Looking to visit the best Squamish and Whistler Breweries?
The scenic road from Vancouver to Whistler, affectionately called the Sea to Sky Highway, offers craft beer lovers in British Columbia a diversity of options when looking to sip suds.
Visit the Whistler breweries during a fun beer festival, or book a tour to learn about the world famous ski resorts unique and innovative brewing history.
Our guide to the best Squamish & Whistler Breweries offers detailed descriptions for each destinations craft breweries, brewpubs and cidery.
Many of Whistler’s top craft breweries also feature restaurants, offering menus that pair perfectly with craft beer. Chefs love to get creative at Whistler’s breweries, infusing a unique west coast cuisine with freshly brewed beer.
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History of Squamish & Whistler Breweries
Dobbernationloves had a chance to sit down with Joe Wiebe, author of Craft Beer Revolution: The Insider’s Guide to BC Breweries and co-founder of the BC Ale Trail, to learn about the evolution of the craft beer scene in Squamish and Whistler.
Squamish and Whistler both have a good, long historical connection with craft beer. Wiebe shared, “Whistler Brewing opened in 1989. After a merger in 1999, the beer was brewed elsewhere for a while, although the name Whistler stayed. With the 2010 Olympics approaching, the company smartly re-established itself in Whistler by opening a brewery there in 2009.”
The first brewery to open in Squamish was Tall Ship Ales in 1994. “It didn’t last too long even though it was very highly regarded as an innovator. Its owner-brewmaster, Bill Herdman, brewed one of the first modern-day IPAs in Canada, and by all accounts it was excellent. So maybe it was a bit ahead of its time? In any case, Howe Sound Brewpub opened in 1995 and has been going strong ever since,” said Wiebe.
The Squamish and Whistler breweries developed along similar trajectories. Wiebe explained, “Both had an early pioneer brewery that either closed or left town, and then each community was anchored by a popular local brewpub: Howe Sound in Squamish and the Brewhouse (aka High Mountain Brewing Co.) in Whistler, which opened in 1997.”
Later in 2016 there was a mini-boom of new, tasting-room focused breweries. “A-Frame Brewing and Backcountry Brewing opened in Squamish and Coast Mountain Brewing opened in Whistler. So, in each community there is a stable, old school sort of brewpub plus some newer, fresher options that are more focused on the more contemporary tasting room model,” said Wiebe.
Also important to note that Whistler, as a very popular resort town, has a large number of bars and pubs, most of which serve a variety of craft beers from local British Columbia breweries so there is a wealth of options around town.
Festival Fun at Squamish & Whistler Breweries
If you’re a BC craft beer fan why not plan your visit around a fun food & drink festival featuring the the best Whistler breweries?
Fun Fact: Gibbons Whistler runs the Whistler Village Beer Festival as well as a number of bars in town. They also produce their very own Apres Lager, brewed by Deep Cove Brewing.
How To Get To the Whistler Breweries
The closest major airport is Vancouver International (YVR), approximately a 2.5 hours drive from Whistler.
From Vancouver drive north via Highway 99. Your first stop will be Squamish, which can be reached in under an hour. Whistler is an additional 45 minute drive north.
If you’re organizing a BC road trip or weekend getaway we suggest departing Vancouver in the morning and spending the afternoon in Squamish to visit their 3 breweries and cider house.
Continue on to Whistler and spend 2-3 days exploring the four season resort while making stops at the destinations 3 craft breweries.
Hotels Near Whistler Breweries
There are plenty of accommodation options in Whistler to fit every budget but the resort leans towards more pricey options. Here are three of our favourite hotels and resorts to book for a fun craft beer weekend getaway.
- Four Seasons Whistler: is the most luxurious hotel in British Columbia’s famous alpine resort. The world class 5 star hotel is perfect for a romantic getaway as it features fancy suites, serine nordic-style spa and 2 award-winning restaurants. Be sure not to miss the daily complimentary wine tasting at 4pm.
