R&B Brewing (R and B Brewing) (Tour and Construction Update) – Vancouver


R&B Brewing has been going since 1997 in the Brewery Creek District of Vancouver. These guys were the first in the neighborhood to open up a brewery and it stayed that way for quite a while. Things have been changing over at R&B Brewing this year with their purchase by Howe Sound Brewing and their construction of their food primary which will turn them into Vancouver’s newest Brewpub from one of the oldest breweries.  Vancouver’s beer scene keeps changing and they are doing their part to change with it!
RB Brewing-025

Starting with the present when you walk though the current enterance you find yourself in their growler bar area.  You are able to have small samples of their beers to decide what beer you would like to get filled in your growler.  You could also just purchase a bomber or a 6 pack to take with you.  The space is funky with a ton going on decoration wise.  Behind where you stand in the growler bar is where the grain is stored although I forgot to take a photo of their indoor silos.

The brewery itself has gone through many expansions within its current space knocking out wall after wall to make the space as large as it is today.  The brewhouse is located in its own room at the back corner of the building.  The grain is augured in from the front area where the gain mills are located into the brewhouse.  Once they have gone though the brewing process the grain is then augured out the back wall into the lane where farmers take it away.  Leaving that room you come to the fermenters.  These are actually re-purposed dairy tanks that lay horizontally instead of standing vertically.  They picked these tanks for two reasons.  First they could brew in any vessel you gave them but secondly they cost way less!  Once the beer is finished fermenting they transfer the beer into the cooler into bright tanks and conditioning tanks as well as kegs.  When the beer is ready for sale in bottles it is either put through their fairly high tech 6 pack bottle machine or their Frankenstein bomber filler. Lastly finished and packaged products are transferred into their other cooler to stay until it is ready to hit store shelves or pubs taps.

Now lets not forget that R&B Brewing is also building their 60 seat food primary restaurant.  Like most brewpubs this place will not be a true pub but it just makes more sense calling it one (whose heard of a brew restaurant?). The pub is in the same building although currently separated by a wall.  Along the front of the building there are a bank of windows and behind this will be a raised area with bar seating looking out the windows.  There will be a good sized seating area to the right of the second and third photos.  To the back left of the same photos you will find the bar and behind the bar will be the cold storage and keg room.  To the front left of those photos you will find the kitchen and washrooms.  In the 4th photo you will find the location of the growler station.  Just to the left of where Barry (yes B of R&B) is standing in the photo will be a stage for live music.

The current construction timeline has the pub opening up in January.  I know that I am really looking forward to the pub being open!  The future is looking bright for one of Vancouver’s older breweries so get ready to stop by in the new year.

R&B Brewing
http://www.r-and-b.com
54 East 4th Avenue
Vancouver, BC
Phone: 604.874.2537
Fax: 604.874.2517
orders@randbbrewing.com

Advertisements

Pilsner Urquell Trolley Tour – Vancouver


Fairly recently I won a contest to go on a Trolley Tour with Pilsner Urquell, Vancouver Trolley Company and Ion Magazine.

PilsUrquellTour-031

The Trolley Tour Started at the TC Lions Pub near Canada Place in downtown Vancouver and was the first of 4 locations for the night.  Each location we were given a ticket for one free Pilsner Urquell.

The TC Lions Pub was not crazy busy but busy enough with the large group that was part of the Trolley Tour.  Everyone got a beer fairly quickly and got on talking with all of the new people.  A few people who I assume work for Pilsner Urquell locally got up and talked about the brand and its origins and how it is one of the original Pilsners if not the first.  Once our time was up at TC Lions Pub everyone spilled out onto the sidewalks so we could get on our trolleys to the next location.

The next location was a pub that I had never been to The Morrissey.  I was torn on this location as it has great style, funky staff and great music but it was just to long slender and packed!  They did serve some nice snacks at this location though so that was nice.  I hope it is not always that packed at the Morrissey and only that packed because of our Trolley.  The pilsner tasted the same at this location in the same glassware.  Once our time was up here we moved onto the next bar.

The next location took us to Granville Island to the Vancouver Fish Company Restaurant & Bar.  This place has the feel of a fancy restaurant and I felt a little bad being in a T-Shirt and shorts (But not that bad).  I was a little surprised the Restaurant served the Pilsner Urquell in bottles here as being a fancy restaurant they should know the importance of proper glassware.  The food samples brought out were to die for though.  Obviously there was a seafood theme to all of the dished but they were all great.  We had a nice semi short visit here before we moved onto our last location.

From here we hopped back on the Trolleys and hit up the last location of the night the Winking Judge Pub.  It was getting on in the night so we did not stick around at this bar all that long.  We did have our free glass of Pilsner Urquell before we left though.

Overall it was a fun night with lots of interesting people some into craft beer some into macro.  Either way everyone had a great time.

