Review: Old Ivy Brewery and Taproom, Vancouver, WA Located in downtown Vancouver, the Old Ivy Brewery and Taproom has been around for a few years with a strong lineup of beers and a newly renovated food menu. This is one of the many stops that I visit on Fridays with my “Couve Crew” after work, we usually start here or at one of the other breweries in the downtown area. If we don’t start there, we’ll typically make a stop there for at least a pint over the course of the evening. This time around, I visited them on Friday, Feb. 10th solo before meeting the guys down the street at Trusty Brewing (which will be reviewed next). I’ve got to say that the Old Ivy head brewer, Chris Spollen, has done a tremendous job of making some solid, consistent beers. I was lucky a few years or so ago to home-brew some beer at a mutual friends (Erin Stephens) and got to chat with Chris about his approach to brewing and see his skills first hand.
The taproom and brewery has a great paito space that is wonderful during the summer months, but not so much when it’s rainy outside. They have a long, beautifully copper covered bar that brings a unique and friendly old-school vibe to the space. They do have a few other tables and they do allow minors to be in that front area and some games you are welcome to play under the beer reader board. Over the years that I’ve been going there there, they usually don’t have many kids around so no real issues with that. The beer reader board does have a list of their house made beers and the rotating guest taps with some additional information about each. I appreciate that they usually have at least one or two European or German beers available. You can ask for a taster or sampler tray if you can’t decide. They also have stickers, hats, and the usual swag available for purchase also.
I haven’t had a chance to try much of their new food/menu, they’ve kept their burgers and added a bunch of BBQ options to it that do look quite enticing. Unfortunately they removed the tater tots to be replaced by potato wedge fries and I suppose it’s the same thing but we miss the tots! They do offer happy hour food specials and you can get growler fills of any of the beers to go. They owners used to have a bottle shop “By the Bottle” in the business space next door that sadly closed last year. The room is now used as an event space and art gallery by the taproom, which is cool.
The beers are always consistent and solid as mentioned and my favorite has been their Rediculous Red Ale, which I was able to review below out of the nine beers that had available. It’s always clean, chewy, and has that great malt build I enjoy in a red. The beer reviews below from the pictures go back to front, left to right. If you’re needing additional information about the beers or want to know about them, just ask the bartender as they are pretty informed on their beers and the guest taps. Overall, if you’re in the downtown Vancouver area and are looking for some good beers and food, friendly conversation with locals, and a genuinely local brewpub, this certainly should be towards the top of your list.
Old Ivy Brewery and Taproom
108 W Evergreen Blvd, Suite A
Vancouver, WA 98660
Old Ivy • India Pale Ale (IPA) • IBU: 55 • ABV: 6.1% • SRM: 14
HOPS: Amarillo, Cascade, Nugget, Simcoe
Appearance: Golden/orange hued draft with a solid white frothy head, great retention and lots of large bubbly/spidery lacing.
Smell/Aroma: Nose is mild, but has a bit of sweet sugars (butterscotch) and citrus/fruits.
Taste: Front is herbal, hop resins, pine to citrus dry hop profiles, strong aftertaste and lingering bitters.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, great carbonation, prickly on the tongue towards the back.
Overall: This is a standard NW IPA with lots of pine, resin, and earthy acidic notes, great malt backing helps it hold the strong hop profile.
Old Ivy • Amber/Red Ale • IBU: 34 • ABV: 6.7% • SRM: 20
HOPS: Simcoe and Golding
Appearance: Medium red draft with a slightly off-white foamy head, some large bubbles and tons of lacing. Great retention to the end.
Smell/Aroma: Wet cardboard to sweet graham crackers on the nose.
Taste: Sweet and rounded front, dried grains, slight roasted vibe on the tongue. Mild hop profile with notes of fruit/dried leaves helps balance the sweet grain build.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied to chewy, creamy on the back, low bitter profile brings the sweets to the back.
Overall: This is a solid amber/red ale with all the classic characteristics it should have.
Old Ivy • American Pale Ale • IBU: 32 • ABV: 5% • SRM: 12
Appearance: Medium orange clear draft with a nice white large bubbly head, low retention and some spidery lacing.
Smell/Aroma: Sweet husky grains (almost chewy oat like) with some grassy/herbal notes.