- The Woodrun by Whiski Jack: is a mid-range resort perfect for a family vacation. The Woodrun Lodge features spacious 2 bedroom and 3 bedroom plus den condos with fully equipped kitchens. Guests can also use a slopeside pool and hot tub.
- Alpenglow Lodge by MountainView: is one of the few budget options located right in the heart of Whistler. The 3 star hotel offers studio, one bedroom and two bedroom condos equipped with kitchens. Most have private balconies and some two bedroom suites have hot tubs!
Best Squamish Breweries
Squamish is located approximately halfway between Vancouver and Whistler so it’s the perfect spot to stretch your legs while exploring one of British Columbia’s most famous scenic drives.
If you’ve lucked out with a sunny day, be sure to hop on the Sea to Sky Gondola to enjoy jaw dropping views. There are currently 3 Squamish breweries and a cider house in town.
37801 Cleveland Ave, 604-892-2603
In 1982, John Mitchell and Frank Appleton pioneered one of North America’s first modern craft breweries in Horseshoe Bay, on the spectacular Howe Sound. In 1996 Mitchell helped design the Howe Sound Brewery and worked as the first brewmaster, developing the brewery’s initial flavour profiles and recipes.
Today, Howe Sound is one of the most unique Squamish Breweries. Traveling craft beer lovers can visit to sip suds at the brewery, feast on a fresh meal at the spacious brewpub, or book an overnight stay at the cozy 20-room inn.
Howe Sound Brewing produces a broad lineup of beers from light lagers to lip-smacking stouts. On a sunny day we suggest grabbing a seat on the outdoor patio, known to locals as the best place to enjoy scenic views of the Stawamus Chief and surrounding mountains.
Favourites pouring out of the craft beer taps include Garibaldi Honey Blonde, Hazy Daze North East IPA, Howe Sound Lager, Rail Ale Nut Brown and Sky Pilot North West Pale Ale.
The Howe Sound Brewpub menu is designed by Chef Michael Fulton and offers a little bit of something for everyone. You’ll find plenty of your favourite beer snacks to share with friends or family such as poutine, chicken wings, fried pickles, jalapeno poppers and onion rings. For a heartier meal munch into a selection of gourmet burgers, sandwiches and pizzas.
If you call yourself a brunch fan pop by on Saturday or Sunday between 11am-1pm to wake up to the world over an Eggs Benny and Avocado Toast.
405-1201 Commercial Way, 604-567-2739
Backcountry Brewing in Squamish first opened its doors in 2017.
Backcountry Brewing co-founder Ben Reeder explained, “The inspiration to open a craft brewery came for me personally when in 2014 I started Maple Bay Hops and realized I could put a brewery onsite. A builder friend of mine Adam Steinberg liked the idea and jumped on board and we then collided with veteran beer sales rep Marc Roberts and brewer John Folinsbee who were also wanting to open a brewery.”
Skip inside the Squamish brewery designed by Tanja Nargang and you’ll find an aesthetic modeled after a late 70’s ski cabin. “We are excitedly in the build phase of an expansion that will double our seating capacity with a new adult centric Barrel Room and a spring/summer pop up patio that will run June till October,” added Reeder.
Hop up at the bar and you’ll find 20 taps pouring fresh frothy craft beer. We suggest starting with a pint of The Widowmaker IPA, which has won “beer of the year” and “IPA of the year,” for many years. Other popular offerings include Riderunner Pilsner and Trailbreaker Pale Ale. Standouts at Backcountry Brewing are their flavourful sours, including Raspberry Lemonade, Key Lime Pie, Cherry Cola and Orange Creamsicle.
Looking to eat lunch or dinner at one of the Squamish Breweries? The Backcountry Brewing kitchen specializes in thin crust pizzas and snacks that pair well with beer like Korean Wings and Mac & Cheese. “We’re slightly famous for our beer infused hot sauce. We use unfermented beer as the base for the sauce and the best chili paste from Costa Rica,” added Reeder.
