First Look: BREWHALL in Olympic Village is a Modern Beer Hall

Steel Toad had a tough time and also an identity crisis. The group behind Tap & Barrel took over the space and have now turned it into BREWHALL and T&B’s experience shows in how well put-together this place is. I haven’t tried any of the food yet, and only had a couple house beers, but this place works.

(Side note: I’m so glad they changed the name from “T&B Brewing Co.” cuz that would’ve been a supreme dick move. R&B Ale & Pizza House is only blocks away.)

BREWHALL’s graphic identity is almost like a twin of Bells & Whistles with its strong lines, flat colours, and liberal use of iconography.

Development of this Olympic Village area has been interesting. Going by how busy this place has been since they opened on July 11, they’ve nailed a concept and execution that works for this area.

Similar to how CRAFT Beer Market occupies the old Vancouver Salt Company’s building, BREWHALL occupies the old Opsal Steel building. You can see older pictures in this Vancouver Courier article from before Steel Toad took over the building.

You can play pinball at The American, 12 Kings, Pub 340, and now here at BREWHALL! Good thing about this environment, there aren’t many table hogs 😉

Great lineup of machines. They also list their current games on their website. They’ve already scored a point in my heart!

Tapper is a great nod and a wink. Did you know that Tapper was renamed Root Beer Tapper in some versions because parents didn’t want to expose kids to beer drinking?

Majority of seating is long picnic tables (benches).  That means you’re gonna be climbing over shit, especially if it gets busy.

Lineup to order food and beer at the bar.

It’s all counter/bar service here. So you basically fend for yourself when finding a place to sit. I’m sure the plentiful and helpful staff can help you out if you need.

Friendly dudes and the beer list. The guy on the right reminds me of Jack Black! The list on the left of the guest tap list featuring local brewery creek, “yeast van”, and other breweries.

They have flights! More work for the staff but better for the customer.

Their house beers are all brewed on-site, meaning this is T&B group’s first dedicated brewery. They’ve done collabs with breweries before (eg. Bridge in North Van), but now they’ve brought other breweries here to collab on some of their house beers. Their Belgian white IPA has SEVEN collaborators. Cough.

Beer list with some descriptions are listed on their website.

I’m *SO* glad they have a small glass option. It’s something I really miss at Bells & Whistles, where they only have one (large) size serving and no flights.

BREWHALL Neon Lights Pale (4.5%) on the left, BREWHALL x Faculty, Brassneck, Red Truck, R&B, Main Street, Electric Bicycle, 33 Acres Belgian White IPA (6.5%) on the right.

I was suprised/not surprised that their house pale ale is a HAZY pale ale. Drinks very similar to other hazy pales like Twin Sails Dat Juice and Superflux Easy Tiger, although skewing a touch bigger on the palate. To be honest, all hazy IPAs are tasting all the same to me nowadays, so I was actually slightly disappointed that this wasn’t just a solid west coast pale ale. (Brassneck’s just a few blocks away! Haha!)

The Belgian White IPA was very heavy on the Belgian White part, especially in the aroma.

That’s a big-ass fan. And did you know there’s a company called “Big Ass Fans”?? I’m sure this is one of their fans. Works great.

The brewery part seems only minimally changed from the previous setup. Love the new graphics though!

Serve yourself water and condiments. Cutlery, Sriracha, hot sauce, ketchup, mustard, etc.

They’ve really ran with the concept of a modern beer hall. Feels great sitting here.

Door to the men’s washroom. Exact same washrooms as what Steel Toad had.

Ms Pacman’s washroom.

This place is large, with lots of light, family friendly (as long as you’re ok with finding your own place to sit), has TWO patios, and since it’s bar service, you pay up-front and don’t have to worry about flagging down a server to pay your bill afterwards.

First visit is very positive. Next time I’ll try the food, but if it’s the same Tap & Barrel quality, I expect crowd-pleasing, non-fancy eats. Others might diss T&B group but I see them as a larger chain that actually gives a shit about beer (their staff training is better than St. Augustine’s as far as I can tell). Even though the beer list isn’t geeky enough for a certain segment of the craft beer crowd, BREWHALL are doing what they’re doing well. So far.

One thought on “First Look: BREWHALL in Olympic Village is a Modern Beer Hall”

  1. Big Ass Fans….dying. Another great synopsis Dennis, I don’t eat anywhere in the Lower Mainland anymore without checking out your blog first.

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