Halloween has been celebrated in one form or another since the time of the ancient Celts, around 2,000 years ago. Observing their new year on November 1st with a festival called Samhain, a Gaelic word that’s pronounced sow-win, Celts celebrated the harvest and welcomed in the “darker half” of the year.
On October 31st, it was believed that the barriers between the physical and spiritual worlds were broken and so interaction between the two realms was possible. Bonfires were lit to protect the living and people donned costumes to trick ghosts and monsters that came through to the physical world.
As Christianity took over and the ancient Celtic traditions slowly died, a number of popes attempted to change the more pagan aspects of the festival. All Hallows’ Eve was still observed on October 31st as the night before All Hallows’ Day on November 1st. Also known as All Saints’ Day, this holy day was established by Pope Gregory in the 9th century and is followed by All Souls’ Day on November 2nd, observed as the Day of the Dead in Mexico.
However, many of the pagan rituals carried on throughout the centuries and evolved into what we know today as Halloween. Trick-or-treating, dressing up in costumes, and embracing the connection with the spirit world are all still activities that make up the modern version of this holiday.
Celebrate Halloween 2019 on the BC Ale Trail
If you’re looking for a place to get your scaredy-pants on this Halloween, check out a brewery near you – they might just be hosting a spooktacular event with some frighteningly delicious broos.
Wolf Brewing Company in Nanaimo is celebrating on October 31st with a “Passionately Bloody” cask night from 12pm to 6pm. This will be a great way to start a festive 19+ night of trick-or-drinking.
A little further up-Island, LoveShack Libations in Qualicum Beach will be open on Wednesday, October 30th and will be celebrating this time of year with a special chocolate chilli stout release called “Dave of the Dead”.
In nearby Parksville, Mount Arrowsmith Brewing is hosting a Boos ‘n Brews event on October 29th from 5pm to 7pm. Drink pints, eat chips and salsa, and carve pumpkins with the whole family! A new bottle will be released next week as well – the HOPTIMISTIC New England (Hazy) IPA. On October 31st, pints will be $5 in the taproom for anyone who wears their Halloween costume into the brewery.
Canoe Brewpub is celebrating Halloween with a fresh batch of their Windward Series Roggenbier. This 50/50 blend of rye and munich barley malts uses a Bavarian yeast strain to recreate a modern version of this common medieval Bavarian beer style. Live music by OK Charlie, no cover, and a costume contest makes Canoe a great spot to get your scare on.
Driftwood Brewery is doing a limited release brewed with Canadian malted rye and all BC-grown hops, called Limb from Limb RyePA. Classic IPA flavours combine with notes of melon, cloves, and allspice in this 7% brew. Bottles and growler fills of the RyePA are available at the brewery during opening hours (Mondays to Saturdays from 11am to 6pm).
Moon Under Water is tapping their (literal) pumpkin cask on Thursday, October 31st at 5pm. Every Halloween, a massive 300lbs. locally grown pumpkin gets carved, coated with spices, and then torched for a caramel touch. The pumpkin then gets filled with Moon’s Pumpkin Piezen Hefeweizen. Enjoy this unique beer, prizes for costumes, and some pumpkin pie for dessert until 11:30pm on Halloween. Moon’s distillery lounge will also be open to families, with trick-or-treating for the kiddos, from 2pm until 10pm. RSVPs can be made via the Facebook event page.
- Phillips Brewing and Malting Co. is hosting a Ball-o-ween event with Dan Ball. Creepy beats, contests and giveaways with prizes awarded between 8pm and 9pm, Halloween-inspired casks, scarily yummy treats, a limbo contest(!!), and prizes for best Phillips-themed costume, best group costume, and most creative costume will be happening from 5pm to 10pm at the brewery on October 31st. Be sure to enjoy their harvest seasonals – the Black Magic Dark Ale and the Green Reaper Fresh Hop IPA – while you’re at it.
Strange Fellows Brewing has a spooky movie night planned for October 31st with beer, free popcorn, and movies to satisfy that scary itch from 7pm to 10pm. They’ve also brewed two special beers, a NOCTURNUM Dark IPA and their Monsieur DuBois sour Foudre-aged amber ale. The monsieur is available on tap in the tasting room for your enjoyment, and the dark IPA will be available in the tasting room as of November 1st and at liquor stores as of November 4th.
Steamworks Brewing Co. has their Pumpkin Ale (6.5%, 25IBU) on and the taproom is hosting pumpkin carving all the way until Halloween. For $10, you get a pumpkin, a goodie bag, and a 16oz beer. Pumpkin-ception!
Red Truck Beer Company has a special Oktoberfest Lager on at the moment. Celebrating the harvest season with this copper lager that uses all German malt, hops, and the traditional brewing technique of decoction, this 5.8%, 22IBU lager is best enjoyed while wearing your lederhosen.
