What to Eat, Drink and Skip in ‘Yeast Van’ (A Complete East Van Brewery Guide)

Earlier in the year, I wrote a guide to ‘Brewery Creek’ which got both positive and negative feedback. Of course, regardless of the criticism, I couldn’t just stop there as there are many other breweries that need tackling. So here’s part two: a complete guide to the breweries located in the neighbourhood known as ‘yeast van’ (I hate that term). Agree with me or not, here we go.

Andina Brewing

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One of the newest kids on the block, Andina really isn’t hard to miss with their giant yellow exterior and mural. They focus on pairing flavours of South America with the West Coast.

Top contenders:

  • Ay Ay Ay Pale Ale- It’s tasty and has hints of grapefruit and pine.
  • Mapale Milk Stout- This isn’t always available, but when it is, it’s a popular choice among the crowd.

Eats: 

  • Honestly this is where Andina shines. They do a rotating ceviche every day with plantain chips, and they make really freaking good empanadas! Eat here, it’s way better than brewery food should be.

Don’t bother with:

  • I’m sorry but I absolutely hate the Maraca PassionFruit Black IPA. Hate is a harsh word, and one I don’t often say in reference to beer, but yes, I HATE IT.

Bomber Brewing

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Top contenders:

  • Parklife Passionfruit Ale- This beer is delicious and a perfect summer sipper. Unfortunately it is seasonal, so you’ll only see it during the summer.
  • Russian Imperial Stout- Another seasonal release, but fortunately during the winter months so you can switch between Parklife and this; it’s a bold stout at 9.5% and deceptively easy to drink.
  • ESB- A strong contender for a West Coast/British ESB. It’s a solid beer that’s available year round.

Eats:

  • Bomber doesn’t do food, so grab some food somewhere else.

Don’t bother with:

  • Bomber IPA- Simply because there are better IPA’s in this list. Including one that’s right next door at Off The Rail.

Callister Brewing

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Callister is a unique brewery; not only do they have some great rotating exhibits of local artists but they also operate as a co-working space for independent brewers (like former resident Boombox Brewing), meaning you get some very unique beers coming out of here.

Top contenders:

  • Zwirbelbart Dunkelweizen- This is a good beer and a great Dunkel.
  • Any IPA- Callister does a great job with their IPA’s, and if you’re lucky, a double IPA will be on tap.
  • Any guest tap- Obviously this is a bit of a crapshoot, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t recommend the brewers being featured at Callister as it’s small batch and experimental.

Eats:

  • Nothing more than your typical pepperoni sticks and cheese breads.

Don’t bother with:

  • The taps rotate so often, bad beers don’t have much of a chance of sticking around.

Doan’s Craft Brewing

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One of the smallest breweries in Vancouver, Doan’s makes up for it with character. They regularly have lego nights, there’s an arcade and board games to keep you entertained in the small space.

Top contenders:

  • Altbier- This German style pale ale is complex and drinkable with a nice subtle hint of German hops.
  • Kolsch- Crisp, clean and easy to drink. Also very easy to recommend.

Eats:

  • There are some vegan/vegetarian snacks, but nothing substantial.

Don’t bother with:

  • Doan’s only has four core beers, you can do a flight and basically try everything.

Luppolo Brewing

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Italian inspired in both decor and brewing, Luppolo is another fresh contender to the brewing scene that has already made a strong impression (they won best new brewery in the Georgia Straight).

Top contenders:

  • Farmhouse Ale- This ale combines the best of the West Coast with Belgian style Farmhouse brewing to make something drinkable and complex.
  • Saison- Another very easy to drink, but more complex than expected, offering. Luppolo does an excellent job with lighter fare beers.

Eats:

  • Italian snacks like olives, meats and cheeses are always a good choice, as are the Piadina flatbread sandwiches. On the weekends, the Focaccia is excellent.

Don’t bother with:

  • Robust Porter- As mentioned above, Luppolo is strongest when working with farmhouse, saisons, sours, etc. The porter isn’t bad, but not their best.

Off The Rail Brewing

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Located right down the street from Bomber brewing, Off the Rail might be small, but they are cranking out some quality beer and have a very bright and open space to enjoy a few pints.

Top contenders:

  • Classic Pale Ale- Rather than a West Coast pale, this is brewed in the traditional English style and is excellent.
  • Raj Mahal India Ale- Super creative with notes of lemongrass and kaffir lime. Don’t miss this if it’s on tap.
  • Belt Up ESB- Another classic English style beer, this bitter has a nice earthy malt with just enough bitterness to it.

Eats:

  • Typical beer snacks that you’ll find across other breweries as well.

Don’t bother with:

  • East Bound Nut Brown- A little too much nutty flavour for my taste.

Parallel 49 Brewing

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Arguably one of the biggest craft breweries in Vancouver, Parallel 49 recently renovated their tap room and are constantly pairing up with other brewers to release limited edition collab brews.

