Location: East Vancouver
Year Opened: 2015
Flights of Four: $8
Recent BC Beer Award Wins: NA
Recent Canadian Beer Awards Wins: 2016 – Herb and Spice Beer (Raj Mahal India Ale), English Style Pale Ale (Classic Pale Ale)
By all rights, this should be higher.
Off The Rail has only been around for two years, but has gotten a decent following in the crowded east Van brewing scene. Their Raj Mahal India Ale is well-liked. Their offerings are fairly plentiful. Their space is bright and Instagram-worthy.
And yet, none of the experiences our team had with it were good. Multiple trips to the tasting room resulted in seeing a long list of beers that weren’t actually being served that day. Those that were available — usually a series of IPAs, ales and lagers — were often indistinguishable from each other. The Raj Mahal stands out more for its inoffensive drinkability (and vaguely offensive colonialist allusions) than any particular flavour.
There’s a core generic feeling to their operation, and we’re left wondering what exactly Off The Rail wants to do, or be, long-term. No, not everyone in Yeast Van can have the meteoric rise of Parallel 49 or the consistency of Powell Street or the quirkiness of Callister, and yes, this city is incredibly spoiled for great places to drink, but concrete flooring, high wooden tables, and slightly passable ales shouldn’t be enough to impress anyone in 2017, especially if you have the resources they clearly do.
Let’s hope Off The Rail is better than the half-dozen times we collectively checked it out in 2016 — to not be would the waste of a great space and a lot of effort.
Quality: 11.7/20 (27th)
Standout: 2.2/5 (36th)
Diversity: 3.5/10 (40th)
Innovation: 1.6/5 (39th)
Experience: 6/10 (29th)
TOTAL: 25.0 (38th)