Breward Inlet can confirm that Coquitlam’s first brewery is on its way (The yet to be renamed District 43 is apparently still developing but unconfirmed)! Having spoken with a representative of the company it is suggested the the City of Coquitlam has OK’d the brewery and they have plans to attends several events in the short term including Poco Blues Fest as well as the Coquitlam Craft Beer Festival. Moreover, a tap takeover could be occurring too. Until then take look at some of their branding.
If there is one word that describes American-Italian culture best its “Mangia”, for that reason I was surprised to see it present at Luppolo. Luppolo (Italian for Hop), is far more authentic than the sort of place that usually screams “Mangia”, and if they continue maybe they can steal the word back from the cultural equivalent of a pizza.
Luppolo is located just off the brewery beaten track between Strange Fellows and Off the Rails on Vanables west of both. We walked it from Clark station in the snow and rain and it wasn’t totally intolerable but perhaps we would have benefited from umbrella.
The brewery itself has none of the Italian-American Schtick you might expect and is warm and open. Its a nice place to sit and enjoy a beer.
Given that the Luppolo is still in its early stages, its initial offerings are quite impressive, . You can view the list we chose from in the picture below.
The best of the beers I tried was the Robust Porter which was roasty and light as a decent porter should be – 4/5
The Double IPA was enjoyable as well with some juicy notes – 3/5
The West Coast Farm House ale was ambitious and all the pieces of a great beer were there, unfortunately in the wrong proportions. I’m sure this recipe will improve with subsequent batches, but for now it was a miss – 1.5/5
We did discover the although triangles are great shapes for building bridges they leave something to be desired when carrying flights, the aesthetic killed though.
Luppolo also has some small fare for food which I did not get a chance to try but looked delicious. In short it should not be left off your East Van Crawl and defiantly is another formidable brewery worth visiting.
When I go to a brewery I don’t tell anyone who I am. Don’t get me wrong i don’t expect people to know who I am even if I told them, but I still don’t like mentioning I write a blog unless I am trying to get some specific information that really needs consent. I don’t tell because I don’t want to feel bad about telling the truth, when the truth is the beer sucks. I honestly believe if you are going to write a blog about anything you have to be willing to give your opinion, negative or positive… so here it is.
I’ve visited two newer Vancouver Breweries over the past several weeks and in short they were pretty underwhelming. Both Strathcona Brewing Faculty Brewing co. have a lot of work to do if they want to stay relevant.
Strathcona presents as a Brand heavy brewery. Great Location in a “real”neighborhood. I say “Real” because it is, “strath” exists as one of the last Vancouver neighbourhoods with a community built outside of gentrification (even if it is on its way). Maybe thats why the cool brewery seems like an anti-septic juxtaposition dropped on the block in a “just-so” way… even the sex-trade workers seemed to give it a wide berth. I’ve been 3 times for some reason in the last month, each time I walk away less impressed. I could go on at length about the tasting room itself, but its not worth it. It’s nice, but an art room in a Strathcona brewery is just little pedantic, when you consider the local community- its just so Vancouver. The best beer I had here was the radler, upsetting as it also contained the least beer. The saison had only hints of the familiar farm house flavours, and the hoppy beers, the British IPA, Northwest Pale Ale, and the ISA, were nearly impossible to discern as distinct styles. These were definatley different beers but someone needs to take a trip to the UK. In short this brewery needs to get its shit together… because gentrification is still a few years away…
Also their website is just a video of people skateboarding… http://www.strathconabeer.com
Faculty Brewing definitely has more to work with but even so has some kinks to work out. Faculty has opened in the same Brewery Creek neighbourhood as, well, everyone else. They are making decent to good beer, and their tasting room is warm and inviting. So why then do they need to get their shit together?
Because they aren’t doing anything different, and they aren’t doing anything better. I am aware of their intent to rotate beers on a structured basis, some might say this is their niche, but if Brassneck has more available and styles that change nearly as quickly does it really matter? It’s like going to a chocolate cake festival and bringing a carrot cake. Even so, I have high hopes for this fellows and wish them all the best.
