Craft breweries across Northern British Columbia are being welcomed by thirsty locals and travellers alike.
British Columbia is bigger than many countries, extending more than 2,000 km north of the United States border. Most of BC’s residents live “down south” within a few hours of the border, yet the vast interior of the province is dotted with smaller communities that are connected by a well maintained highway system. With majestic scenery and abundant natural beauty, exploring this beautiful region is perfectly suited for those who enjoy epic road trips—especially when the reward at the end of a long day of driving is a craft brewery serving up delicious beer.
From Prince Rupert on the west coast, which is connected to Vancouver Island by the BC Ferries Inside Passage route, across to Valemount near Jasper on the Alberta border, there are eight craft breweries to visit on the Northern BC Ale Trail, each one celebrating local history, geography and culture in its own unique way.
The nautically themed Wheelhouse Brewing embraces Prince Rupert’s connection to the ocean. In nearby Terrace, Sherwood Mountain Brewhouse’s patio is always packed with folks enjoying that inland community’s abundance of sunshine. Smithers, a few hours east, has two craft breweries, Bulkley Valley Brewery and Smithers Brewing, both of which embrace the region’s many outdoor activities: skiing, hiking, mountain biking and fishing.
Prince George, the largest city in Northern BC, has two local craft breweries: Crossroads Brewing and Trench Brewing & Distilling. And from there it’s a short trip to Valemount, home of Three Ranges Brewing, a pioneer that helped bring awareness of craft beer to the North and has been slaking the thirst of local residents for several years already.
Finally, be sure to plan a side trip on the Gold Rush Trail to visit Barkerville Brewing in Quesnel — the brewery is named for the historic town nearby where you can see what life was like during the Gold Rush. All we can say is it’s definitely better with craft beer!
Home of the ‘Yawn Begone’! A unique coffee shop in the heart of Prince Rupert with great coffee, world famous muffins and delicious lunch.
Whale watching trips and grizzly bear viewing June-October in the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, the largest grizzly sanctuary in North America.
At the edge of the world, this craft beer outpost has earned a devoted following thanks to its inventive brews, often made with local ingredients.
The first 100% ‘Ocean Wise’ sushi restaurant in BC, all local seafood, locally made furniture, locally served craft beer, wine and sake.
Explore historic boardwalks, industrial buildings, residences and wilderness surroundings. Join a tour or explore on your own—experience 125 years of history.
Drive to Terrace (1.5 hours)
Nestled among snow-capped peaks and raging rivers, Sherwood Mountain is bringing German-style lagers to Northern B.C.
If you fancy getting some footwork in, Butze Rapids Park and Trail is a popular spot accessed by a 5 kilometre, easy going trail that leads to a viewing platform overlooking the rapids.
Staying longer in Prince Rupert? Check in at Crest Hotel—it overlooks the town harbour and is within walking distance from Rotary Waterfront Park and the Museum of Northern BC.
A fantastic little cafe just south of the city centre with a sunny patio to enjoy. Coffee, tea and a variety of baked goods for morning fare—and tasty bistro style offerings for lunch.
Book at tee time to play at the foot of the majestic Thornhill Mountain just outside of Terrace.
A cozy neighbourhood pub with friendly service, great food, and of course, local pints on tap.
Drive to Hazelton (1.5 hours)
A boutique off-grid hop farm specializing in fresh aroma hops (and sheep and llamas). Call ahead to arrange a tour to touch, smell and taste a variety of hops while they're on the vine.
Drive to Smithers (45 minutes)
Smithers’ favourite après destination is the perfect place to park it after a long day on the slopes.
With broad menu options and a long line up of craft beers, this downtown bistro is located in the heart of Smithers.
Looking for a local rental shop in Smithers with expertise in fishing, biking and more? McBike and Sport will make sure you’re set up for success.
As you travel from Terrace through Hazelton, drive across the Hagwilget Canyon Bridge—and if you’re not scared of heights, pull over safely and take in the astonishing view. When you’re on route to Smithers, be sure to stop and take in the energy of the Bulkley River being squeezed through the Moricetown Canyon.
Get up early and fuel up for a big day of big experiences. Start out with Two Sisters, a sustainability-minded cafe supports local farmers, growers, artisan bakers and more with it's diverse and fresh daily menu.
The mountain offers four trails for different activity levels and destinations. Wildflowers, waterfalls, or a glacier view—take your pick! Check the website for trail maps and wildlife preparedness.
Internationally inspired comfort food, local craft beers and more—the Roadhouse is for relaxing, socializing, and celebrating.
Smithers’ newest brewery offers creative beers in a stunning setting.
Home to spring salmon, coho, sockeye, pink salmon, and steelhead, the Bulkley River offers great fishing. Stop by a tackle shop or grab a guide from Frontier Farwest Lodge cast away an afternoon.
Drive to Prince George (4.5 hours)
Be sure to browse Prince George’s event calendar when you’re in town for live music, markets, walking tours, group hikes and more!
A lovely unique little cafe located inside of Books & Company in downtown Prince George.
A fairly extensive trail network, Pidherny offers a range of trail options. Many of these mountain biking trails have structures and jumps to try out.
Enjoy local craft beers and regionally-sourced menu options made under a test-kitchen concept.
Explore the winding trails along the Nechako River—keep your eyes peeled for the unique carved faces in the Cottonwood trees.
CrossRoads Brewing is revitalizing Prince George’s downtown with its hip patio, wood-fired pizzas and stellar beer lineup.
Drive to Valemount (3 hours)
Stop by the Valemount Visitor Center/Municipal Office at 785 Cranberry Lake Road, we are open year-round for you to stop by and get help finding accommodation.
The Gathering Tree Eatery and Gift Shop is a conversation piece for locals and visitors alike. After breakfast, take time to browse the eclectic gift shop.
A guest ranch in the Canadian Rockies offering horse holidays, trail rides, cabins, lessons and more.
Open 9 months of the year, the iconic Valemount Swiss Bakery offers 60+ artisan bread varieties. Try their Stollen, made with original spices and ingredients from Europe.
This brewery in the middle of nowhere proves that good beer (and hard work) conquers all.
The Caribou Grill is an authentic log building with western decor which serves Canadian Cuisine including steak, prime rib, game, wild salmon, pasta and seafood.
Drive to Prince George (3 hours)
Prince George’s newest craft brewery is also the city’s first craft distillery.
A boutique coffee bar located at EdgeWood farm in a cozy rustic-revival 'milk house'.
Explore downtown Quesnel and take a selfie with a statue of the town's namesake, Billy Barker, at the Visitor Centre museum. Stroll the Riverfront Trail system which boasts the historic Fraser River wooden truss footbridge.
There’s gold in them thar hills! Or at the very least, delicious golden beers from this award-winning gold rush-themed brewery.
Stop in for a sandwich with the locals. Granville's serves breakfast, brunch and Barkerville Brewing beer!
A pleasant 1 kilometre hike along a well-maintained trail to the viewpoint of the 12 million year old Hoodoos and other rock formations.
Drive to Barkerville (1 hour)
With over 100 preserved historic buildings, this village is a representative of the Victorian gold rush era. Actors in period costumes bring the memory of the town to life. And there are several food and drink options with historic references too.
Drive to Quesnel (1 hour)
Staying overnight in Quesnel? Check out the Billy Barker Casino Hotel, and enjoy the character and charm of the unique historical decor and friendly staff.