Vancouver is an outdoor-friendly city with a love for craft beer. The city keeps impeccably maintained bicycle trails, and it’s easy to make the ride among Vancouver, North Vancouver, and East Vancouver. These regions are also hubs for local breweries—which means that biking is both a great way to see this side of Canada and an efficient mode of transit for a brewery tasting tour.
Most breweries in the area serve five-ounce samples, but it’s still a good idea to pace yourself. Stop at only a couple breweries in each location and save the others for another day. Here, a packed, 20-mile tour for you to mix and match to create your own perfect breweries-by-bike tasting tour.
Start at Stanley Park, the famous 1,000-acre, densely forested green space that rivals New York City’s Central Park. The best way to explore it is by bicycle, and there are a handful of rental shops near the corner of Denman and W. Georgia streets right by the park’s entrance. (Rates vary by bike type and start around US$20 for six hours.) Ride the Stanley Park Causeway, which has brand-new bike lanes that will take you all the way to Lions Gate Bridge. It’s a slight but steady incline for 1.75 miles and then just over a mile to cross the Burrard Inlet and get into the city of North Vancouver.
Along the way, stop at a few breweries scattered throughout the North Vancouver area. Bridge Brewing Company is known for its crisp North Shore Pale Ale, and Black Kettle Brewing Company brews up small batches of ales and IPAs, which rotate seasonally. Stop for lunch at Deep Cove Brewers and Distillers; its menu of bar bites range from spicy mac ’n’ cheese to fig and brie flatbread. Don’t miss the chocolate coconut porter, which won a bronze medal at the Canadian Brewing Awards in 2016, and the vodka, voted the best in North America by the American Distillers Festival in 2014. Pedal onward toward the Iron Workers Memorial Bridge, which you can cross (on a newly widened bike lane) into East Vancouver. There, a neighborhood often referred to as “Yeast Van” (located between Hastings and Powell streets) has been credited with a brewery revitalization.
Powell Street Craft Brewery, run by husband-and-wife team David Bowkett and Nicole Stefanopoulo, won the Canadian Beer of the Year award for their Old Jalopy Pale Ale in 2013, only six months after they opened. Stop in for a taste of the brew or one of the other seven beers on tap, all made with locally sourced ingredients.
Next, don’t miss Parallel 49 Brewing Company, known for its humorous beer names and label art including the Filthy Dirty IPA, the Jerkface 9000, and the Gypsy Tear’s Ruby Ale. Take a photo by the graffiti wall art outside of Storm Brewing, a small-batch brewery famous for being the longest running independent brewery in Vancouver. Be sure to also check out the sleek taproom at Strange Fellows Brewing, which offers behind-the-scenes tours of the brewery by appointment. Every brewery biking tour must end with food. There are two great options in the East Vancouver area: Red Truck Beer Company and Granville Island Brewing. Red Truck Beer’s Truck Stop Diner serves up burgers, tacos, and sandwiches daily—along with beer, of course.
Granville Island Brewing is Vancouver’s oldest microbrewery. It’s located on Granville Island, a cultural and entertainment district famous for its large public market selling local fruits, vegetables, and other food.
At this point, you’ve come full circle: Both Red Truck Beer Company and Granville Island Brewing are only about three miles away from the bike rental shops near Stanley Park. Return your bike and hang out in the park to digest an active, beer-packed day.