Tiering the Breweries of Vancouver and Sea to Sky

I am going to get shit on for this…

But that’s OK, I write to start conversations and lists and rankings start conversations. So here we go.

A little about the rankings… This is about QUALITY of beer… nothing more nothing less. A bad beer diminishes overall quality in my eyes. That said this is my Monolithic view of the quality of beer coming from a brewery… no math.

Breweries within tiers are equal in my eyes.

Not all Breweries are listed, but rest assured I would never say no to a brewery that is listed, as for the others…

These are my personal opinions, they won’t match yours, feel free to be angry anyways

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Tier 4 (Solid Lagers & Ales)

Doan’s Craft Brewing

The Beer Farmers

Strathcona Brewing

Coast Mountain Brewing

Howe Sound Brewing

Trading Post Brewing

Central City Brewing

Ravens Brewing

Storm Brewing

R and B Brewing

Hearthstone Brewing

Coal Harbour Brewing


Main Street Brewing

33 Acres Brewing

Britannia Brewing

Bomber Brewing

Bridge Brewing

Callister Brewing

Tier 3 (Breweries who I can count on to crush it often)

Parallel 49

The Parkside Brewing

Steamworks Brewing

Taylight Brewing

Northpaw Brewing

Field house Brewing

Silver Valley Brewing

Demi-God Tier (breweries I’ll always make a point of visiting)


Beere Brewing

Strange Fellows

Steel and Oak

Brassneck Brewing

Yellow Dog Brewing

Luppolo Brewing

God Tier (Breweries I get stoked to go to)

Twin Sails Brewing

Boombox Brewing


Backcountry Brewing

Temporal Brewing

Four Winds




More News on the Third PoCo Brewery

I’m going to let the Tri-City news take this one away, the article does a great job of breaking down the whole business plan. Their Plan has some really cool parts and some I’m concerned about and will break down at a later date… Until then the Tri-City News Presents:


BC Beer Awards… Afterthoughts and Analysis…


I usually give an annotated list of winners from each BC Beer Awards but I’m not this time, because I was actually pretty impressed with the winners. This year’s winners were much more in line with my personal thoughts, and lets face it, when preaching to the choir you are unlikely to criticize them in the next breathe.

…but… Mount Arrowsmith somehow won brewery of the year…  How? Well let me just say I didn’t like that they won. They won on the backs of their BLONDE Ale and a Saison… not exactly inspiring. But you should all know that story by now.  You see it was a point based system. 5 points for gold 3 for silver 1 for bronze (or something to that effect).

Surely you are asking: “Shouldn’t Dageraad have won in that case?” Not quite, you see each breweries points were averaged by how many beers they submitted in total. No doubt an attempt to give small breweries a chance against the big boys like Phillips.


So for example if you submit 4 beers, and win 1 gold and 1 bronze you would receive 6 point (5 and 1). Your points would then be divided by 4 so you would be left with a weighted score of 1.5. This was done for all breweries who won an award and evidently had the highest weighted score… sorry Dageraad… I’ll drink an Anno in your honour.

So no annotated list but perhaps something better instead…


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  • It lists each brewery that won a beer medal.. no industry awards like Brewery of the year
  • How many total won, and breakdowns of Gold, Silver and Bronze
  • It also pools winners in to regions and subregions* So a medal can be counted in a region and subregion, BUT NOT IN TWO REGIONS OR SUBREGIONS… A brewery maybe listed in a region but not a sub region. 


Conclusions and Thoughts as a result of the spreadsheet:

  1. What the heck happened to Steamworks? Flagship IPA became extremely popular after winning beer of the year in 2016, so much so I have heard through the grapevine they had to change the recipe to keep up with demand. Could this be the reason it didn’t appear anywhere and Steamworks won only one medal?
  2. For that matter what happened to other past winners like Central city, Storm, Foamers’ Folly, 33 acres, 4  winds (do they even compete even more)?
  3. The wave of Cool new Vancouver Breweries who open between 3-5 years ago seems to have crested. Suburban breweries won nearly as many medals as Vancouver Breweries and seem to be winning the more interesting categories… Twin Sails, Yellow Dog, Steal and Oak, and Dageraad are clearly leading the way.
  4. That doesn’t mean Vancouver doesn’t have something to be proud of. New Schoolers Superflux and Boombox both grab medals for very progressive beers.
  5. Vancouver Island and Victoria seem to be losing ground to the mainland… then again Swans just won beer of the year… and it was great!
  6. Brewers Row tied Yeast Van for most medals… but Twin Sails also won an industry award so even math agrees… Brewers row is the best place in BC to grab a pint!

