Scenic Yaletown Vancouver Brewery Tour & More
The city of Vancouver, British Columbia is loved by tourists and residents alike and is consistently ranked high for both livability and as a top tourism destination. This comes as no surprise to anyone who has been to this vibrant city, but what may not be as commonly known is how many great Vancouver breweries and distilleries there are.
Vancouver, BC is a rare cornucopia of bustling metropolis, natural beauty, arts & culture, fresh air & clean water, exciting nightlife and a deliciously diverse selection of great food and drink. For this reason we wanted to create a fun. self guided Vancouver brewery and distillery tour that also showcases the beauty and culture that abound in this city.
*Note: A car is not required for this itinerary and in fact it’s much more enjoyable without one since, like in any city, parking can be difficult and expensive. Depending on where you are staying you may be able to walk or take the SkyTrain to the first stop. If that’s not possible have a taxi drop you at the first stop and have another pick you up at the end.
Our scenic Vancouver brewery tour begins in the trendy neighborhood of Yaletown. Once the site of the 1986 World Expo and home to Vancouver’s warehouse district, Yaletown is now one of the most popular neighborhoods in town and is full of fabulous bars and eateries.
*Note: As almost every destination on this itinerary offers great food, there will not be designated meal stops. Just grab a bite whenever the mood strikes you, which may very well be at every stop!
11:30 am: Yaletown Brewing Co
The starting point for the day is the Yaletown Brewing Co. As Vancouver’s original brewpub, the Yaletown Brewery has more than 20 years of experience brewing superb craft beer and serving it to happy customers.
Choose from a seat in the large, comfortable restaurant, the happening pub or maybe the wraparound patio to watch the beautiful people walk by. Order a one of their delicious selection of brews on tap and if you’re hungry we suggest sharing a pizza…our favorites are the Johnny Mac or the Pulled Pork pizzas.
12:30 pm: The Distillery Bar & Kitchen
Right next door is the Distillery Bar & Kitchen and attached to the back is the Yaletown Distilling Co. Both are part of the Mark James Group, as is the Yaletown Brewing Co.
If you would like to sit and enjoy the ambiance and a cocktail in the bar you will have a big choice to make between their many delicious libations crafted from Yaletown Distilleries‘ own vodka and gin. They also have a huge menu of Italian dishes and on Fri-Sun breakfast is served until 3pm.
Alternately you could just go through to the distillery for a tour and tasting (available Tues-Sat). Since this tour can be done in a loop there is also the option to return here later in the day for a meal and more cocktails. *Take note that Happy Hour is from 4-6pm.
1:30 pm: Water Taxi to Granville Island
From Yaletown Distillery head west on Mainland or Hamilton until Davie St and then turn left towards the water. At the very end of Davie St you will find a floating dock sitting amongst million dollar yachts.
Walk to the end and wait for the water taxis to come by and tell them you’re going to Granville Island. There are usually two companies running: Granville Island Ferries and Aquabus. They both go to Granville Island and cost about the same. The journey is about 15-20 minutes and will take you past the beautiful Vancouver seawall where everyone wants to live.
Granville Island Tour
2:00 pm Granville Island Market
The boat will drop you right in front of the Granville Island Public Market which is the biggest draw to the island. Here you will find an abundance of local, fresh and delicious produce, desserts, seafood, meats and cheeses as well as a good selection of specialty and imported items. Good luck leaving without a bag or a stomach full.
*Tip: For a special west coast treat try the Indian Candy which is a sweet smoked salmon and is absolutely to die for.
2:30 pm Granville Island Brewing
One of the oldest breweries in Vancouver is Granville Island Brewing which is also is considered by some to be the first micro brewery in Canada. Even though it is now owned by the much larger Molson Coors they do still produce small batch brews here.
They offer daily brewery tours and tastings 5 times per day and at the time of writing 2:30 pm was one of them. However the times do change seasonally so be sure to check online and adjust this itinerary accordingly. Once you’ve finished the tour you can linger over a flight in the nice open taproom
3:30 pm The Liberty Distillery
The first thing that will strike you about the Liberty Distillery is the beautiful design of the tasting room, which also serves as their lounge and retail shop. The polished wood and sparkling glass of the 110 year old antique bar make you feel as though you’ve stepped into old world New York City and will entice you to stay a while.
