The last decade has seen the Vancouver craft beer scene absolutely explode in popularity.
The city is now home to dozens of locally owned breweries that are keen to experiment with hops, flavour and style in a way that is sure to shatter peoples’ preconceived notions of what beer can be.
To guide you through this labyrinth of lager I’ve come up with a list of the 20 best spots to partake in some of the city’s most celebrated libations.
So lets put away those car keys and get started.
Craft Beer Vancouver
Vancouver is a world-class cosmopolitan city nestled between the Salish Sea and the North Shore Mountains on Canada’s Westcoast. While traditionally renown for its natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities, the city is increasingly gaining plaudits for its distinctive culinary offerings and exploding craft beer scene.
As with the city’s cosmopolitan nature it’s the scene’s diversity that is its strength. From small family-run start up breweries to massive brewpubs with dozens of taps there is no shortage of options for beer lovers involved in the eternal search for the perfect pint.
Vancouver Craft Beer Map
Most of Vancouver’s breweries can be found in the working class neighbourhood of East Vancouver, a short distance from downtown. The area is home to two main brewery districts, Brewery Creek and Yeast Van. This is where we’ll spend the bulk of our time on our Vancouver craft crawl.
However, those who intend to cross Burrard Inlet to the suburb of North Vancouver will also find around a dozen upstart brewers located in or near the brand new Shipyards Brewery District.
If you’re travelling further afield to the Eastern suburbs of Port Moody, New Westminster and the Fraser Valley there are many more award-winning breweries. However, due to their relative inaccessibility for most travellers and Vancouverites alike, we won’t discuss these areas in any detail.
So now that we’ve gotten oriented it’s time to get started.
After years of painstaking research in Vancouver’s bars and on the city’s best beaches I’ve come up with a list of my favourite Vancouver brewpubs and breweries. They’ve been placed on the map above so you can embark on your own self-guided Vancouver craft beer.
Or even better, later on you’ll be provided with the option to take a guided behind the scenes tour of some of the city’s best breweries. Taste the very best our city has to offer with a passionate local guide and a group of like minded travellers from all over the world.
The choice is entirely up to you!
Most of Vancouver’s independent brewers are located quite a distance from the city’s downtown core. This makes them somewhat inaccessible from most downtown hotels or hostels for travellers not fortunate enough to possess a designated driver.
Luckily Vancouver is also home to a variety of brewpubs that’ll allow you to sample the very best of our craft beer scene without travelling to the outer reaches of the city.
Craft Beer Market Vancouver
In spite of its name, Craft Beer Market is actually a massive brewpub and restaurant set in Olympic Village’s historic Salt Building. If you’re looking for a wide cross-section of BC’s craft brewing scene there is simply no better place to come.
Craft is home to the largest selection of draft beer in Canada. They have over one-hundred taps sourced from brewers from down the street and around the globe.
While the restaurants cavernous setting can feel somewhat impersonal, if you’re simply looking to scratch an afternoon itch for a couple cold ones this is just the spot to do it.
This self anointed “modern tavern” is located in a lovely heritage building in Vancouver’s most historic neighbourhood. This makes it a perfect place to stop for a couple pints after an afternoon spent exploring Gastown or Chinatown.
The Alibi Room is home to over 50 taps of local and imported craft beer, so you won’t be lacking in choice. Toss in a creative cocktail list and the understated sophistication of their comfort-food heavy menu and you’ve got a true winner.
If you’re anything like me and you prefer to avoid the usual soulless corporate-monstrosity brewpub environment then the Alibi Room should be right up your alley.
Brewhall is Vancouver’s first German-style beer hall and craft brewery concept venue. It aims to promote community gatherings with freshly brewed beer, good eats and an exciting collection of arcades and board games.
There are 22 local taps available, 8 of which are brewed on-site. They even have an upstairs whiskey bar called DRINKLAB, which contains over 50 types of spirits from the world over.
A perfect spot to start your Brewery Creek tour if you’re walking from the Olympic Village or Main Street Skytrain station.
Stanley Park Brewing
One of the newest additions to Vancouver’s brewpub scene, this aptly named venue is located smack dab in the middle of the best urban park in the world, Stanley Park.
The beer list is comprised of 8 core taps that are complemented by a large collection of rotators. Each option is considered a tasty tribute to the beautiful surroundings, with names like the sunsetter wheat ale, windstorm pale ale and trailhopper IPA.
If you’re visiting Vancouver’s number one attraction stop in for a pint on their beautiful patio. Your worries are guaranteed to float away in the cool ocean breeze.
Tap & Barrel
This local chain has 3 vibrant waterfront locations all of which are renown for their incredible views. In fact, they may all very well be in direct competition for the title of best patio in Vancouver.
