June 25th, 2019
Share

7 Epic Craft Breweries in Mountain Sledding Towns

Local Craft Breweries to Equal the Epic Riding in British Columbia’s Top Sledding Destinations

Beer is a product of the place where it’s brewed. So logic dictates that a town with epic riding will also have epic beers. And what better way to celebrate a day ripping around in the hills than to sample a cold beer that was crafted in that very same environment?

Sure, you can still kick it old school and tear into a case of Wildcat Strong with the boys back in the motel. But you’ll be depriving yourself of two major things:

  1. Good beer
  2. A chance to check out the local scene

Not to mention, Wildcat Strong often leads to a night in the drunk tank. And that’s probably not the “local scene” you want to familiarize yourself with.

Either way, the craft beer movement has really taken off in Western Canada, and the mountain towns that we love so much are making beers that just can’t be ignored.

Here’s a list of craft breweries in some top sledding destinations which are definitely worth checking out once the snow ponies are parked for the day.


1. Whitetooth Brewing Co. – Golden, BC

Local Mountain Ranges: Purcells, Rockies, Selkirks

Tasting Room: Yes

Takeaway Beer: Yes

Tours: Available on Request

Menu: Snacks, Occasional Food Truck

Winter Hours: 2-10pm, Daily

Established in 2016

Whitetooth Brewing Co. taps

Whitetooth Brewing is the result of an ex-pat Calgarian—Kent Donaldson—and a local Goldenite—Mark Nagao—coming together and sharing their love of craft beer with the community they call home.

“My Dad has always been into craft beer,” says Brenna Donaldson, the brewery’s Tasting Room Manager, Social Media Manager and all-around workhorse. “For as long as I can remember he was brewing beer in our laundry room.”

As far as the beer goes, Whitetooth has both Belgian-inspired and West Coast-influenced styles. “We’re doing pretty wide experimentation with different types of yeasts,” says Head Brewer, Evan Cronshaw. “And that’s where the West Coast and Belgian styles stem from, is the yeast specifically.”

Basically, West Coast styles (like Whitetooth’s Blower Pow IPA ) are fairly hoppy, often with a citrusy punch that balances out the bitterness of the hops. And Belgian styles (like their Thread the Needle Witbier) have a spicier, fruitier taste. One of their more distinct beers is the Icefields Pale Ale, which takes notes from both styles.

No matter what your style is, though, Whitetooth will have you covered. The brewery’s a happening place after a good day of shredding up at Gorman Lake or any of the numerous other zones that make Golden so damn good for snowmobiling.

Whitetooth Brewing Co. bike rack
Whitetooth Brewery

2. Mt. Begbie Brewing Co. – Revelstoke, BC

Local Mountain Ranges: Selkirks, Monashees

Tasting Room: Yes

Takeaway Beer: Yes

Tours: 4pm, Daily

Menu: Tapas, Pizza, Snacks and Desserts

Winter Hours: 11:30-9pm, Mon-Sat

Established in 1996

Mt. Begbie Brewing Co.
Mt. Begbie

Mt. Begbie Brewing can actually be partially credited for the snowmobile community’s collective thirst for craft beer. Sledding in Revelstoke really took off in the late 90s, which coincided with Bart and Tracy Larson opening the doors to Mt. Begbie Brewing in 1996.

“Sledders historically are a Budweiser crew,” says Darryn Shewchuk, the Director of Sales and Marketing at Mt. Begbie Brewing. “But then all those Bud drinkers tried our Kolsch and thought ‘this is like Bud, only better.’”

The Kolsch—a crisp, easy-drinking ale—is what Shewchuk calls a “gateway to craft beer”.

“People are catching on,” he says. “They get that craft beer isn’t just better for you, but that it also tastes better.”

Of course, Begbie pumps out more than just Kolsch; they’ve got a full line of core beers, plus experimental ones which can all be sampled in their massive new tasting room.

Their Nasty Habit IPA in particular deserves a nod. Even though it’s brewed with seven different hops, it’s not nearly as bitter as most traditional IPAs.

“In a lot of ways, the Nasty Habit is a gateway beer as well,” says Shewchuk with a laugh.


3. Fernie Brewing Co. – Fernie, BC

Local Mountain Ranges: Canadian Rockies, Lizard Range

Tasting Room: Yes

Takeaway Beer: Yes

Tours: Not Available

Menu: Light Bar Snacks

Winter Hours: 11-7pm Mon-Thurs; 11-8pm Fri-Sat; 11-6pm on Sundays

Established in 2003

Fernie Brewing Co.

Fernie Brewing Co. takes a piece of small town BC and puts it into the hands of many thirsty Canadian beer lovers. Of all the breweries mentioned here, FBC has the highest output. From the shores of BC’s West Coast to the plains of Saskatchewan, Fernie Brewing’s selection of core beers is widely available wherever beer is sold.

“We incorporate a lot of Fernie into our beers,” says FBC’s Hilary Hoogsteen. “A lot of our beers are named after local trails, local legends and tie back into Fernie in different ways.”

