Vancouver’s Craft Beer Boom: 5 Vancouver Craft Breweries to Visit Now

Image: Four Winds Brewing

Image: Four Winds Brewing

Bring it on, Portland. Look out, Seattle. Vancouver is riding a sudsy craft beer wave. A slew of new craft breweries have opened doors in the last year; more are on their way. Want to sip the best locally made brewskis? Use this roundup of the top 5 craft breweries in Vancouver now:

Image: Red Racer growler

Image: Red Racer growler

5 Vancouver Craft Breweries to Visit Now

1. Brassneck Brewing
Founded by the Alibi Room’s legendary Nigel Springthorpe and former Steamworks brewmaster Conrad Gmoser, Brassneck is our top pick. They perform in every category: creative brews, session ales, ruggedly handsome brewery/tasting room design and friendly guest-staff relations. This season, try the Inertia” Imperial Stout and the Spirit of DIXmas” IPA. If you’re hungry, order at the food truck stationed outside and carry it in. The brewery will assist with your beer pairing. Brassneck, which is British slang for “just put your head down and do it,” has done it. And done it well.

2. 33 Acres Brewing Co.
This stark, design-conscious East Van watering hole is more than just another pretty hipster face. The beers, especially 33 Acres of Hale, an American Rye Ale, stand up to the hype. The white and black ceramic growlers, handcrafted in Portland, are impossible to keep in stock. And though there is always a food truck stationed outside, we’re most excited about their regular pop-ups: from waffle and beer breakfasts to an in-tasting-room barber.

3. Parallel 49 Brewing
The awe-inspiring craft beers from this upstart are already in high demand in the US. Why? With fun names (think Hopparazzi and Ugly Sweater Milk Stout) and flavour profiles ranging from mesmerizing to refined, you cannot order the wrong beer.  Head to their East Van tasting room to sample beers from the taps, purchase bottles, or get your growler filled with fresh draft.

4. Central City Brewers
They’ve been around for 10 years, but this two-time BC brewer of the year just opened a brand-spanking-new 65,000 sq. ft. facility in Surrey that houses a full production line for beer and spirits, as well as a tasting room and retail store. Central City, the brew pub turned mega-brand known for its award-winning Red Racer line, is always pouring something special for the season. You just have to visit the shiny new brewery to taste it.

5. Four Winds Brewing
This small craft brewery opened in Delta, BC in spring 2013 and has since gone on to amaze craft beer aficionados with some truly world-class releases. The focus here is on West Coast riffs on Belgian and German-style beers.  Their biggest coup to date is the “froth at the mouth amaze-balls” Saison Brett—a spin on the classic Belgian farmhouse ale.

Interested in getting more involved in the craft beer action? Browse craft brewing equipment for sale on Kijiji. Check the Vancouver bar, food & hospitality jobs posted in Kijii for a chance to learn from the local experts.

Five Vancouver Bars to Enjoy Cocktails

Cocktail Bars

There are days when a pint of beer or glass of wine will do, and there are others were a stiff drink is needed. Luckily, cocktail culture has been on the rise in Vancouver over the past few years, and now there are a handful of restaurants and bars that are just as well known for food as they are for drink. If you’re planning a night out in Vancouver, be sure to stop by one of the spots below for a proper cocktail.

UVA Wine Bar

Don’t be fooled by its name—UVA Wine Bar is one of the best gems in the city to grab a cocktail. Lauren Mote leads a team of creative bartenders, whipping up original creations while also paying homage to the classics. The cocktails here are inventive and complex but go down incredibly smooth. Mote knows a thing or two about perfecting a balanced beverage—she is also co-proprietor of Bittered Sling Extracts, a line of craft bitters showcased in drinks at UVA and many other top bars across North America.

The Diamond

Over-looking Gastown’s main square, The Diamond is one of Vancouver’s most popular water holes.  The room itself feels cozy, with exposed brick walls, vintage chandeliers, and a variety of seating options for solo drinkers and larger groups. With one of the largest cocktail menus in the city, chances are you’ll find something here that you like.

Hawksworth Restaurant

At one of Vancouver’s most celebrated fine-dining restaurants, Hawksworth Restaurant, is a bar that is earning its own well-deserved reputation. The cocktail bar and lounge is led by head bartender Cooper Tardivel, a man whose personal mantra is: “You’re only as good as your last drink”. Cocktails here feel nostalgic—appropriate for its historic Rosewood Hotel Georgia setting—but creative. Over 25 cocktails are divided by spirit, whether its whiskey, tequila, gin, or sparkling wine you’re after.