PilsUrquellTour-021

What would a writeup on an event like this beer without a mention about the beer itself?  Pilsner Urquell is brewed in the Czech Republic by Plzeňský Prazdroj and owned by SABMiller.  The beer pours a golden yellow colour with a white head.  The aroma consists of grassy hops, biscuit malts, fruits and a sweet finish.  The flavour is of grassy hops but very little bittering, biscuit malts, a sweetness from a hint of fruit and possibly honey and a very mild earthiness.  The alcohol content comes in at 4.4%.  If you are looking for a nice approachable summer weather beer this just might be your choice.

Full sized photos can be found here.

Red Truck Beer (Brewery) – Vancouver


Red Truck Beer recently opened their doors to their new Brewery and Diner in Vancouver.

RedTruckBrewery-022

I had stopped by the brewery to check out the diner during their soft launch and that post can be found here.  At that time I was not able to get a tour of the brewery itself though.  That has now changed though as I have now had the pleasure of getting a quick personal tour of the facility.  The tour started by heading up a set of stairs to the second level of the facility (A fairly massive facility).  After being introduced to a handful of the staff at the brewery I was led over to the packaging area first as the canning machine was currently running.  The automation level in the canning and bottling line at this brewery is in a small class of the largest breweries in the province and is quite a sight to see.

Once we had finished checking out the packaging line we walked over the the brewery side of the operation to see what it looked like.  Very few craft breweries have a brewing system with the kind of automation that Red Truck Beer has with the possible exceptions of Central City Brewers & Distillers, Steamworks and possibly Parallel 49 (Did I miss someone).  The brewers and Brewmaster are still the brain of the operation but some of the grunt work has been taken out of the equation with computerization and other mechanical operations.  This computerization can be seen from the second level mezzanine that looks out over the brew house and tank farm.

From here we walked down some stairs to the actual brew house.  They were currently brewing their lager so I was able to take a peak through the windows of their tank.  After seeing the brew house we walked down more stairs to see the underside of the brew house.

This is a truly impressive brewing space and I look forward to what they have in store for us in the future.  Also yes that is a full sized truck hanging from the ceiling of the brewery with a load of kegs in the trucks bed!

Full sized photos.

make sure to take a trip over to the new Red Truck Beer location for a pint or two and some food.

Red Truck Beer
http://redtruckbeer.com/
295 East 1st Avenue
Vancouver, BC
info@redtruckbeer.com
604-682-4RED (604-682-4733)

Vancouver Brewery Tours – Nov 14th, 2014


For a while now I have been pondering checking out one of the tour companies that offer tours to Metro Vancouver’s breweries.  Luckily things fell into place on November 14th, 2014 and I was able to finally take a tour with Vancouver Brewery Tours.

VanBrewTour-003

The tour picks up the guests at Waterfront Station and they ask you to arrive 15 minutes before the tour begins.  When I arrived I got a great surprise as the tour guide was Rachel who used to work at Bridge Brewing Company.  It was great catching up with her as it has been quite some time since I have seen her.  I was the last of the three guests on this tour to arrive so we headed out right away to the bus and got on the road.

VanBrewTour-002

Vancouver Brewery Tours takes its guests on a tour of three different breweries.  These breweries usually show the different scale of craft breweries and the different styles and cultures as well. The breweries on the tour will always be in flux so that no tour should be exactly the same.

Our first destination was Main Street Brewing Company just off of Main Street in the Brewery Creek district.  Brewery Creek being the original brewing district in BC this is a great place to start any craft beer tour.

VanBrewTour-024

Once inside the brewery the 4 of us headed passed the tasting room to get into the brewery proper and start the tour in earnest.  On the way through you pass though the growler filling room that also holds all of their merchandise.

One of the coolest pieces of information we were given was that not only was is the building that houses this brewery a historic building that housed a brewery way back but they could also cast a fishing rod out the back doors and catch salmon in the now subterranean Brewery Creek.  It is also cool to see all of the casks the brewery has for their in house cask program.  Rachel was very thorough in the description of how beer is brewed right down to what tank the brewing starts in (mash tun) right down to the fermentors and bright tanks.  Seeing as I know the process fairly well I spent more time poking around and taking photos.  Once we had finished the tour of the brewery we headed back to the tasting room to sample a paddle of their beers.  We sampled their Pilsner, Sessional IPA, Brown Ale and their new Belgian Bonsai IPA.  All are solid beer but my favourite by a landslide was the Belgian Bonsai.  Main Street Brewing started out contract brewing at Surrey’s Russell Brewing Company with their Pilsner way before they opened up this brewery.

Once we had finished up at Main Street Brewing we all hopped back into the bus to hit up destination number 2.  Our second brewery was Bomber Brewing located on Adanac street close to Commercial Drive.  The brewery is located in the second hub of brewing in East Vancouver lovingly nicknamed Yeast Van.  Unlike Main Street’s beginnings Bomber Brewing is a true Canadian story.  The owners of Bomber Brewing all played on a beer league hockey team of the same name.  The brewmaster was home brewing for the team when they came up with the idea to open up the brewery.

