Bikes and Beers!
If you ride bikes, you may have enjoyed a nice cold one after an great ride. Whether it be on a tailgate, at the pub, or on you deck, a nice cold brew after ride tastes great.. And now in 2020 most great bike towns, ie. Kimberley BC, seem to have their own micro breweries which seems to go hand in hand with riding bikes. Now if I tried to go through all of BC’s great bike towns with their own micro breweries we could be here for a very long time.. So for this post I’m going to concentrate on South East BC, not that I’m bias or anything. I’m not going to dwell too much on the riding in each of these great towns as I will be posting more detailed posts about the riding.. but this will wet your taste buds to not only visit these mtb towns to ride, but to enjoy one (or a few) of their local tasty brews.. Let’s go..
Over Time Beer Works, Kimberley BC
Ok, let’s start right here in my home town of Kimberley BC. This will be my 5th season riding here and the trails just keep getting better. This old mining town has transformed itself into a bit of tourists destination especially if you like to ride bikes. If you don’t ride Mountain bikes but like to do a little road riding, or maybe you do both, Kimberley has one of the nicest paved (not a road) trails around.. The North Star Rails to Trails runs from the centre of Kimberly all the down over the scenic St Marys river to Cranbrook for a total of 25 km of unobstructed paved goodness. If you do like to ride Mountain Bike trails then Kimberley has something to offer for everyone. With the newly developed Bootleg Trails to Kimberly Nordic Centre, Kimberley offers everything from double black downhill shuttle runs, to green cruisers, and everything in between..
Before I get carried away about the riding here, you can read more about Mountain Biking in Kimberley in my Ride Kimberley post. Let’s try and stick to the beer.. So, lets just pretend you’ve finished another good day on Bootleg Mtn, or Rails to Trails and you’re looking to sip on a nice fresh cold one in Kimberley’s famous Platzl with your friends. Well you are in luck, because Over Time Beer Works is right there and has a great tasting room with some free table games too. Over Time not only offers a great selection of brews with some seasonal brews as well, but they also have some great merchandise so you can remember you new favourite little brewery.. For myself I prefer a nice IPA or West Coast Pale and my go to favourite at Over Time is the “Right about Now” IPA.. Ok let’s move on..
Fisher Peak Brewing Company, Cranbrook BC
Only 20 minutes south of Kimberley is Cranbrook BC. As stated above the North Star Rails to Trails takes you from Kimberley right to Cranbrook. Cranbrook also boasts some outstanding mountain biking in and around it’s beautiful Community Forest. From Chewbacca Rocka to the Green Chicken Cranbrook also has something to offer for everyone of all abilities. Not to mention that riding usually opens up in late March or early April and last year ran into December. Not too shabby..
What is also not too shabby is the Hideout restaurant which is home to the Fisher Peak Brewing Company. The Hideout offers both a pub style seating area and a dining area of which you can enjoy Fisher Peak beers in both. If you are looking for a great beer in Cranbrook and maybe some great food as well the Hideout will not disappoint you.. My favourite brew here is the Elephant Run IPA.. Let’s head east.
Fernie Brewing Company, Fernie BC
Now I know if you Mountain bike or ski that you’ve heard of Fernie. Just an hour east of Cranbrook Fernie is known for it’s deep pow days in the winter, but lucky of us Fernie Alpine Resort turns it’s hill into brown pow for the summer with lift accessed riding. A true gravity fed bike park. Bike park aside, Fernie has a great mountain bike scene with some spectacular trail systems. Fernie offers everything from the shuttling nar to the cruzy blues and greens for beginners.. And everything in between.. One of my favourite green trails around is the Lazy Lizard..
Fernie has a great bike scene with multiple bike stores and very nice historic downtown core with many places to grab a brew.. But, if you are like me and wishing to sample some of the fresh local beers, just head a bit North East on the Highway to the Fernie Brewing Company. Probably one of the most accomplished breweries in South East BC, Fernie Brewing company (FBC) has a great tasting room, with plenty of merchandise to let everyone know you’ve been there and done that.. I may or may not own a few Pints from here. FBC has great selection of year round brews and always has some great seasonal ones as well. If I have to pick one favourite I’d have to say it’s Campout West Coast Pale Ale.. Delicious. Let’s jump west across the Rockies..