Tap and Barrel’s innovative on-tap beverage program features dozens of BC craft beers, wines and ciders including many exclusive to their locations. This makes it a perfect spot to sample the very best of what BC has to offer.
Yaletown Brewing Company
Yaletown is a trendy and upscale downtown neighbourhood located a short walk from the Stadium District and the Seawall. While it’s mostly known for its chic restaurants and lounges, that doesn’t mean you still can’t find yourself a good pint.
Yaletown Brewing has been brewing delicious craft beer in this gentrified former warehouse district since way back in 1994. During that time it has won the prestigious title of best brewpub in Canada several times while still maintaining that neighbourhood pub feel.
I like to come here during happy hour to grab a pint of one of their refreshing house-made beers and watch the world go by on their enormous patio. But if you’re looking you’re looking to kick it up a notch you can also find an almost club-like atmosphere later on with dj’s, bouncers and even a small dance floor.
Brewery Creek Breweries
If you want to go straight to the source of some of North America’s finest craft beer this is a good place to start. Brewery Creek is located just across False Creek from Downtown Vancouver, making it the most accessible of Vancouver’s famed craft beer neighbourhoods.
Most of the breweries are about a 10-15 minute walk from the Canada Line’s Olympic Village and Broadway-City Hall skytrain stations or the Expo Line’s Main Street-Science World Station.
Granville Island Brewing
VP Favourite: English Bay Pale Ale (5% ABV, 18 IBU)
While not technically located in Brewery Creek, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the oldest microbrewery in Canada. Located right in the heart of Granville Island, GI Brewing has been making delicious, locally crafted beer since 1984.
They may not be quite as adventurous as many of their young upstart competitors, However, Granville Island has a special place in the hearts of local craft beer lovers who spent years bereft of premium local options.
So pop in after exploring the market or use the Aquabus to make it the first stop on your Brewery Creek crawl. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
33 Acres Brewing Company
VP Favourite: 33 Acres of Sunshine (5% ABV, 14 IBU)
This chic minimalist brewery takes an austere approach to décor and packaging with a simplistic white aesthetic found throughout. Imagine an alternate universe where Steve Jobs had opened a brewery.
However, their branding stands in stark contrast to their bold and innovative brews.
Picking a favourite may be the toughest part, as I’ve yet to be disappointed. Nevertheless, their seasonal flagship 33 acres of sunshine is the ultimate French blanche. Silky smooth and sub-spiced with orange peel, coriander and anise seed, it’s the perfect beer for a day on a Vancouver beach.
VP Favourite: Passive Aggressive IPA (7% ABV, 75 IBU)
This small Main Street brewery was founded with the goal of keeping things simple and not taking things too seriously.
The result of this philosophy is a tasting room that features a mixture of “dangerously drinkable” classics and nano sized experiments of lesser known beers from all over the globe.
The brewery’s unique brewery lounge license and rotating cast of food trucks stationed outside gives Brassneck a more casual atmosphere then many of their competitors.
R&B Ale and Pizza House
VP Favourite: Raven Cream Ale (4.8% ABV, 18 IBU)
These Brewery Creek veterans have been making easy drinking hand-crafted ales and lagers since 1997.
You simply can’t go wrong with any of their 3 refreshing IPAs. However, for my money the award-winning raven cream ale is the true showstopper. Surprisingly light-bodied, this cream ale has subtle nutty flavours that are perfectly complemented by hints of chocolate.
Enjoy it in a casual 70’s style tasting room that features eclectic music, an old school stereo system and quirky décor. Furthermore, they’ve got a large (by brewery standards) menu that is heavy on their famous artisan pizzas.
Pizza and beer. How can you go wrong?
Main Street Brewing
VP Favourite: Main Street Pilsner (5% ABV, 22 IBU)
This Main Street favourite is located in the historic former home of Vancouver Brewing, which dates back to 1913. In the late 19th century many breweries set up shop in the area using Brewery Creek as a water supply. So it’s far from just a clever name.
Head brewer Jack Bensley looks to carry on this tradition with his 5 core brands (pilsner, pale ale, IPA, saison and brown ale). Toss in some interesting seasonals and a variety of cask ales and you’re spoilt for choice.
The quaint tasting room feels very much a part of the brewery itself, with the aroma of spent hops permeating throughout. While the exposed brick and large murals remind you of the buildings heritage status. Tacos and charcuterie plates are available, so bring your appetite.
Faculty Brewing Company
VP Favourite: 802 Tripel (7.6% ABV, 43 IBU)
Tucked away on Ontario Street between 2nd and 3rd, this small brewery aims to simplify the ordering system. Their innovative university-like branding system allots each beer a number that signifies its complexity.
