Best Day Ever: A #BCCraftBeerQuest tale

Craft beer and calzones at East Van Brewing Co. Carl Jensen photo

It was actually Cam’s idea. He had joined the #BCCraftBeerQuest and was now also working his way through The Growler, so he suggested a road trip to Vancouver to hit up the breweries we had not yet sampled. I agreed and we set the date, and the planning had begun.

Cam had a great idea; he made a spreadsheet listing all of the breweries he had yet to sample and I added to the list so that we could determine which breweries to visit. As he reminded me, “Failure to plan is planning to fail!” He then cross-referenced our list with a number of tap houses in Vancouver, the ones that had their craft beer menus on their sites because we were going to cover as much ground as possible as this was going to be the Best Day Ever! Tony, a good friend of ours, decided to join us at the last moment, so the Three Amigos were set for the trek to Vancouver.

We left Central Saanich on the island on a wet, dreary morning and we were dropped at Swartz Bay for the 9am ferry. It was a busy ferry ride with the standard Saturday morning load of sports teams heading over to the mainland. Cam managed to catch up with his old rugby team from James Bay, and when we arrived in Tsawwassen they even tried to lure Cam to join them for their game.

We were off to find the transit buses as we had to get to Vancouver. After a short ride to Richmond we arrived at Bridgeport Station where we switched to the SkyTrain for the next leg of the journey. By noon, we were standing amongst the skyscrapers of downtown Vancouver. One more short bus ride and we had arrived in the Craft Beer Mecca…East Vancouver!

First stop: Storm Brewing in East Van. Carl Jensen photo

The hike began from East Hastings and the first stop was Callister Brewing… but they were closed. However, they would be open at 1 pm, and it was 12:36pm—no problem, Storm Brewing was just steps away. Minutes later Tony, Cam and I entered Storm and starting sampling craft beers—the #BCCraftBeerQuest had landed in Vancouver!

The others in the tasting area were surprised to hear that the three of us had come all the way from the Island for the sole purpose of drinking craft beer, but we couldn’t stay long as we had a schedule to keep. Next, we took a little detour off the Craft Beer Trail as Tony is a fan of the hard stuff, so we dropped by Odd Society Spirits to sample some cocktails.

From there we walked to Callister as they were now open. The three of us took stools at the bar and we ordered a flight, not only sampling beers from Callister, but from Night Owl Brewing, Morningstar Brewing and Real Cask Brewing, too. Tony picked us up a round of “craft pepperoni” which seemed great as we hadn’t had a chance to track down lunch yet… although regular might have been a safer choice than the spicy!

After a sketchy round of Frogger, the Three Amigos safely got across East Hastings and we were heading a few blocks south to Venables. The next stop was East Van Brewing where the large tasting room was packed. We enjoyed a flight of six beers and a great calzone for lunch. Still looking to knock breweries off our #BCCraftBeerQuest list we walked over to Luppolo Brewing for a flight in yet another busy tasting room.

After Luppolo we hiked back to East Hastings to Pat’s Pub at the Patricia Hotel to check out the Hastings Mill Brewing Company. From the front of the building it looked like a tiny pub, however, once inside we were amazed to find a huge pub that was packed and it was only 6pm. We soon found out why the crowd was there, as a jazz band hit the stage and now we had some live entertainment. Not only did we enjoy the Hastings Mill, brew but they had a great selection of craft beers on the menu. By this time Tony was looking for a break from beer so when he sent Cam and I to the bar he earned himself a Jim Beam and a shot of Fireball just because it was on special!

A couple more breweries scratched off the list at the Black Frog. Carl Jensen photo

But no, the Best Day Ever wasn’t done yet. From there we were back on the street walking to Gastown to visit the Black Frog Eatery; we were lured there by the list of craft beers from their website. They were featuring two breweries we had yet to sample, Mariner Brewing and Mission Springs Brewing Company, two more breweries scratched from the #BCCraftBeerQuest list from The Growler. Now it was time to give our feet a rest and we jumped in a cab for the trip over to False Creek for our final stops of the day.

The next stop was Craft Beer Market, however they told us it would be 45 minutes until they could find us a table, so we went next store to Legacy Liquor. Cam had tracked down some selections on their website that would help knock a few more of the list, and would provide some souvenirs we could take back home to the rock.

Tap and Barrel was just across the street and after a review of their site, Cam had identified a couple of craft beers he was still lacking. I had visited T&B back in September and I managed to scratch four breweries from my #BCCraftBeerQuest list. They told us they only had two seats at the bar, to which we responded, “No problem, the three of us are good friends and we will make it work!” After a quick pint, the clock had struck 8pm, and it was time to head for the last ferry. Luckily Cam’s sister had offered us a ride to save us finding our way back to a bus or Skytrain station.

Obligatory craft brewery selfie at Storm Brewing! Carl Jensen photo

Upon boarding the ferry it was time to eat, with a round of Triple O burgers for the Three Amigos. As the ferry moved away from the terminal and into Active Pass it gave us an opportunity to reflect back on the day. The three of us had made the trek all the way from Central Saanich on the island to Vancouver for the sole purpose of sampling craft beers from breweries that we had never sampled before to scratch beers off our #BCCraftBeerQuest list from The Growler.

We visited four breweries, three tap houses, two liquor stores and one brew pub. We walked over 12 kms, travelled by ferry, bus, Skytrain, taxi and car. We sampled many varieties of beer from more than 12 different craft beer breweries; Cam managed to scratch 14 breweries from his list and I managed to scratch nine off mine.

In the words of the saxophone player from the jazz band at Pat’s Pub, “Holy effing mackerel,” we had the Best Day Ever!


Want to learn more about the #BCCraftBeerQuest? Check out the backstory on how you might start your own quest!

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