By Victoria Banner
VANCOUVER — R&B Brewing has been a Vancouver staple since it opened in 1997. Located in the heart of the Brewery District in Mount Pleasant, the beloved brew masters have a deep appreciation for East Van and the mellow edge you can only find in a West Coast industrial area. Rising trends in craft beer culture and a recent acquisition by Howe Sound Brewing has gifted a nice new expansion to R&B: a bright, casual Ale & Pizza House for the community to sit and enjoy.
Owner Leslie Fenn takes some time to walk through how the establishment was built entirely with both the existing brewery and surrounding area in mind. “Lots of the design aspects of the Alehouse are made out of recycled material,” she says, pointing to the bar, playfully coloured with yellow and green old plastic water piping. “Everyone working at the brewery really pitched in, those stools were even made by our delivery driver.”
Left to be their own separate entity from Howe Sound, the new establishment features sandwiches, salads, and, of course, pizza — beer’s perfect counterpart. And there’s a real sense of community in the air. The chorizo comes from a food import you can see out of the open patio-like windows. Behind the bar are taps that feature all of R&B’s top brews (try the award-winning Sun God Wheat Ale), and a neighbourhood guest tap. Fenn hopes to attract the neighbours for lunch. “We’ve kept it fast, cheap and light,” she says.
“Everyone in the brewing community is friendly,” adds one of the resident brewers. “We all know and work with each other…we like our neighbours.” He constructs a flight on a plank of curved wood made from upcycled barrels (for a perfect range of R&B flavours, try the Vienna Lager, White IPA, Sun God, and their strangely delicious sour stout). Meanwhile, chef Archie Retieffe is excited to show off his pizzas. “We spent two weeks testing doughs…we flew a guy in from Toronto for this one.” The pizza doughs are light and fluffy, noticeably flavoured with hoppy craft beer in both the sauce and dough. Retieffe insists he can finish making a pizza in less than 10 minutes — just enough time for anyone nearby to grab lunch and then go back to making movies, beer, or whatever else gets manufactured in the East Van industrial area.
R&B Ale & Pizza House is located at 54 East 4th Avenue and is open Sunday-Thursday 11:00 a.m.–11:00 p.m. and Friday-Saturday 11:00 a.m.-12:00 a.m.
Cutline: A mainstay of the East Van brewing community takes it up a notchBC, British Columbia, craft beer, food and drink, R&B Ale & Pizza House