A Beer Inspired by BC and Brewed for You
Our Explore BC IPA is a collaboration among six breweries from across BC’s mountain towns to the wild north, and the Sea-to-Sky to our ranches, rivers and ranges. Homegrown haskap berries and blackberries present a rich berry colour, while the balance of BC hops and locally malted grains provide traditional pine notes and subtle fruity, floral flavours. This limited edition West Coast IPA is a true representation of our province that pairs perfectly with BC’s natural beauty.
Every year, British Columbia’s diverse and exciting craft beer industry is celebrated during October, which was officially proclaimed as BC Craft Beer Month by the provincial government in 2011. This year, to celebrate the BC Ale Trail’s fifth anniversary, we partnered with Destination BC to invite six regional breweries to collaborate on producing a special beer. During a collaborative recipe planning process, the six breweries chose a style to truly showcase British Columbia’s craft beer scene and its connection to the agricultural communities of BC: the Explore BC IPA with Haskap Berry.
Brewed with BC Ingredients
All of the ingredients showcase the wealth of agricultural bounty that British Columbia has to offer, including malted barley from Gambrinus Malting in Armstrong, hops from Bredenhof Hops Farms in Abbotsford, and special additions of haskap berries grown in Lumby and blackberries from the Fraser Valley, supplied by Pacific Coast Fruit Products Ltd. We’d also like to thank our other partners on the project; Great Little Box Company (boxes), Westkey Graphic (labels) and Crown Cork & Seal Canada (cans).
The actual brewing of the beer was done at Vancouver Island Brewing in Victoria. Brewer Graham Cooke said the process was challenging because he and his team had never worked with haskap berries before. On the brew day, everyone’s hands were immediately stained purple as they tried to find the best way to process the messy berries. After experimenting with a wine press, they settled on a juicer which allowed the dark skins to be added along with the juice of the berries. Luckily, the seeds settled to the bottom, which meant they could be removed before potentially gumming up the brewery’s centrifuge.
The finished product turned out beautifully! The Explore BC IPA is a classic West Coast IPA that pours a rich berry hue and exudes pine and citrus notes along with a touch of berry sweetness and acidity. It is a delightful beer with a fantastic flavour that can be enjoyed by beer lovers of all types.
The project exemplifies the enduring collaborative and supportive aspect of life in BC during Phase Three of the province’s pandemic recovery plan. We’re encouraging residents to support our local economy by buying from BC producers. With the Explore BC IPA, you can pick it up close to home from your local liquor store or get out and explore BC — taste it fresh from the taps at one of the locations around the province that will be showcasing it.
“Working with our local partners across BC, we have released a small batch of Explore BC IPA with Haskap berries at select locations across the province. This beer was created to celebrate the 5th-anniversary of the BC Ale Trail and to encourage visitors to explore their local communities this fall as part of BC Craft Beer Month,” says Ken Beattie, Executive Director of the BC Craft Brewers Guild. “The BC Ale Trail along with the BC Craft Brewers Guild is pleased to continue to innovate and collaborate with Destination BC, the local tourism associations, and our member breweries around the province to encourage visitors to support and safely explore their local communities while indulging in their love of craft beer.”
Six Regional Breweries Collaborated to Create the Explore BC IPA
Each of the six participating breweries is based in a different region of BC, and each brings its own unique story and contribution to the beer:
- Vancouver Island Brewing (Victoria) Vancouver Island Brewing is one of BC’s original trio of microbreweries that opened back in 1984 and helped kick off the craft beer revolution. As the host brewery, VIB provided institutional knowledge and expertise, helping to produce an exceptional beer. Find them on the Victoria Ale Trail.
- Wheelhouse Brewing (Prince Rupert) One of the pioneers that helped expand the BC Ale Trail to northern BC when it opened in Prince Rupert in 2013, Wheelhouse Brewing anchors the Northern BC Ale Trail at its western end.
- Fernie Brewing (Fernie) The easternmost brewery in BC, Fernie Brewing is a family-run operation that has been a regional leader in the Kootenay Rockies for nearly two decades. Find them on the Kootenay Rockies East Ale Trail.
- Field House Brewing (Abbotsford) Part of the Fraser Valley Ale Trail’s thriving craft beer scene, Field House exemplifies the important connection breweries have with their local agricultural producers. It operates its own farm and utilizes local ingredients in its beers as much as possible.
- Red Collar Brewing (Kamloops) Founded by a brewmaster who has been part of BC’s craft beer scene since the 1990s, Red Collar is one of several new breweries that have opened in Kamloops over the past decade, each bringing its own unique take to this dynamic city in the heart of BC. Find them on the Kamloops, Shuswap, Vernon & Merritt Ale Trail.
- Bomber Brewing (Vancouver) British Columbia’s largest city is home to nearly 30 breweries, making for a vigorous, exciting craft beer scene with something for everyone. Bomber Brewing has been part of that culture since 2014 when it was founded by a group of beer league hockey teammates. Find them on the Vancouver Ale Trail.
Where You Can Find the Explore BC IPA
The Explore BC IPA is a single-batch beer, which means, once it sells out, it will be gone for good. Starting October 1st, the beer will be distributed to liquor stores throughout BC, including 50 government stores and numerous private liquor retailers. It will also be on tap at the partner breweries who collaborated on its production, as well as at select taphouses and craft breweries all around the province. The full list of places where it will be available can be found below.
