Banff Ave Brewing Co

Brewing beer in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.

Tucked away on the second floor of a very Swiss looking building along Banff Ave stands a brewery churning out the best beer in town. Banff Ave. Brewing Co have been getting people merry since 2010. The three co-founders started their first brewery venture in 2005 in Jasper, when one of the guys got lucky and won the lottery. Suddenly, there were few limitations on making their brewery dream come true.

Head Brewer, Kent Boomer, was on hand to give us a tour of the place and teach us a thing or two about the brewing process. It all begins with barley, imported from Europe, which is roasted to turn it into malt. This malt is poured into the mill which feeds into the mashtun (a specialized brewing container). In the mashtun, malt is stirred into hot water with nothing other than a canoe paddle. Banff life. During the mashing process, enzymes in the malt converts starches into sugars creating wort. This wort is put into the boiling kettle and hops are added as need be. Next is the fermentation process where yeast is added to the wort and left for various days depending on what is being brewed. After this is complete, the yeast is extracted for future use. The yeast at the brewery leads a very Banff lifestyle... It parties like crazy for a week, sleeps for two days and then does it all over again. Sound familiar?! The beer is then put into a conditioning tank where it matures. From here, the beer is carbonated and ready to be served straight to the in-house taps, just 65 feet away. Now that’s fresh.

Enjoy a fruity Pond Hockey Pale Ale, hoppy Head Smashed IPA or, the local's favourite, Black Pilsner. Check out the community taps for some interesting collaborations and feel good knowing that $1 is donated to specific causes in the Bow Valley. You can even take some home with you in a growler or a pre-packaged bottle.

Oh and we should probably let you know... $4 pints on Mondays and $8 steins on Thursdays.

110 Banff Ave, Level 2, Banff, Alberta T1L 1A9


Honeycomb Hideout

Pizza and tinnies on pallets and milk crates.

Tucked away in a back alley in the western suburb Footscray is Honeycomb Hideout. As its name suggests, the space is intimate and cosy with a menu to match. Serving six pizzas and nine craft beers, Honeycomb keeps it simple – and really, what more do you need?!

The courtyard bar came about due to a vacant parking space behind the owners other venture, Fox in the Corn (which has a strong focus on pasta and boutique beer). Before long, corrugated walls went up and the empty lot was filled with wooden pallet seating, milk crate tables, lanterns and graffiti. The hideout was complete.

Pizzas have that smoky wood-fired taste with an array of toppings (salumi, braised beef, salmon, pumpkin), and can be made to eat in or takeaway. Make sure you try the pumpkin one as homemade garlic oil is brushed on the crust and hits your senses before a slice even goes into your mouth. For those who like to end on a sweet note, grab a Gundowring dixie ice cream cup. 

The craft beers have been selected from Fox in the Corn’s extensive 13-page beer menu; some of which include Brewdog Punk IPA, Mornington Peninsula Pale Ale and Lager, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Panhead American Pale Ale, Napolene Cloudy Cider and Rodenbach Original.

Call it cliché, but this truly is a hidden gem.

Honeycomb Hideout is open Friday (5pm-11pm), Saturday and Sunday (12pm-11pm).

4 Droop Street, Footscray, Victoria, 3011





The Three Johns

If you're a London based beer lover, this is the spot for you.

Tucked away from the busy Pentonville Road, The Three Johns is a paradise for beer lovers, especially those with a weakness for pizza.

It's easy to be distracted by the multiple shelves of spirits as you walk through the door, but it's the variety of lagers, stouts and ales that makes the Three Johns worth visiting. The staff here know their stuff, so if you don't know your saisons from your sours, they'll be happy to help.

We loved the punchy 'Gose To Hollywood' by To Øl  and the tart and citrusy 'The Sour DryHop' from Anspach and Hobday, but don't worry if you're going in not much of a drinker, the pizza here matches the quality of the drinks.

The fennel sausage pizza comes with chilli roasted broccoli, buffalo mozzarella and parmesan or you might want to try the bolognese which comes with beef ragu and béchamel sauce.

Whether you're passing through Angel or after a chilled spot for the evening, get The Three Johns on your radar for some serious beer drinking.

