Monthly Archives: February 2010

One more weekend of Vancouver 2010, check out Gastown House

I finally got into German Fan Fest earlier this week.  It was a rainy Tuesday night, the hockey game had just ended, and there was no line at all.  I still had to pay the $10 cover charge, but I made it in!  It was satisfying to accomplish a goal, but the German Fan Fest did not live up to expectations.  I’m glad I didn’t wait in line for the 2-4 hours quoted to me the past two weekends. The Köstritzer Schwarzbier was tasty, but not worth the $9 I paid for a plastic cup full.  The band was loud and the atmosphere was as good as you could expect for a tent covering plastic tables and chairs in a parking lot.  If I’d had a few (too many) and the party was in full swing, I could see myself having a lot of fun there.  I could also see myself having a lot of fun dancing with a street light.  Anyway, I won’t be trying to get in again this weekend.

This weekend I’m going to check out Gastown House, again.  Turns out I’ve been there a few times already and didn’t know it.  Gastown hasn’t seen the crowds or lines that have plagued the rest of the downtown core.  It’s true, I haven’t had much trouble getting into Cobre, Alibi Room, Irish Heather, or anywhere else in Gastown.  To get some attention on the quality food and drink available at reasonable prices, Gastown House was started.  It’s a clever ploy to get you into Gastown, but what do you have to lose by not waiting in huge lines?

Gastown House

An aside, I watched the Canada vs Russia game at Schanks Sports Grill in New Westminster.  It was packed out and the atmosphere was amazing, but guess where you sit when you don’t show up soon enough?

Schanks Sports Grill New Westminster

In a mini golf hole, that's where.

And here’s a few pictures of the inside of German Fan Fest:

German Fan Fest Steamworks Vancouver

Inside of German Fan Fest

German Fan Fest Steamworks Vancouver

More Inside German Fan Fest

German Fan Fest Steamworks Vancouver

Rachel still had fun



Where to drink beer in Vancouver during the 2010 Olympics?

Question:  Where are the best places to drink beer in Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Olympics?

Answer: The same places as always! Dix, Steamworks, Yaletown Brewing, and the Alibi Room.

Since the Olympics started last weekend I’ve been downtown quite a bit and I’ve had a lot of fun waiting in lines and not getting into stuff.  I never thought Vancouver could get this crazy and I didn’t think the Olympics would be this exciting.  I also never thought I’d feel as proud to be Canadian as I do right now; turns out we throw a good party.  I’m going to have a huge Olympic hangover come March for more reasons than one.

German Fan Fest Vancouver 2010 Olympics

German Fan Fest Vancouver 2010 Olympics

I’ve tried to get into both the Irish House and the German Fan Fest, two of the most popular temporary pavilions setup for the Olympics.  I opted not to wait in line for hours and hours for $10 beer night and I don’t regret my decision.  The atmosphere downtown is crazy enough (just walk Granville or Robson streets) and there are plenty of other reasonably priced places to visit. While I may try German Fan Fest one more time for their Köstritzer Schwarzbier, I’ve had much better luck at my usual haunts.  Both Dix and Steamworks have provided me with the Olympic atmosphere, TV’s to watch the events, tasty beer at reasonable prices, and, most importantly, a seat.  I’ve also heard that the Alibi Room has abandoned their no TV policy, bringing in some tubes to watch the events on downstairs.  I walked by Yaletown Brewing and it was packed out with a line forming outside.  If you are looking for a beer downtown in the next week or so, try the regular places for quality beer.

Good times at Quebec House

Other Olympic venues I’ve visited include LiveCity Yaletown and Downtown, neither of which serve beer, not even $10 cans of Canadian!  I found them a bit boring and, unless you are really into the musical performance going on, not really worth waiting in line for.  Quebec House was pretty cool.  I was excited to hear they had Quebec microbrews, but then disappointed to find it was Archibald Microbrasserie.  I hadn’t actually heard of them (neither had my French Canadian coworker), it was that the beer didn’t taste very good, especially not for $10.  What made Quebec House worth visiting was the 7 Fingers, who were like a little Cirque du Soleil.  I also got a kick out of Saskatchewan Pavillion, which appeared to me to be a big tent full of bored/drunk looking people dressed in Rider green.  The $8 Pilsner didn’t float my boat either.  Once place I’d really like to check out is Atlantic Canada House, who I hear have brought in top notch maritime brews by Propeller and Garrison.  I hear it’s a good time there too.

Skunky Pilsner and Rider Pride at Saskatchewan Pavillion

I hope to be able to provide further insight after another weekend of engaging in Olympicosity.  Go Canada go!



