There’s nothing wrong with drinking Budweiser or Molson, but if you prefer craft beer, Whistler is an ideal place to be.
This top Canadian ski resort, north of Vancouver, has something for every beer buff, including acclaimed craft breweries, bustling brewpubs, and beer bars with stellar selections.
Here are nine hotspots to discover on Whistler’s craft beer trail.
1. Coast Mountain Brewing
Located in Whistler’s Function Junction neighborhood, Coast Mountain Brewing specializes in hoppy West Coast-style ales. Try the fruity, tropical Day Dreamer IPA or the Forecast West Coast Pale Ale. It’s a hip, local crowd, with beards and ball caps aplenty.
2. Whistler Brewing Company
Around the corner from Coast Mountain Brewing, Whistler Brewing Company creates funky seasonals like Winter Dunkel, tinged with chocolate and orange, and core beers like the easy-drinking Rescue Session Ale, with partial proceeds supporting animal shelters. Hungry? The “Nachos As Big As Your Face” live up to their name.
3. The Brewhouse
The 1997-founded Brewhouse sits next to Whistler’s Olympic Plaza – and drinking its award-winning 5 Rings IPA is an excellent way to commemorate the 2010 Winter Games. The Brewhouse delivers casual fine dining, from matzoh ball soup to BBQ chicken pizza.
At Brickworks, a party hotspot facing the Whistler library, explore the concoctions of top British Columbia craft breweries, including Fuggles & Warlock’s Espresso Stout and Bridge Brewing’s Bourbon Blood Orange Wheat Ale.
5. Hunter Gather
Who’d guess this spacious, 2017-launched Main Street joint was previously a 7-11? At Hunter Gather, guzzle creative brews like Northpaw’s spicy Jamaican Pale Ale or Steel & Oak’s Roselle Pale, a wheat ale with hibiscus and rose hips. Tantalizing pulled pork and beef brisket sliders reflect cofounders Grant and Hilarie Cousar’s catering background.
An Upper Village aprés-ski hotspot, HandleBar delivers pure beer bar fun with its Pac-Man mural and German-style street food, like chicken schnitzel sandwiches. Craft beers, mostly purchased in 20-liter batches, rotate constantly. HandleBar has also welcomed the likes of Lord of the Rings star Elijah Wood among its clientele.
7. Fitzsimmons Pub
Fitzsimmons Pub, Whistler’s first craft beer bar, attracts Upper Village visitors with board games like Yahtzee and Sorry! and British Columbia beers like Townsite’s Perfect Storm Oatmeal Stout.
8. Cinnamon Bear Bar
Cinnamon Bear Bar, inside the Hilton Whistler Resort and Spa, is easy to find – thanks to the large wooden bear outside, which is occasionally kissed by exuberant patrons. The bar showcases the signature beers from Vancouver’s Granville Island Brewing, founded as Canada’s first microbrewery in 1984.
9. Black’s Pub
Overlooking the Excalibur Gondola, Black’s Pub is easily spotted with its red patio umbrellas. Inside, coastal mountain photos enhance the ambiance as you quaff Howe Sound Brewing’s Sky Pilot Northwest Pale Ale or Vancouver Island Brewing’s Dominion Dark Lager.
Many of these establishments are steps from the Hilton Whistler Resort and Spa, but you can also take the Whistler Craft Crawl, which hits four beer bars and features close to 20 British Columbia craft beers.