The retail shop sells around 20 beers in cans at any given time. The brewmaster is planning on creating 100 new beer releases in 2022. It’s safe to say there is always a new beer worth sipping at this popular Squamish brewery.
38927 Queens Way #1, 604-892-0777
A-Frame Brewing celebrates west coast cabin culture by offering thirsty travelers a rustic tasting room where “lakeside-meets-the-mountains.”
The Squamish brewery gets its name from founder Jeff’s family cabin on Okanagan Lake, which was built in a classic A-Frame design.
“Our beer philosophy is to make clean, sessionable beers, with the purest ingredients we can source. That way, whether you’re enjoying a flight in house, or picking up a growler for a family BBQ, you can enjoy every bit of it; from the aroma and flavour, to the integrity of the ingredients and the sustainability of our growers. We play the long game here, and the quality of our beer is a big part of that,” reads the A-Frame Brewery website.
If you’re looking to nosh while sipping suds you can enjoy authentic Mexican food from Luz Tacos food truck. Light locally made snacks can be ordered at the bar such as chips, pepperoni sticks and pickles. Guests are also encouraged to BYOF (bring your own food) and enjoy a pint of craft beer beside the fire pit on the patio.
We suggest ordering a flight of A-Frame Brewing craft beers. Local favourites include Okanagan Lake Cream Ale, Sprout Lake Pale Ale, Shuswap Lake IPA, and Tang Lake Passion Fruit Sour.
Beyond their craft beer selection A-Frame Brewing also offers gluten free cider, Okanagan and a non-alcoholic rotating tap of kombucha and bottles of kefir.
A-Frame Brewing is a partner of Squamish Pride since its inception in 2019. Proceeds of A-Frame Brewing #PRIDE Hats and shirts support the running of Squamish’s annual LGBT festival. The brewery is also a proud supporter of Diversity in Brewing, an initiative to make the craft beer industry inclusive for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities and donates to their scholarship program annually.
A-Frame Brewing is a pet and kid friendly space, they even have locally crafted toys for your little ones to play with. The brewery also offers entertainment for the community including live music (often on Sundays), monthly Bingo Beats, Brews on Wax and Tuesday Night Trivia On Tap.
37760 2 Ave #103, 778-389-3343
Cliffside Cider in downtown Squamish is the perfect spot to stop on a brewery tour for apple lovers and those who are looking for a gluten free drink.
Cliffeside Cider owners Boyd and Rob met in a pub in Squamish. Boyd would tell Rob about his plans to open a cidery in Britannia Beach. Rob was intrigued in getting involved and finding him a special spot here in Squamish as he felt Britannia Beach wasn’t quite developed enough yet for a bar. The duo are now celebrating Cliffside Cider’s 4 year anniversary We are coming onto our 4 year anniversary.
Boyd shared, “When you sit on the patio looking outside at the view, the views from the Stawamus Chief are immaculate. We were trying to change the name from Britannia Beach Ciderworks to something that matched our spot. We looked up and saw a cliff, and Cliffside Cider came to us. The goat on our logo came from the fact that we have mountain goats up in the alpine.”
Cliffside Cider is located in Ted Town, a local secret in Squamish. “We are a hidden gem tucked away down an alley with an awesome food truck. All wood found in the tasting room/patio is salvaged wood from around town,” said Boyd.
Visit the popular Squamish Cider House and you’ll find an outdoor patio and tap room pouring 8 ciders and 6 craft beers.
There are 4 core ciders brewed year round. Apple, Ginger, Cherry and a Chicha De Pina (spiced pineapple). Past fan favourites include cranberry, grapefruit, and blueberry lavender.
If you’re sipping cider during lunch or dinner grab a bite at Flipside food trucks which is located on site. The Hot Mess Burger, Mac and Cheese Balls, and Curly Fries are loved by everyone in town.
