There comes a time in every coffee drinker’s day when they must ask that fateful question: Should I have more caffeine? For many, the fear of being awake all night leads to the next logical conclusion that it’s time for a beer. It seems coffee shops have started to take full advantage of this dilemma by commonly offering craft beer, but few have considered the reverse. What about a brewery that serves specialty coffee? 33 Acres Brewing Company has been doing just that.
33 Acres has been a prominent figure in the craft beer scene in Vancouver, Canada, for years and has played a major role in helping to create the wave of popularity beer is currently experiencing in the region. Considering their award-winning success and positive reputation in the community, father and son owners Brian and Josh Michnik could easily be satisfied to stay on course and stick to their winning formula. Instead, the pair decided that their path to success meant evolving the brand. “The main reason we introduced coffee into our room is that, like beer, it is a catalyst to collaboration,” he says. “Our space was built for people to come around a table and talk. Beer and coffee are naturally a huge part of this process.”
This place is first and foremost still a brewery, but it is clear that coffee plays a close second. Espresso-based drinks and AeroPress filter coffee are available and served by knowledgeable and experienced baristas, but the team takes its concept a step further with a menu that is both creative and enticing. One can order an affogato served over Vancouver’s own Earnest Ice Cream or a shot of espresso served with a glass of beer called the 33 Pick Up (which is not surprisingly the most popular item on the menu). It’s a natural pairing for a business taking both of these programs seriously. But the combination is not always as clear to some confused customers who have been caught unknowingly pouring the espresso directly into their beer with dramatic results.
Located in Mount Pleasant, 33 Acres’s tasting room is by far one of the most photogenic spaces in the city. Featuring pure white walls and chairs, polished wood benches and counters, and plenty of plant life providing punches of greenery around the room, it is difficult to point a lens anywhere and not end up with a great shot. Slices of sunlight cut cleanly across the cement floor supplying perfect lighting to showcase the coffee and delicious food. The clever “B33R” logo directs one to the bar proudly displaying Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters coffee next to a selection of fresh pastries and the impressive custom Slayer espresso machine.
Vancouver is a city that drinks a lot of coffee and a lot of beer. With a community constantly looking to balance their uppers and downers, 33 Acres is leading the way for breweries to raise the bar for both. And considering the possibility of a 33 Pick Up, that caffeine dilemma just got a whole lot easier to solve.
Peter de Vooght is a freelance journalist and photographer based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Read more Peter de Vooght on Sprudge.