Upstairs at Campagnolo

Steps from the Main Street skytrain station, the recently opened Upstairs room above Italian restaurant Campagnolo is a fun, intimate drinking den. Fans of chef and owner Robert Belcham’s work will find memorabilia and photos from his past restaurants decorating the walls. Here, bar manager Peter Van de Reep has crafted a list of about a dozen cocktails that include classics and barrel-aged concoctions. Settle into one of the bar’s worn-in leather seats and enjoy a stiff drink.

Granville Room

This Granville Street staple reinvented itself not along ago to focus on craft cocktails. The Donnelly Group’s flagship location, Granville Room, boasts an extensive list of beverages. Find the classics here—including ones that date back to the 1800s—as well as modern creations by bar staff. Cask-strength cocktails offer imbibers a selection of drinks that are as potent as they are flavourful.

Set up a proper bar at home by stocking up on cocktail glasses, martini shakers, and your favourite spirits, liqueurs, and bitters. Sign up for a bartending class to refine your cocktail-making skills. Think you’ve got what it takes to work the wood? Apply for a job at one of Vancouver’s top restaurants and bars.


Why all Canadians should take a field trip to Fort Langley National Historic Site

You could say Fort Langley National Historic Site is where British Columbia was born. You could also say it is an exemplary example of a historic case where people of all different nationalities and backgrounds came together in cooperation to produce something great.

If you ask me, I’d say it is where us REAL Canadians do our fur trading, blanket weaving, barrel making, canoe sailing, blacksmithing, cranberry preserving and gold panning.

Or at least where we used to do it. Like over a hundred and fifty years ago.

Wait, actually, I take that back. All that stuff, and more, is still done at Fort Langley! Ok, ok, it’s all make-believe, but equally as cool.

Today, you can go there and see people in costume teaching you how to be that REAL Canadian. It’s like that movie Night at the Museum, only it’s oh so Canadian…plus the action takes place in broad daylight under open skies.


A little history to get us started

Fort Langley started when the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), then owned by the Brits, wanted to expand, as most businesses do. Moving to the West Coast would give them access to the Pacific Ocean, where they could participate in international trade. That meant Canada would have connections to sell and receive goods from all over the world! Sounds like a common thing for us nowadays, but if you think of the transport that was available to them at the time, this was gonna be big.

So they sent 25 guys from different backgrounds to the West. They were, “British, Hawaiian, French Canadian, Metis and Iroquios” according to one of the site’s museum labels. Their mission: set up a profitable, world-class trading post.


But let’s back up a little bit here.

Before the men arrived with business pursuits, the Coast Salish First Nations people had been in the area doin’ their trading with Europeans for about 40 years. When the men who worked with the Hudson’s Bay Company came sailing up this alley, they were in for a surprise. They had two big problems:

#1 - They didn’t know how to survive here. So we have a bit of history that you don’t often hear about: the Indians and the Europeans getting along.

#2 - They needed to get the Aboriginals to like them. And what better way to do that than by marrying Aboriginal ladies!

The Coast Salish people helped the Europeans survive by giving them food (like salmon and cranberries), clothing (like fur), and helping them deliver their letters, navigate their way around the area and working on farms.

The HBC people repaid them in kind by marrying their women, to form family ties. In other words, the same rules that apply today applied back then; if your in-laws need something from you (like fur or riffles), you give it to them. It was a win-win situation that worked both ways…I guess…


Photo description (above): Demonstration and story telling of a Fur Trade Wedding with audience participants. The man in the HBC colours is – you guessed it, an HBC “groom,” about to marry an “Indian princess.”

And thus, the Fur Trade on the West Coast was kicked into full action.

In 1827 Fort Langley was built, and that was when we had a nice little, one-room department store (minus the perfume counters and haute couture – this was no Mr. Selfridge TV show set). Money was not the only form of payment it accepted. You could walk in with some salmon or bear skins and get a blanket, or tobacco, or something…I don’t actually know what the value of anything was, but you get the idea – a barter economy was in swing. Mirrors and ribbons could also be had from the Hudson’s Bay Company, and were considered to be novel luxuries. Imagine how many canoes or furs it would take to buy a ribbon!



Photo description (above two photos): The things you could trade for at the HBC store in Fort Langley.

Then in 1858 came the Fraser River Gold Rush. And they were all like, “fur is so 1827,” so they stopped doing that. Instead, they went into the supply business for miners.


Photo description (above): You can experience the gold rush for yourself by panning for gold at Fort Langley National Historic Site!

But the cool thing is that people lived here. And that’s why Fort Langley National Historic site is so cool to see. You enter into the lives of the men and women that ran businesses, did their blacksmithing, dyed fabric for clothing, got married for fur (or whatever), washed clothes, spun wool into thread, and all sorts of things.