Every Wednesday night cider lovers in Squamish can enjoy live music.
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Best Whistler Breweries
There are currently 3 Whistler breweries producing local craft lagers and ales.
If you’re keen to do a self guided tour of British Columbia’s most famous ski resort, download the Free Go Whistler App and follow the Craft Beer Tour on foot.
1045 Millar Creek Rd, 604-962-8889
The Whistler Brewing Co. was first established in 1989 by Jenny Hieter and Rob Minguay on Alpha Lake Road.
Whistler Brewing Company’s General Manager Jennie Kwasnecha shared, “In 2001 we were bought out by a large company in Alberta called Big Rock. All our equipment was sold, and they moved production to Calgary. This did not bode well for the brand and come 2003 the Whistler Beer brand was essentially dead. Then in 2005 it was purchased by 4 local entrepreneurs including our current founder, Australian-raised Bruce Dean. They brought the British Columbian beer brand back to Whistler in 2009 at its current home in Function Junction.”
Skip inside Whistler Brewing Company and you’ll find 12 taps pouring fresh suds including the brands award winning craft beers, cider and rotating guest taps. Whistler Brewing produces 10-15 brews a year, generally lighter and fruiter seasonal beers in the summer and darker ones in the winter.
Beers you can enjoy year round include Mountaineer Pilsner, Bear Paw Honey Lager, Function Junction Pale Ale, Black Tusk Ale, Hazy Trail Pale Ale, Forger Gluten Free Lager & Pale Ale, and Variable Conditions IPA. Popular seasonal beers include Winter Dunkel, Chestnut Ale, Grapefruit Ale, Apricot Wheat Ale, Hello Limoncello and Black Tusk Chocolate Milk Ale.
The taphouse was formerly an old bus washing station, which is why the floors are slanted inward toward the drains. The brewery offers a 16 person patio in the front of the building, which offers beautiful views of Whistler mountain.
If you’re keen to learn about the beer making process sign up for a brewery tour. They run Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 11am and cost $20 per person. The 30-45 minute tour takes you through the brewing facility, educates about the brewing process and finishes with a 4 x 6 oz beer tasting.
Looking to visit Whistler Brewing during lunch or dinner? You’ll find a pub-style menu feature shareable dishes like pizzas, nachos, samosas, pretzels and potato skins.
On the first Friday of every month between 4-7pm guests can enjoy live music. The brewery has high ceilings that offer pitch perfect sound. In the summer management open up their rolling doors so the musicians can play on the patio.
Be sure to pop by the retail shop featuring plenty of BC beeraphenalia like glassware, hats, tuques, jackets, t-shirts, blankets and stickers.
1212 Alpha Lake Rd #2, 604-962-3230
Angie and Kevin Winter are the founders of Coast Mountain Brewing in Whistler. The couple have lived in British Columbia’s famous ski resort for over 20 years, always with a keen eye on the local craft beer scene.
“We started by homebrewing, working in breweries, brewing education and finally opening Coast Mountain Brewing. The brewery is titled after the Coast Mountain range, which extends from the Yukon all the way to the Fraser River encompassing virtually the entire coastline of BC. With folks visiting Whistler from around the world, we wanted a title that was fitting for the mountain town destination that we reside in,” said Kevin.
The Winter family and their friends designed and built the brewery and tasting room.in Whistler’s Function Junction. The entire space is built using reclaimed barn boards, and the bar tops are cut from trees that fell in a windstorm. The space feels warm and inviting, featuring a massive window that looks the brewery production floor.
Visit the popular Whistler Brewery and you’ll find two patios, one is covered and the other allows for sunnny al fresco dining. Hop up at the bar to select from 11 boutique craft beers, wine and cider.
