Tag Archives: urbandig

Want to see a city like a local? Urbandig in Financial Post

Want to see a city like a local? There is an app for that

Dave Olson, marketing director for Vancouver’s HootSuite, was the first curator in Vancouver, where he writes under the name of his personal blog, uncleweed. Mr. Olson is “incredibly busy” with the fast-growing HootSuite, creator of the popular social-media dashboard, said Ms. Rodgers, but like others involved in the project, he made time to share his passion for a subject dear to his heart — or his tastebuds — craft beer.

“He is a good friend of mine and I know he’s constantly logging the beers he tries on a site called Untappd,” Ms. Rodgers said. “We wanted it to be content from subject-matter experts. When you open up the app and Dave Olson tells you to go to Six Acres and try the Raven Cream Ale, you know that you can trust Dave is going to guide you to the right place.”

Curated tours app Urbandig in Vancouver Sun – Featuring me and beer

I made a tour for a startup app called Urbandig which shares “locals” tours of special interests in various cities. This article by Gillian Shaw at Vancouver Sun shares the story with some blurbage on my Gastown Beer Tour contribution.

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Vancouver startup firm puts a new twist on travel apps

Urbandig is like having a best friend who can show you all the cool spots

By GILLIAN SHAW, Vancouver Sun October 19, 2011

VANCOUVER – What do the digerati do when they’re sitting around wondering how they can discover the really cool spots in town that only the locals know about?

Why, they make an app for it, of course.

That’s just what happened last spring in Los Angeles, when a group of Vancouver new-media types were chatting with friends there about the difficulty of finding those out-of-the-way places that may not even rate a mention in the travel guides.

{snip}

Dave Olson, marketing director for Vancouver’s HootSuite, was the first curator in Vancouver, where he writes under the name of his personal blog, uncleweed.

Olson is “incredibly busy” with the fast-growing HootSuite, creator of the popular social-media dashboard, said Rodgers, but like others involved in the project, he made time to share his passion for a subject dear to his heart — or his tastebuds — craft beer.

“He is a good friend of mine and I know he’s constantly logging the beers he tries on a site called Untappd,” said Rodgers. “We wanted it to be content from subject-matter experts. When you open up the app and Dave Olson tells you to go to Six Acres and try the Raven Cream Ale, you know that you can trust Dave is going to guide you to the right place.”

{more about my pal Mikala}

Mikala Taylor, creator of the popular music website Backstage Rider, is another Urbandig curator. “I cranked out a tour based on some of the places I seem to live in, which are really all the music venues in Vancouver,” she said. “Rather than just say ‘Here are some great music venues,’ I flipped it on its head and aligned it with the stuff I like to do, which is hang out with bands.”

And so you’ll find Taylor’s tour includes tips on the best places to stand if you want to meet the band, where the tour buses are parked, the backstage area and other insider tidbits.

“I remember when I first moved here there was a book, eat.shop vancouver, which had really interesting takes on some of the cooler places in the city,” said Taylor. “Not so much like a Lonely Planet or Time Out guide; it seemed to be more in the trenches.

“To me, Urbandig seems like an app version of that book. If you really drill in there are some really cool tips from the experts, people who really know something about what they’re writing about.”

Source: Vancouver startup Urbandig wanders off the beaten path with its new travel app

Gastown Craft Beer Stumbling Tour – As seen in Urban Dig & Vancouver Observer

Originally appeared in Urban Dig iPhone app as an interactive tour, and also in The Vancouver Observer column “Uncle Weed’s Dossier” as “A Gastown craft beer stumbling tour.” Be responsible and enjoy the route!

Gastown Craft Beer Stumbling Tour

Ready for a Stumble?

me and a beer (my head isn't really this giant)

Vancouver may be among the most expensive beer drinking cities in the world, but fortunately, there are glorious quality ales available… if you know where to look.

Otherwise you’ll miss out on the erstwhile BC craft brewery renaissance with world-class beers made locally by Howe Sound, R&B, Crannóg, Phillips, and more. Plus, resourceful importers are distributing micro-classics from the United States’ west coast mixed in with European standard-bearers which go beyond the basics. Are you missing out? If so, come along.

Gassy Jack watching over drunks

Railtown to Gastown

Amongst the steam clock and Gassy Jack statue photo-ops in cobble-stoned Gastown are plenty of bars, restaurants, nightclubs and cafes but many of them serve the same macro-beer swill and flaccid atmosphere found anywhere.

You’ll need to scratch a little deeper to find the places which have substance to go along with the style. Pick the right door and you’ll find beers from Cascadian brewmaster experiments, to west coast micro-classics, to Trappist ales with centuries of tradition.

To help out-of-towners and local alike, I created a tour of the spots I stop by en route from work in Railtown to the Seabus. The fine establishments in this tour range from almost dive-bars to almost gastro-pubs but all share a commitment to featuring (in some cases, exclusively) true craft handles.

All of the places serve food — it’s the law, I think — to keep your belly loaded and soak up all the sudsy goodness. But all the people here are on this route for their bevvies, not nibbles.

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Follow the route closely and don’t be tempted by long line-ups and glamorous patios or you’ll be stuck with a disappointing beer served by someone who doesn’t really know what they are serving. The route ends (or starts) with tall cans from the package store swilled at the (almost hidden) waterfront park while watching tugboats and float planes and reflecting on the porters, stouts, hefeweizens, IPAs, and abbey ales consumed on your route and this might be the best part.