For instance, easy drinking lagers and pilsners that will appeal to the gen-pop crowd receive handles like the 101 lager and 120 pilsner. However, if you’d like to achieve true aficionado status you’ll have to graduate to hopsier and stronger beers like the 729 brut IPA or the 802 tripel.
Personally, I was reminiscing about time spent in Brussels during my visit, so the tripel happened to hit the spot. Apparently this means I graduated at the top of my class! How far will you make it?
East Vancouver Breweries
Affectionately known as “Yeast Van”, East Vancouver is home to the largest concentration of breweries anywhere in the city. The majority of the tasting rooms can be found in the formerly industrial neighbourhood of Grandview-Woodlands near Vancouver’s Little Italy, Commercial Drive.
If you don’t mind a bit of a walk along “the drive”, they can be accessed via the Skytrain’s Commercial-Broadway Station. However, you can probably save a bit of time by taking the R5 Hastings Rapidbus from Hastings Street downtown.
Luppolo Brewing Company
VP Favourite: Black Lime Gose (4.4% ABV, 4 IBU)
This creative Venables Street brewery takes its name from luppolo, the Italian word for hops. This was chosen to honour the brewers’ background and the area’s distinctive Italian heritage.
The Italian proverb a tavola non s’invecchia, or at the table one doesn’t grow old, guides the tasting room experience. You’ll be living la dolce vita as you pair any of their 7 taps with an item from their Italian influenced menu that features charcuterie, panini and foccaccie.
Luppolo is mostly known for their inventive sours, saissons and IPAs. So if you’re looking to try something a little different on your self-guided tour, this may be just the spot to do it. Personally, I enjoyed the black lime gose, a traditional light, tart and sour Leipzig-style beer that is perfect for a warm sunny day.
VP Favourite: Talisman Pale Ale (4% ABV, 29 IBU)
After over 20 years showing off his talent for conventional styles as the head brewer at Yaletown Brewing Company, Ian Hill decided to open up Strangefellows to expand his repertoire.
As a result, many of the beers at Strangefellows have an experimental sour component. But don’t fret, Hill still stays true to his more conventional past by pairing old world traditions and local, seasonal ingredients. The results can be found in the delightful Talisman Pale Ale, easily one of the best pales in the city.
While somewhat isolated on a desolate industrial section of Clark Drive, the tasting room is an attraction in and of itself. The facility comes complete with the Charles Clark Art Gallery and occasional live music that serve to demonstrate the unique talent of many local artists.
Andina Brewing Company
VP Favourite: Jalea Guava Saison (6.4% ABV, 25 IBU)
This 2,000 square foot banana yellow brewery on Powell Street draws heavily on the Colombian background of its owners. As such, the Spanish language is an integral part of the brewery’s identity, with Castillian names assigned to its collection of cervezas prinicpales.
Andina is Colombian slang for a women who comes from the Andes. This 7,000 km mountain range passes through the most diverse range of customs, flavours and traditions of any mountain range on earth. The cervezas on tap here are tasked with demonstrating this incredible diversity to those not lucky enough to have visited.
You’ll find more traditional German style pilsners and lagers reflective of South America’s more European-like South. However, where Andina really shines is with their cervezas limitades, which are inspired by more experimental flavours from the continent’s tropical North.
The menu also features Latin inspired cocktails and a Colombian food program that contains a delicious variety of empanadas, arepas and ceviches. Highly recommended.
VP Favourite: Avante Garde Pilsner (4.8% ABV, 28 IBU)
This pint sized brewery tucked away near Little Italy on Adanac Street is the result of the most Canadian of stories. Three former hockey teammates came together with the simple goal of adding more flavour to their post-game pint.
And let me tell you, this all star team’s collection of lagers, pilsners and IPAs goes bar down faster than an Elias Pettersson slapshot. In my experience their easy drinking pilsners are amongst the best in the city.
The tasting room also features events such as Monday Movie Night and of course Vancouver Canucks hockey games.
Parallel49 Brewing Company
VP Favourite: Ruby Tears Northwest Red Ale (6% ABV, 40 IBU)
This local brewer may very well be the Vancouver craft beer scenes biggest success storie. Parallel 49 has risen from humble East Van beginnings to having their creative brews in almost every bar in the city.
In fact, their flagship Ruby Tears Ale was recently even name checked by Ricky Gervais for producing what he called “the best beer I’d ever tasted“. And who am I to disagree. This rich, caramel, malt-flavoured ale easily holds its own with any of its British based cousins.
With up to 40 taps on offer this is amongst the largest tasting rooms in the city. And a renovation recently added a beautiful patio and a full-service food truck inside the facility.