Arrowhead Brewing Company, Invermere BC
Located about an hour and half north of Kimberley now is the very scenic Invermere BC.. Home to Fairmont Hot Springs, Radium Hot Springs, and Panorama Resort Invermere has something for everyone. Panorama also puts it’s moguls away for the summer and replaces them with a fantastic lift accessed bike park. If you get tire of the park, well let’s just pretend you get sick of the park Invermere offers some great XC trails for every level along with some great shuttle/climb up and down riding.
Whenever you are finished riding your trail of choice and it’s time for a nice cold brew you should definitely head to Arrowhead Brewing Company (ABC).. ABC has one of the best tasting rooms going.. Not to mention the great merchandise they offer as well.. For me,hands down, my favourite beer here and maybe of all the Breweries listed, is “I’ve been thinking of getting the band back together”.. Yes that is the name of the beer. It’s a more than delicious India Session Ale. Mmmm. Let’s go north…
Whitetooth Brewing Company – Golden BC
About an hour and a half north of Invermere is lovely Golden BC.. Located right on Highway #1 Golden has become must go to for mountain biking. Kicking Horse Resort also known for some deep pow days has created an epic summer bike park. Add this to Moonraker, Mount 7, and more the bike trails here are endless and spectacular. We love spending a weekend or two in Golden during the warmer months for some great mountain biking.
Kicking Horse Resort used to be named Whitetooth mountain prior to RCR buying them. Luckily Whitetooth Brewing Company has emerged with this classic resort name and had created some tasty brews for everyone to enjoy. Whitetooth Brewing Company has a great tasting room with a patio to boot. There is not much better after day on Golden trails to hang out on this patio with a cold one and very scenic backdrop. While on this patio my favourite suds from here is the Whitetooth Session Ale… I was very happy to find this in the BC liquor stores after my last visit.. Ok let’s jump on the #1 and go west.
Mt Begbie Brewery – Revelstoke BC
Over Rogers Pass and a few hours west of Golden we drive down into to famous Revelstoke (Revy). Planted in the Selkirk and Monashee Mountains Revelstoke offers some of the best high alpine riding in the Province. Last year Revy opened lift assisted downhill mountain biking with most vertical offered in North America. You take the Gondola up and the pedal yourself up another 7km where you will descend down a 15 km trail while dropping 5620 feet to the valley.. Make sure you have new brake pads before you go.. Beyond this Revy has a vibrant mountain bike scene with an amazing variety of trails for all. But like in the winter season the locals are rolling some pretty big trails.. I thinks I said this about every town but Revy is very scenic and most definitely worth a summer trip.
Now onto the import topic of Revy’s local brews. When you think of Revelstoke beer you think of Mt. Begbie Brewery. Mt Begbie has moved to beautiful new building and probably the biggest sitting area to have a fresh crisp brew in the Kootenays. With a dozen beers on their menu I’m sure you can find one, or two, or…. flavours that you’ll enjoy. Mt Begbie has appetizers and merchandise for you pleasure as well. As I said earlier, I like my Pale Ales and this makes Mt Begbie’s Powerhouse Pale Ale my favourite brew of Revy. I can’t wait to come back.. Now we are going south about 4 hrs..
Angry Hen Brewing – Kaslo BC
Now that we’ve travelled south a few hours I’m going to stop at a wee little town on the lake that you may or may not think about when you pack up for a mountain biking trip, Kaslo… I first travelled to Kaslo to ride a couple of years ago when we were looking for a summer race to do. We searched the wonderful Google and found ididaride in Kaslo… We have been back the last two years. You camp at the city campground on the lake and the race festival is all right at your door step, literally. If you are doing the 40 km race you start and finish at the campground. If you are doing the 20 km or any other race they shuttle you to the start so you all finish at the lake at the campground.. Live music, beers, and awards all right there. And the riding is second to none as well..
