Today we kicked it old school, first visiting the venerable Vancouver institution that is Storm Brewing, before hitting up two of the new nano breweries in East Van. If you are in the area, you can walk between all three.
Visiting Storm Brewing is like watching Igor meet Dr. Frankenstein for the first time:
This is the den of a mad scientist. Rat-themed clutter (referring to one of Storm’s flagship beers, Black Plague Stout), and a proto-hipster grunge aesthetic emerges out of the mind of a mycologist-turned-brewer.
Storm’s warehouse is nothing short of awesome.
It feels like an abandoned church inside, only instead of crusty pews and cobweb-encrusted bibles we find an ominum-gatherum of brewing equipment, paraphernalia, and random detritus. You could say it’s the least likely environment for brewing beer. But take note, the stimuli awakens creativity and welcomes the types of friendly bacteria in beer we have all come to appreciate on our tongues. There is a time and a place for sterility, and Storm is not it. With an owner whose background is in the science of mushrooms, it makes sense that a brewery would be organism-friendly.
Storm has been around before “microbrewery” was a household word. Since before “hipster” was a household word. Since the 1990s. They were barrel aging sours before most North American breweries were, and produce one of the most acetic barrel-aged sour on the market. Respect.
I’ve been drinking Storm Beer since the 1990s, but had never before visited their brewing facility. Today’s visit was a true treat, and they had several special beers that are only available on premises.
And they know what’s up. Sunshine + Beer = Happiness.
Not far away, effortlessly cool newcomer Powell Street Craft Brewery sweeps the public by storm. No pun intended. Glasses and growlers of their three beers are available in a comfortable little tasting room. They had a white IPA, a cardamom-ginger wit, and a porter when we were there. I especially appreciated the flavor arc of the wit, which starts with ginger and ends with cardamom rather than the other way around. Their low-key operation is set to move into a larger facility, but names be dammed, hopefully also on Powell Street. If not, though, they’ll always have a good back story for their brand and will be hailed as a harbinger of new beers to come in this neighborhood dubbed (a bit prematurely) as the “East Village.”
Around the block on a little street called Triumph, Parallel 49 (unrelated to 49th Parallel, local coffee roaster) offers a sexy tap lineup for glasses and growler fills. They also happen to have a large tasting room suitable for sessions with friends, and there is often a food truck parked outside.
Venerable old codger, meet new kids on the block. New kids on the block, meet venerable old codger. Pleased to meet you, my friend.
It’s pronounced Frankenstein.
310 Commercial Drive
Vancouver BC, V5L 3V6
1830 Powell St
Vancouver BC, Canada
1950 Triumph St.
Vancouver, BC, Canada
*Friendly reminder: Check the opening dates and times before you visit to avoid disappointment. Like many tasting rooms, these places do mainly daytime business and do not keep bar hours.