Get Your Craft Beer Fix: 5 Must-Visit Breweries in Vancouver, WA
Once the hobby of bearded hipsters and small-town beer aficionados, craft beer has recently wedged itself in as a mainstream pastime. The brewery culture has even sparked a few hometown rivalries; when you go to any city, you’re likely to discover that the locals believe that their beer is the best in the world.
Across the water from the number one beer city in the U.S., the small city of Vancouver, Washington, does more than hold its own in the competitive beer world. Often overshadowed by the craft brewery scene in Portland, Vancouver’s breweries are nothing to ignore. In fact, The Oregonian once stated that Vancouver was “the hottest thing in the Portland beer scene.”
The beer scene in Vancouver is not a new one. In the 1800s, soldiers from nearby Fort Vancouver would come into town solely to imbibe the beers of local brewers. At the time, Vancouver’s breweries beat Portland’s in both number and quality.
Today’s brewery scene in Vancouver can be viewed, therefore, as a valiant return to its roots as the best in the Pacific Northwest.
Here’s a breakdown of some top Vancouver brewery picks for the enjoyment of beer laymen and the snobbiest beer snobs alike.
Loowit Brewing Company
Earning its title from the Native American name for the infamous Mt. St. Helens located nearby, Loowit Brewing Company offers an amazing selection of beer, delicious pub food, and a fun atmosphere complete with live music, trivia events, and darts.
While many breweries wait to open their doors until later in the afternoon, Loowit opens for lunch, offering the perfect place to conduct a casual lunch meeting, catch up on work while trying out their latest brew, or grab a lunchtime pick-me-up while exploring downtown Vancouver.
Their beer selection includes award winners such as their Two-Sixteen Red Ale, which has twice earned the gold medal at the Washington Beer Awards, and the Grimlock Rye Porter, which has won multiple first and second place awards in numerous beer competitions.
While IPAs remain the most popular beer option in the Pacific Northwest, Loowit offers a number of beer options, including a variety of ales, porters, and lagers, so there’s a little something for every type of beer lover.
Whether you're looking for good eats, good beer, or both, Loowit is the place to be.
Trap Door Brewing
Trap Door is one of those breweries that gains traffic every night of the week. Their spacious venue, 12 rotating beers on tap, and location on Main Street in the heart of some of the best dining in downtown Vancouver contribute to its popularity.
One of the newer breweries in town, Trap Door has more than held its own in the competitive Pacific Northwest brewery world. Beyond their own amazing brews, they also feature beers from other local breweries, so it’s a great place to go if you want to get a full taste of the region. You can also get their brews in cans to go, so you can enjoy their brews anywhere.
Although they don’t serve food, patrons can visit the food trucks connected to Trap Door’s covered outdoor patio and either enjoy the ambiance of the outdoor seating area, reminiscent of European beer gardens, or they can opt to bring the food inside on colder winter days.
Because of the variety of beer options and the food trucks to choose from, Trap Door is great for larger groups with varied tastes. It can also be a great first date locale, especially if you don’t know what type of food or beer your date prefers. Trap Door truly has a little something for everyone.
Old Ivy Brewery
Since breweries have entered into mainstream focus, the general ambiance of breweries has become more modern. Old Ivy Brewery challenges that by adopting a look that takes you back to bygone brewery days.
The namesake of Old Ivy is a 171-year-old ivy plant that originated in Pennsylvania and finally found its home in the Old Ivy patio area in 1947. The gorgeous ivy secludes the patio space, and despite its location on one of downtown Vancouver’s busier streets, allows patrons to feel as though they have found a quiet escape.
On those all-too-common rainy Vancouver days, patrons can enjoy the classic pub setting indoors. The gorgeous bar is made of dark wood, and one feels as though they have been transported back to simpler times while enjoying Old Ivy’s offerings.
Old Ivy also provides six original beers on tap as well as seasonal options, so you can try something new every time you visit. If you want some food with your brews, they also have standard pub food fare.
Heathen Brewing (Feral Public House)
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the vast beer offerings at Heathen Brewing. As a brewery, Heathen is unique. They’re actually made up of Feral Public House (the pub where they serve their brews), Heathen Brewing (the brewery itself), and Heathen Estates (their winery). Their focus on food, beer, and wine means that visiting the Feral Public House is nothing short of a culinary experience.
On their drink menu, you’ll find an option for mead, root beer, four cider options, six wine options, kombucha, and a whopping 41 beers on tap. The biggest issue you’ll have here is trying to decide what you want from their plethora of choices.
The Feral Public House offers brunch, lunch & dinner, and happy hour menus as well as kids menus, so visitors can bring the whole family. Although their entire menu is fantastic, their happy hour menu consists of more than just finger food; with items like gourmet mac & cheese, wings, and street tacos, it has one of the happiest hours around.
If you’re more interested in beer and wine tasting, you can visit either the Heathen Brewery or Heathen Estate for tastings, keg and growler fills, and more.
Bonus: 3Peaks Public House and Taproom
Located slightly outside of Vancouver, in the neighboring town of Ridgefield, we’d be remiss if we left 3Peaks off our list if only because of its massive outdoor area.
It’s no secret that the Pacific Northwest sees its fair share of rain, so when the sun comes out, the locals love to soak in the Vitamin D. There are few better places to do that than 3Peaks. Patrons can relax in one of 3Peaks’ wooden lounge chairs or bring their own chairs and blankets to lay out in the sun, enjoy good beer, and take in the day.
In the summertime, local bands play in this outdoor arena, bringing beer and music lovers from all over to unwind, dance, and have a great time. The taproom is also family-friendly, and the spacious lawn gives kids plenty of space to play while parents can enjoy the brewery atmosphere.
3Peaks isn’t just for summertime fun. They offer seafood and BBQ, and their indoor seating area presents a rustic ambiance and laid-back feel.
When you’re on your next beer adventure, don’t stop at the big city offerings. Vancouver may be small, but its beer options rival even the most praised breweries around.