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B.C. Brews News : Pubbing Around B.C.
By John Rowling

When was the last time you walked into the front door of a pub and found an airline counter in front of you? Or went to check in for a flight and mistakenly walked into a bar? I certainly never had either experience until visiting the Flying Beaver on the Fraser River on the south side of Vancouver Airport in Richmond recently. We went to the pub for the scenery, or at least the float planes. On a late Friday afternoon, Harbour Air and its neighbour, W.G. Air, just downstream were busy with weekend traffic. The best spot to sip a beer and see the action is on the pub’s outdoor patio on stilts over the Middle Arm of the Fraser River. The beer selection is pretty standard but covers all the bases. Delicious food and super burgers (the Bi-Plane was a favourite). Thursday night is steak night (with baked potato, salad and tiger prawns for $7.95!). The atmosphere here is unique: West Coast at its best.

One of the most popular beers at the Great Canadian Beer Festival last September was Peter Haupenthal’s Jamaican Lager. This light (4.7% abv), refreshing beer was made with hibiscus concentrate from Mexico, giving it its unique flavour. Peter is the brewer at Dockside Brewing, the brewpub in Vancouver’s Granville Island Hotel. Born in Merzig, Germany, Peter has been brewing beer for over 30 years in countries including Nigeria, Bolivia, Belize and the Marshall Islands. The brewery has always concentrated on German-style beers since opening. It is not surprising, then, especially with Peter’s background, that the beer styles include light and dark lagers, a honey lager, a pilsner and a hefeweizen. Peter also brews a pale ale and a stout.

There are three separate spots to drink in the hotel. The pub is a sports bar with a fireplace, pool tables and TVs. The food is great, with lovely pizza from the forno in the kitchen. Next door is the Dockside Brewing Lounge overlooking the patio and boardwalk. The Dockside Restaurant is a beautiful room with floor-to-ceiling windows and a 50-foot aquarium. My favourite plan is to find a seat at the bar in the restaurant just before sunset. This is one of the most stunning waterfront views in Vancouver. Nothing could be better than to sit at the great curved bar sipping Peter’s beers while watching the lights come on over False Creek.

Nothing could be better than to sit at the great curved bar sipping Peter’s beers while watching the lights come on over False Creek.

As you drive into the Longwood Station shopping centre at the north end of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, the Longwood Brewpub is impossible to miss. The impressive wooden building with the big silver 10-metre-high grain silo next to the entrance is certainly eye-catching. On your left as you enter the pub is the brewhouse, proudly on display behind glass walls. No hiding secrets here! The gleaming stainless steel brewery was made in Victoria by Specific Mechanical.

Publican Barry Ladell and brewer Harley Smith offer a range of beers that cover the entire world of beer styles. From German wheat ales and lagers to British ales and Belgian fruit beers, Harley brews beers of outstanding quality. My personal favourite is the Copper Bock, a huge creamy seasonal lager well balanced with a mild hop aroma. The Czech pilsner is very clean and has a strong aroma of Saaz hops. Other great beers are the IPA, an extra special bitter and a Scottish ale to die for.

The cuisine is definitely fresh and local West Coast style. The baked salmon comes with a dill mustard glaze that works very well with the Czech pilsner, and the halibut with its mango salsa is perfect with an Irish red ale. The Longwood Brewpub is a great place to enjoy wonderful ales and lagers and savour a splendid West Coast menu.

Flying Beaver Pub
4760 Inglis Dr.
Richmond, BC V7B 1W4
(604) 273-0278

Dockside Brewing
Granville Island Hotel
1253 Johnston St.
Vancouver, BC V6H 3R9
(604) 685-7070

Longwood Brewpub
Longwood Station
5775 Turner Rd.
Nanaimo, BC V9T 6L8
(250) 729-8225

John Rowling lives in Victoria, B.C., which, according to him, is "a seven-brewery city: one for every day of the week." He was CAMRA Victoria's first president, and he is one of the founders of the Great Canadian Beer Festival.


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