The Ultimate Guide on Breweries from Whistler to Squamish
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If it were left up to us, there would be a new brewery opening up every week in the Sea-to-Sky country. As it stands now, we count ourselves pretty lucky with the number of thirst quenching breweries currently at our disposal. Starting in Squamish, there is a long road of some of the finest breweries British Columbia has to offer.
At Forged Axe Throwing, we are a little spoiled. We have not one, but two breweries next door to us in Function Junction: Coast Mountain Brewing and Whistler Brewing. Considering they have both made names for themselves far outside the Vancouver-Whistler corridor, you’ll hear no complaints from us! Just ask our customers; we estimate that roughly 70 percent of our customers head over to one of our neighbours for an after axe pint. Axes and beer go hand in hand.
Know Before you Go
If you are visiting British Columbia for the first time, there a few things to keep in mind before you hit the breweries.
- BC requires two pieces of ID. The first piece needs to be a government-issued photo ID such as a passport or driver’s license. The second can be a credit card or other signed identification.
- While most breweries welcome children, they must be in the company of their guardian. Some breweries are better set up than others, including A-Frame which has an excellent play table built just for kids!
- We live in the Pacific Northwest! Bring the appropriate clothing to suit the weather. It’ll probably rain.
Canadian Craft Tasting Tour
We highly recommend putting together a one-day or multi-day mini vacation, explicitly catering to all brews our region has to offer. If you don’t want to worry about the logistics yourself, why not check out the Canadian Craft Tours options for the coastal mountain area. They offer a number of choices and are top rated on Tripadvisor. Seriously, at the time of writing they had 70 five star reviews.
Not only can they handle groups up to 300 people, but clients can choose one of their three Sea-to-Sky tour options. Looking for something special? They will even build a customized tour of your own creation. Here are the three public guided tours they offer for the Vancouver to Whistler region. It’s easy to book online to reserve space ahead of time.
Whistler Brewery Tour
Hitting all the breweries that Whistler has to offer, including pit stops at the Whistler Brew House, Whistler Brewing, and Coast Mountain Brewing. Like all their tours, the service is exceptional. When in Whistler they offer pick-up and drop off at any hotel plus entertaining “Beer Geeks” to guide you along the way.
Each pit stop includes a full flight of samplers, plus of course a guided introduction to the inner workings of each location. Food and any extra beverages are at personal cost. The average tour takes approximately 3.5 hours from start to finish.
The Whistler Brewery Tour can be privately booked, let’s say your bachelor party ($799); suitable for parties of up to 12 people. Alternatively, you can book individually to meet like-minded beer-enthusiasts for $85 per person.
Squamish Brewery Tour
The exploding beer scene in Squamish is becoming the perfect day trip from Whistler to explore great tasting brews. The Squamish Brewery Tour offers stops at the three breweries in the area, including A-Frame Brewing, Howe Sound Brew Pub and Backcountry Brewing.
Depending on the day of the week, they offer many public tour times, ranging from 11 am to 6 pm. The Squamish tour can accommodate up to 56 people; the perfect activity to send your entire wedding party on! Their public tours are usually for eight or more like-minded individuals, but they also offer private tours for groups of six or more.
Each stop includes a full flight of delicious samples, and food is available to purchase at both Backcountry Brewing and Howe Sound Brew Pub. If you would like to customize the brew tour, Craft Canadian Tours offer a few suggested add-ons for this area. Some examples include a trip to the local distillery, a two-hour add-on for local sightseeing, or transport options from Vancouver and Whistler. The starting price for the basic public tour is $80 per person.
Whistler to Vancouver (or Vancouver to Whistler) Brewery Tour
The Sea-to-Sky Brewery tour is an excellent way to experience the epic drive between Vancouver and Whistler. If you are already struggling with the logistics of getting your group from one end of the corridor to the other, why not book out a private tour and make the most out of it? Round trip and public tours are also available.
This option includes stops at three breweries between Whistler and Vancouver. Excitingly, it also may stop at some of the breweries in North Vancouver, including Deep Cove Brewery and Heartstone Brewing. Bonus points for a pit stop at Shannon Falls along the way.
This tour is available for private parties of six or more and costs $149 per person. Hard to beat that price even for a bus ticket, plus with a tour, there are tons of are beer involved! As always, the tours include tasting flights at each stop and an expert tour guide to show you the ropes at each location.
Ultimate Guide to the Sea-to-Sky Breweries
For those preferring to explore the area’s breweries on their own schedule, we’ve put together Forged Axe Throwing’s Ultimate Guide to the Sea-to-Sky Breweries, with beer recommendations included! Be sure to make a pit stop the next time you are in Whistler or Squamish to taste what new libations are brewing.
