Tiny Breweries, Big Tastes

A few more tiny tasting rooms have opened in Vancouver in the last few weeks to months, and if you haven?t had a chance to get out to some of these out-of-the-way places, then do yourself a favour and make plans to do so.

A little ways away, dag tasting roomfrom a Vancouver point of view at least, is Dageraad, on Thunder Crescent in Burnaby, a short walk from the Production Way skytrain stop. In the brief time they?ve been around Ben Coli (owner, brewer) and his little Belgian brewery have opened a lot of eyes to traditional Belgian brewing styles. The small tasting room offered a few stools and the following selection the other day…

Burnabarian Belgian Session Ale 4.5% 20 IBU ? lightly spiced golden session ale made with oats and coriander, simple, smooth and flavourful.

Amber Belgian Pale Ale 6% 30 IBU – this might be considered the flagship brew by some, from its hoppy aroma, rich maltiness and fruity overtones to its deep balance and crisp finish, this is a classic.

Belgian Blonde Ale 7.5% – They wet hopped this beer last fall with Sorachi hops from Chilliwack and bottled a limited release, a real treat if you were lucky enough to find one. Still, the basic Blonde is an outstanding Belgian Golden Ale, dead on style, aromatics sweet and sultry pouring off of the fluffy white head, nutty malt notes intertwined with tinges of spice, fruit and candy sugar. Beautiful to look at too.

Coming right up: the seasonal Dageraad De Witte, a sour fermented witbier. This was one of the best beers of the summer last year, so get some when you can! Also keep your eye open for the Randonneur Saison next time it’s released.  www.dageraadbrewing.com


Next on the out-of-the-way Claire@Dogwoodlist is Dogwood Brewing on Sherbrooke just off of Marine Drive (right near Lee Valley). Owner/brewer Claire Wilson is the first in Vancouver to make truly Organic beer. She offers a range of year round brews and seasonals. On the day I visited the not-so-tiny tasting room at the sparkling new brewery, there were 5 beers on tap.

Honey Hybrid Ale 4.5% 15 IBU ? a good basic balanced brew, slight haze, mildly sweet aromatics, long middle of malt, some honey and fruity notes.

Fest Ale 6.9% 20 IBU ? a copperish Marzen, with a bold malt base holding up this lively flavourful brew, some fruit for the nose, some malt sweetness for the palate drying to a milkd dryness in the finish.

Stout 4% 20 IBU ? a good solid entry stout with enough dark roastiness and hidden hop to balance perceived malt sweetness with a long, dry more-ish palate. Yum.

Issac?s Puny Accordian IPA 5.9% 50 IBU – It’s not the hoppiest IPA out there, but there is good flavour here, slowly growing on you, balanced malt accented brew, aromatic citDogwood tasting roomric notes, tight white head, good legs, smooth middle bitterness, nice dry finish.

United Red Ale 4.6% 50 IBU – March 8 is International Women?s Day and the Pink Boots Society hosts a world wide challenge on this day annually to women around the globe to brew the same beer. This year, joining Claire were women from 4 other BC breweries, VCBW, Pint Pints and from the brewery school at Kwantlen University to brew this tasty seasonal. www.dogwoodbrew.com


Located in the orDCBC tasting roomiginal Powell Street Brewery (on Powell near Victoria) is the new upstart Doan’s Craft Brewing Co., run by a pair of brothers. They have an expanded tasting room, having blown out a wall and added tables, to fit in as many happy quaffers as possible. On tap the day I visited was…

Rye IPA 6% 60 IBU – a pretty straight forward IPA with a nice rye edge, offering some extra flavour and some extra dryness, deep gold and balanced, easy drinking.

Altbier 5% 25 IBU – a bit more body and malt forward presence, this is a easDoan'sy altbier, deep copper, nutty aromatics, some fruitiness with a more-ish finish.

Kolsch 5% 20 IBU – light, effervescent, summer inspiring yellow-gold thirst quencher, good for our long patio season and as an introduction for notice beer hunters. www.doanscraftbrewing.com


Just down the street from Bomber on Adanac is now Off The Rail Brewing, run by former Railway Clubber Steve Forsyth. He offers a large selection of year-round brews and a number of seasonals.

Hopinionated IPA off the rail6.5% 80 IBU – well hopped (and dry hopped), this is a delicious IPA, hops soaring over a solid malt base, a balanced and full bodied West Coast style.

Czechmate Pilsner 5.2% 22 IBU – crisp and clean, this pilsner is very much to style, hop bittering balanced against a smooth malty body and a fresh dry finish.

Look for an every changing tap list of specialties, as their website lists upcoming brews from cream ale, smoked porter and Bohemian lager styles to several different IPAs, oatmeal stout and some English ales.  www.offtherailbrewing.com


Now, here’s one to watch for – Callister Brewing Co. will open in late Spring/early Summer on Franklin St. (at Clark) with a new concept – co-op brewing. As reported by The Growler, several brewers will be working in several styles, offering up a variety of cask and kegged ales fresh on tap whenever available. Should be interesting to see who, from where, brews what!! www.callisterbrewing.com


And speakigrowlerng of The Growler, Vancouver’s new craft beer handbook, Issue # 2 is now out, featuring a few more articles and an expanded look at what’s on tap at the various tasting rooms in and around Vanvouver. Look for your copy today at your favourite craft brewery, as it is a free publication and issues go fast.


CBRev2ndAlso of note in the book world, Joe Wiebe has revised and updated his Craft Beer Revolution, an insider’s guide to BC Breweries. A lot has happened since he first published in 2013, and in the second edotion he adds 40 new breweries and his own unique insights in this contribution to the BC craft beer scene.