Location: Main Street Brewing District
Year Opened: 2014
Flights of Four: Varied (4 oz. tasters go from $1.75-$3)
BC Beer Award Wins: 2014 – North American Ales (Sessional IPA)
Canadian Beer Awards Wins: NA
Main Street were one of the first breweries of Vancouver’s current Beeraissance. In 2012, when the city had yet to legalize tasting rooms, they they were developing a restaurant. But once the city finally opened the floodgates, Main Street threw out their plans and went full-steam ahead with a brewery.
The tasting room, inside in an industrial heritage building, has a gorgeous, spacious interior with 20-foot ceilings + exposed brick walls, and has the closest feeling to a German beer garden (with trees coming out of the tables), with the lyrical romanticism of strung twinkle lights.
And while they ditched the restaurant concept, the food they do serve – a nice mix of appetizers like hummus and wings – puts the pepperoni sticks and cheese-based snacks of competitors to shame. They could serve swill and you’d still have a wonderful evening, which is why they were ranked 3rd best experience.
But they don’t serve swill: thanks to their spacious brewing capacity, Main Street makes pretty much everything, and pretty much everything is good. Their diversity is always on show at their tasting room where they have four taps dedicated to one-off casks, a sure sign there’s always something new to try.
Although Main Street at times struggles with consistency (the rare beer is just off), they always have experiments that will floor you. The Westminster Brown and the Cantus Fermus sours are the best in their categories – a huge achievement in a city overrun with phenomenal sours- but if you want a simple marzen or pilsner, Main Street will happily serve up a clean and unflashy offering too.
While their tasting room is always innovative and interesting, we wish their growler station would do more than recycle the same tepid stock list. For a brewery in a walkable area, there’s drive to improve when patrons can walk around the corner to somewhere else.
And often, they do: Main Street doesn’t get the plaudits of rival Brassneck, or even 33 Acres, when conversations are had about the best beer in Vancouver’s Main Street Brewing District, and it’s much easier to get in as a result. Still, since opening their beer has increased remarkably in quality. With a bit more refinement, they can capitalize on their space to outshine their more adored neighbours.
But if they don’t, we definitely won’t complain about the shorter lineups.
Quality: 15.1/20 (11th)
Standout: 3.3/5 (21st)
Diversity: 6.5/10 (13th)
Innovation: 3.5/5 (10th)
Experience: 8.8/10 (3rd)
TOTAL: 37.1 (5th)