And while their First Trax Brown Ale and Lone Wolf IPA are notable brews from their core lineup, Fernie’s winter seasonal beers reflect the town’s—and indeed the brewery’s—love for the winter season. A Java the Hut Coffee Milk Stout, Black Mammoth Winter Ale and Sap Sucker Maple Porter are all great ways to warm up your belly after a long day in the cold hills.

And their tasting room on the east side of Fernie is easy to find after a long drive.


4. Three Ranges Brewing Co. - Valemount, BC

Local Mountain Ranges: Rockies, Monashees, Cariboos

Tasting Room: Yes

Takeaway Beer: Yes

Tours: Available on Request

Menu: Light Snacks, Occasional Food Truck

Winter Hours: 3-8pm Mon, Wed-Sat; 1-6pm Sun; Closed Tues

Established in 2013

Three Ranges Craft Brewery
Three Ranges Brewery

Valemount is a small town with BIG mountains. Flanked by three mountain ranges (hence the brewery name, eh!), the riding in Valemount is the stuff of legend. And thanks to an American ex-pat named Michael Lewis and his Canadian wife, Rundi, so too is the town’s local beer.

The whole Three Ranges lineup is very drinkable, and both the Snowdance Porter and The Tail Slap IPA are worthy of an honourable mention. But the Sacrifice Red Ale really stands out above the rest. Lewis is a veteran from the American military, and 3% of the profits from the Sacrifice Red goes toward organizations that support veterans.

“This red ale is dedicated to service members past, present and future, and especially to those who gave all.”

Lewis is a community-minded business owner, one who supports the local snowmobile club and donates a portion of the company’s profits toward new bike trails. He’s a self-taught brewer whose process has been validated with a series of awards. And he’s created something really special in an otherwise sleepy town.


5. Pemberton Brewing Co. – Pemberton, BC

Mountain Ranges: Coast Mountains

Tasting Room: Yes

Takeaway Beer: Yes

Tours: Available on Request

Menu: Snacks, Occasional Food Truck

Winter Hours: 3-7pm, Mon-Thurs; 1-8pm, Fri-Sat; 1-7pm on Sundays

Established in 2018

Pemberton Brewing Co

When asked about his relationship with snowmobiling, Pemberton Brewing Co’s Geoff Macdonald just laughs. “Oddly enough, I Just sold my 1998 Summit 500 two days ago,” he says.

“My business partner Jeff has a sled,” he adds. “But neither of us has spent as much time as we’d like with recreational pursuits, especially in the last 12 months.”

Of course that’s just the reality of a two-man operation that only opened within the past year. Time in the mountains gets trumped by time on the brewery floor.

“But when you drive around Pemby in the winter, every third vehicle has a sled hanging out of it,” adds Macdonald. “I expect we’ll see a lot of those snowmobiles in our parking lot over the course of the winter.”

Two of their more notable brews are most certainly a product of their environment. The Valley Fog Hazy IPA is a good one to look forward to after ripping around on glaciers above a sea of clouds. And the Blackwater Stout is named for a tributary of the Birkenhead River, which is the water source for PBC’s delicious brews.


6. Coast Mountain Brewing – Whistler, BC

Local Mountain Range: Coast Mountains

Tasting Room: Yes

Takeaway Beer: Yes

Tours: Not Available

Menu: Light snacks

Winter Hours: 12-10pm, Possibly Later

Established in 2016

Coast Mountain Brewing
Coast Mountain Brewing

Whistler’s Coast Mountain Brewing opened its doors in 2016 and has been making an impact on The Sea to Sky beer drinking scene ever since. But (at least for now), you’re gonna have to go to Whistler to drink it.

“The main thing behind Coast Mountain is that we’re a boutique craft brewery,” says Owner and Head Brewer, Kevin Winter. “The beer only stays here in Whistler.”

Conveniently located next to Revolution Powersports in Function Junction, you can enjoy a beer or two at Coast while a mechanic assesses the damage you did to your machine up Brandywine Creek.

“We have a lot of beers that go well with the mountains,” says Winter.

Their Daydreamer IPA is enough to convert any lager drinker into a fan of hazy, hoppy ales. But if you’re dead-set on crushing a cold, crispy lager after a hard day of blasting through glaciated terrain, the Treeline Lager’s got your back.


7. Backcountry Brewing – Squamish, BC

Local Mountain Range: Coast Mountains

Tasting Room: Yes

Takeaway Beer: Yes

Tours: Available on Request

Menu: Pizza, Snacks

Winter Hours: 12-10pm, Daily

Established in 2017

What’s one thing that sets Backcountry Brewing apart from the rest? Comedy. These guys brew their sense of humour into every beer they create, especially their Limited Releases. With names like “Hold the Onions” or “I Was in the Pool!” (an ISA whose alcohol content had experienced significant shrinkage), this is a brewery that knows how to have a good time.

That’s not to say their beer is laughable; their staple beers have won multiple awards. Also, their tagline is, “Never Hit the Backcountry Alone”, and that’s something we can all get behind.