The Comox Valley will quench your thirst with award-winning libations
I don’t know about you, but summertime puts me in the mood for an outdoor deck, a light savory snack and a glass of something smooth and refreshing. Conveniently, one of the pleasant things about living in the Valley is that local libations abound.
Between the various craft breweries, wonderful wine producers and a couple of distinctly different distilleries, there are local liquid refreshments for every palate.
The Comox Valley is home to a wonderful selection of unique and award-winning offerings. If you haven’t had the chance to get out and sample some or all, or even if you have, here’s a handy reference of home-grown producers and regional festivals.
Become acquainted with Comox Valley breweries
It used to be that the Comox Valley was known for its agricultural aptitude, but more and more its being recognized as an excellent place to get some well-crafted beer. There are three breweries (for now!) that cater to the local and visiting folk.
Forbidden Brewing Co. in Courtenay invites hop appreciators to “explore the limits of honest beer.” And Gladstone Brewing in downtown Courtenay is sure to please you with their ales and lagers. A little farther out in the Valley, Cumberland Brewing is worth the trip to tipple a jar or two.
And make sure to check out Tapped – Beer Food Music. Mount Washington's annual beer festival includes a variety of craft breweries, beer seminars, live music and a pig roast and/or BBQ. And all while taking in the beautiful mountain vistas overlooking Strathcona Provincial Park. It takes place September 21 this year; for more info on specific times, visit www.mountwashington.ca.
And it wouldn’t be October without some sort of beer-y event, such as Beerfest, sponsored by the Courtenay Rotary. Dates aren’t confirmed yet for the coming year but keep an eye on local media and the Discover Comox Valley webpage as the time approaches. The various breweries always get into the action by holding Oktoberfest celebrations.
Visit Valley vineyards
Where to begin?
Regardless of where you start you know you’ll enjoy a good finish when you sample anything from Beaufort Vineyard and Estate Winery, 40 Knots Vineyard and Estate Winery, Blue Moon Winery and Ciderworx and Coastal Black Estate Winery. Check out their websites to get details on their delightful offerings and times for tours and tastings. Beautiful scenery and beautiful tastes make these spots a favourite summertime destination
In terms of festivals, there are a couple to choose from. The first annual Wine-Chocolate-Cheese-Beer Festival held in July 2017 at Merville Hall was a giant success and is eagerly anticipated this coming year. Visit the events calendar on the hall’s website to confirm the date and times for this year.
And on August 31, 2018, you can head up the mountain for the Alpine Wine Festival & Wine Pairing Dinner at Mt. Washington!
Discover local distilleries
Just up the Old Island Highway near Saratoga Beach you’ll find the fabulous Shelter Point Distillery. Makers of whiskey, vodka and liqueurs, the picturesque distillery creates distinctive artisanal spirits from barley. Located at the ocean’s edge, the farm enjoys a mountain-fed aquifer that supplies the pure spring water that goes into their spirits. It’s a great place to check out.
Back in Courtenay, the folks at Wayward Distillation House are purveyors of gin and vodka. And their special ingredient is, wait for it, honey! Who knew?! Balancing tradition with creativity, Wayward is the first distillery in Canada to use honey as the base for all its spirits. They, too, offer tours of their establishments, so have a look some time.
And don’t forget to mark your calendar in the New Year when it’s time for Comox Valley Whiskey Fest. Typically held at the end of January or start of February, the tasting room showcases about 60 varieties of single malts, blends, bourbon and rye, as well as marvelous appetizers.
Well, I’m parched. How about you?