The fact of the matter is that there are some things that are better drunk- sex with an ugly chick, anything that Ben Stiller stars in, and boring as hell sports like curling, ice dancing and anything else that requires men to wear tights. Lucky for those attending the Games, Canadians can brew a pretty darn good beer to go along with that Canadian bacon pizza (do they just say bacon pizza?).
Everyone is aware of such Canadian staple as Molson’s, Labatt Blue, and Moosehead. Since you can drink them at home you might as well go native. In Vancouver that will not be hard since there are a number of talented brewers based there ready and willing to laugh as you get wasted.
First on our tour is the Granville Island Brewery, Canada’s first microbrewery. Each beer is named after a local neighborhood giving them a definite hometown appeal. Looking to keep and maintain a high standard, the brewers only use 100% natural ingredients in order to insure the freshest and purest taste. Island Lager (kind of sweet; heavy on the hops; 5%ABV) was the first beer these guys released when they set up shop back in 1984; they now have a rather impressive array of beers for the discerning beer drinker to choose from. If forced to pick just one try to find a bottle of Jolly Abbot. Released just for the holidays in November this beer is the strongest that Granville makes at 9.5%ABV. With its dry, refreshing finish it is easy to drink lots of it without realizing it.
Next on the list is the Hell’s Gate Brewing Company. These guys like to keep it all natural too, and take their time brewing their lager, generally 28 days a batch. However, their brews, while crisp and refreshing, will be vaguely reminiscent of something that you can find in the U.S. so try one to say you did and move on.
In between curling competitions try and visit the third brewery on the list, R&B Brewing. If you can get your hands on Auld Nick, not the gay prostitute on the street corner but the seasonal winter warmer beer. This beer will help you forget how cold it is outside with its moderate alcohol content, 6.5% ABV, and the smooth, full bodied flavor will make it easy to drink more than a few. Raven Cream Ale will do if the supply of Auld Nick has gone dry. Much weaker than Auld Nick at 4.8%, you may be going to the bathroom more than you are drinking; good thing this dark ale is nice and refreshing with a well balanced flavor.
After all these weak beers, it is time to sample some stronger ones at Storm Brewing. Their Hurricane IPA and Fruit Lambics both contain 7% ABV. For something more traditional stick with Hurricane; the combination of hops and barley malt give it slightly bitter beginning with a little sweetness in the finish. If you have some liquid courage by now then give one of their fruit lambics a try. Aged for more than a year in oak casks, they come in raspberry, blackberry, and black cherry, however, if you do not care for sour, dry, complex beers than stick with Hurricane.
Last on the list is the Whistler Brewing Company. Stick with their Classic Pale Ale and you will not go wrong. Like the rest of the beers from this brewery the alcohol content is a little low (5% ABV). What it lacks in kick it makes up for in taste. Made with four hops and four malts this beer is by far the best tasting one on the Vancouver brewery tour. It’s clean, crisp taste will be one that you can enjoy time and time again or at least until ice dancing and curling become interesting- which ever comes first!