Every summer, people from around the world visit the famous historic Gold Rush Town of Barkerville, 81 kilometres (50 miles) east of Quesnel, BC. Now there’s another great reason to visit the area: a new microbrewery named after the famed town.
Barkerville Brewing Co opened in February 2014 and celebrates the area’s history; each unique brew that they create will help tell the story of Barkerville and the historic Gold Rush. And as the only microbrewery between Kamloops and Prince George, it’s extra special! I’m a fan of craft beer, so I just had to check it out in person, and they were kind enough to show me around on a recent weekend.
A little bit of history
After working many years in the Silicon Valley, owner Russ Ovans decided to start a microbrewery, along with brewmaster Troy Rudolph. They chose to open it in Quesnel, as it wasn’t feasible to run it in the actual historical site of Barkerville. The building itself was used for many types of businesses in the past, including a pool hall, a storage facility and a gas station.
The brewery is conveniently located downtown on Davie Street. The building is well suited for it, with lots of room for brewing equipment. They started small, but they soon realized they’ll have to expand to keep up with demand; luckily, there’s lots of room in the building to do just that. Pubs, restaurants, and liquor stores from as far away as Victoria on Vancouver Island have shown a lot of interest in their beer. It’s no wonder, as the ale they sell is very good!
As you enter the brewery, the first thing that you’ll notice is a sampling area and gift shop that featuring t-shirts, beer glasses, growlers and baseball caps, among other things. I personally think that the refillable 1.89 litre growler makes an excellent souvenir! You can have them filled at the brewery to take home with you. At the end of May, they are hoping to have an outdoor patio ready where you can enjoy your beer fresh from the tap.
The private tour they gave me and my friends was very interesting – I learned a lot about what it takes to make a good beer. They currently only produce and sell one type of ale: the 18 Karat Pale Ale, which takes about 16-18 days to brew from start to finish. However, they’re planning to produce and sell the Wandering Camel IPA, Prospector’s Peril Pilsner and Hound of Barkerville Brown Ale in the near future. Personally, I can’t wait to try out their other brews as I really love their 18 Karat Ale and the others sound equally as good!
Starting at the end of May, they are planning to have tours of the brewery available to the general public. It would be a great idea to visit Barkerville, then on your way back home, stop over in Quesnel to take a tour of the microbrewery and take home some BC craft beer with you!
If you’d like to try their beer while travelling around other parts of BC, you can find their ale at BC Liquor Stores in most cities around the province. But I really recommend the trip to Quesnel and Barkerville to check out the local sights and to taste the beer in person! They’re open Tuesday to Friday, but are planning to open on Saturdays as well, starting in May.
For more about the historic town of Barkerville, check out the Explore BC blog post A visit to Barkerville Historic Town.
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