CRAFT Beer Market
It wasn't too long since since the CRAFT opened back up after speculations of a norovirus outbreak and it's understandable if their customer base has shrunken due to the rumours...but after my visit last week, I can say that CRAFT is still going strong and is still a local favourite among those who venture through the beautiful Olympic Village. My friend and I had initially wanted to visit the Food Truck Festival nearby but were met by a massive rain shower so we went to seek shelter at CRAFT, hoping they would be able to seat us. For a ~3pm meal time, there was quite the lineup to get a spot and we were left with a pager to notify us of an opening. Fortunately our group of two was much smaller than the other groups that came in +4 numbers so we were seated in about 15 minutes. I'm not sure if CRAFT takes reservations but if they don't, do keep in mind that lots of people come here so make sure to come earlier than when you want to actually eat/drink.
We were seated conveniently at the lovely wooden bar which surrounded a massive row of beer tap levers and a line of TVs (good for us who were watching the soccer game at the moment). After a quick skimming of the beer options, we chose the Around the World beer flight which came with 6 different samples of beer for ~$10.50. This particular selection was only available June 23-29th but I'll just talk briefly about the different flavours just to give you a taste of what you can expect from the beers at the beer market.
- Fuller's London Pride (UK) - smooth, malty base, well-developed hop flavours (I really liked this!)
- Diamond Knot Poop Deck Pale Ale (haha) (WA, USA) - pale ale with flaked barley, Galena for a bit of bitterness and Apollo hops for citrus and fruity finish (liked this one a lot too)
- Diamond Knot Brown Ale (WA, USA) - malty flavour with 6 distinct grains, a more bitter finish
- Elysian Loser Pale Ale (WA), USA - smooth and medium pale ale, bittered with Sorachi Ace and finished with Crystal (very smooth and rich in taste)
- Elysian Mens Room Red (WA, USA) - light body, dry, refreshing finish , bittered with German Northern Brewer and finished with Crystal and Saaz
- Newcastle (UK) - fruit aroma, caramel and nutty malt taste (loved this!)
UK & USA weren't as "around the world" as I would've liked but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
I guess we were there for Happy Hour or something because all the appetizers were being offered for $9 (with a few exceptions) which we gladly took advantage of. We took up both the poutine and fast food sushi, which we expected to be a considerably small size. However, these orders could pass for mains. They're hearty and decently sized.
The poutine came with hand cut fries seasoned with beer salt, cheese curds and rich gravy. We were happy to find fresh fries unlike most poutines that come with soggy and gross fries. This poutine is however, salty especially at the bottom of the skillet where all the beer salt and gravy is concentrated. We felt like the beer salt was a nice little twist to this classic dish but don't expect too much of the beer flavour - that's what the beer flight is for.
The fast food sushi is basically a deconstructed hamburger wrapped in bacon and served sushi style. In other words, it's like a heart attack rolled in atherosclerosis with a side of wasabi and sauce. Despite being a crazy dish, it tastes like greasy satisfaction. This is definitely an interesting dish but not for the faint hearted (literally) so make sure to hit up the gym if you're thinking of indulging yourself with these.
I have no idea why I still decided to order a burger after all of that but oh well, damage was already done when I placed my order for a CRAFT T.L.T Sandwich ($17) which was served with seared tuna served on toasted focaccia with pea shoots, tomato, cucumber, togorashi aoli with handcut fries on the side. I wasn't exactly ecstatic about this one but I can say that the focaccia bread was on point - toasted to a crisp on the edges and herb-ful. The fries were nice and freshly fried with a light hint of salt. However, apart from the carbs, everything was pretty mediocre.
CRAFT has a beautiful interior with a rustic-but-at-the-same-time-modern brewery feel and is almost always bustling with a very enjoyable crowd of beer appreciationists and people who just like to enjoy a nice cold beer with friends. Service is not too shabby either and food actually doesn't take too long to arrive even during full house.
R E V I E W.
+ food quality: 7.5/10
+ service: 8/10
+ price/affordability: 7.75/10 ($9 appetizers are at a pretty good price)
+ atmosphere: 9/10
+ overall: 8/10