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East Vancouver's Parallel 49 brewery reopens expanded tasting room and menu

Popular microbrewery reopens after six-month closure and renovation and features 40 taps and an indoor food truck.

Parallel 49’s flight gives you an opportunity to mix and match with their unique brews.

Abby Wiseman/Metro

Parallel 49’s flight gives you an opportunity to mix and match with their unique brews.

Parallel 49 is back in time for bike and brew season with a new restaurant and tasting room that serves up 40 taps and some tasty beer bites.

As one of the first microbreweries in town, Parallel 49 (1950 Triumph St.) became instantly popular with creative beers and a packed tasting room. They took a risk and shut down their tasting room for six months to expand and renovate.

The new tasting room has been open for about nearly two weeks and not only does it look sleek with metal stools, cement floors, cinder block walls and a digital menu, it’s literally moved a food truck inside to offer a beer-drinking friendly menu.

I tried three of Parallel 49’s new menu items and swished it down with a flight ($7). Just like wine, some of these beers taste better with some food and not others.

Parallel 49’s new tasting room is graffiti chic with a food truck built into the restaurant.

Abby Wiseman/Metro

Parallel 49’s new tasting room is graffiti chic with a food truck built into the restaurant.

First up was the Steamed Pork Bao ($13) served on super soft steamed bun stuffed with tender pork slow marinated with five spice and topped with pickled carrots and I believe a chili sauce. The combo of fat from the pork, tang from the pickled vegetable and soft nurturing bread was a nicely balanced. I found the pickled veg a bit too much on the sour side, but all in all this was one tasty Bao. I enjoyed it most with the What’s Golden East Meets West IPA and the hops cut through the fat and balanced the spice. Good combo.

Next I tried the very extravagant Corn Dogs ($16) that take two days to prepare. Duck swapped out the dog, which made for a surprisingly soft bite. The pulled duck is enveloped in fluffy cornmeal batter and topped with three sauces – one called “mami” which chef Jason Harper came up with, a japanese mayo and housemade beer mustard.

The food truck is built into the restaurant.

Abby Wiseman/Metro

The food truck is built into the restaurant.

These dogs are rich! The juices from the duck is soaked in the cornmeal and the spicy and aromatic sauce combo really adds a kick – with the beer mustard really showing up. What was novel about this dish is that it is topped with popcorn popped with duck fat – in case you wanted more duck fat. It looks beautiful and taste really good, and is a fun dish to share, but this will stick to your ribs. I liked it most with the Mystic Skull Dark Lager – which evoked memories of Indiana Jones’ Temple of Doom.

The dark lager was light and effervescent, but with notes of dark chocolate, chipotle and cumin. It’s definitely one of the most unique beers I’ve had in awhile.

Last I had the gluten free Fried Cauliflower ($9) – because every meal should have vegetables and the fried lotus chips that come with meals don’t count. The gluten free flour didn’t yield the crispness I like in fried food, which also allowed excess oil to soak into the cauliflower. Oiliness aside, the flavours were excellent with toasted sesame, green onion and a szechuan sauce that pack some spice. Once again I liked it with the What’s Golden.

The corn dog from Parallel 49.

Abby Wiseman/Metro

The corn dog from Parallel 49.

I tried the Rosemary Gose and an Experimental IPA. The Experimental IPA #002 was a very green and hoppy beer, strong in grassy flavours and conjured up visions of hayfields. Not my favourite, but for I think the IPA purists will love it.

The Rosemary Gose is a really good standalone beer with a light sourness and a very herbal finish. I would sip this on its own or as an end of meal digestif.

All in all, I had a good experience at Parallel 49’s new space. The staff were friendly, the food was good and the brews were tasty. It’s lost a bit of its East Van hole-in-the-wall charm, but times are changing and P49 is smart to keep up. 

Chef Jason Harper developed Parallel 49’s new menu.

Abby Wiseman/Metro

Chef Jason Harper developed Parallel 49’s new menu.

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