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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