In North Vancouver, Wildeye Brewing is hosting a beer release, as well as a costume contest, on October 31st. The beer release will be a harvest ale, described as “a delicious warm malt-led beer made with generous additions of rye and wheat”.
Deep Cove Brewers and Distillers are celebrating the macabre season with their Day of the Dead Fiesta on Saturday, November 2nd. With a Mole Stout beer release, tequila bar, live flamenco music, Mexican cuisine, and prizes and giveaways, the spookiness continues into the weekend!
New West’s Another Beer Co. is also taking Halloween night easy, but November 1st to 24th sees the brewery welcome a neon artwork exhibit. This will be the first in a series of art exhibits periodically planned at the brewery.
Silver Valley Brewing in Maple Ridge is hosting a trivia night on October 31st from 7pm featuring Halloween movies. Their Ghosts Pumpkin Spiced Latte Milk Stout will be available and costume-wearing patrons will be rewarded with a free bag of HardBite chips.
Foamers’ Folly Brewing in Pitt Meadows has just released their tribute to Samhain, the Ghost Train Barleywine. This 60IBU, 10.5% beer is sure to keep you warm on even the scariest of Halloween nights.
Coast Mountain Brewing in Whistler is hosting a House of Horrors event on Halloween night from 3pm until late. DJ Stache will be playing tunes, beers will be released, and there will be prizes for best costume.
Backcountry Brewing in Squamish will be doing a Halloween edition of their usual Beats and Brews event with DJs, decor, and a $5 Pale Ale.
Tree Brewing Beer Institute is tapping a Halloween cask on Thursday, the 31st. This 7.5%, 35IBU nutmeg and brown sugar-spiced ale can be enjoyed in their decorated tasting room, with staff wearing their costumes all day.
Boundary Brewing Company has a special brew available in the taproom and in takeaway bottles. Called the Howl-o-ween Altbier, it’s a 5.5%, 35IBU pumpkin-spiced version of their popular flagship copper-coloured ale. The taproom is decorated for the occasion and there’s candy too!
Alchemy Brewing is hosting a costume party on Halloween night from 7pm to 11pm. With a DJ and dance floor to get your groOoOve on, prizes for costumes, and food and drink specials, this is another spooky event to attend on Thursday.
The Noble Pig Brewhouse is releasing a few falls beers this November so keep an eye out for their collab brew, the Harvest Pilsner, with fellow Kamloops brewery, Iron Road Brewing. A re-release of their award-wining Papa G’s ESB (which just won 1st place in the UK Pale Ale category at the BC Beer Awards!) is also planned for mid-November.
Barkerville Brewing Co.’s all-female brewery is taking #throwbackthursday to a whole new meaning this Halloween in Quesnel. Their It’s Halloween Witches! Halloween party is in honour of the original women who brewed beer way back in the 10th and 11th centuries.
Wheelhouse Brewing in Prince Rupert is throwing a Halloween party with costumes, DJ-spun jams, and Halloween-themed beverages to imbibe in from 8pm onwards on October 31st.
More harvest seasonals to enjoy this fall
If you can’t make it to a brewery near you to celebrate this Halloween, you can still enjoy the harvest season with some more of BC’s seasonal beers, such as:
- Cannery Brewing’s Darkling, a 5.5%, 30IBU oatmeal stout, and their Knucklehead Pumpkin Ale, a 5%, 20IBU gnarly brown ale,
- Fernie Brewing’s Ghostrider Pumpkin Brown Ale, a 5%, 13IBU revamp of their award-winning Pumpkin Brown Ale,
- Fuggles & Warlock’s Bean Me Up, a 5.7%, 18IBU espresso milk stout,
- Howe Sound’s Pumpkineater, a 9%, 19IBU imperial ale,
- Howl Brewing‘s Harvest Moon Pumpkin Porter, a fresh hopped 6%, 18IBU brew,
- Longwood Brewing‘s Full Patch Pumpkin Saison, a 9%, 30IBU Belgian-style saison,
- Parallel 49’s Lost Souls, a 6.5%, 11IBU chocolate pumpkin porter,
- Persephone Brewing Co.‘s Oktoberfest Lager, a 5.8%, 27IBU seasonal amber lager (available on tap at the brewery and in 650ml bottles, but only until it’s gone!),
- Tapworks Brewing Company‘s Lower G, a 5%, 24IBU full-bodied brown ale.
Enjoy the tricks, treats, and lots of good things to drink and eat this Halloween at a brewery near you and take full advantage of this year’s harvest. Cheers to all the ghosts, ghouls, monsters, and witches out there!