I invite you to follow me on twitter and Instagram at @VancityBeerGuy!