Well, as one of said lucky nerds who got to partake in the tour (and its copious amount of pints), I can't quite tell you exactly what happened (what happens on the bus stays on the bus!) - but I can tell you that it involved many delicious beverages, beer-related chants, near-victory over an obscene food challenge and a much greater understanding of what one locale outside Vancouver proper has to offer in terms of craft beer.
|Amanda (CAMRA Vancouver) and our trusty steed "Gordon"|
(warning: as per usual, my notes get more sporadic and less legible after about pint #4. But I'll do my best to give you an idea of where we visited and why you might want to think about following suit.)
Fogg n Suds
What it's like: upscale olde English pub
Stand-out feature: tie between the heated, enclosed patio & the massive fireplace in the centre of the pub.
|tapping the casks on the Fogg n Suds patio|
Bonus: Fogg n Suds runs a shuttle from Bridgeport
What it's like: neighbourhood watering hole
Stand-out feature: deep-fried pickles & hot nuts machine. 'Nuff said.
|Amanda, Becky & Jen all smiles @ Kingswood|
Bonus: The Kingswood is a perfect example of why to not judge a book by its cover - although it looks like your typical old watering hole, it also happens to boast the biggest selection of single-malt scotch in Richmond. That, combined their with deep fried pickles & big pints might just qualify them for a second visit.
|Wall 'o' booze at Kingswood|
What it's like: bright, airy cookhouse
Stand-out feature: the meat
|CAMRA takes over Hog Shack|
Bonus: As we discovered, like many of its American cookhouse cousins, Hog Shack is home to a food challenge. And our tour just happened to be home to a very hungry, half-cut guy looking for a challenge. We all got to bear witness as fellow drinker Jesse attempted to take on this monstrosity in less than 5 minutes:
|Brave fellow drinker Jesse actually ate this monstrosity.|
What it's like: seaside tapas spot
Stand-out feature: amazing view of the docks from the covered patio
|view of the Steveston docks from Blue Canoe's patio|
Bonus: half a block from Hog Shack makes for a mini Steveston pub crawl.
|Team Beerthirst: is the camera blurry or is that my vision?|
What it's like: Richmond's taste of Ireland
Stand-out feature: loved the big, high table tops
The beer: With 15 taps, O'Hares Gastropub has the typical macro Irish pub offerings (Guinness, Smithwick's) - but that's not all. They've also got a great selection of microbrews, including North Coast, Rogue, Green Flash and others (check out their full list here). We sipped sleeves of Elysian Men's Room Red, an easy-drinking, nicely-malted amber brew, and enjoyed the complimentary tasting of some of Beerthirst's brands in the adjoining liquor store.
Bonus: liquor store with good craft beer selection right next door.
|"beer's pretty sweet."|
What it's like: cozy, warm, dark. perfect neighbourhood pub.
Stand-out feature: super cozy, great atmosphere.
The beer: Pump House has a well-rounded beer list (even includes a couple of lambics). My notes tell me I drank a Green Flash West Coast IPA... and absolutely nothing else. Apologies, Pump House, but them's the breaks when you're #6 on the tour roster.
Bonus: comfy couches in front of the blazing fireplace were very welcome after a long, tough day of drinking.
And thus concluded my virgin CAMRA bus trip. At this point, it was nearing 8pm and I'd drank near my body weight in beer, so it was a perfect time to bid adieu to Richmond and head back over the bridge to Vancouver (with dignity still mostly intact). Overall, Tour de Richmond was a huge success - big props to CAMRA Vancouver and Beerthirst for putting on such an awesome event. I'd love to see this happen in another of Vancouver's surrounding areas!