The natural beauty, incredible vistas, and majestic mountains provide a warm and inviting welcome to Golden and Revelstoke in the East Kootenays.
Ready for an adventure, my husband John and I decided it was time to hit the road and discover some of the incredible hidden gems in our own backyard in beautiful British Columbia. With the promise of amazing hikes, stunning waterfalls, and delicious craft beers, we decided on a trip to Golden and Revelstoke with my best friend, Carolyn, and her husband, Grant.
We’ve travelled through Revelstoke and Golden many times on the way from the Okanagan to Calgary. While each trip back and forth meant a stop in Revelstoke one way and a stop in Golden the other way, our previous adventures in both towns were limited to driver changes, stretching, and bathroom breaks.
This trip, with Revelstoke and Golden as our destinations, we would have the time to discover the natural splendour and small-town charm, as well as some delicious eats and drinks in these mountain towns.
Best known as a winter destination for incredible skiing, heli-skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling, Revelstoke is also a stunning location to visit in the spring, summer, and fall. The small city offers fantastic hiking and biking trails, culinary delights, art, and live music, as well as the popular Pipe Mountain Coaster at Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
Our first stop in Revelstoke was at Rumpus Beer Co. where we met owner Fred Orndorff. Established in June 2019 in downtown Revelstoke, you’ll find this small and inviting space feels instantly comfortable like your grandparents’ rumpus room. Aimed to be a warm and cozy local neighbourhood space for tourists and locals alike, they had a great start before having to immediately pivot their business once the pandemic hit. A cozy rumpus room with seating intended to bring the community together meant they also had limited ability for physical distancing. Combined with the fact that they didn’t have any packaged product, the pandemic meant Fred and his wife Dana, the Chief of Hype, needed to rethink their short and long-term business model.
Even though Rumpus had only been open a short time, it was evident that they had already built a loyal following in Revelstoke. They added an online store to sell growlers, bought new equipment and packaging to start filling crowlers, and set up a station at the door for people to purchase beer. The beer-to-go station was busy with people coming and going regularly, always stopping for a chat and a catch-up with Fred while picking up their beer.
Fred shared with me that the community support has been absolutely mind-blowing. With this gratitude and support to fuel them, Fred explained their vision for expansion. They are looking at taking over the office space next door, as well as a longer-term strategy of adding a stairway to a rooftop patio.
In the meantime, if you want to try the delicious beers from Rumpus, you’ll need to visit them at the brewery or pick up a crowler at the Revelstoke Farmers’ Market. Their goal is to produce a rotating selection of locally-inspired creative beers that are drinkable with lower ABVs. My recommendation is the delicious No Comply dry hopped sour, named after a skateboarding trick. And while you are there, be sure to check out their bathroom for a good read.
While in Revelstoke, we also recommend La Baguette, a busy cafe with a great outdoor patio. They offer delicious coffee, artisan sandwiches, pastries, and more. Walk around the corner to their sister business, Le Marche Gourmet for local, regional, and imported foods. Pick up some fabulous cheese, perfect for a picnic!
After an enjoyable time in Revelstoke, we set off to Golden to meet our friends where we stayed in a sweet AirBnB with a massive patio and our own private hot tub. It was located within walking distance of historic downtown Golden. We spent the second day of our getaway exploring downtown, the local shops and restaurants, the trail overlooking the river, and the Kicking Horse River pedestrian bridge — all by foot.
After racking up a ton of steps on our Fitbits, we visited Golden’s local brewery, Whitetooth Brewing. Established in 2016, this is a family-owned-and-operated brewery. We met with co-owner Kent Donaldson for a beer, a tour, and a chat. Along the way, we met more of the Whitetooth team. Kent’s wife, Shelley, manages inventory and is acting brewery mom. Brenna, their daughter, manages the tasting room and the brewery’s social media presence, and their son, Rhys, works in the tasting room. Other key team members include brewer Evan Cronshaw, who we also got a chance to meet. We enjoyed a tour of their purpose-built brewery, which was the first new commercial building built in Golden in 25 years.
Named after the Whitetooth peak at the ski hill on Kicking Horse Mountain, Whitetooth Brewing is conveniently located on the road down from the ski hill. Celebrating mountain culture, all of their beers have a Golden reference. For example, their Truth Dare Consequence Nordic Imperial Stout is named after an expert run at Terminator Ridge. They also make beers celebrating events in Golden, like their Sickbird Northwest Pale Ale which was brewed for the Freeride World Tour at Kicking Horse Mountain, and the La Tenace Belgian Single which was brewed for the Golden Ultra Race.
