Drinking from the Source
by Malcolm Yates
Photo by Dave Hamilton Photography
Hello traveller! Did you just arrive in Squamish or have you been at home here for years? Are you pit-stopping en route to Elsewhere or is this your final destination? Whether you’re born & raised, a transplant or temporary, it matters not. We are all of us travellers on this peculiar planet and the journey makes us thirsty. So where to slake one’s thirst? There are many watering holes in town from which to drink deeply but let’s stick to the source material for now. Squamish has three amazing breweries, each with their own atmosphere, energy and beer.
First on the list is a brewery of unparalleled pedigree, Howe Sound Brewing. HSB’s been on the block since 1996 and that kind of longevity in BC’s craft beer community is both rare and respected. Not content to simply rest on their laurels (hang on their hop-bines?) HSB has a full line up of ever-evolving beers for you to choose from. One of my favourites is the Super Jupiter Mango ISA or session ale, which started out as a higher ABV grapefruit IPA back in the day. Attached to the brewery is a pub, attached to the pub is a patio, adjacent to the pub is a restaurant and like a warm blanket spread over all of it is the Howe Sound Inn, where travellers can rest their weary heads after all that thirst-slaking.
Next up is A-Frame Brewing Company. Opening their cabin doors to us eager imbibers just over a year ago, A-Frame wants you to forget for a moment the hustle & bustle of the everyday and lounge by the lake with a good beer. Okay, there isn’t actually a body of water on site, but all their beers are named after various BC lakes and the aesthetic of the tasting room lends itself to the lakeside illusion. Order a flight and sample them all but the Sproat Lake Dry-hopped Pale ale is a favourite. This was the first beer I tried at A-Frame and it was great outta the gate but each new batch, (due to their brewer’s vigilant tinkering) is even better than the last! With rotating food trucks to tickle your tummy or the easy-going proclamation to simply BYO, the A-Frame team truly wants you to feel at home away from home. Spend the afternoon on the beautiful patio or sip your suds inside, either way the cabin vibe surrounds you and there’s no choice but to be taken in by it.
Photo by Jeff Oldenberger
Last but not least on the list is Backcountry Brewing. These guys hit the ground running with a 25 hectolitre brewhouse, their own canning line, and Red Seal chef-certified gourmet pizza to cry for! Come sit at the bar, the communal table or the satellites that surround, there’s enough room to handle all comers. Backcountry’s beer is cutting edge and they’ve got the awards to prove it, including the coveted BCBA Rookie of the Year award for BC’s top new brewery. My favourite beer of theirs seems to change with each new release, but the Widowmaker IPA is an east coast beast that’s hard to beat.
With three new 75 hec’ tanks to double their capacity, a new brew vessel on the way to boost production and the introduction of limited release beers to their canning program, Backcountry’s not only hit the ground running, they’re picking up speed.
As you can see, Squamish is full to overflowing with fresh craft beer. Whether you’re staying in town for an afternoon or a lifetime, you won’t go wrong drinking from the source at any of our fantastic breweries. See you there!
Howe Sound Brewing
37801 Cleveland Avenue
Downtown Squamish, BC
A-Frame Brewing Company
1-38927 Queens Way
Business Park | Squamish, BC
405- 1201 Commercial Way
Business Park | Squamish, BC
Follow Malcolm Yates the Sea to Sky Beer Guy on Instagram @seatoskybeerguy