The second thing to impress you will be their authentically distilled high quality spirits. From their custom made, hand crafted copper stills to the use of traditional, exacting recipes, everything this team does shows the heart of their philosophy…”authenticity, quality & heritage”
Tours of the distillery are only available on weekends and reservations are recommended. The lounge and tasting bar is open daily serving up their delectable line of Liberty Signature Cocktails and spirit tastings. Be sure to try their special Endeavour Pink Gin with notes of wild rose and citrus.
*Note: If you are visiting on a Mon-Thurs and are following our time guide you have arrived just in time for Happy Hour!
4:15 pm: Explore the Island
The next stop is at the other end of Granville Island so the walk there is a perfect time to pick up a map at the info booth and explore the many artisan studios, boutiques and craft shops. Be sure to locate New-Small & Sterling Studio Glass for glass blowing demos and also the Granville Island Hat Shop for a huge selection of fabulous head wear.
*For more information on what to see and do on Granville Island go to Granville Island Works.
5:00 pm: Dockside Brewing
Our final stop on this Vancouver brewery tour is Dockside Brewing. Not a large Vancouver brewery it often gets overlooked, possibly because it lives in the shadow of the gorgeous Dockside Restaurant. But the fact is they brew some really good beer. Plus you can sit back and enjoy a flight in the lounge, bar or restaurant with views out to their resort-like patio and water. If it’s a nice day then definitely opt for the patio with it’s stunning views of False Creek, Yaletown skyline and Northshore Mountains.
Dockside Brewing brings you to the end of the tasting tour but this doesn’t mean the fun has to end. Unless you are ready to head home or back to your hotel there are plenty of options to continue on and see much more of this small part of Vancouver.
Granville Island Food & Entertainment
The market and many of the shops start to close about 6 pm but there is still plenty to do in the evening on Granville Island. Following is a selection of the bars, restaurants and entertainment if you choose to stay on into the evening.
*Note: If you plan to return to Yaletown by water taxi you will need to check the seasonal schedule for times as they don’t always run late into the evening.
Sandbar Restaurant: Serves amazingly good fresh seafood and sushi dishes with a great view. If all you want are cocktails there is also a large lounge with live music and dancing.
Bridges Restaurant and Bar: Bridges is a big yellow building divided into two venues. One side of Bridges is a casual fine dining restaurant with a view of the water and on the other side is a pub with TV’s for sports watching.
Backstage Lounge: Backstage is a popular bar serving a full food and beverage menu and offering daily live music by local and national bands.
Arts Club Theatre Co Granville Island Stage: One of three Vancouver live theatres under the Arts Club umbrella. The Granville Island Stage shows several professional live theatre productions year round.
Yaletown Food & Entertainment
If you choose to return to Yaletown by water taxi for the evening your choices for dinner and drinks are almost endless. Here are just a few of the many choices.
Provence Marinaside: As you walk up the dock from the water taxi stop in Yaletown you will see Provence Marinaside, an award winning, fine dining restaurant offering a delicious European menu.
The Parlour: If you like a lively but laid back atmosphere and tasty hand made pizza then The Parlour is the place to be.
Rodney’s Oyster House: The best place in Yaletown for a great selection of fresh oysters served with beer and wine in glass tumblers.
The New Oxford: A dark and sexy pub that plays with the theme of the British sports, academia and party culture.
Hapa Izakaya: Vancouver is overflowing with great sushi bars and varieties of Asian cuisine but Hapa Izakaya is one of our favorites. The menu consists of Japanese and Asian fusion style share plates and tapas and the atmosphere is fun and lively.
This is just a small taste of what Yaletown has to offer and of course there you can always return to the Yaletown Brewpub or Distillery Bar if you didn’t get enough earlier. The atmosphere changes as the sun sets.
Where to Stay
Vancouver has plenty of up-scale highrise hotels and a smattering of smaller boutique style accommodations but very little in the way of budget options. Here are a few hotels that are walking distance to Yaletown.
The Sheraton Wall Center is a modern, all glass, highrise hotel with all of the amenities you could need. It is located on the border of the downtown core and Yaletown and is an easy 15-20 minute walk to the start point of this tour.
The Opus Hotel Vancouver is a trendy boutique hotel right in the heart of Yaletown and just a 5 minute walk to the Brewpub or water taxi.
Holiday Inn & Suites Vancouver is newly renovated and centrally located just a 10 minute walk from Yaletown.
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