73 White Lion Street, London, N1 9PF


33 Acres Brewing Company

Nestled in-between the temperate Vancouver rainforest and the Pacific ocean, tucked away neatly in the up-and-coming Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, lies 33 Acres Brewing Company. Founded in 2013 by Josh Michnik, 33 Acres' vision started out of pure enjoyment for the binding elements of life. His idea is simple - with the natural elements of our surroundings and the spirit of community sharing (whether people are drinking, eating, chatting, working or reading) creativity is able to flourish and high quality products can be created. This vision can also be seen in the minimalistic, open and inviting layout of 33 Acres' beer tasting room. Crafted by Josh Michnik himself, the beer tasting room allows for simple and clean aesthetics. Wood, stone and white walls are balanced by the natural vibrance of neatly situated green plants for all to enjoy (my personal favourite is the cacti on the huge sharing table).

33 Acres Brewing Company's first product was beer. Nine beers and one cider to be exact. All of which are named after a certain element of life - 33 Acres of… life… ocean… sunshine… darkness… euphoria… nirvana… köbes,… welkin… sole (see photo below). I'm a big fan of Pale Ales so 33 Acres of Ocean was the choice for me. The golden-coloured brew managed to encapsulate everything I could want from a West Coast Pale Ale and more. It was hoppy (but not too hoppy) with a big floral flavour and notes of pine. Despite the high carbonation, this beer went down super smoothly and ended with a clean finish and a light caramel aftertaste. The beer tasting room allows everyone to enjoy these beautifully crafted craft beers. Most beers are available in glasses (12oz), growler fills (32oz, 64oz) or bottles (4 or 6 packs) - all of which are reasonably priced (see photo below). 

In 2015, 33 Acres expanded to the next best thing… coffee. And boy did they do it right! A smoothy and creamy latte (my go to at the moment) is served up perfectly on a logo-printed wooden block. The delicious coffee beans come from Heart Coffee Roasters (Portland, Oregon). HCR's focus is on uncompromising quality and this is seen in their use of green coffee, sourced from Central America, South America and Africa, which are then roasted to pure excellence. 

And it's not just liquids that 33 Acres flawlessly produce, they also have a simple yet delicious food menu divided into early, mid, and late options. Whether you're wanting a hearty brunch for the day ahead, a locally-made lunchtime sandwich or late night snacks consisting of cheese, meat and pretzels, 33 Acres has you covered. We were hiking the Grouse Grind that day, so brunch was in order. Served everyday until 2pm, the brunch menu is minimalist (toast, biscuits or granola) with an emphasis on quality over quantity. I opted for 'The Loaded', which consisted of creamy avocado, runny poached eggs, juicy honey ham and smoked cheddar served with a side of chilli jam atop of freshly baked sourdough bread from local artisan bread-enthusiasts, Nelson the Seagull. The portion was more than enough and presentation of the food was aesthetically aligned with the surrounding environment.

I'll definitely be heading back to 33 Acres Brewing Company when I'm next in Vancouver!

For more information, check out their website here.


Crate Brewery & Pizzeria

Along the canals of East London, amongst the industrial warehouses and creative studios, and beyond the abundance of artistic graffiti, you'll find a hip and happening venue in Hackney Wick: Crate. Crate Brewery and Pizzeria makes up the bottom floor of a former print building, the White Building Unit, just a few minutes walk from Hackney Wick tube station. We visited Crate on a Tuesday lunchtime so the atmosphere was very relaxed with local creative types popping in to do some work or for lunch. From friends we've heard that this place is heaving on the weekend, so we'd suggest getting there a bit earlier on a Saturday if you want a seat on the canalside.

Inside Crate there is a real industrial feel - high ceilings, white walls and a lot of space with the bar centred in the middle and the pizza kitchen behind it. Crafted by local designers, Crate's interior fittings have been built with reclaimed materials from around the area - the bar is built with old railway sleepers, the exposed lighting is made from bed springs, and the eating-and-seating furniture is made from wooden pallets. The tie-dyed cushions are a great touch! There is also seating on the waterfront, which would be great for a sunny day.

With eyes bigger than our bellies and too many tempting pizzas to choose from, we decided to have a pizza each and go half-half. After reminiscing of recent Moroccan escapades, we opted for the courgette, feta, red onion and gremolata pizza and the Middle Eastern lamb pizza with spinach and pine nuts. Delivered on a wooden chopping board, these stone-baked oven pizzas were enormous. The quantity matched the quality - as the pizzas were perfectly thin, and each unleashed a taste of Morocco and a volcano of molten cheese, with a rich nutty flavour to the lamb one and lashings of intense zestiness from the veggie one. And of course, crispy crusts - a must-have for any self-respecting pizzeria! Crate is also a microbrewery serving its own IPA, lager, pale ale, stout and cider. We each had a pint of cider and were left feeling deliciously refreshed and slightly wavy for our bike ride home.

7, The White Building, Queen's Yard, London E9 5EN