R&B has a really, really fantastic space. Thoughtful design, very relaxed ambience, accommodating space: R&B is the all-purpose, well-loved hoodie of the brewery scene. One of the oldest breweries in Vancouver, it hit hard times when the new wave of breweries smothered its uncomplicated, undemanding market share.
Recently bought out by Howe Sound with an intention to save the brand, they made a large investment to give R&B a new, proper tasting room and the labour of love is obvious. Undoubtedly, it’s one of the best breweries to just chill in.
Unfortunately, none of this praise falls on their beers. They have so many! It’s incredible how few of their beers are good! Even when you’re on your third flight of the evening — because $5 is a great deal — and in a generous mood to find one standout, R&B disappoints in its blandness.
As a result, there’s only one other brewery in Metro Vancouver with a greater disparity between the quality of the experience and the quality of their beer. If this is a result of Howe Sound managing at arms’ length, we’re keen to see how much rope R&B are given. Simply creating as many beers as possible is (un)surprisingly not producing many keepers.
That being said, definitely go: they’re not really breaking the mold with any beer — perhaps for the better till they find their paces – but they have checked off most styles year-round, including uncommon ones, and you’re bound to find at least one beer that you can stick to each time you go. Their cask beers were pretty disappointing, but the Vienna lager and the (ambitious) gose are decent.
If and when they can get a few killer beers, this brewery will rocket up the rankings but until then, just go with an open heart.
Quality: 10.7/20 (32nd)
Standout: 1.6/5 (41st)
Diversity: 6.2/10 (16th)
Innovation: 1.8/5 (37th)
Experience: 8.3/10 (5th)
TOTAL: 28.6 (30th)