5 Beers That Helped Shape Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood

photo: vancouver.ca

The following article was submitted by Jennie O.

If you’re walking through Olympic Village and are inspired to go on a bit of a boozy adventure, you would be well served to walk south up Ontario street to what has become the main hub of everything right about craft grains. Mount Pleasant, also affectionately known as Brewery Creek, boasts not only a warm neighborhood feel with several eateries and groceries and lifestyle vendors lining the busy thoroughfares of Main street and Broadway, but also features the beloved “province streets” which run through it like veins filled to the brim with delicious delicious craft beer.

Over a century ago, before prohibition gutted the industry, Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant hosted a thriving brewery district fed literally by a stream of water that ran through the neighborhood; earning it the name Brewery Creek. There is still evidence in the neighbourhood of this time in Vancouver history such as the Brewery Creek building at 280 East 6th Ave, now adorned with a Vancouver Heritage building marker outlining its storied past; these relics stand, repurposed and reimagined, alongside 3rd wave coffee shops and artisan donut bakeries to add an earned history to what has become a very walk able and modern central neighborhood in the city.

The rise and fall and rise again of Brewery Creek has lent a legitimate flavor to the neighborhood and the breweries who now call it home. After the province relaxed the laws concerning manufacturer’s licences for breweries 3 years ago, the floodgates for new and interesting craft brewers to take up shop in the historic area opened up, bringing its old identity back with a vengeance.  These new breweries upped the ante, adding tasting rooms and aesthetics to the business of making and appreciating beer in Mount Pleasant. It is now home to some of the most successful craft beers being brewed locally.

One of the easiest pub crawls you will ever pull off, the breweries in the area are accessible by foot and feature signature snacks and small plates in their tasting rooms to help sustain a day of sampling. If you are more the fixie bike type, there are not only bike racks in front of every location but multiple bike shops in the area that can give you those all important tire fills and tune ups to prepare you for the ride up Ontario street; which can be an arduous climb on a hot summer day. The trip is worth it though; the beer is top of the bar and the tasting rooms are full of friendly folks at long beer hall style tables meant to encourage conversation. Don’t be surprised if you garner a recommendation from the locals this way…or a tagalong or two.

To honour the brews that build the bedrock, here is a list of the 5 beers that have helped shape the landscape of this neighborhood and the breweries that helped take it back from temperance.

Raven Cream Ale – R&B Brewing

1-54 E 4th Ave. | randbbrewing.com

R&B was the first brewery to set shop back up in Brewery Creek in 1997. It has expanded from a brewery with a growler fill station, to a Pizza and Ale house for easy sampling of their plentiful and revolving taps.  The Raven Cream Ale is one of the original beers offered during R&B’s formative years. It is a dark but surprisingly sessionable cream ale for those who like to drink dark beer but don’t want to end up face down on the bar about it. At 4.8% it is a flavorful yet drinkable earthy brew.

Honorable mention: The East Side Bitter

33 Acres of Life – 33 Acres Brewing

15 W 8th Ave. | 33acresbrewing.com

A perfect example of a beer that celebrates the history of the area while employing innovation for flavor, Life is a California Common utilizing Northern Brewers hops to give the beer a distinctly BC flavor. The California Common, or steam beer, was popular with the working class who built the west coast; much like those who lived in Brewery Creek when it was created at the turn of the 20th century.  The resulting brew from 33 Acres is refreshing with high carbonation and low gravity, making it a great fit for the end of a long day.

Honorable mention: 33 Acres of Cider

Passive Aggressive Dry-Hopped Pale Ale – Brassneck Brewery

2148 Main St. | brassneck.ca

The first beer test brewed by Brassneck, it has become the flagship of the brewery. Brassneck is the headquarters for high gravity brews in Brewery Creek, most of them 5% or higher, but the history of experience in Passive Aggressive rides that line really well, making it amazingly drinkable for a 7% beer. Brassneck has a smaller distribution than other breweries in the neighborhood making their mandate decidedly local. Their beer, particularly Passive Aggressive, shows a deep understanding of the flavors and approach of the Mount Pleasant area and the people who call it home.

Honorable mention: Spirit Animal (a 10% barley wine!)

Main Street Pilsner – Main Street Brewing Co.

261 E 7th Ave. | mainstreetbeer.ca

Regarded by those at Main Street as the one that started it all, this Pilsner is bright and fresh and very easy to drink. Though it is rare to have a craft brewery lead with a Pilsner, the beer demonstrates perfectly what makes Main Street a fitting brewery for the Mount Pleasant area; it’s an uncomplicated, well crafted, and friendly beer that is equal parts rooted in the basics but well made enough to be worth the trip. And at 5% it won’t creep up on you if you enjoy it by the growler.

Honourable mention: The Naked Fox IPA

Red Truck Lager – Red Truck Brewing

295 E 1st Ave. | redtruckbeer.com

Though some argue Red Truck as too big to be craft, the brewery does take strides to ensure purity of ingredients and the sourcing of a large array of flavours. Take the lager, a mixture of Canadian barley and hops from Germany and the Czech Republic, this beer is “a beer with world class credentials” according to the brewer. The most successful bottle in the portfolio and second place for Best of the Northwest from Sip Magazine in 2015, this lager represents its neighbourhood well. And since the brewery location is that of breweries (and one slaughterhouse) from the original days of The Creek, Red Truck is a true local brew ambassador with a respect for the history.

Honourable mention: Red Truck Ale

Mount Pleasant is a neighborhood for those who like to get off the beaten path when visiting a city in order to experience life the way the locals do. For those who wish to experience some history and culture while enjoying their grain and grappa. For those who know that most good things a city has to offer are worth a bit of a climb.

Tagged: , , , ,

Comments are closed for this post

One Response to 5 Beers That Helped Shape Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood

  • Insider Access

  • Like us on Facebook Find us on Instagram Follow us on Twitter Watch us on YouTube


    Vancouver Event Calendar

    604 Neighbourhoods

    TED Host City