Colombian culture meets British Columbian craft beer.
As distinctive breweries go, Andina probably tops the lot. It starts with its unmissable bright yellow building on Powell Street, adorned with a two-storey graphic of the brewery’s mascot, La Pola. The name Andina betrays the brewery’s roots, referring to the people of the Andes. But the brand is more than just a simple nod to the Colombian homeland of its founders; actually, the flavours and culture of South America infuse the décor, food and even the beer on offer here.
Customers are greeted with a hearty “¡hola!” from the chirpy staff, along with modern Colombian, Latin American and Canadian music. On the beer front, Ben Greenberg is the first Canadian brewer to use premium Patagonia malt, and he also subtly incorporates ingredients such as panela cane sugar and fruits like guava and lulo to give classic styles an exotic twist. The brewery’s kitchen, meanwhile, offers delicacies such as arepas, plantain chifles, empanadas and a range of ceviche: a hugely refreshing change from pizzas and burgers. And if you want to take a piece of Colombia home with you, merchandise for sale includes Andean hats, bags and beautifully painted porcelain growlers. ¡Salud!
You can also listen to this Cascadian Beer Podcast episode featuring Andina Brewing.