If you’re flying in or out of Abbotsford International Airport, consider catching a craft beer flight as well. Located about an hour east of Vancouver, Abbotsford is experiencing a craft beer renaissance along with the rest of the Fraser Valley.
If you haven’t visited in a while, there are plenty of new craft breweries to explore. And since NewLeaf Travel Company started offering low-cost domestic flights in and out of Abbotsford International Airport this summer, there’s even more reason you might find yourself near the airport.
Here are three breweries that are each located within a short drive from Abbotsford International Airport. Each has a tasting room and offers tasting flights, which are a great way to try a cross-section of beers.
If you’re visiting after your airline fight, sample a few beers and then fill a growler with your favourite to take with you to your final destination. If you’re visiting before a flight, be sure to build in plenty of extra time to get from the brewery through to the departure lounge, and mind those liquid and gel restrictions.
Drop in at one brewery or visit them all. (Field House is the furthest from the airport at about a 15- to 20-minute drive; Ravens and Old Abbey Ales are each within a 10-minute drive of the airport.) Hours are listed below, but call before heading out. And have a pleasant flight!
With copies of Kinfolk magazine to read by the woodburning fireplace, Field House Brewing will appeal to those who enjoy a bit of style while they imbibe. Located just outside of historic downtown Abbotsford, this brewery has a comfortable tasting room that encourages lingering: think throw pillows inside and a grassy area with picnic tables for summer days outside.
Recognized at the 2016 British Columbia Beer Awards for its Sour Wheat Gose and Dutch Pale Ale, Field House Brewing also took the Rookie of the Year Award among BC breweries.
The tasting room offers nine beers on tap, including the two core options above, a Salted Black Porter, an Eastern IPA, and five seasonal options. Flights consist of four 5½ ounce pours.
Food includes sharing plates of Dutch cheese and sausages from local Lepp Farm Market, German beer pretzels, and other light snacks. Meal options are set to expand mid-January 2017 with a new kitchen fashioned out of a shipping container in the yard. Think of it as a permanent food truck, which will turn out comfort food such as pizza, grilled cheese, mac and cheese, soups, and salads.
Located in an industrial area of West Abbotsford, Ravens Brewing Company is a quick hop from the airport. The small tasting room is geared to quick growler fills rather than leisurely drinks since there’s no lounge licence or food on offer. But you can sit down and try a flight of four three-ounce samples.
There are seven beers on tap. The lineup of five core beers includes an English Dark Mild, a Farmers Ale, and a Sumas Mountain Lager. Rotating seasonal offerings include a Hot Chocolate Porter, Spruce Tip IRA, and barrel aged peach and cassis saisons. A cider is also available for tastings and growler fills.
The largest of the three operations, Old Abbey Ales has up to 25 beers on tap and a spacious, industrial-style tasting room. The brewery focuses Belgian ale styles with a Belgian Tripel, Tripel IPA, and Quad. (The latter, at 10.1% ABV, packs a punch.) The Innovation Series includes selections such as Dank Tank Double IPA, Portrait Thief Amber Ale, and an award-winning Sour Raspberry. Choose four three-ounce beers for a flight, or for those who prefer, cocktails and red and white wine are available by the glass. French-pressed coffee is made to order.
If you want to grab a bite, snacks include a meat and cheese board, hummus and crackers, nachos, tandoori chicken bites, and mini pizzas.
Opening image: A flight of beer at Field House Brewing Company in Abbotsford. Photo: Field House Brewing Company
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