Okanagan taps into hoppy IPA scene

In celebration of National IPA Day, we spoke with some of the best craft breweries

The Okanagan is raising a glass to National IPA Day.

Observed on the first Thursday in August, the valley has a lot to celebrate for the annual occasion.

North Okanagan

In the North Okanagan, the craft brewery scene is primarily held by Marten Brewing, a downtown Vernon brewpub.

“IPAs have really made a mark on the Vernon palette,” said owners Stefan and Pearl Marten, who opened Marten Brew Pub in 2015. “In the early days of opening, it was difficult to get the Vernon~ian acceptance to the IPA profile. Now we have five IPAs on our taps. Starting from our initial, initiation IPA, the BC Bud, which we crafted as a mellow IPA with low IBUs to get the evolution started.”

On tap now is their Happy Fox Red IPA, Spruce Tip IPA (using real spruce tips), the small lot Hazy IPA (brewed on a pilot system) and the Mango Brut IPA (which was mentioned as one of B.C.’s top10, must-try beers this summer).

The Martens have even brought hops into a non-alcoholic beverage with the Hip-Hop Kombucha, brewed with a hop melody and rose hips.

“It’s been extremely popular as a ‘sans’ alcohol crowd-pleaser,” the Martens said.

But no matter how you pour it, hops have some beneficial qualities.

“What’s great about a punch of hops, is not only its incredibly unique flavour but also it has beneficial botanical qualities. With claims of reducing stress and anxiety, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties getting a flavour for hops might not be such a bad move!”

Salmon Arm: Barley Station Brew Pub carries its Shuswap Trail Ale IPA

Introduced at the 2019 Shuswap Trail Alliance Fundraiser, the Barley Station donates 10 cents from every sleeve of IPA to the Shuswap Trail Alliance.

Crannog Ales and Left Fields produce Insurrection IPA, a pale amber malt body emphasizes munich and caramel malts, with enough sweetness to hold up the rather large volumes of fresh Cascade, Chinook and Golding hops. Spicy, aromatic and bitter, this is a quenching and lively beer.

READ MORE: Putting Vernon on the map one beer at a time

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South Okanagan

The busy brewery scene in the South Okanagan, which includes nine breweries from Summerland down to the U.S. border, will have plenty on tap for IPA lovers.

Highway 97 Brewery co-owner and brewer Nick Kapusty said they are planning on having four IPA’s on tap to celebrate the day, including their newest creation—Sweet Cherry IPA. Kapusty said it is a mellow IPA, that is fruit-forward sour. Their Red IPA will also be on tap, a Simcoe Hops west coast IPA and their Dirt Road double IPA that is “super hazy” and made with galaxy and citra hops.

While Breakaway Brewing in Summerland does not have events planned for National IPA Day, Owen Rauer said IPAs are already celebrated at the brewery.

“Our IPA is the most popular beer we have,” he said.

The beer is an American IPA, brewed in collaboration with Kind Brewing in West Kelowna.

Nathan Rosin of Detonate Brewing Company in Summerland said the brewery has two IPAs. They are Call The Hops IPA and Drives Me Hazy New England IPA.

READ MORE: Behind the Label – Highway 97 Brewery

Penticton’s newest brewery, Slackwater Brewing, is celebrating with their two IPA selections—the award-winning What the Fog? and Intruder.

Co-owner Liam Payton said they just launched their beer club membership on Wednesday and for $30 you get a Slackwater growler and first fill for free as well as other perks. Happy hour is from 3 to 6 p.m. and you can get $1.50 off the west coast IPA Intruder.

READ MORE: Behind the Label – Slackwater Brewing

Tin Whistle Brewing (Mosaic IPA), Cannery Brewing Co. (Trellis IPA and Hop Chowdah—a New England IPA) and Barley Mill Brewing (Rude Pony New England IPA) and Bad Tattoo (West coast IPA and Juice Bomb New England IPA) will have their regular rotation on tap for those looking to celebrate with them.

READ MORE: Foodie Friday – crocodile pizza at Bad Tattoo

In Oliver, Firehall Brewery is currently sold out of their IPA, but have lots of other brews on tap.

Revelstoke

Nestled in the sweet mountain town of Revelstoke, a delicious opportunity awaits. Mt. Begbie Brewery. Voted Canadian Craft Brewery of the year in 2017, this brewpub serves up Nasty Habit IPA; a generously-hopped IPA that is balanced by rich flavour and pure mountain water. This hoppy wonder pairs great with spicy foods and was crowned the Gold Medal Winner at the 2010 Canadian Brewing Awards.

Check out Rumpus Beer Company too. This new brewery and lounge just opened in June.

Central Okanagan

Kelowna is serving up its fair share of hoppy hits to mark the occasion on Aug. 1. With more than 10 breweries, there is no shortage of delicious beers. Here are a few to tantalize your tongue.

BNA Brewing Co. pours three IPAs including the can’t-miss Don’t Lose Your Dinosaur IPA with its amber colour, fruity aromas with a citrus twist. Big Mario IPA is a more traditional Pacific Northwest-style IPA boasting pine and citrus flavours and Thriller—a hazy IPA—is just that, a thriller, with a cherry on top.

Tree Brewing Co.’s Hop Head IPA is always one for anyone’s arsenal. Brewed since 1999, this full-bodied bevvy boasts intense hop aromas with a snappy bitterness.

Vice & Virtue Brewing Co. serves up the perfect training-wheel IPA for those new to the bitter bevvy, or for those who aren’t a fan of too, too hoppy brews. The Homewrecker Hazy IPA boasts a hoppy flavour but cuts the bitterness with its soft, round flavour. Tasters will notice hints of tropical and stone fruit with a citrus taste. Or for those who want to try something a bit more adventurous, the Sweet Elena Mango Milkshake IPA is a stunner with a 9.2% ABV—milk not included. This creamy, fruity, “crushable” hazy IPA offers hints of coconut, citrus and guava to complement the blast of mango.

Craft Beer Market is celebrating National IPA Day in a go-big-or-go-home fashion. The downtown beer market is serving up a Big Hoppa IPA Flight until Monday, Aug. 5. Tasters will be able to enjoy a variety of domestic and imported IPAs and vote on their favourite. The No. 1 IPA will be crowned the Big Hoppa. There is no purchase necessary to vote.

Be sure to check out Red Bird Brewing Inc., Kettle River Brewing Co., Boundary Brewing Company, Wild Ambition Brewing and West Kelowna’s Kind Brewing to see what they have on tap as well.

Grab a friend, grab a hat, slather on some sunscreen and make a day of it. But don’t forget to hydrate.

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