Archive for the ‘Breweries’ Category
Last time I gave you all sorts of tips on how to get to Portland, and get around the place once there. What next? You should eat. I’m quite fond of food, myself. I eat it most every day. You’re likely the same, and Portland has lots of food to cram in your nutrient intake orifice of choice. So gander below, at places I’ve been that apply heat to deceased flora and fauna, then put it on a dish for you.
Note: I might have missed your favourite place, but that’s just because I haven’t eaten there yet. Leave me a tip in the comments and I’ll visit said place, then pan it in a future review.
Map: If you’re getting lost, here’s a handy dandy map I put together. It’s swell.
Restaurants – Food carts – Around
Food cart pods are ubiquitous downtown and offer cheap eats in a variety of cuisines and qualities. Generally the food is pretty good, though, and definitely has a leg up vs Vancouver and our tiny-but-growing fleet of mobile carts. Check online frequently for the hot, new, shit.
Outside of downtown, the carts form mini pods on vacant lots, circled like covered wagons in the old west. Strings of fairy lights and lanterns provide illumination, bands often play, and usually one or two of the carts is selling beer and/or wine. It’s basically heaven, or a BC LCLB Inspector’s worst nightmare (amazing how those two things are usually the same). Again, these pods change and shift frequently, so keep an ear to the e-ground. Definitely take the time to track them down, though, as this is the quintessential Portland experience.
Restaurants (Brunch) – Kenny and Zukes – 1038 SW Stark
Do you want pastrami? No, I mean, do you REALLY WANT pastrami? If you screamed Yes at the top of your lungs, go to Kenny and Zukes where something huge awaits you: the line to get in. At the end of that line, though, is a pastrami sandwich the size of your head. It’s pretty tasty, too, as is the kosher pickle you get with it.
Restaurants (Brunch) – Mothers – 212 SW Stark
In a season 2 episode of Portlandia, a group of locals wait in line for brunch so long that they develop their own rituals, customs and society. I would bet that the inspiration for this episode is the outside of Mother’s Bistro on Saturday morning. The food is fantastic but, is it worth the wait? You have to try it once (hint: I have not been back). They do accept reservations, but with quite a few hoops to jump through before one is granted.
Restaurants (Wings) – Fire on the Mountain – 708 E Burnside
FotM is a somewhat legendary Portland institution, and that reputation is well deserved. The secret is truly in the sauce here, as the wings themselves, while pretty good, are not best-in-class. The hot wings I had on my first visit were neither the hottest wings, nor the best wings-in-general I’ve ever had, but they definitely were the best hot wings I’ve chowed down on, specifically. Lots of heat and flavour options, coupled with a rather decent lineup of custom-brewed craft beer, makes a happy Chuck.
Restaurants (Dinner) – Pok Pok – 3226 SE Division
Okay, let’s get this out of the way: the wait times are absurd. Downright shocking. On my most recent visit I was quoted 2.5 hours, and they don’t take reservations, to boot. However, unlike the pool of suckers slowly growing outside Pok Pok’s SE Division address, I simply marched across the street to the associated Whiskey Soda Lounge and instantly scored a patio seat.
WSL will let you know when your time comes at Pok Pok and, in the meantime, you can enjoy a variety of cocktails, beers, wines and even most of the appetizer menu from Pok Pok. Do yourself a favour and start dinner early.
Is it worth the wait? Unlike Mother’s, I go back every single time I go to Portland. I was also dropped on my head a lot as a child, so it remains unclear what weight this endorsement holds.
Restaurants (Dinner) – Luc Lac – 835 SW 2n
Luc Lac is NOT amazing food. It’s simply pretty decent Viet grub, even though the Pho is quite bland. What Luc Lac IS, though, is a fun twist on what you expect a restaurant to be, and one of those “so cheap you leave smiling” Portland experiences that are harder and harder to find. They keep prices down by keeping the seats full: order when you walk in, get a table given to you as your food becomes ready, and walk out the second you’re done, because you’ve already paid.
Go for Happy Hour between 4 and 7pm, and you’ll find a menu of pretty decent $2 and $3 food items. You can leave stuffed to the gills with perfectly okay Viet food for sub $10 and, remember: no tax.
Restaurants (Dinner) – Little Bird – 215 SW 6th
For something a bit higher end and definitely more French-ish, Little Bird is a must-try. Reservations fill up early, so plan your visit a few weeks out. Prices are a bit higher than perhaps we’re used to in Vancouver, with entrées generally being in the mid-to-high 20s USD (32-40ish CDN), but sometimes you just can’t wait until you’re back in Lotustown for your next fix of Foie Gras or Duck Confit.
Restaurants (Dinner) – Deschutes Brew Pub – 210 NW 11th Ave
I’ll keep the rest of the breweries, brewpubs and bars in a different post, but Deschutes goes here. Why? It’s not a bar. It’s a family friendly restaurant in a big-budget room. It is definitely not a bar (although the bar half feels bar-ish, it’s not enough to get over the vibrating reservation discs and queue of strollers out front). Couple that with overtly cheery, prompt service-with-smile and a room crammed full of over 200 patrons and I have to hate it, right? Wrong. I **want** to hate this place. I really do. It’s Disney’s version of a BrewPub. However, the food is very good, the beers are excellent, and the price is downright cheap. Oh, how easily I sell out my standards.
