Vancouver’s small-batch beer revolution
When Vancouver’s newest brewery opened its tiny, art-lined storefront location in December, a giggle of local beer nuts rushed in, thirsty for a taste of Dive Bomb Porter, Hopdenonium IPA and Old Jalopy Pale Ale.
But while the jam-packed launch day at Powell Street Craft Brewery (http://www.powellbeer.com) kept beermaker David Bowkett busy, it was just the latest in a sudsy wave of new microbreweries and even-smaller nanobreweries that have opened in the city in recent months.
“Everyone seemed to pop up at once,” says Bowkett, a self-taught beermaker with a home-brewing background who sells his popular tipples in refillable takeout containers. “There’s been a growing demand for good beer in Vancouver. I think people like the idea of ‘local’ and ‘craft’ and they like being able to meet the maker of the beer they’re drinking.”
Taking advantage of East Vancouver’s lw rents – a 10-minute bus ride from downtown, this historically gritty industrial area is a labyrinth of century-old little factories – small-scale newbies Parallel 49 (http://parallel49brewing.com) and Coal Harbour Brewing (http://www.coalharbourbrewing.com) have also just opened in the neighbourhood, joining established older brother Storm Brewing (http://www.stormbrewing.org).
Add North Vancouver’s new Bridge Brewing (http://www.bridgebrewing.com) and the soon-to-launch Brassneck Brewery (http://brassneck.ca) on Main Street and it’s easy to spot a fresh surge in British Columbia’s well-developed craft beer scene. They’re the creamy head on a lip-smacking regional movement that’s seen several dozen B.C. beermakers emerge over the past decade.
Crannog Ales, Driftwood Brewery, Phillips Brewing and Central City Brewers are among the province’s most celebrated producers, creating their concoctions at facilities from the Southern Interior to capital city Victoria. But Vancouver drinkers don’t have to travel that far to whet their whistles: beer-serious city taverns like Alibi Room, St. Augustine’s and the Railway Club routinely showcase the best brews from around B.C.
But it’s new Vancouver beer-makers like Powell Street that are currently the most sought-after thirst-slakers. “For me, brewing is very creative – it’s an artistic kind of science,” says Bowkett. “I’m not interested in making lots of different beers. I’d rather make a few but make them great,” he adds, noting that he’s planning a new secret recipe wit beer for springtime visitors to the brewery.