By Jennie Orton
VANCOUVER – While Mount Pleasant’s Brewery Creek has established itself as an essential tourist stop for visitors with a sweet tooth for craft brew, another scene has quietly become a goldmine for the same. What has been affectionately nicknamed “Yeast Van” by brewers and regulars is a vibrant brewery district inhabiting the area of East Van between Clark Drive to the west, Powell Street to the north, Semlin Drive to the east, and Grant Street to the south. The breweries, which have all lovingly popped up around Storm Brewing, the originator who began operations in the area in 1993 before it was cool, have created a concentrated and largely co-operative district for craft beer and spirits that is gaining momentum exponentially.
That’s where the East Van Brewery Passport comes in. Developed as a way to encourage people to come enjoy what sets Yeast Van apart, the challenge is to collect a stamp at each participating brewery with the prize for doing so being a special growler to take home and pass out with.
Pop in to Bomber Brewing and enjoy a refreshing start with their Park Life Passionfruit Ale, then hit up Callister Brewing for a Blossom Dearie or to try one of the collaborative casks they promote from independent brewers who use their facilities, then grab the wallop of the Rye India Pale at Doan’s, the kick-you-in-the-teeth Jerkface 9000 at Parallel 49, an OG pint of Black Plague Stout at Storm, Czech-Style Pilsner at Powell Street to wash down that plague, and then stumble into Odd Society for a sip of their Wallflower Gin.
This culture of experimentation is what makes this district distinct. For example, at Odd Society, they combine Canada’s general lack of strict distilling traditions with innovative ways to include international malts within the rules about local BC ingredients within the craft designation.
“For our peated malts we’ve done something no one has ever done before: for a variety of reasons, we don’t mash with the peated malt; we put it in our gin basket so we run the vapours through and get the flavour through vapour extraction,” Glanz explains. Without using the malt itself as fermentable sugars, thus colouring within the lines of the craft designation rulebook, Odd Society brings something new and exciting to the neighbourhood collective and those who have embraced it as their new favorite crawl.
East Van Brewery Passports can be picked up at any of the participating breweries mentioned in this piece.BC breweries, East Van