Location: Downtown Vancouver
Year Opened: 1995
BC Beer Award Wins: 2017 – Amber Ale (Heroica Red), 2016 – BEST IN SHOW (Flagship IPA), Kolsch, Scottish/Irish Ales (Classic Scotch), 2014 – Pilsner, Hybrid (Kolsch)
Canadian Beer Awards Wins: 2017 – American-Style Black Ale (Black Angel IPA), French/Belgian Style Saison (East of East Dageraad Collab), 2015 – North American Amber Ale (Heroica Red Ale), 2013 – Fruit Beer (Pumpkin Ale)
Rank in Vancouver: 9th place (out of 25)
Rank in Metro Vancouver: 20th place (out of 48)
Rank in Southwestern B.C.: 36th place (out of 77)
It’s comforting to know that in this era of Peak Beer, Old Man Steamworks can still throw down with the best of them, winning the Best in Show in the B.C. Beer Awards in 2016 for their Flagship IPA.
The award was deserved: it’s a big fruity hoppy concoction that is quickly got imitated locally at dozens of breweries, 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.
Your better bet is to go to their Burnaby location — while the beers are the same, the atmosphere is more open, with a big truck and shuffleboard table among the visual delights.
So while we wish 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: 12.4/20 (46th)
Standout: 3.8/5 (22nd)
Diversity: 6.8/10 (22nd)
Innovation: 3.1/5 (27th)
Experience: 6.8/10 (46th)
TOTAL: 32.8 (36th)
Categories: Brewery Rankings