Okay, that’s enough for this post. Next time: Bars and Bottle Shops. I might even do Breweries then, as well, but I think those guys might just get their own post.
When you think of craft beer in Vancouver, you don’t often think of Old Yale Brewing. I mean, they’re all the way out in Mordor (the Wack), so their beer can’t possibly be any good, right? So let’s just grab another hop bomb from <insert hip hot new local brewery here> and call it a day.
Thus, when 2014’s Canadian Beer Awards rolled around, more than a few eyebrows where raised when Old Yale’s tried and true Sasquatch Stout won the coveted “Beer of the Year” award. I’ll be honest, it took me by surprise as well. 2013’s winner was Powell Street’s delicious Old Jalopy Pale Ale. I had no problem with that. Hip new breweries beat the old guard, right? Punchy Pales > Boring Old Stouts.
Or so the thinking went before everyone woke up and remembered that Sasquatch is really quite a well brewed Stout. The win looks like it might have been somewhat of a surprise for the fine folks at Old Yale themselves, as the sudden rush of sales and publicity that follows such an award seems to have jarred them into a bit of a brand modernization.
With that rebrand comes a new brew, being right now broadly distributed via the BC LDB. With broad distribution comes media samples, and for the first time ever I received some Old Yale product to open, taste, and trash/praise. So, is Vanishing Monk Belgian Wit any good?
Yup, it is. It won’t blow your mind wide open, but it is a very well brewed example of a style that’s easy to mess up. Frankly, this beer is pretty good. There’s lots of yeast complexity going on here, but not so much it becomes the focus of the beer. There’s a subtle line between a refreshing Wit and a beer that’s all gonzo “Look at me! I’m brewed with a kooky yeast! CAN’T YOU TASTE THE ESTERS?!”
Plus, at 5.59 (before taxes) at the LDB it’s not a bad option. There’s lots of great competition in the Wit Zone, but Old Yale’s is one of the better ones.
Pours cloudy yellow with a thin, instantly dissipating head.
Faint lemon zest, good Belgian yeast esters (clove, black pepper).
creamy mouthfeel, good balance between sugar and yeast complexity. A nice light summer ale.
5.0% ABV / 20 IBU / Witbier
Yes, and then find a patio by a lake for full effect.
Driftwood White Bark, Strange Fellows Jongleur, Brassneck Staircase
Ever wonder how big the breweries in BC really are? We all like to talk a good talk about huge year over year growth, but how fast are our favourite brands getting big?
Sadly, no one really talks size or growth, as most breweries are privately owned and not required to share any of those embarrassing financial tidbits. Luckily for us, the LDB is required to post their annual finances, and since all beer in BC must first be sold to the LDB this report acts as a sort of proxy for brewery size.
Below I’ve tabulated the 2014 financials for each brewery that I can identify in the report, along with their 2013 numbers, and an approximate guess for beer production in hectolitres. Previously I’d used numbers ranging from $375 to $450 per hectolitre calculation, but this year I changed it up and went with $300. This is primarily because this year I learnt a bit more about how breweries are taxed, and that these financial statements are post-tax.
The degree to which these hectolitre calculations should be trusted is reflected by how easily I just changed them out: don’t trust them. These are very approximate numbers only, and should only be used for rough relative comparisons. A major brewery like Pacific Western will be lower, and a brewery that solely sells draught and growler products like Brassneck might be higher.
All columns are sortable. Just click.
- For the first time, several breweries appear to be in serious trouble. Tin Whistle, Wolf, Craig Street, and R&B are all hurting big time. If this keeps up, expect some cheap equipment to go up for sale soon.
- Mid-sizes breweries are broadly down as a trend. Russell, Big Rock, Granville Island, OK Spring, etc are all hurting.
- HUGE years for Hoyne, Driftwood, Parallel 49 and Central City, but especially Hoyne. Great work, Sean!
- The shift in strategy for some of the smaller breweries is evident: Longwood, Moon Under Water and Spinnakers bottling efforts are definitely paying dividends.
- Pacific Western was doing great up until this year. They’re somewhat up market from Molson, so I figured that was due to adventurous drinkers trying something different. Their ~10% drop this year is likely due to adventurous drinks moving down the shelf a bit more to actual good beer.
- Holy shit. Check out Brassneck’s numbers, and then realize they weren’t even open for HALF OF THE PERIOD OF THIS REPORT. Wowza.
- I included Big Rock here, too. They’re building a brewery in Vancouver so, uh, welcome to BC guys.
- The various Mark James properties have been broken out individually. I think this has something to do with Red Truck’s massive production capacity increase and taxes.
