Grandview-Woodland—After nearly a year of delays and red tape, East Vancouver's newest brewery from the Amaya family (founders/brothers Andrés and Nicolás and their wives), Andina Brewing Company, finally opened on Powell Street earlier this month to much excitement from the local craft beer community.
The gorgeous 2,000 square foot tasting lounge and brewery is easy spotted with its distinct, bright yellow "La Pola" girl mural designed by renowned illustrator Leo Espinosa (an old friend of the family) flaunting its South American inspiration with some British Columbian style meets Colombian flair.
Andina opened with six beers available from head brewer Andrew Powers (formerly of Red Truck)—four year-round staples (aka "cervezas principales") and two seasonals ("cervezas de temporada")—all made with Patagonian malts from Chile. Of the six, I sampled a mix of four trying two staples and two seasonals for good measure to whet my thirst.
1) Ay Ay Ay American pale ale (principale): I'm a sucker for a good ol' APA and this was a crisp and nicely bold and aromatic effort making for an appealing overall pale ale.
2) Monita blonde IPA (principale): The light-bodied golden yellow IPA was smooth and pleasing with some welcome citrus notes to it.
3) Maraca passion fruit black IPA (temporada): Easily the most adventurous brew of the brunch, this ambitious oppy dark IPA had a nice but not too fruity blend to it with a good mix of flavours.
4) Mapale milk stout (temporada): Milky and sublime, this was a refreshing stout and the most mature and robust tasting of the bunch.
So far, it's a solid bunch of offerings with the milk stout standing out for its appeal and the APA as an easy drinking anytime ale. The Totuma kölsch and session ale await.
Andina's biggest strength so far is its uniqueness. Plainly said, it's different. The friendly South American atmosphere and focus on elements like their fresh house made ceviche and Colombian heritage make it stand out. The lovely tasting room situated in the middle of the still burgeoning Yeast Van neighbourhood is a major plus that has already made it a fine drinking destination.
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