On Ted Child’s first-ever RV road trip, he got the chance to visit breweries in Hope, Merritt, Prince George, and 100 Mile House.

When my cousin bought an RV, I saw the huge potential for beer-focused road-tripping. So when Kaleb told me he was planning a trip to Prince George with his daughter and invited me to join them, I immediately began planning brewery visits along the way. 

The RV sits packed and ready for adventure.
Ready to roll! (photo: Ted Child)

When driving to central or northern British Columbia from Vancouver Island (as we were), or from the Lower Mainland, a traveller has quite a few options. We decided that we would do it in one day by taking Highway 1 on the way up. The only priority for me was a visit to Mountainview Brewing in Hope. We took a mid-morning ferry from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen and arrived in Hope by early afternoon. With its big storefront and high signage we found Mountainview without any trouble.

Once inside we found high ceilings and lots of seating. To the right was a bank of high windows showcasing the big brewhouse. To the left was the long bar and then a games area. There was also an upstairs seating area. We were greeted by co-owner Adam Keil who was happy to chat about the brewery and its hometown. On the inspiration to open the brewery, Adam repeated a tale he has told before in which his wife Danielle informed him that he was miserable with his job and needed to do something else. That something else, it would turn out, was opening Mountainview Brewing, with stops at KPU’s brewing program and a few years of brewing on Brewers Row in Port Moody along the way. On choosing to open in Hope, Adam stated, “We thought it would be a good fit and would bring a positive addition to the community.”

When asked about other attractions besides the brewery in the area, Adam noted the many trails. “There are probably 30 different trails within a 15-, 20-minute drive from town. World-class stuff. It’s just beautiful.” He also mentioned the big plans to develop Mount Hope, the mountain right behind the brewery, with mountain bike trials. There is also the annual chainsaw competition and the many chainsaw sculptures peppering the town. “It’s a bit of a festival. It’s always fun.” Also, let us never forget that the original Rambo movie, First Blood, was filmed in Hope in 1982, and there are several local sites to visit for Sylvester Stallone fans.

Rambo carving - Hope Standard
A chainsaw carving of Rambo (photo: Hope Standard)

While Adam and I chatted, Kaleb and Mariah sampled the food and drink. Mariah raved about the tacos that I had missed out on. Her favourite beer was the First Blood Orange imperial wheat ale (named after the movie), which is Mountainview’s bestseller and it is easy to see why. The blood orange flavour is well balanced in this thirst crusher. Kaleb liked his sample of the dark lager. My favourite was the Super Dry Lager that I bought as off sales and took with us. 

After that too short of a visit, I herded everyone back into the RV, concerned about how late it was going to be getting into PG. It would be late indeed because we decided to make an unplanned stop a few hours later in 100 Mile House.

Ted and his niece Mariah enjoying their flights at Cask and Cleaver Brewing in 100 Mile House, BC
Ted and Mariah enjoying their flights at Cask and Cleaver Brewing in 100 Mile House, BC (photo: Ted Child)

Cask and Cleaver Brewing opened last year when two friends took over the space that used to be Jackson’s Social House. Our crowd favourite was the strawberry sour. We did eventually pull in late to my sister’s in Prince George, tired but glad to be there. 

Over the following week, I had a chance to visit all three Prince George breweries, including a nice visit to Crossroads Brewery & Distillery with my mom, my first visit to the newer brewery Deadfall, and a tour of Trench Brewing & Distilling with one of the owners. 

We decided to take the Coquihalla Highway back on the return journey south, mainly so we could check out the Empty Keg Brew House in Merritt. We also decided to break the trip back into two days, taking full advantage of the RV. The drive from PG to Merritt was lovely and a little warm. The profound changes in terrain and scenery were dramatic. We were nice and hot when we arrived at Empty Keg where we met up with the owner, Kyle Hall. I asked about some activities in the area. 

“Once you start to realize what there is around here, this is a four-season area you can enjoy.” For summer and autumn, there are lakes, fishing, mountain biking, ATV adventures and rafting. In winter backcountry skiing is popular.

 It quickly became clear how community-minded Kyle is, from supporting local sports teams to trying to do as many collaborations with other local businesses as possible. This relationship between Empty Keg and Merritt was undoubtedly deepened after the dramatic events of 2021 when Merritt first suffered nearby forest fires followed by highway-closing floods. 

“You just didn’t know what was gonna happen.” First, forest fires in the area caused Merritt to be put on evacuation alert. “We live out towards that area so we got evacuated,” Kyle remembered. “Well, Merritt wasn’t evacuated, so I guess we’re sleeping at the brewhouse. Not bad. It could’ve been worse.” 

Having survived that ordeal, Kyle’s house outside of Merritt would later be a blessing when he got a call at 2 a.m. that Merritt was being evacuated due to flooding. Kyle was able to billet a couple of families who had been evacuated. Luckily, the brewhouse was not affected, safe by a mere two blocks. Unable to brew or serve beer, Kyle instead worked with some local contractors on the rebuilding efforts. He was able to donate his wages to help local families. Additionally, Kyle used Empty Keg’s brew kettles to boil water for those in need during the following water advisory. 

“We love this town. If we didn’t have their support we wouldn’t be here.”

While Kyle told his dramatic tale, my companions and I again sipped some samples. I favoured the British-style beers while young Mariah favoured the lighter styles. We all enjoyed the mixture of seltzers we took away with us to try later. 

tacos and a flight at Mountainview Brewing in Hope, BC
Back to Hope for tacos and a flight at Mountainview Brewing (photo: Ted Child)

Our plan of finding an RV site nearby was derailed by the fact that RV sites after the 2021 flooding are sparse on the ground. Plan B — to head back to Hope so I could try some Mountainview tacos — was quickly adopted. The drive along the Coquihalla from Merritt to Hope as the sun was dipping down low over the horizon was one of the highlights of the trip. In high spirits, we returned to Mountainview and I can confirm that the tacos are delicious. On our previous visit, Adam had related about expanding the food program. “It’s kind of evolved. Now we’ve got a really great chef and we’re kind of a bit more of a Mexican-focused menu.” He recommended the tortilla soup, which I can also confirm was wonderful. 

Travelling by RV is a novel experience for me and I highly recommend it. RV or not, checking out BC breweries that you have never been to is never a bad Plan A, B or C. 

Know Before You Go! Conditions around the province can change quickly no matter what season you travel. Travellers should stay informed and prepared to adjust their plans as needed. HelloBC’s Know Before You Go page offers key resources such as information about weather events, road conditions, and updates from the Province when warranted. For more information on trip planning, such as maps, links to visitor centres around the province, and accessible travel, please visit the Need To Know page.

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