Summer beers from West Coast craft breweries

Beer mug

Is there anything better than a cottage deck in the sun, overlooking a lake with a view of the ocean or maybe the mountains? Perhaps a barbecue and your favourite drink would push things into the realm of perfection. While we all have our favourite end-of-a-long-summer-day drinks (I have a weakness for a ice-cold gin and tonic), many of B.C. cottage country’s favourite craft breweries are getting ready to cool us off with some amazing seasonal beers.

There seems to be a beer for every occasion, mood, and change in the weather, but how about a band? Beer and music seem to go together like cheese and burger, so it seems natural that CBC Music and Vancouver indie rockers Said the Whale would pair up with Powell River’s Townsite Brewery to make Said the Ale, a Belgian Pale Ale.

The Sunshine Coast brewery also recently released another beer in their hulk series: YOGN 82 is a dangerously delicious triple with a light fruity profile and nine per cent ABV. Having recently tried this one, I can tell you first hand that they aren’t kidding when they say dangerously delicious. With a hint of apple and maltiness, it wouldn’t be hard to get lost in a bottle of YOGN 82.

Townsite also released one of summer’s favourite beer varieties, a wheat beer called the Westview Wheat, over the May long weekend, and you’ll be able to find it all summer long.

Victoria’s Hoyne Brewery has been busy preparing for patio season too, unveiling two new beers including their Summer Haze Honey Hefe, which is a take on a German-style wheat beer. Hoyne has also embraced the Canadian summer tradition of camping with another new release called Off The Grid, a red lager with Noble German Tettnang hops and smooth creamy maltiness.

Squamish’s Howe Sound Brewery is also welcoming the sun with several new spring and summer releases, including the Super Jupiter Grapefruit IPA, a great refreshing IPA brewed with real grapefruits and dried peel.

Another fruit beer that is a great treat on a sunny deck is Howe Sound’s Fourway Fruit Ale, which includes passionfruit, mangos, raspberries, and pomegranate. If you’re not a beer drinker but you’re thinking of giving it a try, this is a great option because it includes fruit flavours common in a cider or cocktail but with traditional beer characteristics too.

Another interesting fruit beer is Vancouver’s Parallel 49, which is available at many West Coast cold beer and wine stores and B.C. Liquor stores, and they have a great seasonal called Seedspitter. This Belgian-style Witbier (wheat beer) has a watermelon twist. Made using barley, wheat, and oats, this unfiltered beer has an effervescent watermelon aroma and a crisp, dry finish.

In the Kootenays, Nelson Brewing Company has already launched one of their seasonal offerings, the Full Nelson Organic Imperial IPA. What’s great about this IPA is that it has the beautiful hopiness you’ve come to expect from a bold IPA, but it also has this caramel sweetness that keeps you going back for another sip.

If that IPA isn’t enough, Nelson Brewing Company offers another option in their Hopgood Organic Session IPA. It’s a fantastic surprise of freshness from the Kootenay mountains with hints of the same Nelson familiar hops ( Nelson Sauvin, Rakau ), as well hops from the Pacific Northwest (Citra, centennial, cascade).

Like many of the other craft breweries around B.C.’s cottage country, NBC is also getting ready to launch a great summer wheat beer, Tall Tale Organic wheat ale. It’s a take on a traditional hefeweizen with hints of citrus. Lemon and orange flavors swirl among the unfiltered cloudiness and the light refreshing banana from the German-style yeast makes for a interesting mouthful of organic goodness.

With summer officially about a month away, there are probably still a lot more summer seasonal beer secrets to be unveiled, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled at your liquor store, cold beer and wine store, or local watering hole.


Megan Cole is an award-winning Victoria, B.C.–based journalist and freelance writer. She most enjoys writing about food and music, and when she isn’t behind a keyboard or camera, you can find her in the kitchen or at a concert. Visit her other blogs at: victoriaculinaryunderground.wordpress.com or doingsomehotcooking.wordpress.com.