Alibi Room

IPA Flight at Alibi Room (beer)

On the edge of Railtown, the food and ambience are good but the 40-plus carefully selected draft and cask beers are even better with an ever-changing and elegantly curated variety of taps and casks with a focus on Cascadian beers – especially IPAs and limited runs.

Hopheads are in heaven here, but my current fave is the malty Bear Republic’s Pete Brown Tribute Ale, or recently, coffee-rich HUB Organic Survival 7 Grain Stout. With so many top-end and strong beers, choosing can be hard. So ask your wise bartender for a “Frat Bat” of 4 tasters.

Check the chalkboard for the casks of the day – with no CO2, these beers are artisan and old-school and remember all the beers here are strong and excellent – be prepared for safe transport so you can really explore the list.

Incendio

grimbergen at incendio

One particular Belgian gets this part of the Biercraft location on the map. This location has a few decent choices but go directly for Grimbergen – this Belgian beer will be served in a paired glass with 8 step prep and pour.

They’ve made this remarkable and heavy-duty treat since 1128 in a (waitforit) Premonstratensian monastery with a recipe protected from fires to wars. Note the great coaster collection too.

Six Acres

Schneider Weisse Hoppen Weisse at Six Acres

Quaint, cozy and fortified with a variety of European bottled treats with key locals… if you can grab a rare table. Settle in for a long sampling session and people watching with an R&B Raven Cream Ale in a big bottle or if you’ve never had the König Ludwig or Schneiderweisse hefeweizens from Germany, do so immediately – both are well textured and refreshing.

Since you are here, check a few more Trappist ales of the list with Duvel, Orval, and Chimay along for a few other Belgians but try to resist the urge to walk out with one of the handmade menus crafted from 1930s-era school books.

The Irish Heather

moving life with beers and napkins

Hearty beers to go with sturdy food in a modern semi-gastro-pub setting. I was a sucker for the old spot because of the rickety chairs but with the Shebeen Whisk(e)y bar and Salty Tongue cafe combined, you have all your essentials including pot pies and shepherd’s pie.

It’s ostensibly an Irish pub, so Guinness or Kilkenny seem like the logical choices. But instead go with local Russel’s Wee Angry Scotch Ale or look for the Howe Sound Rail Ale on tap here – made in Squamish, this nut brown is my go-to session beer.

The Cambie

uncleweed.net and beer

I like divey but decent, and this landmark is the local equivalent of Star Wars’ Mos Eisley cantina filled with hostel backpackers, dope dealers, fried food and cheap beer – not as crafty as the others but completely devoid of any pretension.

The house Pale and Lager are made by local Russell and is cheap and serviceable but upgrade to the Russel Cream Ale or IPeh instead. The long benches ensure you get to know your neighbours whether you want to or not. Write your name in Sharpie on the table to prove you survived.

The Greedy Pig

okanagan spring black lager

I don’t make it here as much as others, but friendly service, comfort food and a few solid tap handles make this a low-key getaway on busy nights. Sit at the bar, eat a grilled cheese sandwich or pickled quail eggs and watch a game in a non-sports bar atmosphere.

I enjoy Okanagan Spring Brewmaster Black Lager here – the best choice from an otherwise rather boring brewery (though I also like their Porter too).

Steamworks

beers at steamworks

Often packed with tourists but worth crowding in for the six-plus brews which are rotated to work in seasonal ales (and to stay up with demand). The Nirvana Nutbrown and Coal Porter are the front runners for me (the porter rotates with the Heroica Stout).

Skip the patio and head all the way downstairs for a pub-style area with pool tables and fireplaces but if waiting for the SeaBus, grab a seat at the mezzanine level bar, pay cash and keep an eye on the vessel arriving for a quick getaway.

Rogue Kitchen and Wetbar

Located in Waterfront Station with relatively-safe but solid choices – complete with tasting notes – make Rogue ideal for bringing your no-beer-geek pals (if you have any).

Go right for the prize with Crannóg’s Backhand of God Stout which will teach you that God does love you and that’s why she created beer. Order easy quaffing locals like Central City’s Red Racer ESB, Deschutes Mirror Pond or Howe Sound’s Garabaldi Honey Pale Ale for indecisive friends.

Victory Lap

Still standing? Keep it going… Find the Wine Thief beer and wine store in front of Steamworks and load up your pockets with tall cans of Tree Brewing’s Thirsty Beaver (which go down quick) or go pro with the Holsten Maibock which is strong and sweet. Then, walk across through the station towards the Seabus and zip out the Heliport exit towards Crab Park.

This mellow, underknown waterfront park makes a nice chill out to start or end the tour with a swill on the dock while watching tugboats toiling and float planes landing and classic railcars alongside commuters and boxcars. Head into your beloved Vancouver back over the lil’ bridge at the north end of Main St. to complete your lap.

Final Burps

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Note: I log my beers on Untappd and follow breweries, beerfans and bars via a Twitter list.

Tour: Follow my route in a free iPhone app called Urban Dig which includes a collection curated tours by renegade locals from LA to Vancouver. The tour includes my notes (with some hidden tips) plus photos and map. Be sure to “like” it.

Photos: By authour except Flight at Alibi Room by mezzoblue and Dave in furry hat at The Greedy Pig by Bob Mackin