Rossland is a hidden gem in the Kootenays
The town of Rossland, located on Sinixt First Nation territory, dates back to the 1890s when miners began staking claims on Red Mountain. Reminders of this connection to the gold rush are scattered throughout the downtown area in the form of murals, plaques, and photographs printed on walls, and many of the town’s historic buildings are still standing.
However, interspersed between blocks of saloon-style buildings and Victorian architecture, are the contemporary touches that make Rossland a community that will charm those uninterested in history. Aside from the standard skiing, biking, and golf that you’d expect from a resort town, Rossland has a thriving food, beverage, and local music scene that provide points of interest and entertainment for beer lovers.
The Flying Steamshovel
Combining beer and history is The Flying Steamshovel. Named for an urban legend, in which a kind of helicopter-plane hybrid, made of iron, wood and brass, with wings of canvas and piano wire, was built by an enterprising man named Lou Gagnon, who attempted to fly the “steamshovel” before crashing next to the site where the pub now sits.
The gastropub has 15 rotating beers and ciders on tap from local breweries and also serves as an inn and live music venue.
If you can, be sure to try Neighbourhood Brewing’s Sunshine City Passionfruit Wheat Ale for something tart and crushable, Nelson Brewing Company’s Petal to the Metal Rose Chamomile Saison for something different, and if you’re into bitters, Tailout Brewing’s Doggon’it ESB.
Rossland Beer Co.
Rossland Beer Co. is the only brewery option in Rossland, but it stands alone in terms of variety and quality.
While there, we ran into a man who had lived in Rossland since 1970 and only tried the beer the night before. “It’s the nicest beer I’ve had in my life,” he told us. After a nice chat, he left with a growler of the Beyond the Galaxy IPA (and so did we).
Standouts of the small but mighty brewery include the Red Zeppelin Raspberry Wheat Ale, the Citra Sour, the Purple People Eater Pale Ale, the Cerveza, and guaranteed good conversation with locals. (Honestly, all the beers were all really good, go for what speaks to you).
Rafters, located on the third floor of the Day Lodge at the base of Red Mountain, is known as the aprés ski stop. They have a rotating selection of B.C. craft beers on draught and the prices have remained remarkably be level for a resort bar in the face of inflation. Plus, happy hour beers are $5 and pitchers are $20.
In January they host ‘Battle of the Brews’ where guests can vote for their favourite beers. In 2022, Rossland Beer Co. went head-to-head with Vancouver Island brewing with a custom cold IPA made from Chinook Hops.
Bonus tip: If you see Shuswap Lemon Lavender Cider on the menu, order it.