Ryan Mackey was in the right place at the right time.
Two years ago, the Victoria-born beer enthusiast found himself on a self-guided excursion through the city’s booming brewery district when the idea of leading organized tours in his new home of Vancouver came to him.
A quick Google search confirmed that the concept was surprisingly untapped and shortly after, Vancouver Brewery Tours was born.
The model is simple: a knowledgeable guide leads a group of curious beer drinkers through three craft breweries, offering little-known tidbits about beer and each destination along the way.
Participants are treated to a behind-the-scenes look at the beer-making process, with skilled brewmasters at the ready to answer any burning questions. And, yes, it’s recommended that you come thirsty.
The Straight met with Mackey for a private media tour on Tuesday ahead of its busy holiday season, where we were taken on a condensed version of the typically three- or four-hour excursion.
“We’re here to connect people to local breweries and encourage them to drink local,” Mackey explains at the start of the tour. “That’s the tagline of the company; that’s a big passion for me.”
Vancouver Brewery Tours offer year-round public and private tours ($75 per seat) and food-and-beer tours ($85 per seat). Each jaunt includes transportation, four 4-oz craft beer samplers at every stop—that's a total of 48-oz or the equivalent of around three North American pints—and a souvenir pint glass.
Click through the gallery above for a taste of the Straight’s Vancouver Brewery Tours experience, where we tour through three of Vancouver's leading breweries: Brassneck, Off The Rail, and Big Rock.