Location: Downtown Vancouver
Year Opened: 1995
Flights of Four: $8
BC Beer Award Wins: 2016 – BEST IN SHOW (Flagship IPA), Kolsch, Scottish/Irish Ales (Classic Scotch), 2014 – Pilsner, Hybrid (Kolsch)
Canadian Beer Awards Wins: 2015 – North American Amber Ale (Heroica Red Ale), 2013 – Fruit Beer (Pumpkin Ale)
It’s comforting to know that in the year 2016, Old Man Steamworks can still throw down with the best of them, winning the Best in Show in the B.C. Beer Awards for their Flagship IPA.
The award is deserved: it’s a big fruity hoppy concoction that is already getting imitated locally, and speaks to the fact that, 21 years on, Steamworks can still surprise.
Those surprises don’t happen often though, because for the most part Steamworks is content to be what it is: a large-scale microbrewery in a beautiful setting appealing to a mass market with a dependable mix of drinkable beers.
Which isn’t to damn them with faint praise! Operating their flagship location across from the Waterfront SkyTrain line system, they have to sell a lot of beer to make their brewpub a financial success, and they do. While it’s not the most charming of oversized locations to drink a beer, you can always find a space to sit down and enjoy one of their many mainstays (Pilsner, Jasmine IPA, Kolsch, etc.), or one of their regular seasonals (White Winter Stout, Pumpkin Ale, Frambozen), which, if we’re being honest tend to be much better.
Sure, we wish the food was better and cheaper, the beers they’re good at making weren’t sold out so often, and the beers they heavily distribute were less one-note, but all told, they’re still one of the best places to grab a drink in Downtown Vancouver … especially if someone else is paying.
Quality: 12.2/20 (19th)
Standout: 3.8/5 (12th)
Diversity: 6.8/10 (12th)
Innovation: 3.1/5 (15th)
Experience: 6.7/10 (21st)
TOTAL: 32.6 (17th)