Spring weather combined with the growing number of breweries in Vancouver is creating perfect conditions to embark on a local brewery tour, says On the Coast's beer columnist Rebecca Whyman.
But if the words "brewery tour" bring to mind a party bus full of drunken youths, think again. Whyman has plenty of suggestions to get from place to place at a leisurely (and more sober) pace.
She suggests starting in East Vancouver, where there are several breweries in a relatively small area.
If you prefer to plot your own course ahead of time, there are a couple of handy online guides.
- B.C. Magazine's Ultimate Vancouver Craft Beer Brewery List names all the breweries in Metro Vancouver
- Hoppy Ending has a map of all the Vancouver breweries
- Beer Me B.C. has a map of all B.C. breweries
Also, the East Village Brewery & Distillery Self Guided Tour is a map with a suggested itinerary of five breweries and a distillery, plus some food options along the way.
Running? Between beer stops?
That's right. There is at least one running group in Vancouver, the East Van Run Crew, that runs to breweries, pubs and restaurants.
Whyman says it's a very efficient use of time to fit in a workout during social drinking, not to mention a way to net out your calories at zero!
If you're looking to fill growlers on your stops, you might prefer to cycle between breweries. With so many bike routes in Vancouver, it's a great way to get from brewery to brewery. Just make sure you're watching your consumption to stay under the legal limit.
You can plan a tour yourself by using an online map, or let someone else do the planning. Cycle Vancouver offers a guided tour of three Vancouver breweries. They'll also provide you with a bicycle if you don't have one of your own.
For a less physically active afternoon of brewery hopping, there's the always entertaining and informative Vancouver Brewery Tour, which will chauffeur you to three breweries, where you get a tour and samples.
Also, Wildside Vancouver is a new shuttle service linking several areas: North Vancouver, East Vancouver and Main Street. The shuttle runs every Saturday in 90-minute intervals with more frequent loops as the evening progresses.
All stops are also very close to several other breweries and pubs so you can shuttle the longer distances and then walk to all the nearby beer.