Craft beer, romantic? You better believe it! Hop up your date night in cask style on the BC Ale Trail with these ideas for you and your sweetie!
When my partner started homebrewing a few years ago, little did I know that his new hobby would become one of our favourite ways to go out and about for a date. Yes, craft beer can be romantic. Our “research” of visiting craft breweries along the Ale Trail has led us to find new places to spend time together at home and when we travel. Whether it’s a first date, regular date night, or a day or night out with friends, craft beer has become a part of BC’s social DNA. Let’s explore some BC Ale Trail themed date night suggestions. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, after all!
Brewery tasting rooms on the BC Ale Trail range from cozy to spacious, all with a unique vibe. They’re an awesome casual option for a first date or as a regular date night option with your honey. Boardgames and tasty snacks like fresh pretzels and charcuterie can be enjoyed while sitting at the bar or at a cozy corner table. And if date night happens to include your little ones, most tasting rooms are kid-friendly — and some even have a designated area for dogs!
Some excellent tasting rooms along the Ale Trail include:
- New Westminster staple Steel & Oak Brewing
- 2018 BC Beer Award winner 33 Acres Brewing
- 2018 Best Brewery Experience award winner Townsite Brewing
- The farm haven that is Persephone Brewing
- Vancouverite favourite Brassneck Brewery
- New kid on the block île Sauvage Brewing
- The city-break nook and breathtaking patio at Tapworks Brewing
- 2018 BC Beer Awards winner for Best Tasting Room, Sooke Brewing.
Spinnaker’s in Victoria was the first brewpub in Canada, and Steamworks, Trading Post Brewing, Cumberland Brewing, and Brewhall (just to name a few!) have followed suit in offering unique venues, fantastic craft beer and excellent gastronomic delights. Music bingo, quiz nights and live music are usually on their calendars — and are a hoot to attend. The bonus with brewpubs is that you can usually make a reservation — always good if you want to impress. (P.S. You want to impress.)
If one of you is more into wine than beer (it’s okay, no judgment!), most brewpubs and taphouses have some vino on their menu. And in that vein, Postmark Brewing rounds out the trifecta hybrid that includes Vancouver Urban Winery and Belgard Kitchen. Located in the stunning Settlement Building in Vancouver’s Railtown district, they serve up excellent food, beer, and wine — perfect for a date night!
For some (this writer and her partner included), touring the facilities of a brewery is part of the fun of going to a new tasting room. Some offer scheduled tours and tastings, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get to try something still in its brewing stages. Townsite Brewing, Central City Brewers & Distillers, and many others offer incredible tours of their facilities.
The close proximity of breweries in areas such as Vancouver’s ‘Yeast Van’ and ‘Brewery Creek’, Brewers’ Row in Port Moody, or Victoria’s industrial neighbourhoods allow for touring a few tasting rooms in an afternoon. Check out a paid tour, or take a self-guided walking or cycling tour with our BC Ale Trail guides or app!
Homebrewing has become all the rage, and if you’re looking for a date night IN, making your own version of your favourite brewery’s IPA is also a penny-saver in the long run. Not super romantic, but you can make it so by brewing up your sweetie’s favourite beer for him or her. (I say this from personal experience as a recipient.) Bottling your own beer together can also make an excellent party favour for that special day or a milestone birthday.
Festivals & Events
With craft beer festivals and events happening year-round in BC, there is no shortage of hoppy activity. Weekend or week-long, there’s always something for everyone. The events and workshops offered at the festivals make for a perfect date activity. Upcoming events on BC’s 2019 craft beer calendar are: Brewski Craft Beer, Spirits and Cider Festival (February 9 – Kelowna), Hopwired Festival (February 23 – Vancouver), and Victoria Beer Week (March 1-9 – Victoria). More events on the Ale Trail calendar can be found here.
Staycation or Weekend Away
Turn date night or day into a date weekend. Two breweries in BC’s capital offer the rather convenient and fantastic experience of providing you excellent service as both your craft brewpub and accommodations. Swans Brewery and Hotel is located in Victoria’s trendy Chinatown, and Spinnakers offers up a cozy bed and breakfast experience on the harbour. (Which includes beer-infused chocolate truffles waiting for you in your room. Yes, please!)
Up the Sea to Sky Highway in Squamish, Howe Sound Brewing offers a series of Beer Pairing Dinners. Enjoy a unique four-course dining experience paired with four of their own beers. Combine that with an overnight stay in their cozy Inn and that’s you’re weekend plans sorter. The next dinner is scheduled for February 22.