Gastown Craft Beer ‘n Bites Tour
From Monday to Sunday for $69 Vancouver Food Tours offers a tour of Gastown’s craft beer scene on their beer-centric culinary tour.
If you think you know beer, great, but your guide will certainly teach even the most savvy of beer drinkers something, and you’ll sip local craft brews alongside a variety of food pairings.
Your guide will teach you about beer tasting, beer and food pairing, beer history and brewing process, and add some Gastown tips along the way.
Gastown was actually founded by a saloon-keeper, so what better place to wander sip and sample?
On a sunny July day I hopped aboard the Gastown Beer n’ Bites Tour which starts at Waterfront Station. Since I’m encouraging you to take this tour, we aren’t going to reveal exact locations as part of the fun is finding out where you are going next.
The group leader Nicole Coetzee is a beer expert, and she started the tour with a review of beer tasting. Sure you can just slosh back your beer, but if you really want to get to know it, she suggests examining the beer, smelling, touching and listening to the beer before sipping to get the full experience, and unlike wine, you must swallow. This little guide might be handy if you’re new to beer appreciation. http://beeradvocate.com/beer/101/taste
At our first location we tried the Parallel 49 Seedspitter, a Belgian-style Witbier made with barley, wheat and oats and a splash of watermelon, Driftwood Fat Tug, an India Pale Ale with a malty hoppy profile and some fruit flavours, and the Phillips Phoenix Gold Ale, a Bohemian lager with malty flavours and a crisp finish.
The restaurant served up a tasty Lobster Mac N Cheese, Chili, and Vietnamese BBQ Pork Tacos in steamed buns. The Lobster Mac N Cheese went with the Phoenix Gold Lager which worked well as it’s light nature and mild sweetness complimented the richness of the dish. The beer’s acidity also balanced the creaminess of the dish. The Parallel watermelon beer had some fruit flavours and I like the yeasty-ness of the steamed bun alongside that of the beer. The Chili was served as a pairing for the Driftwood Fat Tug and the beer took the edge off the spiciness in the Chili, while still showcasing it’s fruit and hoppy flavours.
Nicole marched us down Water Street pointing out attractions along the way and telling the story of Gassy Jack, the man the area is named after and the first real saloon-keeper of Vancouver.
At our next location three other beers were served up. The Lost Coast Great White paired with a Scotch Egg, Driftwood Brewery’s White Bark Ale and the Crannóg Ale Back Hand of God Stout paired with Devils on Horseback; a dish of cheese-stuffed prunes wrapped in bacon.
Once again the pairings were dead on. I hadn’t had a Scotch Egg in ages and this one was delicious. They’d made their own fennel sausage and wrapped it around the egg, coated it in panko and deep fried. The crisp Lost Coast Great White had hints of citrus, and a yeasty touch and it cut through the richness of the egg which was to be dipped in mayo for extra flavour. Driftwood Brewery’s White Bark Ale has coriander and orange peel added to the brew and this also played along with the fennel in the sausage; one of the bigger beers of the evening, Crannog Back Hand of God was the perfect compliment to the rich Greer cheese stuffed prunes wrapped in bacon. A lesser beer would have been overpowered by the intensity.
Out into the bright light of day again we ventured slightly south to our final venue. This was a new one for me and I will certainly be back to try more than just the rich chocolate cake that we sampled. The food menu here has plenty of sausages, some tasty sounding mains and a vast selection of beer and beer cocktails.
Here we had the R and B Brewing Coffee Porter, a rich beer with obvious coffee notes, the Cascadia Brown Ale, a nutty and slightly bitter number, and Lighthouse Switchback IPA a hoppy IPA with some fruitiness. I loved the Coffee Porter with the chocolate cake, but all beers worked well and it was a great end to a tour that left me wanting nothing more that evening.
The Craft Beer n’ Bites is a great way to experience a little part of Vancouver’s Craft Beer scene and get to know a little bit about the area itself. A great night out at a reasonable price, and definitely not one of those nights you’ll need to stop for a proper dinner on the way home.