Discover Our Craft Beer
At 3:00 pm – after pouncing down powder-coated slopes at the Kicking Horse Resort – my wife and I returned to Golden tired, happy, and very, very thirsty. Indeed, recreating in the Rockies will do that to you! On our wish list? A cozy, craft-beer taproom with friendly locals, delicious beer, and good vibes. Serving up one of the best IPAs in the land, the newly-minted Whitetooth Brewery proved to be the perfect spot.
Like many of the pretty little mountain towns that sit snug in the valleys in British Columbia and Alberta, Golden’s local taproom is a hub of activity. People, growlers in hand, come and go throughout the day. Indeed, craft beer joints are a going concern. And they’re popping up everywhere.
Without a doubt, the craft beer “revolution” (depending on who you ask, that’s probably not putting it too strongly!) has found some strong footing in the mountainous regions of Western Canada. At least a couple of dozen micro-breweries have bought some space, installed the tanks, poured in the hops (and a few other important ingredients), and, shortly thereafter, opened up their taps to the masses. And thirsty mountain folk – and visiting prairie folk! – are gulping it down by the hectoliter.
And this is for good reason. The beer is good. Often great! Talented brewers are creating a wide assortment of delicious concoctions – pale ales, stouts, porters, sours, lagers, India Pale Ales, and numerous other styles – that cater to a wide-variety of tastes (because not everyone is a hophead, although I put myself firmly in that camp!).
So, regardless of where you are in the mountains, chances are good you’re in close proximity to a fantastic little taproom with a friendly face, or two, eager to pour you a perfect pint of a locally-brewed liquid “love.” Although I haven’t encountered a bad one (not even close!), here are six of my favourite craft breweries in the mountains. (These are in no particular order. And sorry for the ones I didn’t mention, you are still loved!).
Arrowhead Brewing Company, Invermere – Sure, it’s a little edgy, roadhouse rough, they aren’t afraid to let their hair down and experiment with a host of different beer styles. Put it all together and, whether you’re a biker or a beach bum, the relaxed and rustic atmosphere of their taproom and their hard-hitting beer (I’m a fan of “Night Train,” their black IPA that’s definitely the full meal deal) is going to have you the moment you kick down the creaky door and step inside.
Fisher Peak Brewing Co, Cranbrook – It all goes down at The Heid Out, a downtown Cranbrook restaurant and brewhouse of the finest order. Featuring handmade food sourced from local farms and producers, you won’t find a better place in the Kootenays to eat scrumptious food paired with exceptional beer. Their Soggy Otter Brown Ale is a classic.
Nelson Brewing Company, Nelson – Given its prominent arts and culture inclinations, the historic town of Nelson is on the leading edge of the creative craft beer movement. And Nelson Brewing Company, located in the ancient firehall just up the hill from Baker Street, is the major player. With an all-organic line-up of tasty brews – hopheads will love Paddywhack, a West Coast-style IPA with bite – and hipster-cool merchandise available in their taproom, a visit here will not disappoint.
Grizzly Paw Pub & Brewing Company, Canmore – A fixture in downtown Canmore for nearly 20 years, the Grizzly Paw Pub & Brewing Company is definitely the place to be on Friday night. Or any other night. Or day. With quality food and homemade soda (for the drivers!), nobody needs to leave this place thirsty. My advice? Try a taster set and hone in on the brew that speaks your language the loudest.
Whitetooth Brewing Co., Golden – Featuring tasty West Coast and Belgium-inspired beer that will satisfy the thirst of hardcore mountain adventurers (and Golden is full of them!), the small taproom at the Whitetooth Brewing Company is usually wall-to-wall with locals swapping stories and swilling suds. The easy-drinking Whitetooth Session Ale is the perfect starter.
Mt. Begbie Brewing Co. in Revelstoke won the Canadian Brewery of the Year award in Ottawa, amongst 1876 entries from 333 breweries across Canada. Their Kolsch also took top honours, which then went on to win the “Best Kolsch” at the World Brewing Awards. So we basically have the best kolsch in the world, right here in Revelstoke.
Without a doubt, there are many other micro-breweries in the mountains that won’t steer you wrong. These cozy places have many things in common. Yes, good beer is the first thing! But they are also friendly, unpretentious places where everyone is welcomed. So, rest assured, wherever you are recreating, a thirst-quenching, locally-made pint is being poured near you. And, as always, enjoy in moderation…and remember NEVER drink and drive!
By: Andrew Penner