Breweries from all over the province have teamed up with the BC Ale Trail to brew a made-in-B.C. IPA that highlights our amazing craft beer scene. The Explore BC IPA is hitting beer store shelves next week and features local ingredients from B.C. farmers such as haskap berries, blackberries, hops and malted grains. Six breweries representing the BC Ale Trail’s featured craft beer regions took part in the collab: Vancouver Island Brewing (Victoria), Wheelhouse Brewing (Prince Rupert), Field House Brewing (Abbotsford), Red Collar Brewing (Kamloops), Bomber Brewing (Vancouver) and Fernie Brewing (Fernie).
“Explore BC IPA invites residents to taste the flavours of British Columbia and support B.C.’s tourism and hospitality industries this fall by touring B.C.’s ale trails,” according to a press release from the BC Ale Trail. “Itineraries in every region of the province that take beer enthusiasts from brewery to brewery.”
Here are some of BC Ale Trail’s featured craft beer itineraries highlighted by the collab:
West Coast Beer Culture Begins in Victoria
Canada’s first gastropub, Spinnakers, opened in Victoria in 1984. Over 35 years later the craft brewery scene has boomed in BC’s capital city. Vancouver Island Brewing, one of the pioneering breweries to open in Victoria is still pouring pints today. As lead producer of the limited-edition Explore BC IPA, stop in for a taste of their original brews before tackling the rest of the Victoria Ale Trail. Tour the city by bike or take a stroll along the Upper Harbour’s Beer Mile for a one-mile stretch of six breweries and four brewpubs. For more coastal beer culture, follow two different Ale Trails along Vancouver Island, or head over to the Sunshine Coast for beer paired with charming seaside towns.
Breweries of the Northern Wild
The Northern BC Ale Trail is an adventure all on its own. Wind through small towns and road trip corridors of a vast wilderness in search of beer. Begin your journey at Wheelhouse Brewing Company in Prince Rupert. Grab a pint while overlooking a misty harbour of dancing fishing boats from their newly-built patio. Tour the area on a guided canoe trip with Outer Coast Outfitters and dine on fresh fish at Fukusaku Sushipost-paddle. Continue the Ale Trail journey through Terrace, Smithers, Prince George, Valemount, and Quesnel for eight more breweries along this wilderness route.
Brews with Views in Mountain Towns
Beer lovers can add more to the experience by pairing a breathtaking view with a good brew in BC. Mountain towns connect along the Kootenay Rockies East Ale Trail, where outdoor adventures follow up with après in cozy tasting rooms. Grab a seat at Fernie Brewing Co., situated at the base of the 2,700-m (9,000-ft) Three Sisters mountains. This brewery is complete with bike and puppy parking so everyone in your crew can enjoy the view. Travel north, with stops at Over Time Beer Works in Kimberley and Fisher Peak Brewing in Cranbrook, for more vistas and brews before taking a mid-trip stop at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort for a soothing soak in the hot pools, open to guests who book an overnight stay. Journey on for the outdoor patio or indoor tasting room at Whitetooth Brewing Company in Golden to gaze at the Rocky Mountains and the ski runs of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. End your tour at Mt. Begbie Brewing in Revelstoke with a tasting room that overlooks this adrenaline-fuelled mountain town and the brewery’s namesake, Mt. Begbie. Keep wandering and tackle the Kootenay Rockies West Ale Trail if your palate is craving more hops.
Farm Fresh Beer in the Fraser Valley
The Fraser Valley has a long history of cultivating the most important beer ingredient. In the 1940’s and 1950’s, nearly 800 hectares (2,000 acres) of hops were being grown and harvested each year in this fertile area. Today, the valley remains the largest agricultural region in BC and attracts those in search of fresh produce paired with good beer. Begin the Fraser Valley Ale Trail tour at Abbotsford’s Field House Brewing. Cozy up to the wood-burning fireplace or head for the sprawling outdoor lawn for celebratory beers with friends after hiking or biking Sumas Mountain. Combine this experience with a Circle Farm Tour while exploring remaining breweries in this region, including five more stops on the “Langley Loop” and at Old Yale Brewing in Chilliwack.
Cycle the City for Beer and Art
Vancouver is a city built for biking. Naturally, a tour of the city on two wheels combined with brewery stops is a great way to pass an afternoon. Begin at Bomber Brewing, equipped with an outdoor patio, bike racks, and complimentary air for your tires. From there, choose your own route, with more than two-dozen craft breweries dotting the Vancouver Ale Trail. Along the way, look out for the artist murals that have brightened up concrete walls across the city. Continue your beer journey on Ale Trails that stretch from Sea to Sky, including Vancouver’s North Shore, Squamish, and Whistler.
Trails to Ales in Kamloops and Beyond
This city in BC’s interior is an underrated outdoor adventure and brewery hotspot.Explore the bike trails in Kenna Cartwright and hiking trails in Peterson Creek before heading to Red Collar Brewing Co. situated along the Kamloops Ale Trail. Find eclectic shopping and the Noble Pig Brewhouse with a stroll along Victoria Street, head up town to Iron Road Brewing, or head over to Bright Eye Brewing on the North Shore. For those who prefer grapes, local wineries can be found along the Kamloops Wine Trail for a perfect pairing of hops and vines. Looking for another beer-fuelled city? Check out the Kelowna Ale Trail for more beer amid wine country.
For more information on retail locations, visit https://bcaletrail.ca/explore-bc-ipa.