24 Hours in Vancouver, BC

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With a winter storm warning in full effect, plans to head to the mountains and let our nearly three-year-old daughter make snow angels and build a snowman for the first time were unfortunately shelved. Suddenly, and without warning, we visited Priceline.com and found a four-star hotel in downtown Vancouver for a reasonable rate. “Let’s all jump in the car, drive to Vancouver, drink beer, eat food and swim in the hotel swimming pool,” we said. “If we’re lucky, we’ll get out of there without paying for that parking ticket we got the time before last!”

Vancouver is just 180 minutes away, and it seems like an hour of that is the border crossing and drive into downtown Vancouver itself, as—as far as I can tell—there isn’t an avenue into downtown that isn’t hindered with several dozen stop lights. What I mean to say is, you get there pretty fast from Seattle.

With only a limited amount of time to plan beer destinations (i.e., how much can I google while my wife is in the shower?) I had a short list topped by pretty darn new Brassneck Brewery. Maybe Parallel 49 if possible. And Alibi Room alone in the evening, or in the morning for brunch with the family. And, well, if we happened to be nearby my “favorite” liquor stores (or just had to kill some time), I’d have to stop in and see what’s available…

Saturday

Lunch: Burgoo Bistro. Fought with Adelaide, who would not eat her grilled cheese. The grilled cheese was delicious! I had one and a bowl of tomato soup. I believe I had a pint of R&B Raven Cream Ale, which was serviceable (and priced right).

And, well, Brewery Creek was right across the street. I couldn’t not pick up a Drie Fonteinen Oude Geuze when it was right there asking me to, for under $10.

Just up the street: Brassneck Brewery. About seven beers on tap, three of which were saisons: standard, brett and black. We got a “bat” of four tasters, adding their Inertia imperial stout to the three saisons available. The standard saison was wonderful. The saison brett was quite good as well. Black saisons may not be my thing. The imperial stout was outstanding—I purchased a 1L growler and brought home a fill of it. We did grab another taster of their Passive Aggressive ale, also quite good. The space was inviting and surprisingly comfortable. All wood, concrete and metal. The aesthetic worked, and went well with the beers. As would be the case everywhere we went, service was very friendly.

Then, to the hotel. Maybe they’ll let us check in a little early. A child asleep in the car, a wife checking in at the hotel. An abbreviated nap.

An early dinner. Where to go? What will the kid actually eat? The Mexican, which we’d been to our last time in Vancouver. Yes, The Mexican it is. Refried beans to die for.

Might as well walk by Viti, since we’re nearby. We need a beer to drink while we’re confined to the hotel with Adelaide asleep alone in the king-size bed anyway. Viti, where is your Cantillon? Oh well, I’ll check 16th St Liquor Store tomorrow if possible. This Phillips Brewing Black Jackal imperial coffee stout sounds like a nice beer to end the night with.

We’ll drink it after we swim in the pool.

Sunday

And then we’ll swim in the pool again in the morning. Gotta get our money’s worth. A scone from Starbucks for Adelaide. If we kill some time, we can brunch at Alibi Room.

So we cross the Lions Gate Bridge to browse at my favorite Vancouver liquor store. Fantôme, Cantillon and Four Winds Saison Brett to go. I hand my wife a $20 bill as a peace offering.

A few minutes early we pull into a parking spot right in front of Alibi Room and wait for the door to open. It’s been raining the entire trip. First in the door for brunch. Why not get a Benny? I’m on vacation; I usually only eat my eggs scrambled. We did a fine job convincing Adelaide to eat the Canadian bacon. A Four Winds IPA and then a small pour of Howe Sound’s Woolly Bugger (which was an excellent English style barleywine).

Well, if we go to Parallel 49 on the way out of town, Adelaide may actually fall asleep for a nap on our drive. OK. First in the door here as well. But people trickle in one or two at a time behind us, filling growlers and picking up bottles of a barrel-aged imperial stout just released in bottles Friday. Fortuitous timing. I might have to grab a bottle myself. But first, a $3.50 taster tray: Lord of the Hops, Salty Scot, Dave’s Doppelbock, Ugly Sweater Milk Stout. Wow, that’s a good doppelbock. Nicole wants another, and she’s not driving, and it’s $1 and I want another sip anyway. Oh, so that’s why it’s so good: six months in bourbon barrels. I think I will take a bottle of that barrel-aged imperial stout as well.

Bye Vancouver!

Bye Canada!

See you next time!