So let’s go on a photo tour!

Defending our stash

When you first enter Fort Langley National Historic site, the most noticeable thing you’ll encounter are very, very large walls made of wood poles. And a defence post. So you find out pretty quickly that they had to take care of keepin’ the homeland safe from intruders because, man, those walls were not meant for climbing. And even if they wanted to, the watchmen could see them from afar…minus all the trees in the way. (Believe it or not, this was a time when the Brits were afraid the U.S. would play a little bit of real-life battleship with us, especially when they found gold).


Photo description (above): Defended by tall walls and an observation tower to scout out ye ‘ol enemies!

Showin’ off our cribs

The museum-like fort was once in real operation, and the buildings demonstrate where money was spent – only where money was had. So the Hudson’s Bay Company Store was painted white and so was the governor’s house, but other than that, the insides and outsides of the houses where people lived were dark and gloomy and really not all that big. Makes you wonder what the price of real estate was back then, if we think it’s bad today.



Photo description (above): Walking into the show-and-tell demo houses, you can see the stark difference in how the rich lived and how the poor(er) lived by their dining tables and bedrooms. If your bed was in the same room as the kitchen, well, you knew what socioeconomic background you came from I guess!


Photo description (above): The Hudson’s Bay Company Store can be seen here externally, as well as a structure that, at first, makes you a little creeped out. But then you realize it was for pressing packages together (psych!). You can also see a canoe, which was traded for goods, as well as a board that shows how much the Coast Salish people influenced our Canadian English. Except I don’t think they taught us “eh.” Or maybe they did. I don’t know.

A full barrel meant a full stomach and a blacksmith meant…stuff made of iron

The barrels made at Fort Langley were crucial. They had to preserve food that was meant to travel as far as Hawaii. For example, cranberries were needed year-round to help prevent scurvy. And salmon also needed saving, otherwise, ewww, that smell would get gross.


Where did they get their tools? Why, at the blacksmith shop of course! And if you go there, and learn how to barter, you might walk away with a neat twisty thing made of iron, handed to you by a 19th Century blacksmith!


Canadians knew how to downsize

During B.C. Day you might see a lot of tents set up to showcase how people lived in the 1800s when fur trading was all the rage. Whether or not the tents are replicas of real life living situations back then or not, they sure do look real!


Washing clothes the old fashioned way, with hands of strength and luuuv

If you thought laundry was a Saturday bummer thing to do, wait till you try hand scrubbing and roll pressing your clothes, then handing them to dry outside. Come on, you’re Canadian, you can do it! The demonstrators will let you try it yourself, and you can watch a motherly-figure take coals out of a fire to put in her clothes iron. That’s right, irons were not for straightening hair ladies, nor would you have wanted to use them for that purpose. They were heated up with coal. Who needs electricity anyway?


Using pee to preserve fabric dye is like being a resourceful Canadian

If you wanted to wear anything other than white in the 1800s, you had to have it dyed. It was done by ladies like these, who would use a solution that was preserved by peeing in it. Ew gross, I know, but this is the price we pay for fashion ladies. They couldn’t let any air in the jar, and that one jar you see below could dye tons and tons of fabric. The fabric would come out a green-ish colour, but the solution would oxidize until it turned a really dark blue. Watch the transformation!


If you get the chance to see this in real life, I strongly recommend video recording it, to watch the transformation as it gradually changes before your eyes. Don’t have a video camera? Get one on Kijiji Classifieds!

Learning what family life was all about – cooperation!

There were some serious duties to be done during the Fur Trade, other than trading. Who was going to cut firewood, spin wool into thread or help ma and pa? And what about the veggies that needed picking or the animals that needed feeding? Think you have too many chores now? Think again! No PlaysSation-Sega-Genesis-Xbox-Nintento-thingamajig for you kids!



It’s story time

Who doesn’t love a good story? I sure do. The Fort Langley National Historic Site has several demonstrations and story-telling hours where they cover topics of a wide range that delve deep into the Fur Trade. Finding out about the role of women in the Fur Trade (and how they would be abandoned by husbands who would go back to Britain, to the wife and kids they left behind over there), or the general politics and culture of the area at the time. What would people give as gifts? What were peoples’ occupations? How were plants or music used in the home and in ceremonies by Aboriginals? What earned you respect? How did business get done? It’s all told in small story time sessions.


Let’s eat, fur trading style!

What is a Fur Trade experience without some historic food, am I right? One of the buildings on the site has been turned into a café called the Full Barrel Café and it serves food that was eaten 150 years ago. Yes, you can buy bannock bread and chilli with maple in it. And if you just want scones and coffee you can have that too! Are you served by someone in one of those neat costumes? You bet you are!  This is a 360-degree, all-round museum-come-to-life experience!


