Meet Vancouver’s latest craft brewery

Off the Rail on a Thursday afternoon in February in Vancouver

Off the Rail on a Thursday afternoon in February in Vancouver. Shawn Conner photo.

Off the Rail Brewing Company is now open for business.

Located on a major bike thoroughfare in East Vancouver, the new brewery has been the subject of plenty of speculation and curiosity over the last several months, especially during the summer, as thousands of commuting cyclists passed by daily as the brewery was under construction.

So what will all those thirsty bike-riders, along with everyone else following Vancouver’s seemingly insatiable craft beer scene, find?

Well, for starters, the tasting room is up a flight of stairs. Facing south and overlooking the bike route, its just big enough for a rockin’ party, but small enough that it’s also easy to imagine lots of turned-away customers during weekends in the coming summer months (capacity, including staff, is 25).


The cozy space offers bar and window seating as well as a few tables. People just stopping in for growler fills – and there were already plenty on a recent Thursday night, days after the brewery’s Feb. 15 soft opening – can line up at the bar.


For food, there are the usual Vancouver craft brewery snacks – those cheese-y, bread-y things with the sad little asparagus spears, and meat sticks. During our visit, pretzels were freely poured at the bar – a nice touch, though it just made us thirstier.

Merch-wise, Off the Rail has T-shirts and two sizes of growlers. Growler fills are for a few different kinds only, mostly from the “main line,” as the brewers are calling their standbys (at least at the moment, the seasonals are only available for tasting).

And what about the beer?

The brewery is kicking off with an impressively comprehensive array of nearly a dozen beers, from a pilsener to a cream ale to a stout to a porter. Dedicated hopheads will be excited to learn that Off the Rail is also brewing four different kinds of IPA.

It looks pretty exciting in black-and-white. However, there is a catch. At the moment the brewery has a license that only allows the tasting room to sell two 5 oz. tasters at a time, or one 12-oz beer. So if you want to sample all the IPAs, for example, you’ll have to make a second trip.

The folks behind Off the Rail – alumni of the fabled downtown Vancouver live music institution the Railway Club – are expecting to rectify this situation in early March. They’re also expecting to get a few of their signature beers into cans and on store shelves in the next few months, and into bars and restaurants around town as well.

Hours of operation are noon – eight Sun-Thurs and noon-ten Friday and Saturday.

The brewery is located at 1351 Adanac Street in East Vancouver, near Clark and not far from Commercial Drive (and a stone’s throw from Powell Street Craft, Storm, Strange Fellows, and 49 Parallel, not to mention at least two others that are due to open nearby in the next few months).

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