Sure, the world has opened up again for safer travel and movement, but with airport and airline horror stories and inflation taking their toll on our wanderlust, sometimes the best solution is to do a little travelling in our own town.
For those craving the vibes of South America, a trek to East Van to Andina Brewing will do the trick nicely. At the very least you'll enjoy an afternoon or evening of tasty brews and creative eats in a colourful, lively tasting room - no passport required.
Andina touts itself as dishing up South American inspired cuisine with an Andean flare and a Colombian influence, which translates into fun, familiar dishes perfect for sharing, and even better for pairing with pours from their taps.
You will find an assortment of ceviche on the menu, representing a lighter, fresher option than most brewery grub. That said, there is no lack of good ol' cheesy, saucy, finger-licking fare at Andina. In particular, their standout signature item is their Platachos - loaded nachos served on salty-sweet crispy plantain chips.
Andina also has empanadas (stuffed cornmeal fritters) and arepas (cornﬂour ﬂatbread topped with mixed cheese), perfect bites to go with a brewery visit.
Meat lovers will want to take note of Andina's sizzling skillets or picada share platter, as well as the option to add on their pulled pork to the platachos (do it!).
Don't leave Andina without trying this one thing...
While you can try out some South American dips and sauces, they're making one of the hottest and most addictive condiments in town at Andina that will leave you looking forward to your next visit. It's a house-made passion fruit hot sauce, and if you're tempted to make off with one of the bottles, I totally understand. While I don't endorse theft, I do agree that repeat visits to Andina are necessary - and worth it - for the hot sauce alone.
That said, the real calling card at Andina is its brews. They make a number of always-available core beers, like their Sabrosa Lager or Jalea Guava Saison as well as some limited seasonal releases. The latest in their fruit and spice series is a Peach Habanero IPA, which offers a gentle sweetness and pleasant "tingle" on the palate - but the flavours really explode in a ripe, juicy way when you enjoy this special brew alongside the tasting room eats. They've also got a refreshing summery Apricot Pink Sea Salt Gose on the go these days, perfect for hot days (or just dreaming of one - this is Vancouver after all).
Andina is a family affair; the brewery and tasting room in the big yellow building opened in March 2017 after years of dreaming and planning by Colombian brothers Nicolas and Andres Amaya. The brewery was the first in Canada to import malts from Chile, and Andina prides itself on its relationships with fair-trade vendors as well as the steps the Amayas have taken to reduce the operation's eco impact.
Andina Brewing is located at 1507 Powell St in Vancouver. Follow them on Instagram: @andinabrewingco
Watch: Trying beers and food at Andina Brewing Co.
@vancouverisawesome No hot sauce was harmed during the making of this. #forkingawesome #vancouverbc #brewery #southamericanfood #hotsauce ♬ Hot South American Music - Frank Tuma