I’ve been to Steamworks several times now since I moved to Vancouver – and nearly every visit has been somewhat related to work.  It should come as no surprise that Steamworks if a pub, which is conveniently located right next to Harbour Centre, and has excellent micro-brewed beer on tap!

But where to start when there’s so many options?  Well, a friend let me in on a secret non-menu option: The sampler!

The Sampler! ($12)

Offering 8 smaller glasses (5 oz) glasses of their most popular beers plus at least one seasonal option, this is a great way to try their range of in-house brewed libations!  You even get a cool placemat to help identify the beers.

I find their dark beers very dark, their fruity beers very fruity, and their ales/lagers very tasty.  It’s almost as thought they are more “extreme” versions of each of the traditional beer types.  At under $12 for this array (40 oz = 2.5 regular beer), it’s quite a good way to get the evening going.

But what about food?  I find Steamworks’ options to be a bit on the pricey side, however, you do get nice ingredients for the cost.  Take, for instance their Lamb Burger:

Lamb Burger ($13)

This is a pretty prime example of Steamworks’ food.  Good concept what with the spiced ground lamb burger patty, yogurty raita, paprika and cabbage to go with your standard lettuce & onion.  The execution is a little messy though, with the shredded cabbage not bound together with anything (thus falls everywhere!) and too much yogurt (both the big blob on the patty, plus more under the patty, and even more on the top bun.  I’ve found on several occasions that Steamworks’ food is heavily sauced – from salad dressing, to spice coating on chicken, to pasta sauces.  In any case, this particular burger tasted great, but was just a mess to eat!  The fries are good here, crispy and very airy on the inside.

I have two other good things to say about Steamworks: 1) they are open late and offer food later than most places in Gastown, and 2) the place is deceptively huge – I’ve always managed to find a table for my party, no matter how busy the place looked or how large a group we were.

Service is solid: friendly but not overly-chummy.  They know the beers and food well, which is helpful too.  They also are very good about splitting up bills for previously-referenced large groups!  I’ll definitely keep coming here, but am still searching for the dish that I will really enjoy, and then I might just stick with that for the long haul…

Steamworks Brewing Company on Urbanspoon

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