Category Archives: Eating out

Breweries and tasting rooms in GVRD (weird locations outside of Vancouver)

It’s been an year and a bit since I’ve moved to Vancouver, and during that time, the beer scene has just exploded. Now, there’s quite a few numbers of breweries dispersed within the GVRD area, which is a wonderful thing for people who don’t want to ride the bus or skytrain down to Steamworks or Brassneck or Main Street Brewery, and spend an hour sobering up on public transportation.

Now there’s a lot of really good Vancouver based beer blogs out there, so the information here might be pretty redundant. However, I’m going to write it down anyway, more for notekeeping purposes than anything. I didn’t include places east of Surrey, since I haven’t been able to visit them yet. I didn’t include Central City, because I’m lazy.

By the way, I’m in no way qualified to write on something like this. Despite the fact that I consume an ungodly amount of beer, I am by no means a beer snob. I love my craft beers, I have my favorite breweries and yearly releases, but I would happily drink down piss yellow beer. I’m not a critical beer drinker. I love just about anything that’s fizzy and alcoholic.

 

Steel and Oak (Oatmeal Stout and Roggen-weizen from my most recent trip)

1319 Third Ave, New Westminster, BC V3M 1R2

Steel and Oak

 

This place rivals in hipness with Brassneck. Everything looks shiny, or old in the right way, or scuffed in the right way. The owners look hip, the customers look hip, the people working in the tasting room look hip. A meticulously clothed guy got up from his beer every half hour to change the record.

There are no excessive flavors in their beer, no mountains of hops, no overwhelming smokiness, no double-something or imperial-things. However, their beers taste very clean, not muddled, so it’s very easy to pick out the various flavor components that make their beer.

Also, they consistently produce lagers, which is not always the case with Vancouver breweries. It’s a good place to go when you want to drink some lagers, while basking in the pourover-to-order type coffeehouse atmosphere.

Steel and Oak: Oatmeal stout and Roggen-weizen

Four Winds (everything on that board in the picture)

7355 72 St, Delta, BC V4G 1L5Four winds: flights

Four Winds: On tap

This day I waited 30 min to get into a ramen place in Richmond, got a parking ticket, and spent another 10 minutes trying to find my way out of the packed parking area, so going down to Delta to Four Winds was a great relief. Also, you get astonished by how the ration of Asian people suddenly declines as you step outside of Richmond. Except for myself, there were no Asians in Four Winds. I’m still fascinated by the distribution of races within the various areas of GVRD.

Not much to say except that I have yet to hear anyone talk negatively (or even neutrally) about Four Winds. Everybody seems to love it, for good reason. The standards are good (IPA seems to be everybody’s favorite) but I got quite infatuated with the gose and nectarous (sour beer) that day. The space of the tasting room is fairly large (for a tasting room) and the composition of the room makes it feel more like a saloon than a tasting room. That might have been because of the guy playing piano in the corner, though. My opinions and impressions are very easily swayed by singular elements.

Yellow Dog (a flight of all their beers and a glass of Alt)

1-2817 Murray St, Port Moody, BC V3H 1X3

Altbier, Yellow Dog Brewery

 

1. You get to drink inside the brewery. You can eye the fermenters while sipping their beer.

2. The brewery name derives from an animal, and the bone shaped boards for the flights are adorable.

3. Their smoked porter won an award this year, but my favorite is the altbier. Great blend of fruity, yeastiness and malty flavors. It’s also a great beer to drink when you can’t decide if you want a lager or an ale.

Moody Ales (Smoked Porter)

2601 Murray St, Port Moody, BC V3H 3R5

1-DSC_5949

Their tasting room also shares space with the brewery, so on brewing days, you can smell the grains mashing, or the hops boiling in the kettle. The beer styles they offer are pretty standard (IPA, brown ale, and blonde) but the balanced flavors of their beers are quite astonishing. They live up to their name by serving beers that are easily identifiable as ales, with a subtle fruity, yeasty flavor. The highly aromatic (and none too bitter) IPA’s great, the brown is comforting with a bit of a bite from dark grains, but my favorite is the blonde. I know that blondes aren’t the kind of style that you go crazy over, but the complexity that they pack into their blonde while retaining the crispness is just wonderful. This is a great place to get growlers, since it’s hard to get tired or overwhelmed by their beer. Also, they usually have a cask conditioned beer lying around, which gets me always excited.

