As the evenings grow deeper alongside the snowbanks, it’s time to trade in those shallow, happy-go-lucky summer traditions for deeper pleasures. This applies to clothing, toys and of course, beer. Luckily our local Kootenay craft breweries are right there alongside us with a quiver of seasonal brews whose flavour profiles are as deep as your next powder day!
Powder day at Whitewater Ski Resort in Nelson, BC by Kari Medig
In Cranbrook, Fisher Peak Brewing’s brewmaster Jordon Aasland is brewing up a special Sour Cherry Wit, timed to launch at the Cranbrook showing of the Craft Breweries of the Columbia Basin Film Fest on November 23 at The Heidout Restaurant and Brewhouse, home of the brewery. As you savour the hints of lime and cherry over a creamy bread finish, you can imagine Fisher Peak’s award-winning Hell Roaring Scottish Ale fermenting its way to perfection in decade-old, freshly dumped Kentucky bourbon barrels, set to pour just in time for Christmas.
Photo courtesy of Fisher Peak Brewing Co./The Heid Out in Cranbrook, BC
Photo courtesy of the The Heid Out/Fisher Peak Brewing (by Christian Lagnew) – “Monster Poutine”
Overtime Beer Work’s brewmaster Philip ‘Pip’ Koche will continue Kimberley’s ‘one time a’ monthly small batches with their Hold Up Scotch Ale in November and Clockwork Milk Stout as the December draught, dark brown and black in colour – perfect for the longest nights of the year.
Photo courtesy of Over Time Beer Works in Kimberley, BC
Over the Purcell and Selkirk Mountains to the West, Nelson’s Torchlight Brewing is tipping pints of their Mountain King Golden Stout from November to April. This stout in lager clothing is full of seasonally awesome chocolate and coffee notes, but if that is not festive enough for you, stick around until December, when Torchlight’s Oh Baby It’s Cold Outside Winter Ale hits the taps with a hat trick spice vanilla chocolate flavour party.
Photo courtesy of Torchlight Brewing, in Nelson, BC
Heading up the wintry shores of Kootenay Lake, be sure to hit Nelson’s Winter Kickoff November 21 to December 7, where you can sample Angry Hen Brewing Co.’s freshly released Kaslo Winter Ale. Brewmaster Shirley Warne has tweaked last year’s hit recipe to create a coffee and cocoa nib-infused smokey ale that is sure to keep your edges tuned.
Photo courtesy of Angry Hen Brewing in Kaslo, BC
Update: Launched on November 18 is the newest craft brew this winter – notably named the “Powder Hwy”! It is a collaborate effort by four Kootenay breweries — Fernie, Mt. Begbie (in Revelstoke), Nelson, and Whitetooth (in Golden). This Dark Saison will be on tap at select locations throughout BC (and available in 473-ml 4-packs in very limited quantities across BC on Nov 28).
Photo courtesy of the Fernie Brewing Co.
No matter where the Powder Highway takes you, the local brews are as unique as the towns that inspired them, so be sure to polish up our craft brewery bars with the sleeves of your ski jacket this winter.
Photo courtesy of Torchlight Brewing (photo by John Davis)
Know Before You Go – Road tripping in the Kootenays comes with high levels of snow and winter driving conditions in effect. Because of this, it is very important to check highway conditions and travel advisories while traveling throughout the region. Winter tires are needed on your vehicle from October to April and Road Safety at Works has some great ideas for items to pack in your car such as windshield scraper & snow brush, shovel, warm blankets, snacks/beverages. DriveBC is a great resource with real-time webcams and road statuses.
~ 9 Things to Aspire To Do on the Powder Highway
~ Funky Finds on the Powder Highway
~ Our Kootenay Spirits
~ Planning your Powder Highway Road Trip: Local Tips
~ Powder Highway 101
~ Road Tripping the Powder Highway Like a Ski Bum
~ Wet your Whistle: Along a Kootenay Road Trip
~ Where the Locals Hang-out in the Kootenays
Top/cover photo courtesy of Tailout Brewing (by Natalie Gauthier), our newest craft brewery in Castlegar, BC.
Words by Dave Quinn. Born in Cranbrook, BC; Dave is a wildlife biologist, educator, wilderness guide, writer and photographer whose work is driven by his passion for wilderness and wild spaces. His work with endangered mountain caribou and badgers, threatened fisher and grizzly, as well as lynx and other species has helped shape his understanding of the Kootenay backcountry and its wildlife.