The latest addition to Chilliwack’s budding brewery scene combines tasty craft beer and delicious food with an enthusiasm for the great outdoors and a true community spirit.
Chilliwack is the perfect place for a brewery: a landscape teeming with rivers and lakes where steep, rugged mountaintops give way to far-reaching farmland crops, and a recreational haven with adventure at its doorstep. You couldn’t be any closer to fresh local produce, and craft beer and adventure go hand in hand.
Sidekick Brewing is perched upon the banks of the Chilliwack River and is so close that I was sorely tempted to grab my fishing rod and cast from their outdoor patio. It also sits at the gates to Chilliwack’s biggest playground, the Chilliwack River Valley, which makes it the perfect pit-stop for adventurers.
Their beer aims to explore a range of flavours inspired by the local area with everything from hazy IPAs to their classic Corn Lager available on tap, and if you’re craving something sweet, why not skip dessert and try ‘Barb’, Sidekick’s Caramel Cookie Brown Ale, instead—you won’t be disappointed.
When it comes to the food here, it’s as much of a draw as the beer itself. Using locally sourced ingredients, Sidekick provides an ever-evolving food menu that is continuously rotating with the seasons to ensure the freshest produce. Fraser Valley smoked duck wings, roasted fingerling potatoes harvested from Ryder Lake, and a panzanella salad with roasted beer bread made from organic whole wheat and ancient khorasan grain. Delicious food, grown locally, and served from farm to table. Oh, and when it’s in season, don’t forget to try their steelhead trout “Detroit-style” pizza—it’s pretty famous already.
Sidekick offers far more than a place to just kick back and enjoy some craft beer. Sure, the beer is great and the food is also exceptional, but as soon as you walk through their front doors you’re greeted with the comfort and warmth of a local brewery seeking to bring the community together. That’s what craft beer’s all about, right?
But if visiting one Chilliwack brewery isn’t enough, then we’ve got you covered. As part of the Fraser Valley Ale Trail, you could spend a whole weekend exploring Chilliwack’s many watering holes, with a brewery for every occasion. Take in the area’s natural beauty while sipping craft beer that’s been moulded by the surrounding landscape.
Only a short bike ride from Sidekick, you’ll come across Old Yale Brewing. Take the path less travelled and follow the Vedder Rotary Trail that weaves alongside the Chilliwack River, bringing you within earshot of Old Yale—and if you time it just right, you can experience the magic of the salmon run. Old Yale Brewing has been making hand-crafted beer since the late ’90s and they sure know what they’re doing. Serving delicious campfire-style foods with a hefty list of 15 beers on tap, this classic Chilliwack brewery has no shortage of options. With Christmas just around the corner, now might be the best time to try their Limited Edition Eggnog Spiced Cream Ale.
A stone’s throw away and you’ll find Farmhouse Brewing, one of only a handful of BC breweries that farms, brews, and pours their own craft beer—all in one place. Experience the taste of Chilliwack in this unique, local craft brewery. And as the weather gets colder, it might be a good time to try the newly released Coconut Vanilla Stout and indulge in a Farmhouse S’more, whilst sitting around one of their cozy outdoor fire pits. Now that’s a good way to warm up on a cold winter’s day.
In the newly revitalized downtown area on the other side of Chilliwack you can find another pocket of breweries that are almost within touching distance of one another — convenient if you want to hit up a few breweries all at once — creating a bustling and vibrant atmosphere. Whether you’re looking for a quirky, modern hangout spot, a farm-meets-city style brewery, or an old-school, traditional pub, downtown Chilliwack is not short on options.
For good beer and good times, head on over to Field House Brewing CHWK for tasty craft beer, ranging from complex barrel-aged brews to refreshingly tart sours; and if you’re feeling peckish, their pizzas are pretty darn good too. Still thirsty? Why not stop by Bricklayer Brewing (almost literally next door) with good people, good vibes, and even better craft beer. And if that wasn’t enough, only steps away, feel the historic vibes of downtown Chilliwack and sip on “fresh beer with old school values” at the aptly named Flashback Brewing.
Whether you’re kayaking, climbing, fishing, biking, or backcountry skiing, I think we can all agree, it’s thirsty work. But once you’re done exploring Chilliwack’s backyard, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding somewhere to rest, refuel, and rehydrate. Let the BC Ale Trail be your guide.