North Vancouver Breweries
The suburb of North Vancouver is quickly becoming one of BC’s hotspots for craft beer. The area is now home to 9 breweries and counting, most of which can be found in the new Shipyards Brewery District.
Simply take the 12 minute Seabus ride from Waterfront Station to Lonsdale Quay and you’ll have a whole host of options within walking distance.
Green Leaf Brewing Company
VP Favourite: Pie Hole Pale Ale (5.6% ABV, 35 IBU)
Green Leaf Brewing is likely the most popular spot for craft beer on the North Shore simply as a virtue of its location. Firstly, it’s located a stones throw from the Seabus terminal connecting North Van to Downtown Vancouver. And secondly, it’s situated smack dab in the middle of the popular Lonsdale Quay Market.
You’ll find over 80 specialty shops and services selling a wide range of food items, crafts and souvenirs. This makes it a great spot to stop for a pint before you jump back on the Seabus.
I’m a fan of their Pie Hole Pale Ale, which is clean, well balanced and refreshing. You’ll find a variety of seasonal rotators sprinkled amongst the old stand byes. There’s also a great whiskey list, so don’t be afraid to grab yourself a dram for a night cap.
VP Favourite: Space Jazz IPA (6.6% ABV, 65 IBU)
At first glance you may be convinced that this small brewery in the Shipyards Brewery District is prone to spelling errors. However, you’ll soon find that this is not the case. The father and son team behind this North Shore brewer actually possess the last name Beere!
So they’re truly living out their destiny.
Beere is located just a short walk from Lonsdale Quay. Their street-front tasting room is home to fantastic views of Burrard Inlet and the Vancouver skyline, so its a perfect place to relax with an après ski pint.
The name of the game here is the fruity, citrusy, hazy IPAs that are typical of the Northwest. However, you’ll also find double dry-hopped pale ales and pilsners and the odd sour or saison.
Deep Cove Brewers and Distillers
VP Favourite: Mole Stout (6% ABV, 21 IBU)
It may be located a little out of the way in the scenic neighbourhood of Deep Cove. However, this unique tasting room is guaranteed to be worth the trip. You’ll find a spacious barrel-lined lounge, patio and restaurant that serves an honest, robust menu of tacos, share plates and flatbreads.
DCBD aims to bring unique flavour profiles to traditional favourites like IPAs, pilsners and pale ales. However, this strategy is also extended to less common traditional brews like their rye lager, coconut porter and coffee dobbelbock.
Deep Cove is also a small-batch distiller, so you’ll find an innovative cocktail program featuring their Mediterranean gin and Deep Cove vodka.
Vancouver Brewery Tours
No matter how good the brew there is no denying that beer always tastes better with friends. So if you’d like to explore Vancouver’s craft beer scene with a group of likeminded travellers from all over the globe there is no better way to do it then on our Vancouver craft beer tours.
You’ll be joined by a professional local guide and a group of your newest friends for VIP access to 3 local breweries. And the best part is the beer is included with your ticket!
Vancouver Brewery Walking Tour
Departure Point: Brewery Creek|Duration: 3 Hours|Cost: From $86.48
Explore the historic Brewery Creek neighbourhood on foot as you explore 3 breweries in 3 hours. Learn about the role brewing has played in the area’s development.
You’ll get a behind the scenes tour, enjoy a beer making tutorial and sample plenty of delicious craft beers. The tour typically hits 3 out of Brassneck Brewery, Faculty Brewing Co., R & B Brewing or Main Street Brewing. But the itinerary is known to change.
- Entry and admission to 3 breweries
- Craft beer samples at each stop
- Free souvenir pint glass
- Passionate and knowledgeable local guide
Vancouver Behind-the-Scenes Brewery Tour
Departure Point: Waterfront Station|Duration: 3 Hours|Cost: From $97.29
This award-winning tour is the most popular excursion of its kind in Vancouver. In fact, it has been named as one of the top ten beer experiences in the world by Trip Advisor.
You’ll visit one brewery in each of the aforementioned brewery districts (Brewery Creek, Yeast Van, North Van) with transportation included. You’ll then receive a VIP tour, sample a variety of craft beers and enjoy some laughs with the professional guide and your new friends.
- Transportation to/from all locations
- Entry to 3 local breweries
- Craft beer samples at each location
- Free souvenir glass
- Passionate local guide
Well it looks like we’ve reached the pint-of-no-return on our Vancouver craft Beer guide.
I hope you now have enough options to confidently tap up the city’s world-class collection of breweries and brewpubs. But if you have any additional questions don’t be afraid to hit me up on the Vancouver Planner Facebook page or in the comments below.
Bottoms up 🙂