It took us all summer to find a weekend when we could finally visit the new Kelowna Craft Breweries (and honestly some of them aren't even that new anymore) but we finally did it!
It's been a super smoky summer, which means a lot of the usual weekend activities, like hiking and kayaking, are not as enjoyable as they should be so we opted instead to a mini beer tour. We spread it out over two days (because why not!) and had a great time sampling some great new beer.
Our first stop of the tour was Red Bird Brewing. I love following these guys on social media, it just seems like such a fun place and they've done a great job making it really visually striking spot, it's great for photos and is very visible from the road - we sat on the patio and watched several cars either stop almost in the road or circle back to park after seeing it as they drove by.
This brewery had the largest menu of all that we went to, but we made a rookie mistake and didn't look closely enough - Red Bird has their own beer, plus some partners on tap. So we ended up only trying one or two of their own beer and a few of beer from other places, which was a bit disappointing but we'll know better next time.
Red Bird often (maybe always?) has a food truck parked outside which was a nice addition, considering it was lunch time and we were hungry, as well as snacks to purchase to go along with your selection. I opted for the pretzel and my husband order fish tacos from the Surf Side California food truck. Both good choices, but I think my pretzel with the spice mustard on the side was the best food selection.
Favourite Beer: Antipsipation IPA
Also really liked the the flight carrier (is that what it is called?) had a little chalk board to mark the number of the glass, this matched with a picture of the menu board, make it really easy to remember what we were trying.
The newest on the Kelowna Brewery scene, Vice & Virtue has only been open a few months but already has a solid following and quite a few of their own beer on tap.
The day we were there Vice & Virtue had five beer on tap, but flights of four. No worries though - our server offered a fifth taster for a small extra charge, letting us try everything on tap that day (great upsell!)
We were too early for food service that day, the kitchen opens at 3pm, so only had a chance to smell the deliciousness that was in smoker. I have been back to Vice and Virtue a few times with friends from work and have had a chance to sample some of the menu options - most recently the pork bites (great) and next time definitely will order the Smoked Brisket Sandwich.
Favourite beer: On that day, Humble Canuck was the favourite. My most recent visit was the day that Love Potion #2 was released and it has taken top spot for me of favourite beer. As I'm writing this I am actually regretting not getting a growler of Love Potion #2 on Friday when I was there...luckily there is always tomorrow!
I think the only down side for us (aside from being too early for food that day) is that because the space is all cement and open concept, so it can get really noisy - making it a bit difficult to have a conversation. I'm sure as the space fills with some art work and other items to help absorb the sound that will resolve itself though.
I think of all the breweries in Kelowna I like the feel of this one most. They've tried really hard to give it a retro fishing cabin type feel, lots of wood, plaid, and outdoorsy decor fills the space and made us feel at home. I could see Kettle River Brewing becoming a regular stop for us, especially through the fall and winter when that cabin-homy feel really matches the season.
Kettle River only had four beer on tap, but all four were their own so cannot complain too much. I had really hoped that something would have really knocked our socks off here because I love the design on their growler and would have purchased a growler had something really wowed us. As it turns out, the stout was our favourite of the day, but I'm not really sold on just under 2l of stout in the middle of the summer. We'll likely be back later in the fall to see what else is on tap.
Kettle River occasionally has a food truck parked outside to provide a most substantial food offering with your flight. There wasn't one there that day, but they did have some great snacks most notably, pretzels and locally made Aussie meat pies.
Favourite of the day: Under The Weather Chocolate Milk Stout
We have in the past visited both of the two larger and more main stream breweries in town: BNA and The Beer Institute (by Tree Brewing) have been around for a couple of years now and are also great places to stop in for a beer and a bite. We didn't visit them on this weekend, so I don't have recent information to share (like favourite beer).
BNA is one of our favourite date night stops - they have a great food menu and an extensive beer menu as well. It's an interesting spot to hang out at with a variety of seats ranging from standard tables, to couches and comfy chairs. BNA is family friendly (minors allowed until 10pm) and has shuffle board and a bowling alley to add to an extra layer of fun to the visit.
The Beer Institute is located just off the Delta along the lake. It's a cozy spot with communal tables and a great spot to catch up with friends over a flight or pint. We haven't been recently, and although they are shutting down their local brewing operation I'm sure the atmosphere at the Institue will remain as relaxed and should remain as a stop on any Kelowna Brewing Beer tour.