Beer, Cider and Spirits
BC’s award winning wines and wineries are well known, but if you wine isn’t your thing, the province offers a great selection of beer, ciders and spirits.
Beer: There are over 50 breweries across the province and together they make hundreds of different types of beer. About six months ago I decided I was going to eventually try every beer brewed in BC (to which my wife sarcastically replied “I love it when you have goals, honey.”)
So far the two best places I have found for selection are the Alibi Room (147 Alexander St. in Vancouver), a restaurant with over 25 beers on tap many more bottled.
If you just want to grab an assortment of beers and to take home, try Brewery Creek Beer and Wine Store at 3045 Main Street in Vancouver. There staff is super friendly and knowledgeable and they have an amazing selection of local and international beers.
Another great thing I’ve found with BC breweries is that many of them offer tours where you can go behind the scenes and find out about the art / science of brewing. All of the tours I have been on have ended with a sampling.
If you don’t care how it is made and just want a drink or a bite to eat visit a brew pub. Many also offer beer samplers where you can try numerous small (usually 3 or 4 oz) beers. Many brew pubs are starting to hold cask nights, where one (or many) beers that have never been made available to the public are opened. This is an opportunity to try some really unique flavours and to meet fellow beer enthusiasts.
Cider: I might not be ambitious enough to try every cider made in BC, I do enjoy having a cider on a hot summer day. The suggestion I listed above for large beer selection (Alibi Room and Brewery Creek Beer and Wine Store) also have the best selection of ciders I have seen. Like breweries, many of the cideries offer tours and many offer dinners or lunches with meals paired with their ciders.
Spirits: If you are looking for something with a bit more alcohol, BC has that as well. Recently a couple of “boutique” distilleries where spirits are hand-crafted in small batches have opened.
Pemberton is home to Schramm Distillery who makes the only certified organic potato vodka in the world. Island Spirits Distillery on Hornby Island take their time making high quality gin and vodka: the distillery produces a maximum of 60 bottles per day.
Photo above by Jonathan Sparks