If you’re from Calgary, chances are you wouldn’t shut up about 1989 if I started poking fun at your terrible, terrible Flames. You might also be aware of a restaurant/pub called Craft Beer Market, a ginormous beer bar in Cowtown. This very same establishment is opening up a new venue in Vancouver. It’s going to be in the historic Salt Building (it’s required by law to put “historic” in front of “Salt Building”) in Vancouver’s up and coming Village on False Creek, ex athlete’s village during the Olympics.
Craft Beer Market Vancouver is opening next summer, but for some reason they decided to have an open house this rainy October. For some other reason, they thought inviting Ashleigh Mcivor would help them sell more beer next summer. While I doubt this manoever will pay dividends in the long run, I enjoyed seeing her because she is pretty and was letting people touch her gold medal.
When I tell normal people about the new Craft Beer Market, they think it’s cool. When I talk to beer nerds (not tell, beer nerds know all), they universally doubt this new place in town is going to be any good. I’m with the nerds on this one. CBM is hyping their proposed 140 taps and miles of draft lines as a good thing, but I’d take quality over quantity any day. It already takes me twenty minutes to order a beer at the Alibi Room, why would I want to triple my choices? More importantly, a lot of that beer is going to be sitting around for a long time going bad. If my past experience at Taphouse (160 draught beers) in Seattle is any indication, you’ve got a 50/50 chance of getting a nice stale or oxidized beer.
Another reason I’m not bullish on CBM is that the new Tap and Barrel is right there. Like, right there. Can this new village support two giant pubs, or even become a real village? Maybe these two will be packed during the summer when it’s nice out, but Vancouver doesn’t exactly have a thriving pub scene in less than optimal conditions. Then there’s the fact Tap and Barrel has a bigger patio with a better view. I just don’t see what works in Calgary working in an increasingly hipsterized Vancouver, not with such stern competition already in place.
That being said, I’ll be praying for Alibi Room 2.0. It is a cool old building and they’ll have to have some good beer pouring out of those 140 taps.
So what was the open house like? You got four drink tickets for showing up and leaving your name (you probably could have done this repeatedly). The place was packed because, you know, of the free beer. There was some food (bread and charcuterie) if you were willing to wait in a giant line for it. Local businesses Terra Breads and Legacy Liquor Store had booths, as did Oceanwise, Mission Hill, and Blasted Church. I did not get my face painted, despite feeling like a bad ass lion face could have done me some good. Breweries on hand:
- Central City
- Howe Sound
- Turning Point (Stanley Park brand)
- Dead Frog
- Granville Island
- Parallel 49
None of them had incredible beer available, except for Central City, champs that they are, who brought a cask of ESB, which of course they ran out of before I got there. So yeah, if I don’t forget this place is supposed to exist, I’ll totally check it out next summer. Then we’ll see what happens, possibly a brawl with Tap and Barrel?