Slated to open this June, the 12,000-square-foot space at 895 East Hastings Street is currently nearing the end of its construction phase. Brewery partner and spokesperson Adrian McInnes recently walked the Straight through the 67-seat tasting room, which will pour up to 12 rotating taps daily.
Brewmaster Michael “Fezz” Nazarec—an experienced homebrewer and host of Beer! The Show—reveals that Strathcona will concentrate on brewing four main beers to start: a Czech pilsner, Belgian golden ale, British IPA, and smoked porter.
“Our basic philosophy here is classic, international beer,” says Nazarec. “So in that regard, we will be making IPAs and some mild and sour beers as well, but nothing too ‘out there.’ ”
A number of seasonal varieties, such as a lemon radler, Vienna lager, ISA, and saison, will also join the lineup for the summer. For autumn and winter, Nazarec notes that he has a stout, black IPA, ESB, and specialty Christmas brew in mind.
Strathcona will also reserve two of its 12 taps for craft options from other B.C. breweries, which will be available on a rotating basis. “That is something that we’re allowed to do, but oddly enough, not a lot of breweries actually do it,” says Nazarec.
As for food, a double-decker pizza oven in what will eventually be the kitchen space hints at one crowd-pleasing option. McInnes adds that the brewery will also aim to offer a variety of hearty salads—fare that’s currently lacking in the area—plus an assortment of other light snacks.
The tasting room will adopt an industrial-cool vibe with concrete, wood, and neon lighting elements. A mix of bar-tops, booths, and communal tables will provide ample seating for guests.
Patrons will also be able to peek into the back production area from the space, thanks to a dividing wall that uses alternating panels of concrete and glass. “We wanted to break it up and kind of have that feel of, like, when you’re walking through a forest,” says McInnes, “where you can pass by and see the line of trees and see some movement and action going on in the other room.”
Other highlights of the space include a growler-filling station—conveniently located by the front entrance for on-the-go fills; a glass-walled gallery space that will showcase works from and collaborations with local artists and brands; and a retail area that will have an assortment of branded Strathcona goods for sale, including apparel and label pins.
McInnes has plans to work with local leatherworker Ken Diamond to craft a selection of embossed leather beer can koozies and coasters. He also hopes that he can incorporate fare from neighbouring gourmet cheese shop Les Amis du Fromage in the tasting room’s pizzas or perhaps in charcuturie plates.
“We’re just trying to utilize the neighbourhood as much as possible,” says McInnes, “and to be engaged with the neighbourhood.”
Stay posted to the Straight—and Strathcona Beer Company’s social media channels—to stay updated with the brewery’s progress and opening.