By the way, Yellow Dog and Moody Ales are about a 5 minute walk from each other. Plan on visiting both.

Dageraad Brewing (Wet hopped blonde, amber, burnabarian, blonde)

3191 Thunderbird Crescent #114, Burnaby, BC V5A 3G1

Dageraad Wet hopped Blonde

Tiny, minuscule tasting room that fits about five people. However, the tasting room is definitely worth visiting, since their burnabarian (Belgian table beer) is only available on draft. The blonde is great (the wet hopped blonde is sublime) and the amber is tasty, but the idea of a not commonly distributed style of table beer on draft just appeals to the geek in me. The small space is also great for the person who demands constant attention. The guys serving there were extremely pleasant, and didn’t tire of my constant questions about bottle conditioning, secondary fermentation, hop use and other stuff.

 

Anyway, visiting the new breweries and tasting rooms around Vancouver, you get the impression that there’s already a regional style taking place despite the newness of the breweries. The beers in Vancouver seem to be much more muted than the bold, hoppy flavors associated with the beers of the Pacific Northwest. The emphasis seems to rest on subtlety, drinkability (possibly since the emergence of the beer scene coincided with the popularity of sessional beers) and tinkering with old styles rather than gutting them out.

 

 

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Filed under Alchoholic stuff, beer, Eating out

To Taiwan and Back

The crappy thing about traveling and taking pictures are that there’s a crapload of pictures that you end up with, unless you’re one of those diligent people who can label and organize stuff while traveling. Well, I didn’t, and I ended up with a ton of pictures of food, and very little memory of what I actually ate. The following are some of the stuff that I actually remember, and hence are literally the “memorable meals” of this trip:

 

Papaya milk from a fruit stand in Taiwan. It’s beauty is a product of simplicity and restraint that is lost when you throw in a bunch of other fruits and vegetables and call it a “smoothie.”

papaya milk

 

 

Grilled pope’s nose from a yakitori place in Taipei. The wonderful thing about Taiwan bbq skewers places are that they have the pope’s nose on the menu. It’s the triangle tail thing that hangs above the chicken’s ass when you buy it whole. So what you see in the picture is about 8 chickens worth. If you think the thigh’s juicy and decadently fatty, you should try this part of the chicken.

Pope's nose: the triangle tail thing on chickens

 

 

A pot of crawfish in a Beijing department store food court. I just wandered in a department store, I don’t recall the name, and I knew I needed to order this dish when I saw another customer eating it. In the course of my meal, about three other groups of people stopped by to look at what I was eating, and ended up ordering the same thing.

The dish tasted wonderful with a large amount of sichuan peppercorns and dried hot peppers. My hands were bruised and cut halfway through, but I kept tearing in, leaving empty crawfish shells as I went.

Pot full of crawfish

 

 

BBQ duck from Yat Lok in Hong Kong. This joint and their duck has been thoroughly explored by other people. I just want to mention the helplessness you feel when you find out that they charge you for tissues (which I know now is customary in Hong Kong) midway through eating your BBQ duck. The sauce clings to your beard like nothing else.

BBQ from Yat Lok

 

 

Oyster noodle soup at a food stand in Chiayi. Rich but refreshing with a splash of black vinegar. The joy you feel when you fish out a bit of pig offal or a small bit of oyster.

06-DSC_5329 Oyster soup noodles

 

 

Scallion pancakes near the Yilan night market. Juggling the pancake between your hands to keep you from burning, and taking bites in between because with the crunchiness and the smell of cooked green onions, waiting it to cool down is not an option.

Scallion pancakes Damn good scallion pancakes

 

 

Stinky tofu soup, in a place near Taipei known for their stinky tofu. It’s quite stinky. Smells and taste like sewage, and I still cannot figure out why I enjoy that taste so much.

Tofu soup

 

 

Ma-la hotpot style stewed stuff (oden) from Family Mart. Who knew that MSG laden, artificial flavoring laced (probably) ma-la tasted so good. I wish convenience store food in North America tasted this good. Gas stations serving good food (such as Oklahoma Joe’s in KC, or fried chicken from Quick Pack Food Mart in Seattle) shouldn’t be the exception, it should be the norm.

Ma-la stew from 7-11.

 

So that was the wonderful trip where I got to eat food that I didn’t make myself. Now I am back in Vancouver, to my mundane existence where most of the food I eat was tossed by my hands in my wok.

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Filed under Eating out, Fish, Food, Travel