Pre-COVID, Malcolm Yates went for a wander around the Whistler Ale Trail to taste great craft beer and take in inspiring views. If Whistler’s on your craft beer bucket list this summer, here are a few ideas to help plan your visit.

Whistler rules, but I need to tread carefully here.

I mean, there are factors at play that potentially sway what I write and I say.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, Whistler does rule.  But there’s something you need to know about me before we continue.  In the spirit of digital transparency and, lest I be accused of location bias, I need to come clean here.

I work for Whistler Blackcomb.  There, I said it. I have a stake in whether or not you frolic in this playground because your play fuels my pay.  Okie-dokie, now that’s out of the way I shan’t mention it again.  Other than to say you should come skiing and snowboarding and mountain biking and hiking because, brothers and sisters, this place is brilliant.  Moving on.

Wet your whistle in Whistler

Whatever your pretense is for coming to Whistler, it essentially comes down to thirst: for adventure, for exploration or, indeed, that all-inclusive saliva-inducing thirst for life itself.  So let us first quench our most basic thirst and get a drink.

First up happens to be first on the scene, Whistler Brewing Company.  These cats have been batting the ball around since 1989. And while there’s been a few iterations, locations and hibernations (WBC went dark for a couple years, back before the 2010 Olympics) they’re currently rolling strong and rolling deep.  Get a glass of one of their cores (I suggest their classic Black Tusk Ale) or sample a seasonal, like their Black Tusk Chocolate Milk Ale.  Wait a second, WBC.  Did you just take a thing and put another thing in it?  The only way to know for sure is to ask your server and try it out for yourself!

image of Whistler Brewing Company's entrance sign

Green revolution? I’m in?!

On to our next locale for a non-alcoholic palate cleanser.  Yes, you read that right: while the name of the Whistler Ale Trail is Ale, one can not simply survive on good cheer and good beer alone.  Welcome to the Green Moustache Organic Cafe! Owners Nicollette and Pierre Richer take their health and their food very seriously.  These locals built an empire upon delicious, nutrient-rich, plant-based food. They’re 100% organic and gluten & dairy free.

Listen, I’m old school.  As soon as you start sprouting that green revolution rhetoric I tended to tune out. Tended to: past tense. My tune has since harmonized with the song they’re singing because you cannot argue with good food.  And that’s all these guys make! Grab a Magnum Smoothie and get your own green grass grin on before crossing the street to Coast.

And now, back to the Ale

Whistler's Coast Mountain Brewing sign above entrance

Coast Mountain Brewing has been busting out boutique beers for three damned years!  Grab a flight then grab yourself a seat at the table and take notice of the nuance.  If you like your IPA on the hazy side, Day Dreamer’s got you covered. Or if you prefer your IPA on the west side, Surveyor’s got you covered.  Like your beer brown? Then check out the Woodnutt. Their tap list isn’t limitless, but the space I have here to gush about them is, so let me just say this; these Coast Mountain cats & kittens are constantly killing it.  Go see for yourself and you’ll see what I mean.

pints on a sunny day in Whistler at Coast Mountain Brewing
Cheers to the last days of summer!

Get your plaid on

Whistler Village is calling your name, but something else is whispering in your ear before leaving Function Junction and it sounds like this: “Hey.  You wanna throw an axe or two?”  Listen to that voice, channel your inner lumberjack, and walk next door to Forged Axe Throwing prepared to have some exhilarating fun. There’s nothing quite like having that hatchet leave your hands, spin a time or two, then bury itself into the target with a hearty T-CHUNK sound.

Put the finishing moves on your Whistler Ale-venture

Okay team, we’re in a bit of a pickle.  I’m running out of exploration time and you’re nowhere near finished your Ale Trail.

Here’s the deal: I’ll dole out one more location and after that, you’re on your own.  In the unlikely event BC Ale Trail wants me back to pen another tale or pin another ale, I’ll give you a little backstory (and maybe even some front!) on some of Whistler’s most righteous restaurants and treasured taverns.  For now, let us finish off with the High Mountain Brewing Company. What? You’ve not heard of this one? You probably have, actually. Or at least, you have by another name. It’s simply known around town as the Brewhouse.

Photo supplied by High Mountain Brewing Co

These guys do craft beer right and they’ve been doing it for over two decades. Read that again. There just aren’t that many places in BC where that’s true, but the Brewhouse has been holding it down since 1997.

The Lifty Lager is an ode to one of Whistler’s oldest professions (no, not that profession) and the 5 Rings IPA won the BC Beer Awards top spot twice and still ranks as a great West Coast IPA.  With delicious food to nosh, a crazy double-sided fireplace to keep you cozy, and a model train running ‘round the room to the absolute delight of adults and children alike, the Brewhouse is a strong finishing move, my friends.

Head up to Whistler — the mountains are calling!

Be sure to know before you go and double-check what’s open in BC before embarking on your journey. Find some more tips on travelling safely and exploring communities respectfully as you plan your adventure to the mountains and beyond.

For more information on COVID-19 and the ongoing public health emergency, please consult the BC CDC website.

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