As the main principality of the Okanagan (an area renowned for its climate and vineyards), I was definitely expecting Kelowna to have its fair share of wineries. It did, but I was pleasantly surprised at the number of craft breweries that were there too.
My favourite brewery was Rusty Reel. We had been searching for somewhere that caught the late afternoon sun and the Rusty Reel was definitely up there with the best we could find. It had both wonderful indoor and outdoor seating down a pretty quiet street, a patio for soaking up any rays, and one of my most memorable beers of the trip.
This particular beer was a hazy IPA (classic), and while it was arguably not a very exciting variation of a hazy IPA, it just did everything right. Kind of like when you order a vanilla ice-cream and it comes out as its best possible version.
At the right time and with the right people, BNA Brewing could easily provide hours of fun. As we approached from the outside, we both commented on the sheer size of the building; once we were inside, we saw it was at least twice the size we had thought it was. We had time for a quick glimpse around before being shown upstairs where we were seated near to the bowling alley and a designated area for playing bocce (similar to petanque in NZ).
As we waited for our drinks to be prepared in the nearby airstream (I know right?) we continued to marvel at our surroundings. In addition to the bowling alley and bocce lane, there were so many different parts to BNA. There were big comfy couches, high tables, low casual seating and patio dining. There were neon lights, candles, a fireplace and the bar. It was quite incredible! For dinner we shared a pizza and a brussel sprout salad that was so incredibly good, that I happily would have ordered it all over again.
Kettle River Brewing had good beer, but ultimately cemented its place in my memory for the quality of its burger. We went there for brunch and neither Andy nor I could go past the pork belly burger with home cut fries. The resident chef was a contestant on TopChef Canada this past season, so we had high hopes. We sat on the pato, which at 12pm was relatively deserted. The beer was good, the food was fabulous and the setting was perfect.
Right next door is Jackknife Brewing. It appears slightly smaller but it does have a wonderful courtyard out the back. It has a more industrial feel about it, but still very cute. The pizzas have an excellent reputation, and it didn’t take long to see (or smell) why. Some of the best pizza in Kelowna, apparently! We didn’t pop around the corner to Vice and Virtue or Red Bird Brewing, but both seemed constantly busy.
Down on the waterfront is Tree Brewing, which looks amazing but actually left a lot to be desired. The outdoor setting is lovely, right by the water, but the beer wasn’t as nice as all the other breweries we had been to AND it was more expensive. It’s saving grace was the sunshine streaming in, I probably wouldn’t recommend here on a cloudy day.
The last brewery I want to mention is Copper Brewing. It was so busy that we could not bring ourselves to stay, instead opting for some takeaway cans and heading home to catch the sun before it dropped behind the hills. The beer was some of the nicest we had all week, not to mention one of the coolest cans: having a Bernie as a logo is a winner every time in my books!