*NOTE I’m going to mention COMMUNITY several times in this article get ready.*
I recently visited the nearby COMMUNITY of Maple Ridge to visit the brand new COMMUNITY of brewers that have opened up shop there. Of course I’m talking about Ridge Brewing and Maple Meadows Brewing.
Whilst at Ridge i was able to sit down and have real chat with both the Owner and Brew Master at Ridge that was enlightening in a really positive way. But lets nail down this brewery before we go any further. Ridge brewing has a small scale brew house nearly identical to Yellow Dog’s when it opened. Nestled in a small business park just off Dewdney near the heart of Maple Ridge this brewery has the potential to become a pillar of the COMMUNITY. In fact thats the Owner Carlos’ goal. Carlos and i spoke for about an hour discussing how a good brewery can really cultivate a strong sense of COMMUNITY, noting how small village pubs in the UK double as community centres. Carlos is actively attempting to foster such a COMMUNITY at Ridge where he was hosting one of his first Open Mic Nights. That’s right an Open Mic Night. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not a music critic but it was clear that it was locals creating this great mid-week show in an outer suburb, creating culture for which there was no outlet previously, and that’s bad ass. You see COMMUNITY is something that we are at a loss for often in the city of Metro Vancouver and brewery’s often fill that vacuum through their art (beer) and art on their walls (many breweries (including Ridge) donate their wall space to up and coming artists). This is awesome, but its usually occurred organically and whilst that great its even nicer to see a brewery actively attempt to foster COMMUNITY to the extent that Ridge has, so hats off to you guys.
TO THE BEER:
Carlos and his Brew Master are both from Mexico and although there isn’t a tequila lime barrelled imperial lime stout yet (actually i think i’ll claim that beer for myself) There are lots of other great beers to choose from.
Bar Stool Bitter- Classic English Session beer, thats definitely not west coast hopped but perfect for the transitioning bud drinker 3.5/5
Gringa Loca Wit Beer- A standard and solid option wit 3/5
Green Eyes Whyte IPA- A delicious west coast IPA that is one of my favourites already 4/5
Cafe Morena Brown- Arguably my favourite Browns Produced in Metro Vancouver 4.5/5
A very nice place both in location and atmosphere. On Alberta and West 4th is where you will find this brew pub, near enough to both the Beereas of Brewery Creek and the Olympic Village cluster of Craft Beer Market and Steal Toad Brew Pub. Inside is even better than the location. Through the front doors you immediately see the growler station and bottle shop and to your right is a restaurant-ish pub. On the near side is the 3 side bar which divides the room, facing the bar is a performance stage. On the far side of the bar is what could be described as a true bar setting where one can view the giant brewing area. The brewery itself brews Special Big Rock beers that to my knowledge are currently only available at the brewery but clearly there is much room for expansion!
The Food. I order a Pulled Pork Sandwich which was presented well (honestly I am not a food critique so i will say it tasted “good”). The real star were the fries (I would say chips but my friend Dan would just say “You’re not English!”). These things tasted like mcdonalds fries before they switched to the vegetable oil. No joke, i will go back just for the fries.
The Beer… in every way imaginable. By my count they had about 9 taps, nothing worth writing home about. 2 were albertan stable stalwarts such as grasshopper (a decent beer but not a destination beer). The house beers were a roggenbier which is made with lots of rye. It was fine, with some decent rye flavours and well balanced if not slightly underpowered,this was the best of the bunch. Next was a mosaic lager that although did a great job of showcasing mosaic hops was not as session able as one would hope for a lager. The red ale was a harsh west coast style red that might do better slightly older. Finally there was an utterly forgettable chocolate malt stout which i can’t remember a damn thing about. Also interesting was there choice to have a invitational tap, not strange in itself but strange they went with P49 old something we have probably all had before.
The service. There were all of ten people there but it took the staff longer than i would have liked to check on us and see if we were ready for another round. This is petty as things go and i expect it to improve, but its still not a good first impression.