Coast Mountain Brewing makes 4 core beers including the flagship Hope You’re Happy IPA. “We always have a tasty lineup of rotating beers to enjoy here and or take home in tall cans. In the fall and winter months, try out the award winning Woodnutt Brown Ale,” Kevin shared.
If you’re feeling peckish ask your server for a snack menu, featuring freshly baked pastries and meat sticks. At the retail store you’ll find Coast Mountain t-shirts, hats, toques, hoodies, glassware and more to take home.
4355 Blackcomb Way, 604-905-2739
High Mountain Brewing, also known as the Whistler Brewhouse, is a brewpub serving craft beers and eclectic eats in the heart of Whistler Village (right beside the Olympic Rings).
The Brewhouse in Whistler is part of the Mark James Group chain of brewpubs, with two other locations in Yaletown, Vancouver and Surrey.
Years after it first opened in 1997 it was the only place in Whistler Village to tap into the local craft beer scene since bars and restaurants were largely dominated by big, international mega-brands like Coors and Molson.
Visit High Mountain Brewing’s Brewhouse and you’ll find a seperate restaurant, bar and mezzanine. The pub has a cozy two-sided fireplace and plenty of TVs so it’s a perfect place to relax and watch live sports.
Wag your finger down the Whistler Brewhouse menu and you’ll find a mix of barbecue and rotisserie classics, as well as gourmet pizzas. It’s the perfect pub grub to pair with High Mountain Brewing’s award-winning fresh Whistler beer, which is brewed onsite.
If it’s your first time visiting the Whistler Brewhouse be sure to sample High Mountain Brewing’s 4 core beers: Lifty Lager, Alta Lake Ale, Grizzle Brown Ale and 5 Rings IPA.
Happy Hour runs Monday to Friday 2pm-5pm. HOT TIP: Next to the bar you’ll find a pool table.
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Whistler Tours & Tickets
Take a break from your craft beer adventure by booking a private tour or ticket to these fun experiences in Squamish and Whistler.
- Squamish Sea to Sky Gondola Ticket
- Wet and Wild Elaho Exhilarator Rafting
- 2-Day Camping & Rafting Trip in Squamish
- Private Whistler Helicopter Tour + Mountain Landing
- Whistler By Float Plane
- Whistler Wilderness Run Snowmobile Tour
- Fine Dining Dinner Tour in Whistler
- Whistler Distillery Tour & Tasting Experience
If you’re planning a Squamish & Whistler Beer focussed weekend getaway there’s plenty to do in British Columbia’s Sea-to-Sky country. When you’re not staring into the bottom of a pint plan some fun outdoor adventures, relax at a scenic spa or learn about local indigenous culture.
- Brandywine Falls: this spectacular 70-metre waterfall is best seen from a viewpoint which also offers marvelous views of Daisy Lake and the surrounding mountains.
- Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre: this modern, rustic-style facility hosts cultural exhibits on the Squamish & Lil’wat Nation. The culturally curious can enjoy guided tours and purchase Pacific Northwest First Nations merchandise at the gift shop.
- Peak 2 Peak Gondola: is a tricable gondola lift at Whistler Blackcomb Resort, linking Whistler Mountain’s Roundhouse Lodge with Blackcomb Mountain’s Rendezvous Lodge.
- Whistler Village: is the beating heart of Whistler. It’s the town’s defacto square and best place to visit restaurants, go shopping, attend festivals and enjoy nightlife. Our favourite spot for coffee and drool-worthy baked goods can be found at Purebread.
- Audain Art Museum: is a 56,000-square-foot private museum, housing the private art collection of Michael Audain. Designed by Patkau Architects and opened to the public in 2016, it holds a comprehensive permanent collection of British Columbian art. You’ll find an awe-inspiring collection of local indigenous art as well as masterpieces by painter Emily Carr.
- Scandinave Spa: is a nature-focused health spa featuring hot & cold baths surrounded by woodland, plus massages and a cafe. It’s the perfect spot to spend a morning or afternoon to enjoy some R&R on a romantic getaway. We’ve also enjoyed spa experiences at Scandinave concepts in Montreal and Mont Tremblant.