Disclaimers (repeated from 2013):
- Because of the craziness of shadow brands and contract brewing, it’s hard to split out some of these numbers. OK Spring, in particular, also produces Sleeman locally, and those sales are blended in.
- Some breweries are missing, including Coal Harbour and others. I have no idea why. They are likely running under either a numbered company or a name I don’t recognize.
- I have excluded Labatt’s (Kokanee) simply because it would be impossible to separate out beer produced in-province from imports.
- Likewise, I have skipped Mark Anthony Group (Turning Point/Stanley Park) because most of their money comes from wine (Mission Hill)
Click headers to sort
|Brewery||2013 Income||2014 Income||alias/aka||2014 Production (hl)||Growth|
|Sleeman Breweries Ltd||100826104||97421073||Sleeman / OK Spring||324736||-3.4%|
|Pacific Western Brewing Company||37038122||33563099||111876||-9.4%|
|Granville Island Brewing Company||23597424||22831746||76105||-3.2%|
|Phillips Brewing Co||14527143||17209987||57366||18.5%|
|Northam Brewery Lp||12412210||14093947||Whistler / Bowen||46979||13.5%|
|Vancouver Island Brewing Company||8663020||8082863||26942||-6.7%|
|Big Rock Brewery Inc||6487218||5349530||17831||-17.5%|
|Fireweed Brewing Corp||5391621||5328876||Tree||17762||-1.2%|
|Lighthouse Brewing Company Inc||5156097||4962174||16540||-3.8%|
|Parallel 49 Brewing Company Ltd||1452960||4699953||15666||223.5%|
|Central City Brewing Co||2717936||4043560||13478||48.8%|
|Russell Brewing Co Limited||4162692||3917373||13057||-5.9%|
|Allen Brands Inc||2212115||2926208||Big Surf / Prohibition||9754||32.3%|
|Howe Sound Brewing||2371393||2560623||8535||8.0%|
|Nelson Brewing Company||2444327||2405093||8016||-1.6%|
|Hoyne Brewing Company Ltd||1204082||2384445||7948||98.0%|
|Dead Frog Brewery||1893880||2065463||6884||9.1%|
|Mt Begbie Brewing Company Limited||1701101||1874282||6247||10.2%|
|Fernie Brewing Co||1468056||1670146||5567||13.8%|
|Cannery Brewing Co||1391236||1338593||4461||-3.8%|
|R&B Brewing Inc||1218933||1047154||3490||-14.1%|
|Tuff City Brewing Ltd||532850||956717||Tofino||3189||79.5%|
|Townsite Brewing Inc.||561253||799821||2666||42.5%|
|Steamworks Brewing Company Ltd||788268||2627||100%|
|Gulf Islands Brewery Limited||494823||656752||2189||32.7%|
|Spinnakers Brew Pub Inc||386987||611865||2039||58.1%|
|Salsbury Drive Holdings Ltd||514694||Brassneck||1715||100%|
|Longwood Brew Pub Limited||250872||495047||1650||97.3%|
|Crannog Ales Limited||367742||399852||1332||8.7%|
|Four Winds Brewing Company Ltd||365473||1218||100%|
|Bridge Brewing Corp||58606||354781||1182||505.4%|
|33 Acres Brewing Company Inc||341586||1138||100%|
|Storm Brewing Limited||353287||336433||1121||-4.8%|
|Moon Under Water Brewery Ltd||97534||310847||1036||218.7%|
|Arrowhead Brewing Company||69882||301396||1004||331.3%|
|Old Yale Brewing Co Limited||178992||248412||828||38.8%|
|Persephone Brewing Company Inc||247804||826||100%|
|Powell Street Craft Brewery Inc||137405||458||100%|
|Mission Springs Developements Limited||39391||114057||380||189.6%|
|Tin Whistle Brewing Co||449938||100515||335||-77.7%|
|Wolf Brewing Company||200198||100045||333||-50.0%|
|Big River Brewing Company||46422||76883||256||65.6%|
|Bomber Brewing Corporation||69503||231||100%|
|Deep Cove Brewers And Distillers Inc||68699||228||100%|
|Green Leaf Brewing Corporation||66654||222||100%|
|Shuswap Lake Brewing Company||52840||62931||Barley Station Brewpub||209||19.1%|
|Yaletown Brewing Co||44347||147||100%|
|Craig Street Brewing Co Ltd||63910||43137||143||-32.5%|
|Patricia Hotel Vancouver||38787||40202||134||3.6%|
|RDO Brewing Ventures Ltd||36046||Barkerville||120||100%|
|Big Ridge Brewing Company||32591||31508||105||-3.3%|
|Three Ranges Brewing Company Ltd||28436||94||100%|
|Freddy’s Brew Pub||26466||88||100%|
|Barley Mill Brewpub||27327||0.0||0||-100.0%|
|Plan B Brewing Co||111483||0.0||0||-100.0%|
|Avalon Brewing Co||353808||0.0||Old Red Truck Location||0||-100.0%|
* Arrowhead and Bridge numbers are adjusted to approximate annual production, as they were not open for the entirety of the reporting period.