Need something to do this weekend? Here are five craft breweries within the vicinity of the 20th annual Eastside Culture Crawl, taking place from now until Sunday (November 20), where you can take a break from all that studio touring.
Doan’s Craft Brewing Company, 1830 Powell Street
Occupying the former home of Powell Street Craft Brewery, Doan’s makes great use of a space that, in realtor-speak, could only be described as “cozy”. Though small, the East Van brewery is the perfect spot for a mid-Crawl pick-me-up, given that art plays a prominent role in the interior.
Check out the high-contrast, floor-to-ceiling mural by local artist Ola Volo that adorns one wall, for example, or the clever gallery nook opposite that showcases rotating exhibits by little-known artists from across the city. (Past features include photographs by Ryan Moore and oil paintings by Carolynn Doan, the owners’ mother.)
The beer ain’t bad either. We recommend the warming Rye IPA, the supremely crushable kölsch, and the chocolate-tinged Pacific Northwest Rye Stout, a favourite among various local brewmasters.
And that communal table? All the better to engage in some serious art-fuelled discussion—or a game of Snakes and Ladders—with your fellow beer-guzzlers.
Strange Fellows Brewing, 1345 Clark Drive
Many artists at this year’s Culture Crawl combine West Coast style with Old World techniques, and so do the brilliant brewers at this Clark Drive establishment.
Iain Hill and his team are known for their funky takes on styles that have surprised even the most seasoned craft-beer drinkers. (We're big fans of Nocturnum, a perfectly balanced, easy-drinking dark IPA, and of course Hill’s sensational seasonal collection of sours.)
Strange Fellows’ weirdly warm, wood-accented tasting room has plenty of space for art enthusiasts to throw down after taking in the Crawl’s many studios, and even showcases art of its own: before sponsoring the Crawl, the brewery aligned itself with the city’s arts community by opening its in-house Charles Clark Gallery.
Add that to the oddly pleasing papier-mâché taxidermy hung above massive windows overlooking the brew house, and you can rest assured that you’ll have more to look at than the inside of a pint glass.
Off the Rail Brewing Co., 1351 Adanac Street
The location can’t be beat if you’re heading to the always-busy Parker Street Studios area, where nearly 200 artists from countless disciplines will cause the hordes to descend all weekend.
Because parking is nonexistent near the Culture Crawl’s biggest and most popular concentration of studios, riding a bike down makes sense. And luckily for you, Off the Rail is located right on the Adanac Bikeway, just off of Clark. After you’ve emptied your bank account for that work of art you can’t afford but couldn’t resist, pop over a couple of blocks to the Rail’s brightly lit (read tasteful white walls and Scandinavian-blond wood) tasting room.
If you’ve got more culture crawling to do, go light with a Psycle Path Lager or Czechmate Pilsner. Or, if you’re done for the day, settle in with meal-in-a-glass options like Into the Black Oatmeal Stout, Irish Pub Draught, or Raj Mahal India Ale. You might find Fond of Tigers guitarist Stephen Lyons manning the taps or On the Coast host Stephen Quinn—and Off the Rail superfan—unwinding with a quick one on a barstool.
That’s assuming there’s a barstool to be had this weekend; with Parker Street Studios a short stumble away, don’t be surprised if the normally chill and laid-back Off the Rail is standing-room only. Yes, the area gets that crazy.
Callister Brewing Company, 1338 Franklin Street
Callister isn’t just Canada’s first collaborative brewery—an incubator for emerging beer-makers—it’s also carved quite the name for itself in Vancouver’s arts-and-culture scene, thanks to its Goldmoss Satellite, an offshoot of the Goldmoss Studio operated by Lee and Bon Roberts on the Sunshine Coast.
In fact, the space is an official entry on the Eastside Culture Crawl’s long list of participating buildings, so you can knock back a couple of beers while still enjoying a selection of larger-than-life art. And we do mean large: the venue’s current exhibit features an eclectic mix of works, including a giant sculptural crow, that highlight the Crawl’s iconic symbol.
As for the beer, Callister is currently pouring suds by up-and-coming brewers Boombox, Lightheart, and Real Cask, as well as a few of its own.
Look for the bright-red building behind Powell Street and try not to get too sloshed on crab-apple saisons, Earl Grey milds, and raspberry-rye porters. The art here is way too expensive for your drunk antics.
Parallel 49 Brewing Company, 1950 Triumph Street
It’s all about the beer at this casual hideaway, arguably ground zero for the East Van craft-brew craze. The room is unassuming, tucked into an industrial block and outfitted with unfussy tile floors andarustic dark-wood bar—but believe us, there’s a reason it’s always busy.
Order a four-buck flight by scoping the blackboard scribbles for inspiration: if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to include a seasonal specialty like the tart Rock the Bells Cranberry Sour Ale or Schadenfreude Pumpkin Lager at this time of year; in the summer, don’t miss the bracingly refreshing Tricycle Lemon Radler.
The daily infusion is always worth a try, too: on a recent visit, it was a tastebud-tantalizing “It’s a Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” Ale with hits of black tea, chicory, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
Close to the Adanac bike route, this outpost is just a short pedal away from the main Crawl action; grab a growler of Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale for post-art-adventure relaxing.