GOOD LIFE VANCOUVER – by Cassandra Anderton

While Vancouver proper has yet to see any wineries open right in the city, you’ll still see a ton of fermenting tanks.  This time though they are full of the magic that’s soon to become the next great beer, or perhaps something more potent such as vodka, gin or even brandy or cassis.

The newest distillery, Granville Island’s Liberty Distillery, is producing vodka, gin and whisky all crafted from organic grain and has just opened a cocktail lounge where they are whipping up signature and classic cocktails at their antique bar and serving a few nibbles as well. You can find them on Old Bridge Street near Railspur Alley right in the Island. Across the water Long Table Distillery is known for its micro batches of vodka and gin and also has an “Apothecary Series” of small curiosities such as Limoncello and brandy. Visiting hours are noon until 6 pm Friday and Saturdays and you can sample for a small fee at 1451 Hornby Street.
In East Vancouver things get super tasty at Odd Society Spirits where you can try their East Van Vodka, crème de cassis, single malt whisky and Mongrel, otherwise known as moonshine.  Yaletown has Yaletown Distillery, which is owned by the Mark James Group.  Currently they’ve got vodka and gin made from 100% B.C. ingredients and they are planning on crafting whisky, grappa, liqueurs and eau de vie. Find them in the SOHO Building at 1132 Hamilton Street, also home to their Distillery Bar and Paulies Kitchen where you can enjoy other libations and a meal.

Over on the North Shore Deep Cove has both a brewery and a distillery pleasing a wide range of palates.  Beer is currently flowing on the taps with vodka, beer brandy and moonshine in the works.  Join them seven days a week in their tasting room.  Outside the brewery you can also catch some of the best food trucks in case you’d like some nibbles with your brew. Central City Brewing is also now both brewing and distilling out in Surrey. They’re known for their Red Racer brew and are proud to now have a new 65,000-square-foot brewery that includes a lounge and tasting room.  

On the craft beer side of the equation breweries are sprouting up like weeds; or in this case shall we say hops? Main Street has Brassneck Brewing where their beer flights and pepperoni sticks draw in many; they also usually have a food truck or two stationed outside.  Further east Parallel 49 is pouring their excellently named beers at 1946 Triumph Street; anyone for an Ugly Sweater Milk Stout or some Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale?  On the North Shore Black Kettle brews up a mean Pale Ale with a Red Ale in the works and Bridge Brewing on Dollarton Highway pours a Hopilano IPA, Oatmeal Stout and North Shore Pale Ale and an Edgemont Extra Bitter.  Green Leaf Brewing on Lonsdale does an IPA, wheat beer, stout and pale ale.

One of the most aesthetically appealing spaces has to be 33 Acres Brewery where they’re serving up snacks and sips at 15 West 8th Avenue while food trucks hover outside.  Their beers have titles such as 33 Acres of Ocean, Dark and Life and they also did a special chocolate beer for Valentine’s Day. Growlers (big beer bottles) may also be filled at Powell Street near Victoria Drive at Powell Street Brewery; we’re fond of their Dive Bomb Porter and Hopdemonium IPA. Out in Delta at Four Winds Brewery they focus on Westcoast, Belgian and German style beers.

Not to be forgotten are the originals, Steamworks in Gastown who have also just opened a new brewery in Burnaby, Granville Island Brewing, Big Ridge in Surrey, Dockside Brewery, and Squamish’s Howe Sound.  

In 2014 there’s more coming down the pipeline.  We are eagerly awaiting Bomber Brewing on Adanac from the owners of BierCraft and Incendio Pizzaria, Main Street Brewing, Red Truck Brewery in Mount Pleasant, Steel & Oak Brewing Co. on Third Avenue in New Westminster, Doan’s Craft Brewing Company, Co. on Third Avenue Vancouver, Steal Toad Brewery and Brew Pub just outside Olympic Village, Coal Harbour Brewery (currently brewing with a new tasting room in the works), and Surlie Brewery in Abbotsford. We’re bound to have missed one or perhaps one’s just been announced, but we’ll blame it on the beer.

-Cassandra Anderton