Forests, mountains, pristine lakes and rivers, hot springs and waterfalls: this is the West Kootenays. The folks who call this place home are farmers, mountaineers, ski bums, young families and retirees, or those seeking ‘off the grid’ lifestyles, all of them friendly to a fault. Its towns and small cities are ready and waiting with history, culture and, of course, beer.
For anyone seeking a break from the mainstream society, the West Kootenays is filled with folks who enjoy a slower pace, away from the hubbub of larger centres. Many visitors are tempted to join them once they discover the region’s unique combination of wilderness activities and urban communities. Peppered throughout this paradise of mountains, rivers and lakes is a diverse of array of creative, entrepreneurial craft breweries, including a true pioneer and many more recent arrivals.
The Trail Beer Refinery embraces that city’s mining history. Rossland Beer Co.’s comfortable vibe makes it a favourite with locals and visitors alike. The Lion’s Head Smoke & Brew Pub in Robson is an oasis of craft beer in the wilderness, with its own brewery in the works, and Castlegar’s Tailout Brewing celebrates the region’s love of fly fishing.
Nelson, the “Queen City” that is essentially the capital of the region, is home to 10,000 people, some gorgeous architecture, and three breweries, including the region’s oldest, Nelson Brewing, which has been a local favourite since it opened in 1991, along with Torchlight Brewing and Backroads Brewing. Nearby, Kaslo’s Angry Hen Brewing is a brewery with a view of beautiful Kootenay Lake.
With a name that reflects Trail’s historic connection to mining, refining, and smelting, this brewery has a strong community focus.
An award-winning brewery providing the historic mining community of Rossland a variety of irresistible craft beers.
Rossland is perched high in the Monashee Mountains. The Gold Fever Follies present a live musical theatre show and the Rossland Museum is the site of the LeRoi Gold Mine offering a Geology Centre, display of artifacts and a gold panning attraction.
Drive to Castlegar, approximately 35 minutes
An artisan bakery and coffee house right in the heart of downtown Castlegar serving up a delicious array of house-baked pastries and breads. Organic, dairy-free and wheat-free options.
Enjoy a leisurely walk through the downtown of Castlegar while marveling at a rotating exhibition of sculptures by artists from around the world. Don’t forget to vote for your favourites! P.s. Humble Bean is a great stop on the Sculpturewalk for a delicious cold drink in the summer!
Get a glimpse of the hustle and bustle of the early 1900’s at this 100+ year old Canadian Pacific Railway Station. Browse archives of newspapers and view the historical artifacts.
Immerse yourself in Castlegars rich history through exploring historical buildings, artifacts, audio/visual galleries, and interactive displays of the culture and heritage of the Doukhobors
This historic pub is a hub of outdoor recreation. Across the street from a boat launch popular by fisherman and paddlers. Behind the pub is a famous climbing wall and often you will see bikers end their ride at the pub. Home of BC Craft Beer, with names like Spinnakers, Cannery, Nelson, Mt. Begbie, Crannog and Fernie beers rotating through 12 taps.
This sunny Par 3 Golf Course is family-oriented and suitable for all ages. You can also enjoy an afternoon of golf at Castlegar Golf Club and RV Park.
With a passion for everything outdoors, you’ll find community and amazing craft beer at this brewery that celebrates the region’s love for fly fishing.
Castlegar has plenty of accommodation options to choose from - book your perfect stay at the link above.
Good morning! Coffee and Avocado toast anyone?
Drive to Nelson, approximately 35 minutes
Celebrating the culture and history of Nelson and surrounding area. Museum, archives and art gallery.
Nelson’s little nano-brewery that could.
Craft beer culture in counter-culture central.
The all-organic Nelson Brewing Company is one of BC’s pioneer craft breweries.
English-style pub located in the boutique Hume Hotel. Local beer, and tasty food.
Carries a wide variety of craft beers from near and far. Their ever-changing selection will not disappoint even the savviest beer connoisseur.
Kokanee Creek Provincial Park on Kootenay Lake offers a sandy beach, hikes through Old Growth Cedars and nearby Kokanee Mountain Zipline.
Take a self-guided walking tour of historic Nelson and catch the tramway (Streetcar #23) at Lakeside Park.
Authentic and artisanal coffee. Organically-grown and fair trade. Enjoy a community warmth in the cafe.
Drive to Kaslo, BC, approximately 1 hour
Take in amazing views from the main pools or retreat to the peaceful soaking experience of a tranquil limestone cave.
After plying the waters of Kootenay Lake for over 60 years, the sternwheeler S.S Moyie is now a beautifully restored museum.
Two thousand hectares of crown forest on the east and north boundary of Cranbrook offers interpretive nature trails. The Elizabeth Lake Wildlife Sanctuary, a 6 acre wetland, is home to different animal species and walking trails, viewpoints and picnic tables.