Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Fat Tug Standard - One Man's Search for the Ultimate Pint

Things have been getting kind of heavy & political lately on VEBB so I thought I'd break up the rants with something I have enjoyed researching...back to your regularly broadcast programming shortly...
In search of the ultimate Fat Tug...sounds like a lot of fun to me
Back in the mid-80's, when I was on my first extended trip in Europe and Middle East, I developed some survival skills to help me get by in the wilds beyond the borders Surrey where I grew up.

One such skill of great importance was the one I used to decide which restaurant or bar I was going to plant my ass in and this method I dubbed "The Amstel Standard".

I developed this in Greece, where at that time the only decent beer I could find was Amstel and by decent, I mean best of a bad, Eurotrash selection. My method was based on sound empirical research and basically involved me looking at countless menus around whatever city/town/village I was in to see if they sold Amstel beer and if so, at what price.

If they did and the price was good, that's where I camped out and drank beer. Having only a few dollars a day to spend while backpacking, finding the cheapest place to slake my thirst was a top priority, as often I had to choose between food and beer (and you know who won that battle most days), so I would be on constant lookout for the best deal while out sightseeing or doing whatever it was I was up to that day.

Very advanced and clever, don't you think.

I adopted this method in each country I visited, renaming it after my favourite, or sometimes the only available beer in that country. In Israel, it was the "Gold Star Standard", the best adaptation of the name, but probably the worst beer I ever used as a standard, not that there was much choice in mid-80's in Israel.

The other day I got to thinking (yes, sometimes I have a momentary lapse of reason or two) and decided to research "The Fat Tug Standard", which, now that I think about it, sounds more like something that should catch the attention of the vice squad than searching for the best deal on my favourite beer. My love for this beer is only surpassed by my love for my wife and daughter so I thought I would do some "research". I just love it when my wife asks me where I am off and I can reply, "just doing research for my blog dear, see you in a few hours." Of course, she knows what this means, but in this case, at least she won't be able to easily find me perched at the bar in either St Augustine's or Tangent Cafe, my two locals, as I wander all Vancouver looking for the ultimate (read cheapest) Fat Tug.

I do have to say that there are many different factors that contribute to cost here in Vancouver that may not apply in the beach bars of Greece, such as the existence and cost of a liquor license and business permit, paying staff more than just drinks, costs of building upkeep (there is little upkeep when your bar is a palapa with no walls) and I tend to be less picky about where I drink when I am sitting with my feet in the sand surrounded by merry backpackers and scantily-clad Scandinavian women (obviously the Amstel Standard was developed during my single days) and when I am paying in currency valued much less than the Canadian dollar.

Here in Vancouver I choose where I belly up to the bar based on many different factors such as staff knowledge and service levels, how my beer is served, atmosphere, the ethics of the bar management/ownership, whether I want to watch the game or not, convenience to transit, approval of my wife, whether Fat Tug, or a suitable substitute IPA, is one tap and, of course, price, but price usually only factors in if it is so prohibitive that it obliterates all other factors.

I will do my best to break down the city into geographical areas and find as many taps of Fat Tug as I can and I will do a post per area researched. I know I will miss some areas and some locations, but hey, a man only has so much spare time, one liver and I cannot afford a divorce lawyer.

And for those of you who feel I am favouring Driftwood and Fat Tug beer, well, you are absolutely right. This is my blog and I prefer Fat Tug over any other beer in the world I have found.

Since I live about 200 metres of Commercial Drive, I figured that would be as good a place as any to start, so here we go...

(All prices pre-tax & rounded to the nearest cent in ounces only)

Commercial Drive - Draft 
Establishments listed from south to north from 12th Ave to Venables

Serving Size
Price Regular
Price Special
Regular Price Breakdown
Special Price
$5.00 (Tuesdays)
$0.43 oz
$0.36 oz  

$0.38 oz

$4.75 (Tuesdays)
$0.41 oz 
$0.30 oz  



$0.31 oz

$0.31 oz 


$0.29 oz  

$.41 oz 

Commercial Drive - Bottle 

Price Breakdown

$0.30 oz

$0.26 oz

$0.24 oz

If you see any places I have omitted, please email me at and let me know. Also, if you work in an establishment in Vancouver that serves Fat Tug, email and let me know where, how much and serving size (uses ounces not words like sleeve that have absolutely no value).

Cheers and Happy Fat Tugging my friends.


  1. Good list - I live over on Main St. and I know I've seen it fairly cheaply, but can't recall off hand. If I happen across any good prices, I'll let you know.

  2. Stopped for a Fat Tug yesterday at the Sunset Grill on Yew (Kits) during a lag in a home brew sesh (mashing). Here's an email about the prices there from CBO

    "I think it's $6.50 per sleeve (and I think they are 16oz sleeves but they could be 14oz, I haven't measured....), but if you use your CAMRA discount they are $5.50, and John yesterday charged me $5.00 (despite being drunk and upset about the gig thing)."

    I think they were 14oz

  3. Best Place, price wise for Fat Tug that I know if is Martini's on Broadway. $3.50 for a 20oz pint on Wednesdays. 17.5 cents/oz.

  4. I was at Craft Beer Market tonight on First Ave in the Olympic village. Wednesday boasts $5 pints of BC beer, also the menu is pretty decent but kind of pricey. So of course I ordered my favourite brew of Fat Tug. Menu lists servings in litres at 0.4 L a glass which is just over 14 imperial ounces. Served in a Spiegelau IPA glass that really brings out the flavour. Best price I've managed to find so far. I also live just off the Drive and frequent St. Augustine's as one of my favourite hangouts, particularly for brunch on the weekends. Toby's is good in a pinch if all the liqour stores are closed, but nothing beats going to out to a bar for fresh on tap. I managed to get a friend to bring me back a growler from Driftwood brewery full of Fat Tug. Cost was $17 ($5 for the growler and $12 for the fill of Fat Tug). It was a little difficult to procure as I myself don't get over to the Island much and they are only open on weekdays till about 5pm.

    Great find at Martini's I will have to go and check that out in the next few weeks.