Also of note, Decent beer prices:
$6 for 500ml
$4 for 12oz
$8 for four, 6 oz tasters (24oz!)
For many people like myself shopping centres can be the bane of our existence. To us shopping centres are not shrines to creativity and flair but behemoths of capitalist greed, and incubators of the tertiary service industry slowly destroying the former middle class. But some of them have breweries! A great example of which is Central City Brewing in the Central City mall in Surrey British Columbia, which i believe is among a handful of shopping centre breweries scattered around North America. Although the shopping centre brewery isn’t necessarily odd in North America, in more traditional Europe it is. Thus Tap East stands as an Oddity in its small brewery located in the Westfield Shopping Centre Stratford.
Despite being in a shopping centre the quality of ale served was unencumbered. In addition to the beers brewed on premises Tap east also has several beers on tap (Don’t order a grolsch) and a very high quality collection bottled and canned beers some even from America. But lets be honest, when at a brew pub you get the beer they brew… its a rule.
So what did they Brew?
The East End Mild- A classic british style that in the past indicated fresher rather than aged beer and now more predominately means a lightly hopped beer. This beer followed Mild guidelines and was malt forward, with a really pleasant toffee maltiness that was light on the palate. Coming in at around 3% ABV this is a great example of the classic english ale that has great flavour and allows you to enjoy a few in a single sitting.
Coffee in the Morning Stout- England in no newcomer to the coffee-d beer craze and this in another of note. The coffee itself came from just down the hall from a coffee shop called “Grind” (the official drink of westfield?) and was added in the whirlpool stage of brewing. The beer itself is full of coffee flavour, and had in my opinion some acidity which you may or may not enjoy.
Tonic Ale- This is a superb session beer. Built on a light malt base this bright blond beer has fruity hops that are light yet ever-present. A Well done beer.
The beer wasn’t the only great experience, after chatting with the assistant manger i was introduced to the brew master who graciously took me into his brew house. He explained to me many of the interesting tidbits i’ve noted such as how the coffee was added to his Stout. He noted the difficulty of his brewing in his small brewhouse and i had to agree having heard similar stories from the many similarly small brewhouses in Vancouver. But just like in Vancouver, this small brew house put out some great beer. To top it all of when i mentioned i was planning on brewing a british style ale when i returned home the brewer sent me on my way with some English Hops (Bramling Cross). So if you find yourself in a Shopping mall in Stratford or more likely in Borough Market, find tap east, you won’t be disappointed!
So among the wonderful human constructions that exist within our western society such as the gregorian calendar, and our conception of a year (solar or lunar or something else entirely), is the longitudinal lines. The beginning of these lines exist as a remnant of British hegemony over the world, appearing in neighbourhood of Greenwich giving birth to the phrase Greenwich meantime. As much a human construction as Greenwich Mean Time is the Mean Time Brewery itself. This brewery more than any other I have visited in Europe positions itself as North American Brewery. The brewery is actually split into two with a smaller brew-pub-ish brew pub in the Old Royal Naval College, Itself in a beautiful Park. Rather than take pictures I took it all in so I apologize but suffice to say the experience was sublime. In addition to the Royal Naval College there is the larger production brewery in a more industrial part of Greenwich which houses a proper north american style tasting room. Once again I didn’t take pictures but it was absolutely up to snuff. Of course the beers are where it was at and although i don’t want to give rating as I didn’t take proper notes I was very much impressed and believe this brewery will match the tastes of North American’s more so than any others i have written about.
The London Pale Ale was the closest to a English Pale Ale with malts clearly not two row and more than likely Maris Otter. The beer like many english ales is floral.
The London Stout is very rich and roast and has a great mouthfeel, if Guinness is the bar the meantime raises it ten fold.
The Yakima Red is a delicious beer making use of american hops from the yakima valley! This beer has the hop profile of a american pale ale on the base of red ale giving it a great nuance.
The fact is I enjoyed this place so much I’m going to attempt to buy a t-shirt on my last day in London.