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David Kerruish | 02.28.2019

The connection between trails and ales is as old as time. Many a trip has been conceived and planned over a frosty ale. And many a trip has been celebrated after the fact, and countless stories of adventure—in victory and defeat—have been shared over freshly brewed suds.

Some breweries take the relationship between beer and backcountry to another level. Here are three breweries for those looking to step up their relationship between hops and hikes.


Backcountry Brewing's Secret Handshake NE IPA. David Kerruish.

Backcountry Brewing, Squamish, BC

There's more to this brewery than the obvious connection in its name. One step inside the recently built taproom, and you feel like you've stepped inside an old backcountry cabin. Grab a beer (and one of their excellent pizzas), then take a seat at the tables, which are covered in contour maps of the nearby Garibaldi Park. It's also a popular post-adventure refueling stop for many in the local outdoor adventure community.

Trail: If it's your first visit to Squamish, you're obligated to hike the Chief. You can also use the maps on the tables to double-check your route to Elfin Lakes and Diamond Head in Garibaldi Provincial Park.

Ale: The Trailbreaker Pale Ale is both an award-winning beer and carries a name that recognizes how you earned your thirst.


Bridge Brewing's Side Cut IPA. David Kerruish.

Bridge Brewing, North Vancouver, BC

This cosy brewery is dwarfed by the North Vancouver mountains that sit just a few minutes away. The tasting room carries a touch of a northwest cabin, and the amazing tacos are an ideal post-hike/bike meal. However, there's a more subtle backcountry reference to the Bridge beers. The base layer on Bridge's bottles and cans is the contoured topography of Vancouver's North Shore.

Trail: In the winter, try the marked ski/snowshoe trail to Pump Peak. From spring to fall, get on two wheels and explore the many mountain biking trails of Mount Seymour.

Ale: With a name paying homage to the area's favourite winter sport, you need to try the Side Cut IPA.


Kulshan Brewing's Bastard Kat IPA. David Kerruish.

Kulshan Brewing, Bellingham, WA

Kulshan is an indigenous name for the region's dominant feature, Mount Baker. The Baker motif has been woven throughout the brand and beer line-up, with cans of Kulshan's year-round beers featuring various aspects of the stratovalcano. The seasonal Go East IPA is also a tribute to the iconic ski area at the end of the Mt Baker highway, which starts less than a mile from the brewery.

Trail: The Skyline Divide is stunning from spring to fall. Or, if you're prepared for serious glacier travel, go big and take the Coleman-Deming summit route.

Ale: The just-released Heliotrope IPA is named after the trail at the start of the Coleman-Deming route to Baker's summit.

Perfect Pairs

That's just three breweries that perfectly compliment your outdoor adventures. What other breweries hold a special connection for outdoor explorers?


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