Bad BC Beer News

A couple of my favorite BC breweries are going through some turmoil. Old Yale Brewing from Chilliwack is a very small brewery that brews really good beer. Their beer is available direct from the brewery, in some BC Liquor stores, and in the better beer stores. Canadian Beer News is reporting that the brewery is up for sale. I’m hoping that whoever buys Old Yale preserves their recipes and quality standards. I imagine that anyone purchasing the brand would move the brewery from their tiny strip mall location and I can only hope that such changes wouldn’t tarnish the beer.  I can imagine why the two man team at Old Yale would want to sell; they are likely over worked and underpaid.  I really hope Old Yale stays alive.

Central City Brewing, my favorite local brewery from Surrey BC, is being sued by California’s Bear Republic Brewing for trademark infringement.  Bear Republic brews beers with the names Racer 5 and Red Rocket, which they claim are being confused with Central City’s Red Racer brand.  The dispute arose when Central City began distributing its highly acclaimed beer (for good reason, it is wonderful) in the USA.  Bear Republic likely views Central City as a threat now that they’ve moved into some of their markets, but Bear Republic can be purchased here and you don’t see Central City complaining (FYI Bear Republic, I won’t be buying your beer anymore).  Both breweries brew wonderful beers and it is a shame to see small time craft brewers like these fighting each other.  I hope the dispute is quickly and cheaply resolved, but I have a feeling that Central City will either have to re-brand or pull out of US markets.  To support Central City, start buying their delicious beer from BC Liquor Stores.  Not only are the Red Racer beers delicious, but they are one of BC’s cheapest beer options.  Both Canadian Beer News and have more coverage of the lawsuit.



Molson Canadian Hockey House Media Preview

Inside the Molson Canadian Hockey House

If you are from Vancouver and you haven’t heard of the Molson Canadian Hockey House, then you’ve been living under a rock.  It’s a big tent between Science World, I mean Telus Sphere, and GM Place, I mean Canada Hockey Place, for people to party at during the Olympics.  Before I tell this tale, I should let you know what my stance on the Olympics is.  If I was given $7billion dollars, I wouldn’t spend it on the Olympics.  That being said, the Olympics are here and they aren’t coming back, so I’m going to try to enjoy them as much as I can.  I’m going to soak up as much of the good the Olympics has to offer and I might as well; we’ll be paying this party off for a while.

Anyway, the organizers behind the MCHH emailed me a couple weeks ago to let me know that “due to overwhelming demand for media access” I should apply for my media accreditation asap.  The funny thing was, I never asked.  I did apply for media accreditation, which for me would really just be free tickets, but I haven’t heard back yet.  I suppose somebody actually important, or maybe actually part of the media, was accredited instead.  I did, however, get an invite to the media preview that took place yesterday.

IIHF room at Molson Canadian Hockey House

Since the preview was around lunch time and close enough to my office, I walked.  It was tough to navigate through all the fencing and clueless security staff (nobody seemed to know where it was) to actually find MCHH, but I made it and nobody ever once asked me where I was going.  I had no badge and could have blow up everything had I been a terrorist.  I thought that was funny.  Nobody even asked me who I was as I entered MCHH.  I thought that was funny too, anyone could have walked in.  Inside, I didn’t expect to find much of anything impressive.  I expected a giant beer garden with picnic tables and plastic chairs, but what I found was a setup to rival some nicer nightclubs.  This tent, which is apparently the largest ever built in North America at 65000 sqft, was decked out.  I wandered around the throngs of actual media (they even had big fancy cameras, don’t they know the iPhone has a camera?) and into all of the rooms.  Yes, there are rooms.  There was the chump area for common folk, VIP rooms, an IIHF lounge, an NHLPA lounge, and a Team Canada lounge where the players and their hangers out will actually be hanging out.

Tyler Stewart on stage at MCHH

The proceedings started shortly after my wanderings and featured talks by the organizers, a speak by Hockey Canada President Bob Nicholson, and entertainment by Tyler Stewart of the Barenaked Ladies.  Stan Smyl was there and so were many scantily clad Molson girls serving beer, zoinks!  There were HD TVs and giant projection screens everywhere, a giant stage where the bands will play, and there will be famous people milling around throughout the two weeks. They have quite the set of entertainment lined up.

The whole place was quite impressive, much more impressive that my crappy pictures can show, and the preview actually made me want to go hang out there.  Sadly, the common folk tickets are sold out, but maybe I’ll get accredited as media?  One can dream.  Seriously though, it’s going to be an epic party in there, especially when Canada is playing.  The only downside to the MCHH? The beer.  All Molson all the time.  Still, go Canada go!



Molson Girls at MCHH

Team Canada Lounge at MCHH