Quite a number of my sentences recently have begun with ‘when I was here 10 years ago it wasn’t like this…’ or something to that effect. It’s unsurprising really, seeing as I’ve changed massively in the 10 years since I lived in Canada previously, yet I still find it necessary to point these things out on a regular basis. Apologies to all those who have had to listen to me carry on about it.
One thing that really has changed a lot is the craft beer scene. When I lived in Whistler, our main criteria when going to the liquor store (you can’t buy alcohol in supermarkets here) was to find the drinks with the highest alcohol percentage at the lowest price. I’m looking at you Glacier Berry cider and Mike’s Hard Lemonade. We drank beer in bars a lot, mainly because it was the cheapest thing on offer, but it was pretty ordinary.
Pretty much as soon as I arrived in Vancouver I heard people talking about the huge numbers of micro breweries in the city, and I have managed to visit a couple of them. Over the Canada Day long weekend, some friends asked me if I wanted to join them on a trip to Port Moody, about an hour outside of Vancouver, to do a mini brewery tour, which seemed like an offer too good to pass up for someone who relies heavily on public transport to get around.
First things first, we had to pack our growlers. You may be wondering what on earth one of these is, and considering I’ve only heard it in the context of a slightly lewd word for female genitalia it took me a minute to figure out what my friends were suggesting we take with us on this trip.
This is a growler:
Basically, it’s a glass vessel to take your beer away with you. They come in various sizes, but they’re a good option if you want to take a reasonable amount of your favourite beer with you, and a much lower price than buying the bottled or canned version. As a side note, you can’t drink in parks here, so it’s for at home consumption only.
Anywho, we drove out to Port Moody and started our tour at Parkside Brewery, the newest addition to the PM brewing scene. We all chose to do a beer flight so that we could try a few different things, and there was a food truck selling amazing tacos, so we fuelled up in preparation for the rest of the evening. Parkside got top marks for best space (warehouse style but with lots of seating) and best mini beer glasses. I can’t really remember which beers I tried, but I thing I really liked 2 of them…I drank the other 2 anyway, of course.
Next up was Yellow Dog Brewing which didn’t start too well as we had to queue to get in. I should add that all of the breweries in PM are on one street, less than a 10 minute walk from one end to the other, making the whole experience very easy. Once we were inside we got our flights (they were each only about $7 for 4 beer tasters) and took them outside to a beer garden reminiscent of an English pub. I had my first ever taste of a sour beer here on recommendation of my housemate, but I’m not sure I’ll have it again – cider lovers would probably enjoy it – but I dutifully drank it all anyway.
I should definitely take notes at this sort of thing as I know I liked the beers best here out of all the places we visited (apart from the sour beer) but I couldn’t tell you what exactly I drank…occupational hazard of drinking I guess. Yellow Dog came a very close second for flight presentation, based on the bone shaped taster glass holder.
Next up was Twin Sails Brewing, which unfortunately was our least favourite of them all. Personally, I think was a bit beered out at this point, as I didn’t love any of the beers we tasted. I would however go back and go here first next time to put that theory to the test.
We did have fun taking some selfies though.
We had one last brewery to go, but took a detour to a coffee shop for our designated driver to get a caffeine injection before we carried on, but this ended up being our undoing. The coffee shop turned out to be an incredible ice-cream shop too, and after stuffing our faces there, the last thing we felt like was more beer. So, we went home, a bit tipsy but content with our fill of beer for this trip. Still, it gives us something to come back for next time.
And just to prove that things do in fact change a lot in a decade, here’s a picture of me from what Facebook tells me is almost exactly 9 years ago this weekend, when I last lived in Canada. What a treat for you all.