Make a Canadian vacation out of it!

When you make it out to Fort Langley National Historic Site, it will feel like you drove a long way to get to the middle of nowhere. But fear not! There is lots to do in the area, and if you are vacationing, you can get a vacation rental nearby, just outside the town, via Kijiji Classifieds! Aside from other historical sites and a quaint town nestled next to the Fort, there is a shopping mall not terribly far away. If you really want to get to downtown Vancouver, you can make a day trip out of it. You’ll be in between city and country on the beautiful West Coast!

Also, did you know you can spend the night at the fort? Yes! I know! It’s insane, but true. And yes, you’ll have access to showers. This historic site, which is part of Parks Canada, offers a program called oTENTik where families or groups can stay in tent-cabin hybrid structures for reasonable rates. It is a great experience to feel like you’re part of a fur trading mission!

Take your time, try the activities, listen to the stories and most of all, feel what it’s like to be part of Canada’s history!

Photo credits: All images used with permission by Joyce Grace


Fashion Fix: How to Update Your Wardrobe on a Budget

Photo credit: Flickr user love maegan

Photo credit: Flickr user love maegan

So you’re bored with your look. But cold weather is here to stay for another few months. On top of that, it’s time to start planning sharp outfits for the endless string of holiday parties ahead. How do you hit the refresh button on your wardrobe without spending a lot of money? Here are some easy tricks and quick tips to update your fall/winter look on the cheap.

Photo credit: Flickr user Ashi.Ko

Photo credit: Flickr user Ashi.Ko

How to Update Your Wardrobe on a Budget

1) Shop for gently used or vintage clothing on Kijiji. There are many stylish folks who are also budget-conscious and looking to sell their clothes, accessories and shoes in order to clear their closets and go shopping once again. Brands ranging from J.Crew and Aritzia to Marc Jacobs and Hermes are for sale on Kijiji. Consider selling a few items of your own to earn cash to buy new pieces.

2) Change your lipstick. This seemingly small move can transform your entire look and quite possibly, your ‘tude. If you’re using a demure nude or peachy lipstick, opt for an in-your-face, bright red. You might also try this season’s hot colour: plum wine. If you’re already going bold, shift to subtle flesh tones and play up smoky eyes and blushed cheeks.

3) Spruce up what you have. Dry clean your coats. Polish your boots. Get your purses repaired. When was the last time they received special treatment? It adds a touch of class. You may even understand how elated your car feels after it takes a spin in the car wash.

4) Focus on accessories. Rather than spending big bucks on lots of clothes, take a look at the accessories trends for fall/winter 2013 and invest small in one or two items. Whether it’s a pair of hot over-the-knee boots, a leopard belt, a chain handbag, a heavy-weight pear collar necklace or a blingtastic Gatsby headband, a statement-making accessory can be the focal point of your look. Save more money by browsing for pre-loved boots, handbags and jewellery on Kijiji.

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Whistler Blackcomb: All Hail Caesar

Over 350 million Caesars are consumed in Canada annually and quite a few go down on Whistler Blackcomb. Christine’s, sat at the top of the Whistler Gondola, is infamous for its bouquet style garnishes, while the Garibaldi Lift Company (GLC) at the bottom of the mountain wins with meat lovers. Both bars boast impressive sun blessed patios, and great views of the mountains but who serves up the best Caesar? Well it comes down to the garnishes. Christine’s serves theirs with a Landjager sausage, which means “country hunter” – very apt, as well as a fresh lime wheel, olives, spicy bean and a pickled red hot cherry pepper. The GLC adds a touch of Canada with a slice of crispy bacon and a Banderilla skewer with a sour gherkin, red pepper, pearl onion and olive. The choice is yours…

The GLC’s Caesar

1 Oz Smirnoff Vodka

5 Oz Clamato Juice

Splash of Worchestshire

Splash of Tabasco

1 Spicy Bean

Banderilla Skewer- (sour gherkin, red pepper, pearl onion. olive)

1 Slice of crispy Bacon

Slice of Lemon

Slice of Lime

Cracked Pepper

Christine’s Caesar

Salted rimmed pint glass

Fill it to the top with ice

1 oz of Kettle one Vodka

1 tea spoon of horse radish

Squeeze of fresh lime

1oz of Christine’s Secret sauce

And then topped up with Clamato Juice

Garnished with a  fresh lime wheel, a slice of Landjager sausage, two olives, a spicy bean and a pickled red hot cherry pepper