Really Cheap Brewery Tour (and Beer!)

Photo: Remy Scalza

From its modest beginnings, Vancouver’s microbrew scene has exploded in recent years, with dozens of craft brewers now operating in and around the city.  For fans of Vancouver beers, there’s nothing more exhilarating than a brewery tour – getting an up close look at how our local brews are lovingly crafted and – ideally – trying a few afterward.

The only problem is that brewery tours are few and far between in Vancouver.  Information on tours is hard to find and often sketchy.  With that in mind, I’m issuing a call to to local beer fanatics out there:  Do you know of any microbrewery tours being offered in Vancouver? If so, please share the wealth by leaving a comment below.

I’ll start things off by spreading the word about the one tour that I’ve been on myself, the Granville Island Brewing tour.    Now purists will protest that GIB is no longer a microbrewery and is, in fact, owned by industrial beer giant Molson.  True enough.  However, GIB’s special seasonal beers are still made  in small, hand-crafted batches at the Granville Island facility where the tour is offered.

The other thing the tour has going for it is the price.  The tour – plus four six-ounce “tasters” of your choosing – is $9.75.  Better still, sign up for free for the brewery’s VIP club (the form is on this page) and you’ll get a two-for-one coupon, making the tour experience even cheaper.

Photo: Remy Scalza

I checked out the Granville Island operation recently and discovered that the brewery has indeed stayed true to its craft beer roots.  The tour leads back into a dimly lit workshop that smells like baking bread.  There, our guide explained all the intricacies of grist, mash and wort; let us much on some barley and sniff some hops; and even tried to illuminate the distinction between an ale and a lager.

We concluded in Granville Island Brewing’s Taproom, where guests were invited to choose four of the brewery’s creations for sampling, including some hard to find seasonal stuff not always available in liquor stores.  The best part: Between my drinking partner and I, the bill came out to less than $10.

Heard of any other brewery tours in Vancouver?  Please let us know about it below.

Remy Scalza

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13 Responses to Really Cheap Brewery Tour (and Beer!)

  1. Yeah, I agree… the Granville Island tour is a good one.

    If anyone is in Halifax they should see the Alexander Keith’s one too. It’s a bit cheesy but still fun! I think Russell Brewing is nearby to GIB but I don’t know if they do tours or not.

    • Mark – Thanks for the tip on Alexander Keith’s in Halifax.

      I checked out the website of Russell Brewing, which is in Surrey, but I couldn’t find any info about a tour.

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  3. Oops Remy, not Russell Brewing. The nearby one that I was thinking of was R&B Brewing (http://www.r-and-b.com). It doesn’t look like they do tours either but maybe I missed it. I remember walking past it and it’s a pretty small brewery.

    My #1 beer has to go to these folks in Moncton though: http://www.pumphousebrewery.ca/beer.htm. Blueberry beer… it’s sounds like it would taste bad but it was glorious!

    • Interesting – I’m definitely going to be on the lookout for Pumphouse Brewery.

  4. I know they’re not around here, but Big Rock in Calgary has the best tour package I’ve ever seen. We need the breweries around here to get on board.

    For $25, you get a great tour, followed by a tasting session of every single beer they make (it’s somewhere around 14 beers, not a super small shot glass either), you get to take the glass home, then they send you downstairs and you get to fill a six pack of bottles up of your choice of what you just tasted.

    Great time, Granville should do that, and all the other breweries

    • That’s a tour I’d like to be on. Thanks for the info, Ryan.

  5. Sam Harper

    I do brewery tours, and you don’t have to worry about driving.
    I have a very nice bus, with seating, for 19, hard wood floors, a stand up bar, a flat screen LCD TV. Dance pole (removable), DVD, GPS, Satellite radio, an IPOD hook up,good sound system.
    Phone: 778 378-4580
    Email: sharper247@hotmail.com
    You can see my reviews on Limos .com under Reviews -White Knight Limobus
    Central city brewing
    Storm Brewing
    R&B Brewing
    Granville Island Brewing
    Russell Brewing

  6. Helena

    Dead Frog Brewery in Langley is offering tours through Groupon; however, the cost is close to $40. They give you a t-shirt, coasters, pint glass and I suppose a tasting but I just want to tour the brewery, not the stuff.

    • Thanks for the update on Dead Frog, Helena. I agree – $40 does sound quite steep for a brewery tour.

  7. Dale

    Hey all,

    I used to set up an annual brewery tour at the Alley Kat Brewery in Edmonton. For about $12/person we could have unlimited beer for 3 hours.

    Note: We had a bus set up to promote safe driving and the brewery preferred that.

  8. Rob

    For Vancouverites, try TOURGUYS.CA , they are fantastic. Tour is ” Beer makes History Better” ask for Steve.

  9. Colin

    Guess this topic is a bit old but a new tour company just opened up called Wildside Vancouver. They do full day, cheap Brewery tours every Wednesday (and select weekends).

    The tour includes mini coach transportation, lunch at the crab shack, snacks, tour and tastings, craft beer gear, two pints of craft beer and a dinner voucher. The tour runs from 11am – 5:30 pm.

    Here’s the website if you need more info

    http://wildsidevancouver.com/brewery

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