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CRAFT Beer Market – with its high ceilings, beautiful lighting fixtures, and 140 tap lines – opened its doors earlier this week for invited guests and media.

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It all started with a vision from owner PJ L’Heureux. At the young age of 18, much to his parent’s dismay, he started to brew beer at home, quickly discovering that making beer was not his forte, but serving it was. A trip to Portland combined with a passion for fresh local food brought the CRAFT concept to Vancouver.

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He later approached friends Rob Swiderski and John Liwag. The trio assembled a management team and CRAFT Market was born. The first location opened two years ago in Calgary; Edmonton’s next with a December 2013 opening.

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The casual restaurant serving up North American classic cuisine is housed in the historic 1930 Salt Building. This iconic venue now hosts the largest collection of beer in the city, with 140 tap lines housed in two towers.

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The custom-built keg room can hold 450 kegs, equal to 26,000 litres of beer. CRAFT’s draft system is designed so that the temperature of the beer is exactly the same in the keg room as it is when poured from their taps.

Craft Beer Market Opening-3 Crab cake sliders
[Rock crab cake sliders: citrus aioli, pepper salsa, cucumber, arugula, housemade pretzel bun]

In addition to an amazing assortment of craft beer, there’s also wine on tap, cocktails, and spirits available to pair with Chef Paul McGreevy’s dishes. The focus is on handcrafted menu items featuring fresh, local ingredients.

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The multifaceted venue features floor-to-ceiling windows and a stunning central island bar on the main level as well as a private dining room and two raised mezzanines. Craft is the largest Canadian restaurant to receive Level 1 LEAF Certification (Leaders in Environmentally Accountable Foodservice).

Proscuitto arugula flatbread
[Proscuitto arugula flatbread]

When the Salt Building was renovated prior to the 2010 Winter Olympics, it also received LEED Gold designation. In keeping with sustainability, biodegradable take out containers, napkins, and other paper products are used; a composting and recycling program is also in effect.

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After mingling with friends over a few beers, I walked around the immense space, taking in the views and architectural elements that Vancouverites will soon come to enjoy over brunch, lunch, dinner, or a game on one of the large screen TVs.

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Check out a couple of CRAFT Beer Market’s upcoming events on tap:

November 26: Inaugural Brewmaster’s Dinner with Anchor Brewing

An evening of great food and beer as well as some insight into the history of the Bay Area brewery and its beer. A unique four-course menu to pair with selected Anchor beers, each course designed to cut or compliment the beer while bring out the flavour of both food and brew. Tickets for the set menu are $60 per person and can be purchased at CRAFT or online. The dinner series will be held monthly, together with a featured brewery.

Tuesday Cask Beer Night

Every Tuesday, a cask beer will be tapped at 4 pm, made especially for CRAFT Beer Market by local breweries. Limited availability so get there early!
Upcoming Cask: 
November 12: Parallel 49’s Ugly Sweater Milk Stout

Panko-crusted rice cake with Ahi tuna
[Panko-crusted rice cake with Ahi tuna]

Vancouver CRAFT Beer Market is located at 85 West 1st Avenue, Vancouver.

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