I Heart Penticton

Forget the wine, Penticton's craft breweries alone are worth the drive. Check out all the Okanagan beer scene has to offer at the Okanagan Fest Of Ale, April 7 and 8. iStock photo

Forget the wine, Penticton’s craft breweries alone are worth the drive. Check out all the Okanagan beer scene has to offer at the Okanagan Fest Of Ale, April 7 and 8. iStock photo

 

Penticton isn’t just about the beach, the peach, and the Naramata Bench. This small, South Okanagan city within easy driving distance of the coast has a thriving, cutting-edge craft beer scene that includes four breweries, a quaint brewpub, and one of the longest running annual beer festivals in B.C. Here’s a rundown on one of my favourite, undiscovered craft beer communities in B.C.

 

Jonny Healy photo

Bad Tattoo Brewing. Jonny Healy photo

Bad Tattoo Brewing

Bad Tattoo’s custom-built facility, located within walking distance of the beach, includes an on-site pizza restaurant, making it one of the most popular dinner options in town. The beer is good, too, thanks to the creativity of the biggest brewmaster in B.C., Robert Theroux, an ex-football player from Montreal. A specialty is La Resureccion, a Belgian Quad aged in spirit barrels, which is released on November 1st each year.

 

Contributed photo

Barley Mill Brewpub. Contributed photo

Barley Mill Brewpub

This two-level brewpub has a large, pub-style restaurant downstairs and a family-friendly bistro upstairs that is decorated with a huge collection of sports memorabilia. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming throughout with a kitchen that will satisfy every appetite. During the Okanagan summer months, join them on their Patio for a frosty pint.

 

Jonny Healy photo

Cannery Brewing. Jonny Healy photo

Cannery Brewing

This brewery was named for its original venue, the Cannery Trade Centre, a historic building in the heart of Penticton where it was based from 2001 until it opened its own facility in 2015. The “new” Cannery is a busy spot – its popular tasting room has the best nachos in town and a busy calendar featuring musicians and other events. Look for Cannery’s new Hop Chowdah New England IPA this spring.

 

Contributed photo

Highway 97 Brewing. Contributed photo

Highway 97 Brewing

Penticton’s newest brewery just opened in Tin Whistle’s old location following extensive renovations to the building. Right off the highway as you drive into town next to the popular Kettle Valley Station Pub, the new operation is an open warehouse-style brewery with a tasting room at the front. Look for a solid group of core beers with seasonal releases in coming months, including a Red IPA and the Highway 97 ESB.

 

Jonny Healy photo

Tin Whistle Brewing. Jonny Healy photo

Tin Whistle Brewing

When Cannery moved into its new facility, Tin Whistle jumped at the opportunity to take its spot in the Cannery Trade Centre. This marked a big step up in terms of space and Tin Whistle has taken advantage of that by trying new things such as barrel-aging. Its first attempt, Pinot Noir Raspberry Blonde Ale, won First Place at the B.C. Beer Awards last fall.

 

The Okanagan Fest Of Ale takes place April 7-8, 2017, in Penticton. Contributed photo

The Okanagan Fest Of Ale takes place April 7-8, 2017, in Penticton. Contributed photo

Okanagan Fest of Ale

The best way to experience Penticton’s craft beer culture is at the Okanagan Fest of Ale, a two-day beer festival held in early April at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre annually since 1996. This year, more than 60 craft breweries and cideries will be featured, along with food vendors and live entertainment.

Check out the Fest of Ale website for a listing of off-site events, including an IPA-focused seminar led by me at Bad Tattoo Brewing on Thursday, April 6, and the infamous Murderer’s Row cask night held at the newly renovated Kettle Valley Station Pub on Saturday, April 8. CAMRA B.C. members, make sure you pack your membership card for benefits all around the South Okanagan.

Visit FestOfAle.ca for more information and tickets.