If the past year is any indication, B.C.’s craft beer craze isn’t fading anytime soon. In fact, the thirst for locally made, small-batch brews only seems to be growing—there are nearly 15 nano- and microbreweries expected to open their doors across the Lower Mainland in the next year and 2016’s Vancouver Craft Beer Week Festival is set to be the biggest one yet, spanning three full days at the PNE Fairgrounds.
So, to help you plan your craft beer consumption accordingly, we've done the research for you. Here are five new Vancouver craft breweries that are worth watching (and drinking from) in 2016.
Andina Brewing Company, 1507 Powell Street
Expected to open: June 2016
If you’ve traveled west toward Powell Street Craft Brewery recently, you’ve likely spotted the bright, banana yellow building that is Andina Brewing Company.
The microbrewery will be the first of its kind in Vancouver, offering a fusion of South American and Canadian flavours in its beer, food, and décor. Co-owners and brothers Andrés and Nicolàs Amaya will draw from their Colombian roots to offer a selection of easy-drinking ales, beginning with a Kölsch, pilsner, pale ale, and blonde IPA.
In addition to great beer, Andrés tells the Straight by phone that Andina will focus on providing a great ambiance, complete with a vibrant, South American-inspired interior and a stage for live music; and great customer service.
“It will be an experience from the moment you walk in,” shares Andrés. “We want everyone to leave saying, ‘I’ve learned something today’, ‘I like what they’re doing’, or ‘I want to be part of that family.’ ”
The massive 13,700-square-foot space will hold a tasting room for pints and growler fills—where you can also enjoy a rotating menu of ceviche and other Latin American-style dishes—and a retail area where guests can pick up cans, bottles, and neat South American items like hand-woven growler carriers.
Update: As of March 2017, Andina Brewing Company is now open. Click here to view photos and learn more about the completed space.
Faculty Brewing Co., 1830 Ontario Street
Expected to open: March 2016
Though Faculty Brewing Co.’s back-to-basics approach is aimed at neophytes, craft beer buffs of all levels are sure to find something to love at this new microbrewery in False Creek.
Headed by husband-and-wife team Mauricio Lozano and Alicia Medina, Faculty’s 30-seat tasting room will feature four rotating taps from a menu of 20 home-brewed recipes. Each beer will be numbered according to its style—much like university courses and their corresponding codes—so that craft beer drinkers can easily identify and differentiate between the many varieties.
“There’s a huge market for craft beer, but there are still some people who don’t know much about it or feel shy about exploring it,” says Lozano. “This will be an inclusive place, where they can feel like they have access to the beer and culture.”
Most of the beers will be brewed from only four ingredients, though a handful of five-ingredient recipes, such as a peppermint Hefeweizen, oaked stout, and hibiscus pale ale, will also be available. In addition, Faculty will offer a single-hop series of IPAs, which will serve as a crash-course for hop newbies.
All of Faculty’s recipes will be made public and home-brewers will be encouraged to submit their own recipes. The 1,400-square-foot space—designed by the same people behind Brassneck Brewery and Strange Fellows Brewing—will also host home-brewing workshops.
Update: As of August 2016, Faculty Brewing Co. is now open. Click here for more information and to view images of the space.
Strathcona Beer Company, 895 East Hastings Street
Expected to open: April 2016
Rumours of a craft brewery opening in Strathcona have been swirling for months, but it’s now been confirmed that the proposed spot on Hastings and Campbell will open this spring.
Operator Tim Knight, who previously owned Shine Nightclub and streetwear brand Alife’s Vancouver chapter, tells the Straight that Strathcona Brewing Company will offer traditional-style beers that lean more toward the classic. Think crisp pilsners, lagers, and golden pale ales, though a number of hop-centric varieties will also be on tap.
“The craft beer scene here is very hop-heavy, and that’s changed some people’s palates,” notes Knight. “But a lot of people I talk to, they still want a more traditional kind of beer; something more standard.”
Strathcona will open its 12,000-square-foot space with four beers on offer and work its way to six—three signature and three rotating. Michael “Fezz” Nazarec, experienced brewer and host of Beer! The Show, will serve as brewmaster.
Since a percentage of the microbrewery is owned by Strathcona residents, you can also expect to see a gritty, street-culture-based design with concrete and neon elements, plus works from and collaborations with local artists.
Update: As of July 2016, Strathcona Beer Company is now open. Click here for more information about the space.
Luppolo Brewing Company, 1123 Venables Street
Expected to open: June 2016
Two husband-and-wife teams are behind the microbrewery: Ryan Parfitt and Eleanor Stewart, and Federico Stucchi and Anique Ross. The group will produce beer that takes from Stucchi’s Italian background—luppolo means “hops” in the European tongue—but with a distinctive, local twist.
“There’s a mild Italian influence, but we’ll mostly be brewing West Coast-style beer,” says Parfitt.
Parfitt, an avid home-brewer who has volunteered with Moody Ales and Steel Toad Brewery, promises plenty of hoppy ales, sours, and IPAs, as well as beer styles from all over the globe, including English ales and bitters, traditional Belgian brews, and, of course, lighter, pilsner types that are popular in Italy.
Luppolo will offer a rotating variety of six to eight beers in its 800-square-foot tasting room, which will be outfitted with warm lighting and quality acoustics. Along with growler fills, guests can also expect to find aperitivo Italiano—Italian charcuterie—and sandwiches made with piadina, a traditional Italian flatbread.
Update: As of October 2016, Luppolo Brewing Company is now open. Click here for more information and to view images of the space.
Sunday Cider, East 1st Avenue and Clark Drive
Expected to open: May 2016
Sunday Cider debuted its signature apple-pressed brew a mere month ago, but already the craft cidery—touted as Vancouver’s first—is picking up steam.
Founded by Bestie co-owners Clinton McDougall and Dane Brown, along with buddy Patrick Connelly, Sunday Cider produces unfiltered and unpasteurized ciders inspired by the Pacific Northwest craft beer scene. They are currently available in keg and limited bottle forms.
The trio uses only the best organic and B.C.-sourced apples in their ciders, including a hefty amount of cider apples, which contain tannins that provide a refreshing complexity to the finished product.
A tasting room isn't possible in the shared commercial space that Sunday currently operates from, but Brown tells the Straight that the cidery will begin offering back-alley growler fills come spring. The option of growler fills will coincide with the release of Sunday’s Hop cider, a hopped, slightly bitter version of the cidery’s First Press.
“It uses the same cider base, but with a different treatment of yeast; and we added a ton of hops to give it that taste that craft beer lovers love,” Brown says.
Update: As of July 2016, Sunday Cider is now offering seasonal growler fills from its East Vancouver space. Click here for more information.