Oh did I mention the beer is from their local brewery, Angry Hen Brewing which is also located only few blocks away in historical down town Kaslo.. With a nice seating area you can order food from the restaurant next door while sipping on a fresh and scrumptious brew from Angry Hen. They have quite a good selection to choose from with my favourite being the Roostertail which is a Dry Hopped Pale Ale. It may not be the biggest town, or brewery but good things come in small packages and Kaslo and Angry Hen definitely deliver. Not far south from Kaslo is one of the biggest local breweries in the Kootenays.
Well. here we are at one of the mountain biking meccas of BC, Nelson. sitting on the west arm of Kootenay Lake, Nelson has bit of an eccentric vibe with a hard core mountain biking scene that’s been around for decades. The first time I rode Nelson the local bike shop told me if I’m used to riding blacks at home that I should start with a blue in Nelson. Being in a steep valley everything seems to go up, then down, and the bike shop advice was spot on. Nelson reminds me of the North Shore in Vancouver. There are still some very usable (if you are good enough) big old school features throughout Nelson mixed in with some new big features as well. There is everything from cruisers, to manicured, to technical, to steep trails. We will spend a lot of time talking about Nelson in a later post, but if you are into Mountain Biking this is probably a must go place.
Just as big as their Mountain biking scene is the beer scene in Nelson. With three established breweries. Starting with the big one, Nelson Brewing Company (NBC) became a certified Organic Brewery in 2006. This may or may not excite you, but either way you can’t denigh the quality of beer NBC produces, having won many local and international awards. It has a cozy tasting room with some cool merchandise for you. My go to beer from NBC has to be Faceplant in the Winter and Happy Camper in the summer..
Now, sorry NBC I do really like your beers but, my favourite Neslon beer is from Backroad Brewing Company (BBC). Just a few blocks away from NBC, BBC rivals any micro brewery in the country. A very local and rustic environment, BBC is very cool and home style brewery. BBC sources a lot of its materials locally and brews in small batches. With its rustic tasting room and a quaint little patio it could be the perfect spot to apres your bike ride. Now my hands down favourite Nelson beer is BBC’s Pale Ale which placed 3rd in the BC beer awards in 2019.. What I really recommend is either at least two days of riding in Nelson with a day in each tasting room BBC and NBC or get a little crazy and do both in one day!! Whether riding, sipping on a nice brew, or both, Nelson will not disappoint. Now a short jaunt over to Castlegar.
Tailout Brewery – Castlegar BC
Not far from Nelson lies the sometimes forgotten town of Castlegar. Nestled between Rossland and Nelson and near the industrial town of Trail, Castlegar is starting get noticed for some amazing mountain biking and lucky for us, their newly appointed brewery, Tailout Brewery. It was really only a matter of time before Castlegar was on the Mountain biking map. I’m sure the locals will say it’s always been a great place to ride, but with new trails emerging I have Castlegar on my hit list for this summer. With trails like Crazy Merry, Hail Merry, and Captain Kangaroo just to name a few, Castlegar is a must visit for me.
Now… with all this top shelf biking going on it was only fitting to see Tailout Brewery open it’s doors. With a rustic tasting room and delicious looking menu of beers to try, I’m just as excited to visit Tailout as I am the loamy trails of Castlegar. With a couple of Pale Ales on the menu I’m sure my taste buds will be satisfied. We will continue through Trail, up the hill and into lovely Rossland.
Into Rossland now and what some will call the mountain biking capital of BC. Capital or not Rossland offers some world class riding for all abilities. Steep techy downhills, flowy trails, cruisy trails, and spectacular alpine riding on the famous 7 summits. This is another bucket list ride to be checked off this summer on our West Kootenay tour.. I rode Rossland two decades ago and couldn’t even begin to tell you what trails we were on other than I had a blast and can’t wait to go back.