A Ride for QE II
A Ride for QE II
After around an hour of being a nuisance on the skytrain and apologetically, yet futilely, moving our bikes around, we arrived Downtown, hopped off the train with a sigh of relief, and made our way awkwardly to the street. A quick check of google maps and we joined up with the bike path that would take us, eventually, to our first brew stop.
We navigated the sea-side path carefully dodging dogs, people, children and whatever else lay in our way. Keeping the water firmly on our right, we admired the swanky, barnacle-free yachts bobbing restlessly in the harbour as we cruised by towards Stanley Park.
The Stanley Park path is as simple as it gets to follow – “Just follow the other people on bikes”. Well, our impatience lead us astray. We decided to hop off the pedestrian/cyclist path and join the road to rip past some particularly leisurely riders. After a few minutes, with the water getting further and further away from us, we realised our mistake and whipped down a little gravel path and back to sea level.
It was plain sailing from there as we rolled around the sea wall, watching tankers wait patiently in the Burrard inlet and trying to calculate how long it would take to save up for a condo in this area – only a couple of lifetimes.
We rounded the corner at Science World and headed North on Ontario and straight towards our first stop – 33 Acres. A small facade and a few picnic tables thrown into the street gave way to an expansive beer menu on the inside. 5 or 6 regular beers with regular names followed by experimental beers that read like totally uncrackable passwords – 33B-EXP.005 MKVI – Fluffy Cloud IPA – all served in 12, 16 or 24oz.
No thought needed, we both ordered a mighty 24oz glass each and gleefully took photos of our beers next to various objects for size comparison. Thankfully, the beer quality was equally as pleasing as its size. The French Blanche was a pale straw colour with a light haze and full of the fragrances you would expect – citrus, clove, banana. And it tasted just as good. My riding companion for the day polished off the experimental Fluffy Cloud IPA with equally rave review.
Sad to leave, we headed just a couple of blocks away to Main St Brewing for a good cask ale. Sadly, this day it just wasn’t to be – such is the fickleness of cask beer. The brewery generally has a great selection of Tunnerman’s beers on cask, all roughly 3.5-5% ABV, and kept and served well – making it a go-to for me when Downtown. We ordered a Tunnerman’s Old Head IPA each, which was ironic really, because the head was nowhere to be seen. A little warm and flat, the beer just didn’t hit the spot – I mean, it did have big shoes to fill. We nevertheless sat in the sun and finished up while watching a particularly irate chihuahua at the next table defend his chew treat against all oncomers – presumably to the death if needed.
After settling our tab we headed to our final stop of the day, Parallel 49. A quick ride up Main St, a few twists and turns and we arrived at a large, Oktoberfest-style tent next to the taproom itself. The airport departure board-like beer menu was a ‘helles’ of a sight (sorry), with dozens of destinations to chose from. While my companion ordered a flight, with it being Oktoberfest I landed on their Hefeweizen (yes, another wheat beer, so what?). Like the mighty Blanche from the hour before, the Hef delivered well! While I’ve been so often disappointed with some of the local wheat beers, today was a great day! The classic phenols and esters hard at work, the beer was light and flavourful. Paired with a mustard and garlic pretzel and the long, communal tables perfect for dancing on, I was back in a Bierhalle in the heart of München. We ate and drank and were merry, listening to live polka covers of top 40 hits having thoroughly made the most of our impromptu day off – die Königin ist tot, lang lebe der König.