I: Why are you doing this?
Because there are so many breweries in this part of the world now, and some are great and some are good and some should be avoided, but it’s hard to know which is which unless
you have damaged your liver are a seasoned expert, and we’d like to share our expertise with you.
Because we all have arguments over which breweries are better in our fair province, and those arguments should happen on the Internet — specifically, my dumb novelty website.
Because the craft beer scene in British Columbia continues to grow and grow, and this project should grow and grow with it.
Because drinking with friends and arguing is fun.
Which is why in 2017, our group of Millennials expanded our list of breweries we reviewed and rated from the original 42 in Metro Vancouver to 77 across southwest B.C., including:
- All breweries in the Fraser Valley
- All breweries in Greater Victoria
- All breweries in the Sunshine Coast/Sea-to-Sky region
- And of course, every brewery in Metro Vancouver
II: How are things scored?
There’s a way-too-long explanation about this project and the people behind it and the value system and all that jazz on the main landing page for this project, so I’ll try and summarize things quickly.
Each brewery is scored out of 50 points. To be eligible for the list, they need to have been opened by July 1 of the previous year, so the brewery has time to iron out its kinks and we have enough time to visit afterwards (which means Beere in North Vancouver, Mariner in Coquitlam and East Vancouver Brewing Co. in, ahem, East Vancouver aren’t included).
People’s ratings are based on trips to the brewery where tasters are consumed, but can be modified after the fact. The five metrics are:
- QUALITY — 20 points: how do the beers generally taste? If someone had their growler at a party, but you didn’t know the exact beer, would you mock them? (Under 10 points) Shrug your shoulders? (Exactly 10 points) Be generally positive? (Over 10 points) Endorse their choice? (Over 14 points) Try and steal their growler? (Over 17 points)
- STANDOUT — 5 points: Do you have a favourite beer from the brewery? Do you think it’s good enough to give it a few bonus points because otherwise the quality is inconsistent? Do you want to knock it down a peg because everything is good but nothing is memorable? Here was the place to do it.
- DIVERSITY — 10 points: How many selections do they have in the tap room? Most places have a mix of IPAs/lagers/ales, with 2-4 seasonals and signature beers thrown in … how much deviation is there from that?
- INNOVATION — 5 points: Do they put their own spin on beers? Have they been leaders or followers in local trends? What does the company do that is different (and valuable) than others in the market?
- EXPERIENCE — 10 points: How did you feel coming away from the tasting room? Was it fun? Had thought been put into the design and overall branding? Was sitting at the bench and enjoying the atmosphere more worthwhile than grabbing a growler (or bottle from the local liquor store) and getting out of there?
Every place has been visited at least four people. Average of everyone’s score is the total. A score below 25 is bad. A score above 32 is good. A score above 36 is very good. A score above 39 is elite.
Overall, our measurements reward breweries that do beers which are both well crafted and relatively unique, breweries that regularly experiment and aren’t stuck in 2013, breweries that provide an interesting experience to a visitor, breweries that seem passionate, first and foremost, about beer.
Which is to say, if you’re the type of person who loves a brewery because it has six things on tap for years and one of them is your all-time favourite and they’re distributed far and wide and they have a great Instagram account, you might disagree with our metrics.
And that’s cool! In which case, we invite you to a) look at how things are ranked on the individual categories, b) come up with your own detailed metric and travel the province with friends to compare each place.
(One of these is a serious suggestion; one is not)
III: Anything else?
Is it subjective? Absolutely. A little silly? By definition. Unfair to rate something based on, in some cases, just one or two experiences? Yep! Are some of the scores in the individual categories objectively wrong? Probably!
But at worse, we think this list is a great argument starter. At worst, we hope it’ll be a decent guide. And if it doesn’t do either…well, we drank (mostly) a lot of tasty beer we otherwise wouldn’t had tried, so we don’t have any regrets.
So without further rambling, here are the ratings of (nearly) every brewery in Metro Vancouver.
(Click on the name to read the individual review)
|49||Steel Toad (RIP)||18.8|
|48||Hastings Mill/Pat’s Pub||20.0|
|46||White Rock Brewing||20.3|
|44||Off The Rail||25.0|
|31||White Rock Beach Beer||30.0|
|VERY GOOD TIER|
|9||Steel & Oak||36.79|
|8||Fuggles & Warlock||36.83|
Categories: Brewery Rankings