Review: 33 Acres Doubles Down on its Aesthetic with New Tasting Room

The new 33 Brewing Exp teaches us that, no, we can’t just drink at tables anymore.

November 9, 2018

By Nathan Caddell / Photo: Nathan Caddell

“But I looked around: the entire place was filled with people sitting there with five small glasses in front of them, filled with different beers, taking notes. This is not a bar. This is fucking Invasion of the Body Snatchers. This is wrong. This is not what a bar is about.”

Many people will recognize that quote from the late Anthony Bourdain. While the celebrity chef (and author, documentarian, etc.) has a legacy to be proud about, his takes on pints (“I like cold beer”) aren’t the freshest. But he definitely touches on a stigma that’s not exactly easy to shake. Like many in Vancouver, I don’t consider myself a “snob” at all. I’m also blessed to have friends from other places in Canada that wholeheartedly beg to differ.

So it was with a certain sheepishness (I’m doing it for an article!” I pleaded to my drinking partner) that I took out my notepad and mechanical pencil at 33 Acres’ new experimental brewery, 33 Brewing Exp, very aware that Bourdain was likely rolling over in his grave.

The first thing that was clear on a rainy November night was that 33 Acres’ new endeavour means that there’s space at the main location. Previously always packed, the expansion next door means that there’s plenty of room to partake in the concoctions that made the place famous, like the impossibly fruity 33 Acres of Sunshine.

That’s not the case at the new spot, though, as it boasts a capacity of 20 people, a soundtrack with a Bon Iver fetish and what we’d call an “interesting” seating situation.

What does that mean exactly? Well, 33 Brewing Exp is more or less an extension of the somewhat pretentious aesthetic 33 Acres has painstakingly developed among Vancouver’s breweries, just minus chairs.

33 Acres

Yep, that structure now doubles for five-person seating apparently.

Also, this little number brings new meaning to “sitting at the bar.” It now means “sitting below the bar with your back turned and no table.”

33 Acres

Is it a pointed jab at the Vancouver real estate crisis? Perhaps.

And don’t even get us started on the surfboards adorning the wall. (OK, here’s a start: Why?)

33 Acres

But on this evening, it seemed like the brewery (which has only been officially open for about a month) was already firing on all cylinders.

An American Berliner Weisse was crisp and light, at 3.5 percent alcohol volume, while the Black Oat Ale (at 7 percent) was the perfect pair with the stormy night outside. The Tangerine Extra Pale Ale is a strong, juicy concoction that will no doubt disappoint people looking for a radler. On the other end of the scale, the Blackcurrant Session Saison is a little underwhelming, though refreshing.

33 Acres

The big winners on this night were the seriously bold Hazy Ipa w/ Citra Eldorado—a strong, tropical IPA loaded with grapefruit, and the Fluffy Cloud IPA. Somehow coming in at seven percent alcohol volume, the Fluffy Cloud rocks the senses with a flush of pineapple and an impossibly smooth finish.

It’s hard to deny that some of the city’s best beers are coming out of 33 Acres right now, so we’d recommend stopping by and grabbing a “seat.”

33 Brewing Exp, 25 E 8th Avenue, 33brewingexp.com

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