VanBrewTour-025

We quickly headed into the brewery for our tour.  They had just finished a brew and were cleaning out the mashtun.  Rachel reinforced the brewing process with the other two guests on the tour.  She also pointed out the barrels that are aging beer.  Like many beer drinkers they did not realize that some beer is actually better aged especially on oak.  She went on to explain what styles of beer are great for aging such as imperial stouts, barleywines and sours.  We took a look at the packaging area including their small but efficient canning line.

Once done in the brewery we headed into the tasting room for some samples.  The samples included their Blonde Ale, I Braineater Pumpkin Ale, Extra Special Bitter (ESB) and their new collaboration ale with Stone Brewing in California called Blood From A Stone Red Rye IPA.  Much like the last brewery one of the beer on this tray was a home run and was by far my favourite.  The Blood From A Stone is excellent and I would never turn down a sample or pint of this beer!

Once done at Bomber it was time to leave the city of Vancouver and head over to Burnaby.  Burnaby is the home of the new production brewery for Steamworks Brewing Company.  This brewery is a great opportunity to show the scale differences in craft beer.  Steamworks is one of the largest craft breweries in BC currently.

Steamworksbrew-002

Heading into the brewery it is instantly obvious that Steamworks is nothing like Bomber Brewing or Main Street Brewing Company.  This brewery is bigger than both of those breweries put together!  It is massive.  Not only is it much lager but hey have a few more toys to play with also.  First they have a Hopvac (I think that was the name of it) and this is where they can add large volumes of hops in what they call dry hopping.  They also have a centrifuge which is a style of filter for beer that spins the beer at a high speed and retains the flavour where other filter methods can loose flavour.  Every part of this brewery is just bigger!

When we had finished in the brewery we headed out to the tasting room to have the last of our samples for the tour.  I did not write down the names of the samples at Steamworks but I think they were as follows:  Black IPA, Pale Ale, Blitzen and their Pilsner.  From memory I think that my favourite was the Black IPA.  While enjoying our beer I was able to snap a photo of the two other guests on the tour.

When we were done at the brewery we headed back out to the bus.  I had planted my car at Steamworks Brewing as I had to make it to a play fairly quickly after the tour but the bus takes everyone right back to Waterfront Station.  You can not ask for a better setup as you are able to take transit to the tour and not worry about how you are going to make it home.  While at Main Street Brewing Rachel took a group shot of us which was sent by email to the three of us.  Below is this photo.
VanBrewTour-001

I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone that is into craft beer or wants to learn about it to check out one of these tours.   This tour is good for locals but even better for tourists and out of town guests.  So if you have people coming to town and want to show them a good time this would be a great option.  Check out their website for prices and possible tour dates.

http://vancouverbrewerytours.com/

604-318-2280

Full sized photos can be found here

Nelson Brewing Company – Nelson BC


Nelson BC in the Kootenays have a well known brewery in Nelson Brewing Company.  This iteration of the brewery has been brewing since 1992.  This building does have some interesting history though as the original Nelson Brewing Company started here in 1897.  This original brewery was combined with the 4 breweries operating in the Kootenays in the late 1950’s and was moved to Creston.  If you know Macro beer you will know their current best selling beer…. Kokanee.  Enough of this history lesson for now though as if you are reading this you probably could care less about that brewery or its beer.

NelsonBrewing-001  NelsonBrewing-002

The brewery does not have a tasting room at all but more a waiting room behind the front door.  There is really no reason to come to the brewery unless you have a scheduled pickup or tour arranged.  They are happy to do prearranged tours though if you contact them via their website.

When you walk into the brewery you can really start to see the age of this building.  The building is ancient!  The brewery is a fairly decent size with lots of tanks to brew their beer.  They have a fairly standard bomber (650ml) bottle filler that is pretty labour intensive and a great canning line that is much less labour intensive.  The space may not be fancy but is sure works well as it is making great beer.

While we were on the tour the Brewmaster Mike Kelly brought up the fact that the original brewery at this location was a gravity fed brewery.  With this meant that all the grains used in brewing would have to be loaded onto the roof and then dropped down into the brew system after it was milled.  After we talked a bit about the history of the building and the original brewery Mike decided to take Me and the one other person on the tour to the roof to see where the original brewery started their process.  Today there are actually little tiny loft apartments on the room of the building.  On the way to the roof we also passed through a wood shop that also now resides inside this large old building (there are many tenants).

Taking the rickety old stairs up to the roof was quite something as they are very old and creaky.  It was quite neat seeing the bowels of the building though as it showed even more character.  Once on the roof the view was amazing!  In every direction you saw either mountains or water.  I can totally understand why they now have tiny lofts on the roof!

Once we finished discussing the brewery and the view we headed back down the old stairs to the room at the front of the brewery.  After a short talk I had to take my leave to make my way to my next destination.  I was quite impressed with the brewery and glad I had the chance to stop by and take the tour.

Full sized photos can be found here

Nelson Brewing Company
http://nelsonbrewing.com
512 Latimer Street Nelson B.C. VIL 4T9 Canada     Phone – 250.352.3582
Fax – 250.352.3466