Our first jaunt across “the pond” taking the #BCCraftBeerQuest from Central Saanich on the island over to Vancouver for the day in 2018 was so much fun that we had to do it again. If you missed the tale from our first #BestDayEver craft beer excursion to the mainland, here’s what you missed.
We found a Saturday that would work for the original crew of Cam, Tony and myself, but this time we decided to bring two more for the trip, Dale and Gord. This would bring the island crew to five, and we would also be hooking up in Vancouver with another #BCCraftBeerQuest aficionado, Trevor. #BestDayEver2 would see six of us spending the day hiking the streets of Vancouver in search of B.C. craft beer!
Prior to launching on #BestDayEver2, I met with Cam to plan the route for the day and identify the breweries we would be targeting. During this meeting we decided that in order to maximize our time we would be taking the 7 a.m. ferry over to Tsawwassen and returning on the 9 p.m. ferry. We would be targeting the area between Yaletown and Mt. Pleasant. We had discussed including a quick hop over to the North Shore, but we had to rule that area “out of scope” for this trip due to our tight timelines.
The day arrived and the crew departed as scheduled on a beautiful Saturday. We had strategically selected the first sailing as it would put us into downtown Vancouver around 10 a.m. to coincide with the opening of our first stop. Once we arrived in Tsawwassen, we hopped on transit for the first leg of the trip into Vancouver. It was a packed bus and we were standing for the trip to the Bridgeport Station, but we all had huge grins on our faces as our #BestDayEver2 adventure would be starting soon! At Bridgeport we got on the SkyTrain for the quick trip downtown.
Our first stop was the Yaletown Distillery, selected as it was one of the only venues that was open at 10 a.m. As you might recall from our first adventure, Tony is a “spirits guy” so we always like to ensure that we have a special stop for him on the tour. There were several highlights at our first stop; not only did we sample a flight of fine spirits, but we also enjoyed a beer from Yaletown Brewing Company. Tony did make an interesting discovery, “Holy BLEEP that was the nicest washroom I’ve ever seen!” Yes, that was the nicest washroom we would see on the whole day.
We then jumped back on the SkyTrain as we had a jam-packed schedule. We would be on foot from here on.
Our walk took us past the Vancouver Police Department, we decided that a picture would be appropriate. As we prepared for the picture, an officer was just emerging from the entrance and we asked him if he would join us. He was happy to be in the picture and after when we introduced ourselves as being from Central Saanich on the island, he introduced himself as Chief Adam Palmer! We just had gotten our picture taken with VPD’s top cop!
On route to our first brewery, we stumbled upon Jammers Café and Brewhouse. It was a great spot with a motorcycle theme, complete with repair shop and bikes to view. Gord, a fan of motorcycles, particularly enjoyed this stop. I on the other hand, was drawn to the foosball table… and the craft beer of course!
Our first brewery stop on #BestDayEver2 was 33 Acres Experiment where we each had our first flight of the day. They had a very diverse range of beers to sample in a great tasting room that featured a glass wall, allowing us to see into the brewing area, where the magic happens. We were the only patrons in at that time of the morning, however when we walked next door to 33 Acres, they were packed. Not sure why more people had not gone the “experimental” route!
Then we walked over to Electric Bicycle Brewing. This was a highlight for us as they were celebrating their First Birthday, having been open for a year. They had a party planned in their backlot complete with DJs, tents, graffiti areas and a special anniversary beer for sale.
The next stop on #BestDayEver2 was R&B Brewing, where we sampled another flight of craft beer. After the R&B stop it was time for the annual round of Frogger for the crew, and today’s epic mid-block street crossing did not disappoint as we chose Main Street. After an adrenaline-infused, blood pressure-raising trip across the street, one of the team were heard saying, “We just faced DANGER!”
Brassneck Brewery was the next stop on our quest as we continued sampling flights of fine B.C. craft beer. It was great to see just how busy the Vancouver tasting rooms were, clearly the craft beer scene in Vancouver is alive and well. There were plenty of snacks to be had along the way as each of the breweries featured local pepperoni sticks, fresh breads or actual meals.
We stopped next at Brewhall for another flight and a late lunch. At Brewhall we were joined by the Lower Mainland rep on the #BCCraftBeerQuest, Trevor! Trevor has been on the #BCCraftBeerQuest from The Growler, and he has been doing a masterful job of hitting a high percentage of B.C. craft breweries in person. I had connected with Trevor over Twitter, but this was the first-time meeting in person! He was going to be joining us for the remainder of the tour; work had prevented Trevor from joining us sooner in the day.
The next stop was Faculty Brewing, another brewery whose beers I had enjoyed in Victoria, however I had yet to check out their brewery. This was the first stop on the tour where we encountered a line-up getting in, but once we were all in, we had another great flight.
By now it was late afternoon, and we were down to our second last stop, Legacy Liquor Store by Science World. While on the #BCCraftBeerQuest, we have come to appreciate the private liquor stores that offer extensive collections of B.C. craft beer from around the province. This is one of the reasons we have backpacks on, to bring home growler/grunt fills or other rare selections that we might not be able to find on the island. Legacy Liquor Store is one of those stores, and we had selected them also because they list the craft beers they carry on their website. It was also a chance for me to pick up a case of Parallel 49 beer for the “surprise” ride back to the ferry. At this point the guys thought that I had booked a taxi to pick us up from dinner for the ride back to the ferry.
Unfortunately, we had been unable to get a reservation at Craft Beer Market or Tap and Barrel for dinner, so we embarked upon the final hike of the afternoon to the Rogue Kitchen and Wetbar, known for its great rotating tap selections of B.C. craft beers. It was time for dinner before being picked up for the ride back to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal. It was also time for us to say farewell to our #BCCraftBeerQuest colleague from the Lower Mainland, Trevor. It was great to see six of us roaming the streets of Vancouver together in search of B.C. craft beer!
The final leg of the #BestDayEver2 was the trip back to the ferry terminal—but instead of a taxi, we were picked up by a stretch SUV limo from Tommy Limo. The lads were very impressed, Trevor almost decided to come to the ferry terminal just for the ride.
We loaded in, put our feet up, cracked open the case from Parallel 49 and reflected on #BestDayEver2! We had just spent nine and a half hours hiking around the streets of Yaletown and East Vancouver enjoying B.C. craft beer and spirits from eight breweries, two craft beer bars, one distillery and one liquor store. As our 9 p.m. ferry slipped away from the docks and into the sunset, we all agreed that #BestDayEver2 had been an epic day and that we would be back again in 2020 with even more people for #BestDayEver3!
- Carl Jensen is a Central Saanich Municipal Councillor and a lover of B.C. craft beer.