Coal Harbour Brewing started back in 2010, with the company making their first local festival appearance the following year at The Great Canadian Beer Fest. You’ll likely recognize the brand for their famous 311 Helles Lager, a German style beer which is brewed in the tradition of the Helles style of the Munich brewers. “It’s called 311 because it was first brewed on 11 11 11,” general manager Pawan Sankhala tells us, while giving us some background about the company and its slightly unique operation. See, while most local East Van breweries sell their tasting lounges and growler fills as draws – Coal Harbour have forged a decidedly different approach. “We’re kind of in a different situation,” Pawan explains. “Whereas other craft breweries might start with so many beers – the majority of our brewing has just been 311. It’s kind of what this company’s strategy has been – to establish that brand as the main one.” This calculated move has led Coal Harbour Brewing to forge a relationship with the BC Liquor Stores, who now stock their product across the province. Over the past few years Coal Harbour have slowly introduced new beers, including Smoke and Mirrors and the aptly named Powel St IPA, which recently received a Gold medal from The Canadian Brewing Awards. And if you’re expecting a fancy tasting room at Coal Harbour, think twice. The industrial setting is all business, and Pawan says that was a conscious decision made long before the craft beer scene was considered trendy. “We were one of the first in this area to start a brewery,” Pawan says. “At that time tasting lounges weren’t really a thing. The plan was to have just a manufacturing facility here. The bet was on 311, and that we’d be brewing and canning a lot of it. Although we don’t have a tasting room, we’re still in the heart of the brewing district,” Pawan says. “We have plans in the future to have an on-site store, hopefully by the end of summer.” Fingers crossed! In the meantime, keep up with the latest on Coal Harbour Brewing’s newly launched website, and don’t forget to stay social on Twitter and Instagram.