Taste: This is a mild tasting pale ale has some great chewy bread malts on the front with hits of grassy/herbal/celery hops on the mid.
Mouthfeel: Thinner bodied, mild/low carbonation, taste drops quickly off the back.
Overall: This is a sessionable pale ale, nothing off-putting, middle of the road without being offensive.
Old Ivy • American Porter • IBU: 32 • ABV: 5.6% • SRM: 35
Appearance: Dark brown/black draft with red hues when you hold it up to the light. Large bubbly tan head that dropped quickly, leaving some decent medium bubbly lacing on the rim.
Smell/Aroma: Dried chocolate and coffee present on the nose, with a sweet syrupy vibe.
Taste: Strong burned/roasted grain presence on the front which is almost acidic in nature, spicy notes with some molasses to toffee characters.
Mouthfeel: Smooth and a bit of creamy presence on the tongue. Thin bodied towards the back.
Overall: This is a great dark robust porter with a ton of dark roasted notes, hints of spice help it along. Super low hop profile.
|The Big Newton
Old Ivy • Imperial Brown Ale (Mission Figs) • IBU: 32 • ABV: 7% • SRM: 28
Appearance: Dark brown/red hues, off-white to tan solid two finger head, great retention and lots of small bubbly lacing.
Smell/Aroma: Dark bread crusty and sweet nuts on the nose.
Taste: Sweeter malt approach, thin hops with some hints of leather, dried leaves, and spices. Fruit is barely there on the mid/back.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodies, chewy a bit with good carbonation and a rounded presence on the tongue.
Overall: The fruit doesn’t show up as much as we’d like, it’s a good solid brown ale with tons of malt character and supportive hops, but it’s a bit thin on the back.
Old Ivy • American Double / Imperial IPA • IBU: 70 • ABV: 8.7% • SRM: 18
Appearance: Dark orange/reddish clear draft, small frothy white head with some retention to the end and lots of small spidery lacing.
Smell/Aroma: Caramel malts, boozy, some tropical and hop resins present.
Taste: Sweet sugars, caramel hints, mild spice, hop cone resins, pine to earthy acidity.
Mouthfeel: Chewy but thin on the back. Some prickly action towards the mid.
Overall: This is a mild double IPA that does have a bit of alcohol on the tongue, does have a sweet caramel hint on top of the lower hop profile.
Old Ivy • Saison • IBU: 20 • ABV: 5.4% • SRM: 15
Appearance: Orange/golden clear draft with a solid frothy white head, great retention and tons of lacing on the rim.
Smell/Aroma: Soft nose with some yeast funk and spice/pepper showing up next to the sweet biscuit.
Taste: This has a crisp and bright toasted malt bill, has a great robust presence and mild yeast characteristics. Hops are secondary to everything, but do show a little with some pine and vegetal appeal.
Mouthfeel: Thinner, strong carbonation with a dried cracker to bread chew on the tongue. Watery on the back, flavors linger just a bit past the swallow.
Overall: Mild citrus/spiced saison without the strong yeast flavor.
|South of the Porter
Old Ivy • Robust Porter – Barrel Aged (Oak Chips) • IBU: 32 • ABV: 6.9% • SRM: 35
Appearance: Dark brown/black draft with a fluffy tan, small bubbly head, some lacing and head dropped off by the end to a sheen.
Smell/Aroma: Lots of burned grains and bread crust, some mild caramel, hints of pepper/spice.
Taste: This is a strong roasted granola like malt build, hints of sweet maple and slight nutty tastes show up. Hops are really hidden, bitters are from the roast.
Mouthfeel: Good full bodied, mild prickly dance on the tongue.
Overall: Classic robust porter with tons of roasted characters and bitterness from the grains, no hops to speak of.
|Oro Del Diablo
Old Ivy • Belgian Golden Strong • IBU: 23 • ABV: 8.7% • SRM: 20
Appearance: Dark orange clear draft, minimal white head that dropped quickly to a sheen, some small bubbly lacing on the rim.
Smell/Aroma: Caramel breads with hints of yeast funk.
Taste: Spicy (pepper to corriander) and strong malts present on the front, stronger hop profile with some vegetal and herbal hints front to mid, lingering aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Solid bodied, some mild carbonation, mild yeast-chalk coats the tongue.
Overall: Decent strong belgian ale, hides the alcohol well, not a beginner beer.