Vancouver Brewery Tours – Your Personal Guide To Vancouver’s Best Beer
British Columbia has seen an influx of Craft Beer over the past few years. Vancouver in particular has seen a large number of breweries opening their doors recently. Over the course of 3 years the number of breweries within the city itself has doubled and the number of Vancouverites seeking quality, local craft beer has increased exponentially. This a a theme for surrounding communities as well with North Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey, Delta, New Westmister and others all following suit with new breweries opening their doors to BC’s thirsty craft beer drinkers.
With all the commotion around these new breweries, finding time to visit each one is a difficult venture but there is a solution. As the industry develops, supporting businesses are able to ride the wave and help to grow BC Beer as a whole. Vancouver Brewery Tours is a small Vancouver based company that offers private tours of the area’s best breweries.
With the abundance of craft beer in relative close quarters Vancouver Brewery Tours offers a guided view of several local breweries with a touch of flair. Tours run on Saturdays and Sundays where guests are escorted to three different breweries around the city for an exclusive look at the brewery, beer and what makes each and every BC brewed beer unique and more importantly – delicious. On the particular tour that I was lucky enough to join we visited Parallel 49 Brewing, Storm Brewing and lastly 33 Acres Brewing. The list of breweries does vary by date but these three were on this particular day’s schedule.
The tour starts off at Vancouver’s Waterfront station. This is a convenient hub for transit users so it is a relatively simple task to leave the car behind to enjoy some beer along the way. As a group of 12 assembled at the meeting point conversations of beer started to erupt immediately. This group of people came from many different frames of mind when it came to tastes and styles of beer but still it was a passion for beer that brought us all together. Climbing into our tour van we took off under the direction and supervision of our tour guide and Vancouver Brewery Tours owner Ryan Mackey.
The first stop on the agenda was East Vancouver’s Parallel 49 Brewing Company. Less than two years since opening their doors Parallel 49 has quadrupled its brewing capacity and recently knocked down some neighboring walls to further grow the business. What started off quite small is now a powerhouse in the BC craft beer industry. On our first stop the tour took us back into the breweries’ depths for an in-depth view of how beer is made. Parallel 49s expert Scott Crook walked our group through the relatively crowded brewing space and explained the brewing process to some eager and thirsty listeners. From the wort creation through the fermentation and onto bottling, the start of our tour was also a source of knowledge for the two remaining breweries coming up.
Following the thorough tour of Parallel 49 the group settled into the tasting lounge to sample some well deserved beer. A flight of four different beers was laid before each tour guest to sample the Salty Scot Scotch Ale, Hoparazzi Hopped Lager, Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale and the Ugly Sweater Milk Stout on Nitro. The thirsty crew welcomed the tasting, picked up some beer for the road and piled back into the beer-bus onwards to the next stop.
The second stop on tour was only a few blocks away at Vancouver’s longest running craft brewery. Storm Brewing was opened by owner and brewmaster James Walton back in 1995. Back in the early days the craft beer scene was no where close to what it is today and while there was much less competition the conversion from mass produced beer to craft enjoyment had not yet been made. Nonetheless, James has been making quality craft beer out of his small East Vancouver based brewery for nearly 20 years and has become famous in local beer circles for hits like his Hurricane IPA, Black Plague Stout and his entire sour beer program.
Visiting James and his brewery team at Storm our group was offered a glimpse at the rustic style and ingenuity that goes into making Storm Beer so delicious. In contrast to the visit to Parallel 49 the tour here tasted a Juniper IPA followed by a Vanilla Stout. James’ creativity and passion for unique and flavourful beers is what has kept Storm Brewing successful in the BC craft beer scene for so long. You may not have tried Storm beer before but if you catch a glimpse of it on tap at your favorite restaurant or bar pick up a pint, you will not be disappointed!
The third stop on tour was a short drive across town to Vancouver’s 33 Acres Brewery. Located near Main street on 8th ave this new addition to the roster of BC breweries was the final stop on our Vancouver tour. The 33 Acres’ team has a passion for local hand made products. Whether you are looking at the brewing equipment, tasting room or even the clothing that you can purchase on site it is all sourced from a vender close to home. On tour, as the group gazed down at the brewery below we learned about the brew equipment, the beer and the people involved. This brewery focuses on quality and care while keeping in-rooted with their local community and neighbors.
In the tasting room following the tour attendees were offered a tasting of the 33 Acres of Life California Common, 33 Acres of Ocean IPA and their new 33 Acres of Tynder. The beautiful and pristine tasting room offered the perfect finish to a fantastic tour of 3 top BC breweries.
Not only were these three stops all home to fantastic and unique beer, but they also contrasted each other in their personal takes on what BC Craft Beer should be. From brewery size to equipment choice, precision and personality each of these three breweries has an extremely different means of presenting their product. What is truly amazing though is how these three divergent ideas can wrap around and simultaneous achieve the same goal – to make delicious, creative and unique BC craft beer. From Parallel 49’s drive for growth, Storm’s focus on passion and creativity to 33 Acres local and pristine mentality these three breweries all produce a product that is world class and that they should be very proud of!
Vancouver Brewery Tours is an organization that isn’t just about capitalizing on the growth of craft beer in British Columbia. The team at Vancouver Brewery Tours are passionate about beer and sharing knowledge about why BC Craft Beer is so great. The company’s tours offer a unique and valuable experience to those that are passionate about the industry, those that are eager to learn and to those that want to drink some great beer. Tours run every Saturday and Sunday and cost $69. This small price will get you a number of beer samples, a safe ride, some new friends and even a pint glass to enjoy your new favorite brews. To book your tour visit vancouverbrewerytours.com
For more photos from the brewery tours please click on the images below.