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With summer on the horizon, the BC Ale Trail has handpicked 10 of the best local craft breweries. The best part? Beer lovers can sample the brews right from the source.
Here’s a taste.
Shuswap Lake IPA by A-Frame Brewing (6.5% ABV | 62 IBU*) Launching on May 18 for Victoria Day weekend, the traditional start of camping season, this brand new IPA will be available at the brewery only, ideally consumed on the patio. With its balance of bitterness and hop aroma, it will honour traditional IPAs and mark the kick-off to BC’s summer season. Found on the new Squamish Ale Trail, which will launch in June.
Elemental Series Dry Hopped Sour by Category 12 Brewing (5% ABV) Complex and refreshing, this light and distinctly tart beer has been soured with a mixed Lactobacillus culture and fermented with Saccharomyces Trois wild yeast. To balance the acidity, the brewery generously dry-hopped with new German hop varieties Mandarina Bavaria and Huell Melon, which showcase aromas of summer fruit. Found on the Victoria Ale Trail.
Beach It ISA by Gibsons Tapworks (4% | 40 IBU) With Gibsons Tapworks located half a block from the beach and the marina, Beach It ISA was brewed to fit right in with the coastal location. It’s a sessionable beer for a summer spent on boats or at the beach: light with a crisp and clean profile, and vibrant hops that elevate the beer. Found on the Sunshine Coast Ale Trail.
Hop Chowdah by Cannery Brewing (6.5% ABV | 45 IBU) Just launched at Okanagan Fest of Ale, this hazy New England-style IPA is juicy and soft with polished bitterness. It includes wheat and has big citrus/tropical fruit flavours from Amarillo and Mosaic hops. Found on the new Penticton Ale Trail, which will launch this summer.
Dat Juice by Twin Sails Brewing (5.2% ABV | 25 IBU) This 100% Citra Pale Ale is a light and refreshing pale wheat ale with big flavours of grapefruit, citrus, and tropical fruits from the Citra hops. The addition of wheat keeps it a bright, hazy straw colour. Available in stores across BC through the summer, it comes in at 5.2% ABV, which allows it to be super crushable, like drinking a glass of juice. Found on the Port Moody Ale Trail.
Let’s Talk About the Weather by Arrowhead Brewing (5.2% ABV | 25 IBU) This hoppy Hefeweizen is brewed with mostly wheat malt and lemon peel instead of orange, with a Hefeweizen yeast that gives the beer notes of clove and banana. It is served at the brewery with a lemon or orange slice. Currently available on tap at Arrowhead Brewing for pints and growler fills, this refreshing and crisp ale pairs well with summertime in the Columbia Valley. Found on the Kootenays Rockies East Ale Trail.
Forest Fog by Cumberland Brewing (4.2% ABV) This American wheat ale, which is light, citrusy, and refreshing, is the brewery’s bestseller any time of the year, and a local favourite. This summer, Cumberland Brewing is going to blend it into the Jungle Fog, which will be a hopped-up version with some rye and other special ingredients added—their take on the emerging New England IPA. Found on the Nanaimo-Comox Valley Ale Trail.
Noctis by Torchlight Brewing (6.3% ABV | 8 IBU) Launching in 650ml bottles this summer, this dark dry-hopped, kettle-soured, lavender and hibiscus hybrid is one of the more intricate beers made at Torchlight. It is brewed using a cold-grain infusion technique, which gives it a dark colour but keeps it light and easy-drinking—perfect for summer. Found on the Kootenays Rockies West Ale Trail.
Island Time Lager by Longwood Brewing (5% ABV | 18 IBU) This “obsessively local brew” is made entirely with ingredients sourced on Vancouver Island. Locally grown and craft-malted barley, along with fresh whole hops from local suppliers, define this clean and crisp session beer. Sit back, relax, and reset your clock with Island Time Lager. Found on the Nanaimo-Comox Valley Ale Trail.
150 Lager by BrewHouse High Mountain Brewing (6.5% ABV | 55 IBU) What better way to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary this summer than with this hoppy India Pale Lager, brewed in honour of the Sesquicentennial. Found on the Whistler Ale Trail.
Tread along the BC Ale Trail to sample the best of summer brews and explore beautiful British Columbia. For more information, visit bcaletrail.ca.
*For lovers of beer, but newbies to the world of beer classifications, IBU stands for International Bittering Units. Without getting too deep into the details, IBU indicates how bitter a beer is—based on the type and amount of hops used in the recipe. It is not officially based on a scale of one to 100, but that scale roughly covers the range of typical beer styles. A light lager or wheat beer might have five to 15 IBU while a hoppier Pilsner or Pale Ale might be 20 to 30 IBU. Hoppy IPAs are generally in the 40 to 70 IBU range, while bigger “hop bombs” such as Double IPAs might reach 80 to 100 IBU.
See videos from the BC Ale Trail. Here’s a taste.
Cover photo: A selection from Arrowhead Brewing Company, along the Kootenay Rockies East Ale Trail. Photo: BC Ale Trail
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