Since Simcic and Uhrich Architects took on the design of Vancouver's Brassneck Brewery in 2018, they€™ve become the go-to team for tasting rooms across the city. €œWe've kind of accidentally become brewery architects,€ laughs principal Bill Uhrich. €œBut It's a fun sector to be in.€ So when given the chance to bring Superflux Beer Company's first tasting room to life, they were all in€”and eager to stray away from the recycled-barn-board, white-subway-tile vibe that defines many urban breweries.

€œAs we developed the project, it became clear that what Superflux was looking for was something very, very different from your traditional tasting room,€ says Uhrich. The brewery is known for its innovative brewing process and cheeky branding, and the architects wanted the space to reflect a sense of mystery and surprise. That's achieved through an inconspicuous entryway that leads into the massive brewery facility. €œThe actual tasting room is hidden in the heart of the building,€ explains Uhrich. €œIt's a very immersive experience.€

The tasting room itself is all about contrast, with warm woods and contemporary furnishings juxtaposed with the utilitarian manufacturing equipment. Giant perforated wood panels (featuring 81,000 hand-drilled holes) give a sense of separation from the tanks behind, while a curved bar and heightened seating allow patrons and bartenders to connect.

The East Vancouver brewery is blessed with both north- and south-facing windows, so the architects planned for a mood shift from day to night. In daylight, the brightness shows off subtle, natural colour variations in the stainless steel, concrete and Canadian ash. After sunset, dimmers bring out a golden quality in the wood, and the last slivers of sunshine make the space look almost church-like. €œThe character changes from being this very light, bright open space to feeling very warm and nestled-in,€ says Uhrich. You could say every hour is happy hour.