- Lost Lake: enjoy a scenic hike along timber trails to this freshwater lake, which features a sandy beach. Make a splash here on a hot summer day. The trail to Lost Lake connects to the Scandinave Spa and Whistler Village.
- Train Wreck Hike: the short hiking trail located south of Whistler crosses a suspension bridge, offering scenic views of the Cheakakmus River rushing below before arriving at the colourfully painted box cars, which have sat in the forest since 1956.
Where To Eat In Whistler
While plenty of Whistler Breweries offer fabulous dining options visiting foodies are spoilt for choice with a world-class restaurant scene.
If you’re enjoying a beer-lovers weekend getaway you might also like to visit some of these popular pubs and restaurants that offer excellent craft beer programs. We’ve also included recommendations for where to find the best grab and go picnic boxes, luxurious brunch and a romantic fine dining feast.
- The Brickworks Public House: this relaxed bar offers an industrial-chic setting pouring over 40 craft gins. The local favourite boasts 14 craft beer taps with 5 seasonal rotators. The chef’s signature dishes include the Fraser Valley Duo of Duck and tapenade-crusted BC Lingcod with confit tomatoes.
- Beacon Pub & Eatery: dubbed the best patio in Whistler, this gastro-pub has been delighting Whistler craft beer lovers since 2014. Order a cold seasonal pint by one of the local Whistler breweries or order a flight of British Columbia’s finest craft beer. Guzzle a hoppy IPA with the perfect poutine, crispy mozza, or the chef’s signature burger.
- Handlebar: this cozy apres-ski spot serves plenty of craft beer and pizza.
- The Fitzsimmons Pub: Fitz Pub is Whistler’s original craft beer bar. Eight taps, constantly rotating local craft, host of bottled beers and regular tap takeovers.
- Hunter Gather: this casual counter order eatery and taphouse is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub: designed and handcrafted in Ireland, Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub was transported piece by piece to the Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside, located at the base of magnificent Blackcomb Mountain. Dubh Linn Gate is the only Irish experience in Whistler. With live Celtic music daily through most seasons, guests are invited along to enjoy a little piece of the Emerald Isle in the heart of Whistler.
- Picnic Whistler: looking for an gourmet lunch to enjoy on a scenic hike or as a snack after enjoying the ride up the Peak 2 Peak Gondola? Picnic Whistler packs beautiful charcuterie and cheese boxes that can be picked up at their deli on Main Street.
- Braidwood Tavern: is a chic restaurant in the Four Seasons that has perfected the brunch game. The chic cozy cabin vibe serves a decadent breakfast menu including Buttermilk Fried Chicken smothered in gravy perched over a Belgian waffle and Brioche Hazelnut Chocolate French Toast. Be sure to order the Braidwood Tavern signature experience, a 14-beer flight highlighting the best breweries across the Sea-to-Sky region.
- The Mallard Lounge: at the Fairmont Whistler you’ll find the perfect place to enjoy sunny patio cocktails in the summer and après ski entertainment in winter. Visit on Friday’s between 5-7pm for live music and a cold pint. Over lunch or dinner, pair an ice-cold ale or cider with a selection of gourmet sandwiches, burgers and inventive entrees like pulled pork lasagna.
- Araxi: has one of Whistler’s swankiest dining rooms. Dinner at Araxi Restaurant is the perfect way to cheers the end of a romantic Whistler weekend getaway. The award-winning kitchen helmed by Chef James Walt is recognized for serving locally sourced Pacific Northwest plates. Enjoy a truly magical fine dining experience while forking through pretty plates of beef tartare and foie gras parfait. HOT TIP: if you’re visiting Whistler in the low season (May or November) Araxi offers an incredible $40 prix fixe menu that is worthy of a day trip from Vancouver just for dinner.
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