Once Again a very impressive and fun night of beers an recognition, hats off to the volunteers, brewers and organizers who are a credit to the industry!

Judgin’ Don’t Stop!


Beer and Breweries of the Year

The Brewers Row Beers and Brewery of the year. There were 50 responses to the poll and despite some surprising results I am happy with the sample size. Honourable mentions were given when the first runner up was within one vote of the winner…

Every Brewery on the Row won or was an honourable mention which shows the quality of this place!

Without further Adieu…

Best Brewers Row Core Beer


It wasn’t even close, this is without a doubt THE BEER of Brewers Row


Best Limited Brewers Row Beer release (the choices given are the respective top rated beers from each brewery according to untapped)


The first of a few wins for Twin Sails… Props to Moody Ales Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout, which also did well.


Best Branding


This win surely comes on the back of the tall can releases

Yellow dog followed a little behind


Best Tasting Room

Finally some intrigue, I was sure PARKSIDE would win this category but alas the came just short and win the Honourable Mention


Surprise, Surprise the winner is:



Best Customer Service

Another close one but MOODY ALES grabs an Honourable Mention nod congrats!

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But once again TWIN SAILS wins by one vote!


IPA is King in BC which was the best of the year on Brewers Row? (top rated IPA on untappd with more than 150 ratings is listed for each brewery)

Its not even close TWIN SAILS SPACE ARMADILLO IS KING! hopefully it comes back soon!



Just like last year these beers of the year are recollected from memory and supplemented from my untappd reviews (This is why you will see a lot of Port Moody Brewery representation, i drink their wares the most), They are the best beers I HAVE HAD this year:

Some will include a first second and third others will not. Beers available in BC are listed those not available will be given Honourable mentions.

Ale (pale, amber, brown etc):

  1. Howe Sound- Sky Pilot
  2. Old Yale Blonde
  3. Strange Fellow- Talisman


  1. Yellow Dog IPA-still take the cake for me.
  2. Old Abbey Brett IPA-This is of the Tony Dewald Brewmaster Era
  3. Breakside IPA- Much better in Portland than it is here, great none-the-less

Stout (all kinds):

  1. Moody Ales- Bourbon Russian Imperial Stout
  2. Old Yale-Sasquatch Stout
  3. Hearthstone Brewing Chocolate Milk Stout


  1. Twin Sails-Pilsner
  2. Steamworks- Pilsner


  1. Four Winds-Nectarous
  2. P49- Lil Red’emption
  3. Powell Street-Amarillo Sour

HM-The Breakside La Tormenta


  1. Dageraad Anno 2015
  2. Dageraad 8 Degree

Everything Else (including one-offs):

  1. Fuggles and Warlock & Moody Collab-Pears in White Satin
  2. Yellow Dog- Fresh Hopped Play Dead IPA


Beer of The Year:

Storm-Glacial Mammoth Extinction- What a process, what an experience.

BC Beer Award Analysis

The BC beer awards happened last night. This is BJCP event meaning Beers are judged on, among other things, their ability to remain close to BJCP style guides. This means that if a Brewery brews a beer that is insanely good but doesn’t fit well into any style guide well it could easily go home with nothing. That aside lets get going!

Richards Buell Sutton Rookie of the Year Award: @doanscbc

I’ve only visited Doan’s once before the more venerated beers like the Rye Stout appeared, they were all delicious and I’m happy to see them take this!

Best of Show: @brassneckbrew for One Trick Pony.

Brassneck doesn’t often make bad beer, nor do they ever have few beers. I’ve had a lot of their beers, so many I can’t remember if I’ve had this one, but also enough to be confident that they are deserving of winning.

Sours/Wild Ale:

3. Dageraad De Witte

2. Strange Fellows Roxanne

  1. Four Winds Juxtapose IPA

Hard to argue here, I’m sure someone could point out some really awesome sours not on this list but we could do that with most categories.

Imperial IPA

3. Parallel 49 Hopnotist

2. Parallel 49 187 on a undercover Hop

1.Brassneck One Trick Pony

Although i’m happy Brassneck won I’m really not impressed with the other beers in this category, on the whole i think its reflective of the stagnating state of IPA in BC.

Belgian Abbey Ale

[email protected] Belgian Quad

2.Tree brewing Trappist Artist Belgian Dubbel

  1. @dageraadbeer Dageraade Blonde

Dageraad is a deserving winner.

