Squamish BC’s Source for Craft Beer: Howe Sound Brewing
When you step into Squamish BC’s Howe Sound Brewery, without knowing the name you would be hard pressed to know it is a brewery. Besides the sign out front and a cabinet bursting with awards in the entrance way, you will not see any fermenters or conditioning tanks, no mash tuns or grain silos. Yes, Howe Sound Brewery does brew beer, and a fair bit of it, but all the action is hidden behind closed doors.
What you can see is the restaurant and hotel amenities which both serve up a fantastic experience. If you have never stopped in on your way up to whistler or planned a weekend adventure in squamish, it is time that you did and the Howe Sound Brewery makes for a great rendezvous spot if you are looking for a place to stay, or just a spot to grab a bite to eat and a pint.
Behind closed doors is where the brewing takes place. The Howe Sound Brewery uses a 20(ish) hectolitre brew system and a series of similarly sized fermenters. If you step outside behind the building you can also find some 60hectolitre fermenters to help keep up to demand for the Howe Sound Lager.
Every year there are some 25 or so unique beers that come out of the brewery so diligent scheduling is a necessary evil. Keeping the year-round options flowing while being diligent on BC favourites like the Pumpkineater and Wooley Bugger keep the brewery running constantly. The brewing schedule is a careful balance of mainstream product offerings and creativity-infused seasonal offerings.
In the building’s attic is the grain store and below, descending to the basement and into what used to be an underground parking garage you can find even more layers of operation. Downstairs a modified wine bottler fills the iconic 1000ml bottles while a canning line fills 6 packs of the well loved lager. Shipments pile up in front of the loading bay awaiting a truck to drive the beer to its final destination. Cold storage and conditioning tanks can also be found downstairs if you venture far enough. Despite the hidden nature of the Howe Sound Brewery’s operations it is rather significant and a much bigger facility than meets the eye.
Howe Sound Brewing has been brewing in their Squamish location since they first opened in 1996 by the Fenn family. Assisted by the Grandfather of BC craft beer, John Mitchell helped to design the brewery and set the business up for success some 20 years ago. Since then it is all history but there are still a few ties back to their roots such as the Troller Bay Ale which is a tribute to John Mitchell and Frank Appleton’s first craft brewery in BC, the Troller in Horseshoe Bay which opened in 1982.
Tradition runs deep in Squamish but the flavour is fresh. The brewing team is energetic and has a passion for quality and innovation. Things have evolved over the years and the faces have changed but the goal has stayed true. As they put it, “With the use of the best ingredients and local flavors, we create new and innovative ales with the changing seasons, attracting craft beer lovers from around the world.”
Learn more at howesound.com