Sip & Stay Packages
We have also partnered with Destination BC and several hotels to offer Sip & Stay packages around the province and featuring discounts, perks and of course a chance to taste the beer.
*While supplies last and subject to change.
BC Government Liquor Stores:
|BCLS #031 NEW WESTMINSTER||New Westminster|
|BCLS #032 NELSON||Nelson|
|BCLS #045 REVELSTOKE||Revelstoke|
|BCLS #050 SIDNEY||Sidney|
|BCLS #053 HARBOUR CENTRE||Vancouver|
|BCLS #065 HANEY||Haney|
|BCLS #70 CLOVERDALE||Cloverdale|
|BCLS #077 NORTHGATE||Burnaby|
|BCLS #079 KAMLOOPS COLUMBIA PL||Kamloops|
|BCLS #080 GIBSONS||Gibsons|
|BCLS #082 HILLSIDE||Victoria|
|BCLS #089 NICOLA STATION||Port Coquitlam|
|BCLS #090 JERICHO VILLAGE||Vancouver|
|BCLS #094 BUTE STREET||Vancouver|
|BCLS #098 TSAWWASSEN||Tsawwassen|
|BCLS #107 WESTVIEW||Nirth Vancouver|
|BCLS #111 COMMERCIAL DRIVE||Vancouver|
|BCLS #113 COLLINGWOOD KINGSWAY||Vancouver|
|BCLS #117 BROADWAY & MAPLE||Vancouver|
|BCLS #118 TOFINO||Tofino|
|BCLS #123 KINGSGATE MALL||Vancouver|
|BCLS #124 GORGE & TILLICUM||Victoria|
|BCLS #125 WESTSHORE||Langford|
|BCLS #129 ALBERNI & BUTE||Vancouver|
|BCLS #130 PENTICTON PLAZA||Penticton|
|BCLS #135 VERNON||Vernon|
|BCLS #148 KELOWNA MISSION PARK||Kelowna|
|BCLS #153 COMO LAKE||Victoria|
|BCLS #157 PARKSVILLE NORTH||Parksville|
|BCLS #158 LANGLEY||Langley|
|BCLS #160 39TH & CAMBIE||Vancouver|
|BCLS #163 WESTWOOD CENTRE||Port Coquitlam|
|BCLS #167 KELOWNA ORCHARD PK||Kelowna|
|BCLS #174 PR. GEORGE PINE CENTRE||Prince George|
|BCLS #178 FAIRFIELD||Victoria|
|BCLS #179 WHISTLER MARKET PLACE||Whistler|
|BCLS #183 PENINSULA VILLAGE||Surrey|
|BCLS #193 BYRNE ROAD||Burnaby|
|BCLS #196 ESPLANADE||North Vancouver|
|BCLS #208 SQUAMISH||Squamish|
|BCLS #217 NORTH BURNABY||Burnaby|
|BCLS #218 FORT STREET||Victoria|
|BCLS #220 HIGHGATE VILLAGE||Victoria|
|BCLS #228 PARK ROYAL||North Vancouver|
|BCLS #230 SECHELT||Sechelt|
|BCLS #233 ROBSON STREET||Vancouver|
|BCLS #237 28TH & MAIN||Vancouver|
|BCLS #247 LYNN VALLEY||North Vancouver|
|BCLS #300 BROADWAY & LILLOOET||Vancouver|
|BCLS #302 WHISTLER||Whistler|
Private Liquor Retailers:
|Cascadia Quadra Village||Victoria|
|Cascadia Eagle Creek||Victoria|
|Cascadia Nanoose Bay||Nanoose Bay|
|Jak’s 41st & Knight||Vancouver|
|Jak’s Cherry Lane||Penticton|
|Jak’s Coquitlam Centre||Coquitlam|
|Jak’s Discovery||Campbell River|
|Jak’s Maple Ridge||Maple Ridge|
|Jak’s New West||New Westminster|
|Jak’s Prosperity Ridge||Williams Lake|
|Jak’s Timberline||Campbell River|
|Mid Island Coop Duncan||Duncan|
|Mid Island Coop Nanaimo||Nanaimo|
|Mid Island Coop Parksville||Parksville|
|Mid Island Coop Sayward||Sayward|
|O’Hare’s Liquor Store||Richmond|
|Spinnakers James Bay||Victoria|
|Spinnakers Westside Village||Victoria|
|Squamish Liquor Store||Squamish|
|Bad Tattoo Brewing||Penticton|
|Field House Brewing||Abbotsford|
|Kelowna Beer Institute||Kelowna|
|Old Yale Brewing||Chilliwack|
|Red Collar Brewing||Kamloops|
|Twin City Brewpub||Port Alberni|
|Vancouver Island Brewing||Victoria|
|Wheelhouse Brewing||Prince Rupert|
|Whistler Brewing Co||Whistler|
|Lonsdale Bridge Deck||North Vancouver|
|Nancy O’s Restaurant||Prince George|
|The Raving Gamer Bistro||Langley|
During October, we will be announcing some contests that will give you a chance to win some great prizes, including sweatshirts, coolers, mugs, camping chairs, picnic blankets, and toques. Follow the BC Ale Trail on Instagram to learn how you can enter to win. There will also be a contest running on the BC Ale Trail app so be sure to download it if you haven’t already done so. Find out more details HERE.
Celebrate BC CRAFT BEER MONTH and the BC Ale Trail by enjoying the Explore BC IPA, a beer that showcases all that British Columbia has to offer.