Everything about CRAFT Beer Market is done on a grand scale. The taphouse and restaurant in Vancouver, BC, is one of seven of its kind, founded in 2011 with first site in Calgary, Alberta. Since then, business has been nothing but booming: the CRAFT is Canada’s largest purveyor of craft beer on draft, with over 100 beers on tap at any given time.
Housed inside the historic Salt Building, the interior of the Vancouver location is similar in feel to that of its Calgary and Ottawa predecessors — big. High-vaulted ceilings make way for both a rustic and industrial feel, throughout the establishment metal support beams are exposed, adding to this motif. There is plenty of seating at both the bar and restaurant areas, chairs for the bar wrap around in a horseshoe shape, allowing no space to go to waste. It’s almost as if there are as many seats at the bar as there are beers on tap.
The steel draft lines rise from the central island bar to the ceiling and travel all the way into the keg room, a glass-enclosed space kept at just the right temperature and carbonation level. CRAFT doesn’t discriminate against any type or kind of beer, guests will find beers of all styles from all kinds of places, both Canadian microbrews and a plethora of beer selections from the international market.
For cuisine, CRAFT makes all sauces, dressings and breads in-house and proudly boasts a menu nearly as expansive as the physical restaurant itself. The menu allows for a variety of different pairing options between one of the many beers and a food counterpart.
The beef brisket, braised for 10 hours in dark beer and smothered in a house-made sauce, is served alongside smashed potatoes tossed in a parsley shallot aioli and pairs naturally with a German dunkel, currently on tap. Brisket sound too hardy? No problem, as previously mentioned, the menu is huge and full of options. On the lighter side of things, there is the Coconut Curry Shrimp Bowl: an in-house coconut sauce that is combined with fresh turmeric, lemongrass, chili, roasted mushrooms, bok choy, green onions and fresh herbs, giving the shrimp a bright and flavorful kick. Pair this with a Belgian-style saison like that from Four Winds Brewing in nearby Delta.
Last but not least, the burger — and this is no ordinary burger, it’s the 20 Napkin Burger. Properly named, the 20 Napkin Burger features two burger patties, cheese sauce, lettuce, tomato, onion, beef brisket and crispy bacon. If two burger patties weren’t enough, don’t worry it’s even garnished with a mini burger on top. What’s the best way to down this burger? Make sure to have a pale ale on the side like the Granville Island Brewing English Bay.
CRAFT does a solid job of combining bold flavors in the kitchen with a selection of dynamic beers from across the world, and its own backyard.