Ale Trails – Season 2: Episode 4 – Kamloops + Williams Lake
‘Ale Trails’ is a doc-style mini-series looking at the intersection between mountain biking and local craft breweries, and how both work to support and enhance their community.
The title ‘birthplace of freeride’ could go to either Williams Lake or Kamloops. Both central BC towns have deep roots reaching back to the 80s and 90s pioneering this more extreme side of mountain biking. While Williams Lake focused on their steep, loose natural chutes and terrain features, Kamloops built inconceivably big jumps, which combined set the foundation for modern freeride events like Redbull Rampage. The former Williams Lake political slogan ‘Embrace your inner Cowboy’ was taken quite literally in regards to taking two wheels off road.
The rural region retains aspects of a wild west self-reliant ruggedness but is also developing a more refined culinary culture on the town side of the ranch lands as illustrated in the diverse craft beer scene. Kamloops supports four craft breweries all of which are refreshingly different. Red Collar Brewing is the elder statesman of the club serving up traditional Trapist style high alcohol European beers. The Noble Pig lets creativity fly with stand-out seasonals and four unique flagship beers. Iron Road Brewing is the spot for Lagers and if you want to have no idea what is on the tap list, new kid on the block Bright Eye Brewing pours hazy IPAs, fruited sours and other aromatic creations right out of the brewing tanks. With no flagship beers, fresh is king with roughly 200 different brews per year so there’s guaranteed to be something new on tap with every visit.
Williams Lake has also joined the craft beer game with Fox Mountain Brewing. When Dave Reedman opened the brewery in 2020, he always had mountain biking in mind. As an avid rider himself, he conveniently located the brewery within easy riding distance of the trail network and the artwork and beer names are a tip of the hat to a few of the iconic trails.
Both Kamloops and Williams Lake’s trail networks have evolved and matured from their gnarly beginnings and like the diversity of beer, there’s something for each and every rider no matter what skill level. Both towns are developing infrastructure for beginner and adaptive riders to make the sport more inclusive but if you still want to surf down steep sand chutes or hit massive jumps… those are still there too.
‘Ale Trails’ is a collaboration between Mountain Biking BC, Tourism Kamloops, Tourism Williams Lake, and the BC Ale Trail, and produced by adventure filmmakers, Ben Haggar and Mike Gamble / Cold Salt Collective.
ALWAYS DRINK RESPONSIBLY
Members of the BC Ale Trail are committed to ensuring their beers are promoted and enjoyed responsibly, by those adults who choose to consume them, for the continued prosperity of the craft beer industry in British Columbia.
No one should drink alcohol, even in moderation, before operating a motor vehicle or engaging in other activities that involve attention and skill or physical risk.