Need something to do this weekend? In light of the eighth annual Vancouver Craft Beer Week, which takes place from this Friday (May 26) to June 4 at various venues around town, here are five craft breweries to explore outside the city of Vancouver.
Trading Post Brewing Taphouse & Eatery, 9143 Glover Road, Fort Langley
Trading Post has two locations, but if you're making the haul out to the valley from the city, we're going to send you to the Taphouse that sits right in charming, historic Fort Langley for pure atmosphere. Amid the warm-and-woody yet sleekly contemporary setting, you'll find small-batch craft beers that are wise well beyond the company's year of existence, thanks to a crew of veteran brewers behind the label.
The choices range from crisp Belgians right through to hearty stouts and a rye amber ale that is malt-a-licious. Our favourite sips for the recent summery spring weather include a creamy mango wheat ale or the tangy-yet-spicy apricot-citrus artisanal Dear James S.M.A.S.H. Saison. Check out the blackboard for whatever's new; we found some killer sours on a recent trip. And just opt for a flight if you can't decide.
Best of all, this is a brewhouse that knows the importance of culinary-conscious pub food to pair with the drinks: try the parmesan fries with truffle mayo, double-cooked wings doused in sea salt and cracked pepper, or a Farmer’s Sausage plate that seems to suit the quaint country setting. Health nuts will love the broccoli salad with almonds and cranberries. In warm weather, head for the big patio out back.
Make a day out of it, and bike the farm-lined Fort-to-Fort Trail, so you can say you really earned your beer and wings. But really, who needs an excuse?
Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks, 103–11220 Horseshoe Way, Richmond
With its retro video games, Star Wars–obsessed staff, and edited board game selection that includes classics like Settlers of Catan, Fuggles & Warlock is a self-described geek’s paradise. The brewery-and-tasting-room may see little foot traffic in its quiet, industrial ’hood, but it consistently plays host to locals and committed imbibers who make the pilgrimage for a taste of the offbeat suds. (Fuggles’s slogan is “Keeping beer weird”, after all.)
First-timers can’t go wrong with the brewery’s award-winning the Last Strawberry Wit and Bean Me Up Espresso Milk Stout, while those looking to shake up their usual fare will love seasonals such as the gin-and-tonic pilsner and the Takumi Saskatoon Berry Sour. Just as fun as the beer are the can and bottle labels, which are inspired by everything from sci-fi and fantasy films to 8-bit and Japanese animation. (Brewmaster Dan Colyer is half-Japanese.)
Once hunger strikes, settle in with a protein-packed charcuterie board, samosas, or a savoury cheese-and-onion pie—all of which are sourced locally. However, count on a few imports: the spot carries Calbee potato chips and Koala’s March biscuits, two popular snack foods from Japan.
Moody Ales, 2601 Murray Street, Port Moody
If you’ve tried every Vancouver craft brewery and are looking to expand your horizons beyond the city limits of neighboring ’burbs like Burnaby and Richmond, add Port Moody’s aptly named Moody Ales to your list. Conveniently located along the city's waterfront and just a stone’s throw from Rocky Point Park, it’s an excellent beer stop to work into a suburban field trip of sorts.
A bonus feature of this conveniently located brewery is that it’s dog-friendly: instead of leaving your pooch at home on a hot day, enjoy a fresh pint while Rover soaks up the sun. If you’re without a canine companion, head over with friends and ask staff about playing patio games like Jenga Giant, Cards Against Humanity, and more.
If you’d rather sit inside (who are you?), the brewery’s taproom is a simple yet well-designed space loaded with snazzy art and plenty of room to sit down. Moody’s nine beer taps, three wine taps, and a cider option means even the pickiest of drinkers will find something they’re craving. If your palate favours lighter styles, the Chipper Blonde Ale is a crisp, refreshing option, but we’re also huge fans of fruit-infused varieties like the Sublime Pineapple Hefeweizen and the Intrepid Lemon Matcha Saison.
Dageraad Brewing, 114–3191 Thunderbird Crescent, Burnaby
On the Old World charm front, industrial-park Burnaby isn't going to make anyone forget the endlessly picturesque Belgian cities of Brussels, Bruges, and Liège. Close your eyes at Dageraad Brewing though, and you might be able to convince yourself you're kicking back at a postcard-perfect Flemish cafe, not because of your physical surroundings but instead thanks to the beer in front of you.
Owner Ben Coli started the brewery—named after a popular square in Antwerp called the Dageraadplaats—after developing a serious obsession with Belgium, its people, and, above all, its beer. Rather than blowing his paycheques on imported cases of Duvel, Mort Subite, and Pauwel Kwak, Coli instead set out to produce Belgian-style beers in Burnaby, using knowledge gained from picking the brains of master brewers during his travels.
Start out with one of Dageraad's White, Blonde, or Amber offerings, which you'll have no problem appreciating even if you've never been closer to Belgium than the Pâtisserie Lebeau bakery in Kits. Or get adventurous with offerings like Sri Lanka (a Dubbel-style mashup that incorporates tamarind and kithul tree treacle) and 8° (a lacto-fermented Brune made with date sugar).
With a tasting room that's open Monday, Wednesday, and weekends, Dageraad Brewing is a five-minute walk from Production Way SkyTrain station. And with a bit of imagination, you might be able to picture yourself walking down a country road in a scenic Belgian village like Oud Rekem, Crupet, or Durbuy on your mini-trek there. Actually, probably not, which is fine. Sometimes the beer, not the scenery, is the reward.
Field House Brewing Co., 2281 West Railway Street, Abbotsford
Abbotsford is home to plenty of attractions, including the iconic Castle Fun Park and the seasonal—but beautiful—blossoming of colourful tulips. But as the city’s food and beer scenes expands, Field House Brewing has become one of those establishments that makes the one-and-a-half hour drive from Vancouver completely worth it.
As you arrive at the brewery’s simple but cozy rustic farmhouse location, you’ll notice the large lawn out front—perfect for enjoying your craft beer during warm summer evenings. The brewery itself features 10 taps, a growler station, a wood-burning fireplace, and a community table. Guests can enjoy a glass of fruity and floral Field Saison, a light and crisp Dutch pale ale, or a seasonal Toasted Coconut Black Lager. As part of its current collaboration series, Field House has partnered with a number of B.C. breweries (Steamworks, Brassneck, Four Winds, and Steel & Oak) to create original beers.
Besides a good pint, tasty bites made from seasonal and locally sourced ingredients are also on offer here. Pair you drink with everything from a charcuterie board to prosciutto pizza, and mac ’n’ cheese to braised pork-belly tacos. Little ones—who will be served free local ice-cream and cookies—will get to enjoy themselves at the Fox Club: a kid’s fort that provides enough entertainment for the grown-ups to finish a beer or three.