Strong Ale

[email protected] Swans Scotch Ale

2. @randbbrewing Auld Nick Winter Ale

  1. @swansvictoria Legacy Ale

Not a style I follow but nice to see R & B on the upswing.

Belgian/French Farmhouse:

3. @ravensbrewing Farmers Ale

2. @dageraadbeer Randonneur Saison

[email protected] Multigrain Saison

Again not a style I follow terribly hard, but again happy to see Dageraad with more awards for their effort. I also tried Raven’s Farmers Ale following their win and really enjoyed it.

Speciality IPA

3. @bomberbrewing Blood From A Stone Red Rye IPA

2. @moonbrewery Hip As Funk IPA

  1. @bridgebrewcrew Black Rye IPA

Upset not to see Yellow Dogs ISBA in that mix but once again we could play that game all day!

North American IPA

  1. @centralcitybrew Red Racer IPA

2. @redtruckbeer Red Truck IPA

3. @hearthstonebeer Hearthstone IPA

Really surprised by this category. I think it goes to show that our IPA production is in dire straights. Sure Red Racer is a fine IPA but has no one produced an IPA better than it this past year? that leads me to believe quality is in fact getting worse! As for the Red Truck, i’ve found it to be a quite dumbed down IPA… but who knows at this point.

Wood/Barrel Aged:

3. @parallel49beer Barrel Aged Vow of Silence

2. @fourwindsbrewco Pequeno Cabo Tequilla Barrel Aged Berliner Weisse

  1. @bridgebrewcrew Imperial White IPA

Sad to see no stouts on the list but can’t really complain about the beers on this list can you?


3. @msbcbrewery Fat Guy Oatmeal Stout

[email protected] 52 Foot Stout

1. @doanscbc American Rye Stout

I guess i’m visiting Doan’s again soon!


3. @steamworksbeer Steamworks Gose

2. @bridgebrewcrew Wee Tipsy Peated Scotch Ale

  1. @brassneckbrew No Brainer Pre Prohibition Lager

A corn lager for the win? Amazing and definitely worth drinking!


3. @tofinobrewco Kelp Stout

2. @stanleyparkbrew Icebreaker

[email protected] Spruce Tree Ale

Wow, no pumpkin. Tofino is a deserving winner in my mind here but I’m really surprised to see Turning Point here, i thought icebreaker was a mess.


3. @strange_fellows Framboise Noir

2. @treebrewing Mellow Moon Pineapple Hefeweizen

  1. @stanleyparkbrew SunSetter

I’m going to be clear here Mellowmoon is bad, and SunSetter is bad.

German/Belgian Wheat:

3. @granvillebeer Hey Day Hefeweizen

2. @bigrockurbanyvr Dunkelwiezen

  1. @barkervillebeer White Gold

This has got to be the weakest category.

North American Amber/Brown Ale:

[email protected] Brassneck Ale

2. @russell_beer Cream Ale

  1. @bigrockurbanYVR Hollow Tree

Another weak category in my opinion.

North American Pale Ale:

3. @russell_beer Hop Therapy ISA

2. @persephonebeer Pale Ale

  1. @howesoundbeer Sky Pilot Northwest Pale Ale

Sky pilot has to be one of the most underated beers in BC right now, grab some.

UK Red/Brown Ale:

3. @parallel49beer Old Boy

2. @lighthousebeer Race Rocks

  1. @whistlerbrewing Whistler Black Tusk

Please breweries start making better UK beers, please! In fact try Ridge Brewing’s Brown.

Amber/Dark Lagers:

3. @treebrewing Captivator Doppelbock

[email protected] Oktoberfest

[email protected] Dark Lager

Steel and Oak is deserving.

UK Pale Ale:

3. @BomberBrewing Bomber ESB

2. @forbiddenbeer Forbidden Pale Ale

[email protected] Big Ridge Clover Ale

Love Bomber ESB, would have expected to have seen something from Off The Rail here too but…

Light European Bier:

3.  @russell_beer Eastern Promises

2. @centralcitybrew Mayor Kolsch

1[email protected] Craft Lager

I suppose you have to have this category but honestly who cares?

North American Light Beer:

[email protected] Island Lager

2. @brewhouseatwhis Lifty Lager

  1. @tofinobrewco Tofino Blonde Ale

Molson produced GIB won, thats a good discussion!

Dan Small HomeBrew Award: Sho Ogawa and Shin Shan Chan for their Kettle Sour Prune Plum Old Bruin.

Well done Sho, a BREWardInlet and Tri-City Brew Club-er!