South American-themed East Vancouver brewery opens just in time to fight the winter blahs

Andina Brewing Vancouver Shawn Conner photo

You can’t miss Andina, located near Powell Street Craft and Callister Brewing. Shawn Conner photo.

East Vancouver just got a little yeastier.

The neighbourhood is already craft beer central, with local breweries like Strange Fellows, Storm, Bomber, Off the Rail, Luppolo, and Parallel 49 bringing beer enthusiasts to the area. Andina Brewing Company (pronounced “an-DEEN-a”) is the latest addition, and has opened up just a hops skip and jump from three other breweries – Callister, Powell Street Craft and Doan Brewing. The twist: Andina adds South American style, flair and flavours.

The brewery opened officially on March 1. On its first Sunday afternoon, the lounge was packed with people ordering samplers of beer and house specialties like ceviche (seafood and veg) and pachos (nachos made with plantains).

The beer list includes a session ale, a kolsch, an Andean mild ale, a blonde IPA, an American pale ale, and two “de temporada”, or seasonal releases – the mapalé, a milk stout, and the maraca, a passionfruit black IPA.

According to the website, “Andina is the first brewery in Canada to use Patagonia Malt. This malt comes from the south of Chile where the Andean geography, excellent climatic conditions and ideal soils, make this world class malt an optimal ingredient to enhance the uniqueness of our beer.” Andrew Powers, formerly of Red Truck Brewery, is the head brewer.

In addition to beer, the tasting lounge – which comfortably seats over 50 people – serves a couple of different kinds of cocktails and the non-alcoholic Agua de Panela, a Colombian drink made from raw, unrefined whole-cane paste dissolved in water. It can be served hot, usually with spices like cinnamon or cloves, or cold with lemon, giving it an iced-tea-like taste.

On Thursday evenings, the lounge will host Latin Video Nights. Customers can watch the best and hottest in Latin American music videos on the lounge’s 120-inch screen.

Andina is owned and operated by two Colombian families – the Amaya brothers, Andrés and Nicolás, and their wives, Rocio and Claudia, who are sisters. Even the kids can be seen in the lounge, schlepping around wooden taster trays.

The Amayas are committed to sustainability. Among their initiatives is a heat pump that extracts thermal energy from wastewater to use to clean the incoming water stream (the wastewater never touches the lean water). Meanwhile, an ozone sanitation system conserves energy and water and is safe for the environment.

The striking banana-coloured exterior features a 60’ by 30’ image of a smiling woman. The mural was created by award-winning Colombian illustrator @studioespinosworks and executed by a local company @neon_works.

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