Top contenders:

  • P49 Craft Lager- One of the best lagers in the province. It’s clean drinking without washing out subtle tastes.
  • 187 on an Undercover Hop- Not only is this Imperial IPA high in alcohol at 10%, it also hits you hard with an explosion of hops.
  • Wobbly Pop Pale Ale- Liked this pale ale way more than expected.

Eats:

  • Fish tacos and fried chicken & waffles from the indoor food truck, nuff said.

Don’t bother with:

  • Orale Tequila Gose- Something about it doesn’t work for me, might be the strong tequila taste.
  • Ruby Tears Red Ale- It’s just kind of a boring beer.

Pat’s Pub

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Bet you didn’t know that Vancouver’s oldest microbrewery was in the seedy Patricia hotel? Yep, Pat’s Pub has been around for over 100 years, and brews their own beer.

Top contenders:

  • Pat’s Classic Lager- Vienna style lager that is actually pretty damn good.

Eats:

  • Go with Pat’s classic burger, 7oz of fresh beef on a kaiser bun.

Don’t bother with:

  • Anything else; you’re here for the lager really.

Postmark Brewing

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Postmark lives in the Settlement Building which has the trifecta of a craft brewery, winery and kitchen all in one. It’s a beautiful spot to hang out, and there’s pretty much something for everyone.

Top contenders:

  • Postmark Stout- This is one of the lightest stouts you’ll find, and it’s delicious to boot.
  • Spruce Tip- I quite like this beer, a crisp Golden Ale brewed with Cascade hops and conditioned with fresh Vancouver Island Spruce Tips.
  • ISA- A very crushable beer that has the taste of a proper IPA with a much lower ABV.

Eats:

  • Belgard Kitchen is very good, you’ll find a lot of options. Come here for brunch and try the bread pudding french toast, it’s ridiculous.

Don’t bother with:

  • Raspberry ale- I’d go for the Bomber passionfruit ale before the raspberry, but I’ll drink it.

Powell Street Brewery

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Top contenders:

  • Old Jalopy Pale Ale- An absolute must try. This beer is so fantastic as a representation of a classic English pale ale. There’s a reason it continues to win award after award.
  • Lazy D’Haze IPA- A Northeast style hazy IPA, super juicy and super delicious.
  • Dive Bomb Dark Ale- This dark ale is light and refreshing. Flavours of caramel, toffee, chocolate and nuts.

Eats:

  • Mixed nuts.

Don’t bother with:

  • Amarillo Sour- Sorry but this lacto kettle sour just doesn’t do it for me.

Storm Brewing

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Storm Brewing is that weird uncle everybody has; it produces great craft beer, but bring your friends to this garage-style brewery and they may think you’re crazy. They’ll change their mind after a few samples (which are free!).

Top contenders:

  • Basil IPA- Can’t speak highly enough of this beer; if you like basil, you’ll love this IPA
  • Black Plague Stout- One of their staples, it’s a very good stout that is used as a base for a lot of their experimentations.
  • Pineapple Pilsner/Jalapeno Pilsner- Toss up between these two, both are very different from one another, but the fresh additions of pineapple or jalapeno make for an interesting pilsner.

Eats:

  • There is no food, and you don’t want to eat here anyway (you’ll understand).

Don’t bother with:

  • Pizza Pilsner- Look some lines just aren’t meant to be crossed.
  • Imperial Flanders Sour Ale- This one’s tricky, as I actually really do like the Flanders, however it is SO puckeringly sour it’s hard to recommend to anyone but a diehard sour fan.

Strange Fellows Brewing

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Strange Fellows is all about embracing the weird, and to that end, they’ve taken a dedicated focus on beers with wild yeast, sours and barrel aging. Many of their best beers come around once/twice a year.

Top contenders:

  • Jongleur Wit- A nice and refreshing wit beer that works really well as a mainstay for the brewery.
  • Roxanne Sour- Made with fresh raspberries this sour is excellent but only comes around every so often.
  • Popinjay Sour- Same as the Roxanne, it’s a rare sour that really shines.

Eats:

  • Another stop with the standard bar snacks.

Don’t bother with:

  • Talisman Pale Ale- Like I said, Strange Fellows is best at the weird, so this pale ale is too ‘normal’ to really stand out from the rest.

Strathcona Beer Company

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A massive tasting room compared to its neighbours, Strathcona has a cool vibe and has tried to set itself apart by focusing on more malt forward beer.

Top contenders:

  • British IPA- Softer hops than the West Coast counterparts, it’s a great IPA that shouldn’t be overlooked.
  • Strathcona Gold- Honestly where else are you going to get craft beer in a 40oz bottle?
  • Cherry High- A new addition to the lineup; made with sour cherries it’s not as sour as you’d think and very, very drinkable.

Eats:

  • Made to order think crust pizzas, the funghi is pretty damn good.

Don’t bother with:

  • Strathcona Beach- I’m probably going to get shit for this one, as radlers are all the rage right now, but this lemon mandarin radler is just too much like juice. I like tasting the beer in my radler.
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