There’s a new kid in town in Whistler and no, this time it’s not another 18 year old Australian. Coast Mountain Brewery is family-owned and family-run and opened their doors 8 weeks ago. They have quickly made an impression on the local community and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
Long-time Whistler locals Kevin Winter, his wife Angie and son Oscar own a home in Pemberton and for them, opening Coast Mountain Brewery was a natural step for them in a place they call home. “We love brewing interesting ales and lagers and wanted to share our passion with friends and family right here at home in Whistler BC,” says Kevin. “This is where we want our son to grow up… There was never anywhere else we ever wanted to go.”
The Winter’s approach to brewing sits well with Whistler’s mellow and laid back character, and the family are looking to start by building a strong base within their local community. “We’ll focus the distribution of our beer here in kegs on draft at fine establishments right here at home in Whistler, and small runs of canned product for this winter season.” Coast Mountain beer is served at local favourites including Creekbread, Stonesedge, the Firerock, 21 Steps, and many more. Their focus on community is also reflected in their participation in local events and festivals, including the Whistler 50 earlier in October, and Cornucopia in November.
Rustic walls and rotating taps: inside Coast Mountain Brewery.
But what of their established neighbour, Whistler Brewing Company? How do they set themselves apart from one of the originators in the BC beer movement? Kevin speaks to Coast Mountain’s smaller size and local focus as the key differentiator. “We are a ‘boutique’ craft brewery who can’t help but rotate beers constantly which stems directly from the love of what we do.” Unlike their larger neighbour, Coast Mountain can offer new beers several times a season. “Our small size means you’ll find a new tap virtually every time you visit our taphouse in Function Junction.”
So let’s get to that taphouse. Located on the north side of Whistler’s Function Junction, the Winter’s have created a cozy, west-coast cabin in the woods. When I visited on a cold and damp October afternoon, the reclaimed wood fireplace was burning and my intent to stay for one drink quickly turned into a couple of hours of chatting with friends. You can enjoy your drink at the bar, at a beer-hall style table, or sit at the large window looking out at the fully custom built BC brewhouse: the heart and stainless-steel soul of the brewery. They have quick bar snacks available but the focus is on beer. Fine by me as the beer is damn good.
I like dark and amber beers and took a flight of their Fire Steel Red, Woodnutt Brown Ale, Field Guide Ale and the Sunbreak Saison. The flight came with wooden, coloured symbols that corresponded to symbols on the chalkboard. Very cool and a change from the usual reliance on soggy receipt paper to tell the beers apart. The flight was great with the Fire Steel Red being my standout.
Right to left: Sunbreak Saison, Field Guide Ale, Woodnutt Brown Ale, Fire Steel Red.
As well as the current offerings, the brewery is working on a couple of exciting upcoming batches, including their first sour collaboration ale with Field House Brewing in Abbotsford which will appear later in November, and a Bonfire Stout which will be ready in December.
So is there any chance of sampling Coast Mountain beer from Vancouver? Not yet, as Kevin tells us, “If you’re craving a taste, you’ll have to visit us in Whistler.” Sounds like a great excuse to me.
Coast Mountain Brewery is open 7 days a week for pints and growler fills. They are located at #2-1212 Alpha Lake Rd, Function Junction in Whistler BC. This article was not sponsored by Coast Mountain Brewery and all opinions and photos are the author’s own.
Katharine Mills is a trail and ultra runner living in North Vancouver. Originally from the UK, she lived in Whistler for two years before making the move to the city. Compared to the UK, she thinks Canada has an incredible lifestyle, but terrible tea. Her favourite things are exploring the wilds of the BC backcountry, racing mountain bikers down the trails of North Vancouver, and Honey’s Doughnuts from Deep Cove.