You’ll notice by the names of the beers, that you have entered the outdoor adventure capital of Canada. What other community would name beers after the peaks of local mountains, backcountry cabins, and mountain trails? The beer scene has exploded in 2017 with the addition of two additional breweries. Take an afternoon off from the hustle of Whistler and taste what the Howe Sound has to offer.
38927 Queens Way #1
Small but mighty! This family-run brewery opened up in 2017 with a limited but perfected line up of classic, sessionable beers. Each brew is inspired by a little A-Frame hut in our local backcountry. The brew staff love to leave little surprises for people all around our area, so keep your eyes peeled next time you go for a hike. Although this brewery doesn’t serve food, it does have snacks and is one of the best places to bring any children due to a creative play space. Don’t forget to stop by when they have a food truck on site, or for their ever popular trivia night.
Forged Axe Favourite: Magic Lake Porter Style: Porter ABV: 5.5% IBU: 30
405-1201 Commercial Way
The newest craft brewery in the sea-to-sky corridor, it has imagined the best brewery atmosphere. Doesn’t hurt that their pizza is off the hook; we find it hard to resist even when we are just going for a growler fill. Let’s just say that Backcountry was well funded when they opened. This meant Backcountry Brewing already had a full line up of flavourful, well-balanced brews on opening and a canning system soon after.
Whether you are stopping by for a date night brewery session (Forged Axe recommended), or are there to pick up some tall cans, you will not be disappointed in their distinctive aesthetic. Plus, they host fun events every month which are well worth the drive from Whistler.
Forged Axe Favorite: Widow Maker IPA Style: IPA ABV: 6.7% IBU: 50
Howe Sound Brewpub
37801 Cleveland Ave
The longest standing brewpub in the Sea-to-Sky region, but the recent newcomers haven’t outshone the Howe Sound Brewpub. Consistently pumping out award-winning beers, in their signature refillable bottles, Howe Sound has been the local watering hole for years.
Long before craft beer was cool, Howe Sound Brewpub knew the secrets of beer. Some of the finest brews from Howe Sound are their dark porters and brown ales. They have perhaps the most extensive selection of in-house brewed beers between Vancouver to Whistler; seriously we are talking about ten beers brewed year-round, plus an entire line up of seasonal specialties. Did we mention they have a full kitchen? Even if you have one too many to drive back to Whistler, the hotel upstairs is a great place to sleep it off.
Forged Axe Favorite: Hop Raiser Style: West Coast IPA ABV: 6% IBU: 52
Right in our backyard, we have some of the best beers the region has to offer. This is our unbiased opinion, we promise! Thankfully, unlike other areas, you can taste every single beer in Whistler within a matter of hours. Even if you rent a bike or take the bus, everything is still within easy reach.
Coast Mountain Brewing
1212 Alpha Lake Rd #2
The newest member of the Whistler craft brewery scene and they are giving everyone else a run for their money. Located right next door to Forged Axe Throwing in Function Junction, they now have expanded their beer drinking space to include a fabulous patio. Coast Mountain Brewing tend to focus on experimentation, but we’ve never had a bad experience yet! Their flavor profiles are strong and tangy, with punchy IPAs and a vast selection of sour brews. Its the perfect place to hit right after you hit the bullseye.
Forged Axe Favorite: Wild Creatures Style: Rustic Farmhouse ABV 5.5% IBU 25
1045 Millar Creek Rd
Not Surprisingly, Whistler Brewing is the most recognizable beer in Whistler. Plus, Forged Axe throwing customers can mention our name for a two-for-one special! They have a recently revamped kitchen as well, making for a great Function Junction lunch date. Like How Sound, they have been around the block a time or two and have years of experience on the new breweries.
Whistler Brewing has a rotating seasonal tap list that always leaves us waiting eagerly for the next change in weather. Wintertime means another round of sweet, nutty Chestnut ale, and summertime leaves our mouths watering for more Grapefruit Ale.
Forged Axe Favorite: Gluten Free Forager Style: Lager ABV 5% IBU 35
4355 Blackcomb Way
Often overlooked, but it should never be ignored. The Whistler Brewhouse is a member of the Mark Anthony Group of restaurants and breweries. It is located right in the village, easy stumbling distance to and from the ski hill and most hotels. Brewed right on site, they currently offer five beers on tap from High Mountain Brewing (the brew side of the business). Each beer caters to specific beer lover preference, from a bitter to an IPA, or a simple ale. Each beer is a delicious, carefully planned part of their brew line up.
Unlike most of the other breweries in the region, you can only get their beers on site. But that’s perfectly okay with us because the Whistler Brew House is an excellent lunch and dinner destination. They have a wide array of outstanding eats, focusing on BBQ and wood-fired pizza.
Forged Axe Favourite: Grizzly Brown Ale Style: English Brown Ale ABV:5% IBU: 15