Top Vancouver Micro-Distilleries

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Although British Columbia and Vancouver still have Byzantine and counterproductive liquor laws, they recently relaxed enough to allow craft distilleries to start opening in the city. I visited four and sampled some absolutely delicious spirits. Gin is a particular specialty of the city.

Long Table Distillery

Variety of gins at Long Table Distillery
Variety of gins at Long Table Distillery - Photo by Hideaway Report editor

My favorite Vancouver distillery endures an extra measure of taxes because it uses an imported neutral grain spirit to craft its gin (taxes are much lower on distilleries using exclusively British Columbian raw materials). But Long Table refuses to compromise on quality, and its smooth, subtle London Dry Gin is the best in Vancouver. I also enjoyed the fresh and round Cucumber Gin, the complex and woody Bourbon Barrel Aged Gin and the well-balanced Långbord Akvavit, redolent of caraway and citrus. The gregarious owner, Charles Tremewen, also took us into the back to show us how his new rum is developing.

Long Table Distillery
1451 Hornby Street. Tel. (604) 266-0177

Yaletown Distilling Company

Vodka, honey vodka, gin and hopped gin at Yaletown Distilling Company
Vodka, honey vodka, gin and hopped gin at Yaletown Distilling Company - Photo by Hideaway Report editor

We headed to atmospheric The Distillery Bar + Kitchen, adjacent to the Yaletown Distilling Company production facility, for a nightcap after a dinner at nearby Blue Water Café. Although the cocktails looked tempting, I opted for small tastes of four of Yaletown’s spirits. Each had plenty of character — even the vodka, with its notes of melon and banana. I didn’t care for the hopped gin, which tasted too yeasty for me, but I did like the London dry-style gin, which had a slightly floral character combined with pink peppercorn and the expected juniper.

Yaletown Distilling Company
1132 Hamilton Street. Tel. (604) 669-2266

The Liberty Distillery

Flight of gins at Liberty Distillery
Flight of gins at Liberty Distillery - Photo by Hideaway Report editor

Wood tables and an antique counter give this distillery and bar on Granville Island a cozy feel, despite its warehouse-like space. Its Endeavour Gin overwhelmed with alcohol and spice; I preferred the richer Endeavour Origins Gin, which had a pleasingly fresh finish of parsley, and the Endeavour Old Tom Gin, with its warm notes of cinnamon and cardamom.

The Liberty Distillery
1494 Old Bridge Road. Tel. (604) 558-1998

Artisan SakeMaker

Variety of sakes from our tasting at Artisan SakeMaker
Variety of sakes from our tasting at Artisan SakeMaker - Photo by Hideaway Report editor

Technically, rice-based sake is brewed, not distilled, but the tasting experience at this Granville Island venue is similar to that at the distilleries above. We sampled seven sakes, including three sparkling versions: the tart MIRAI Traditional Method, reminiscent of green apples; the spicy and bright Osake Junmai; and the unfiltered Osake Junmai Nogori, with creamy cucumber notes and subtle bubbles. The still sakes, all of which tasted appealingly yeasty and fruity, also merit attention.

Artisan SakeMaker
1339 Railspur Alley. Tel. (604) 685-7253

By Hideaway Report Editor Hideaway Report editors travel the world anonymously to give you the unvarnished truth about luxury hotels. Hotels have no idea who the editors are, so they are treated exactly as you might be.
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