They recently bought a new canning line and launched their core beers in 473ml cans. With the pandemic causing them to close their taproom, this worked out well as they were able to launch the “Beer Bus” to offer local delivery of their newly canned beers. They will soon roll out shipping across the province too.
As we sat out on their stunning 100-seat patio, with views of the Purcell Mountains on one side and the Rocky Mountains on the other side, Kent told me that the patio space was originally intended to be the taproom. This was a decision that, in the end, worked out perfectly for Whitetooth as the large and welcoming patio allows guests to enjoy their beer while soaking up the sunshine and the views, all while being physically separated.
I recommend their Jambrosia Raspberry Wheat Ale, which I enjoyed with our pulled pork dinner back on our patio.
While many think of Golden as a winter getaway, it’s also a great four-season adventure land with fantastic hiking, cycling, mountain biking, kayaking, fishing, and, of course, Boo the orphan grizzly bear who lives at the Kicking Horse Grizzly Bear Refuge.
We spent the next day discovering a few of the incredible sights in nearby Yoho National Park, including hiking Wapta Falls, a picnic at Takakkaw Falls, a walk at Emerald Lake, and the stunning Natural Bridge. The whole day was filled with spectacular vistas and stunning views with photo ops every step of the way. We enjoyed delicious and creative burgers at The Wolf’s Den, which is a must-stop spot when visiting Golden.
After saying goodbye to our friends, we headed back to Revelstoke. Along the way we stopped for a short, yet spectacular hike called the Meeting of the Waters at Illecillewaet Campground. It’s stunning and worthy of an extra stop on the way.
From there, we carried on to Mt. Begbie Brewing to meet Darryn Shewchuk, the Director of Sales and Marketing. Founded in 1996 by Bart and Tracey Larson, Mt. Begbie is one of BC’s original breweries. They will be celebrating their 25th anniversary in the spring of 2021!
We toured their purpose-built brewery which was built in 2016, the year they celebrated their 20th anniversary. You can watch the brewing process from the family-friendly taproom as you peruse the menu featuring 16 beers, including some experimental beers exclusive to the tasting room, as well as their artisan food menu. Be sure to check out their sweet offering of beer swag and beer to go in their large retail shop.
Revelstoke to Mica Creek is the farthest inland temperate rainforest. Known for its fresh and clean glacier-fed water, Revelstoke is a place where nature is number one. As a result, Darryn explained Mt. Begbie’s recent commitment to go plastic-free. They are transitioning out of plastic rings and have recently begun packaging their four-packs of 473ml cans in cardboard boxes. Thanks to the addition of a new boxing machine, this new process is now automated. They also added three large grain silos recently to help eliminate the large quantity of malt bags that they normally receive.
While enjoying a flight of beers on the sun-drenched patio, Darryn showed us their new dog-friendly grassy area. Darryn also pointed out their namesake Mount Begbie, Revelstoke’s most identifiable mountain peak. This mountain is also featured on their newly rebranded Begbie Cream Ale, now available in four-pack boxes of 473ml tall cans.
While soaking up the magnificent views, we also savoured some delicious eats on their patio. I recommend their housemade pretzels made with spent grains and served with warm cheese and a bacon dip made with their Nasty Habit IPA. I also really enjoyed the Begbie Cream Ale, their signature beer, which they’ve been brewing since 1996.
After saying goodbye to Darryn, we drove back home and reflected on our wonderful four-day getaway to Revelstoke and Golden. It was a weekend full of amazing hikes, incredible waterfalls, great craft beer, and fascinating people. We were sad to leave, but our hearts were full with the many new and special memories that were created.
As you think about your own adventures in the weeks ahead, add these beautiful mountain towns to your own bucket list! Plan your next craft beer adventure in Revelstoke and Golden on the Kootenay Rockies East Ale Trail.
Know before you go
As you plan a late summer holiday or long weekend on the BC Ale Trail, make sure to look up important information about the area you’re visiting and check on cancellation policies. Practice safe and respectful travelling as you explore the communities in our wild backyard that are open to visitors and make sure to be a considerate craft beer consumer while you’re out and about.