Cumberland is my favourite place in the world right now. It’s chock full of great people, great cafes and nerdy 2nd hand stores, great mountain biking culture and repair shops, great location – right between the Comox Valley and CR. It’s got a vibe that’s just so… Great!
And after spending a blindingly-sunny afternoon thrashing up, down and all over Cumberland’s legendary MTB trails with my wife and our friend Jen, I found one more reason why that town is so damn great: They have a brewery!
After the three of us had packed our bikes away, re-hydrated and (in my wife’s case) smeared bactine all over we trucked down the main drag to where the brewery is located. A mere three blocks from the base of the trails and within easy walking distance of… Well, everything in Cumberland.
Don’t waste time like we did trying to find a front door; the tiny logo is impossible to read from the road. Look for the long wood and rebar fence and lines of mud-encrusted high end mountain bikes lined up around back. We parked the Kiwi in the lot of the abandoned Chinese joint across the street and sauntered into their spacious-yet intimate patio just in time to score the couch!
“We’ve only had this patio open a couple weeks and every day has been gorgeous!” exclaimed our server as she passed out menus; we beamed our agreement, ducking back under the shade of the patio’s DIY tarpaulin roof.
It was true; the brewery had been open less than a year, but the wide range of beers available, the casual ease of service and the ephemeral feeling of… What? Well-worn gravitas? Nah. Thrift shop quaintness? Not quite. How about effortless-localness! So many restaurants, bars and brewpubs seem to dominate their surroundings, while the CB blends into the neighborhood scene like it had always been there… Maybe I’m over analyzing. Probably just the beer talking.
The beer is good. Really good! We got the ten cent taste tour right off the bat, sampling the “Forest Fog” wheat ale, the “Not So..” English bitter, the pale ale and “Cascadian” dark lager. After that first slug of the frothy, golden, slightly-toasty wheat ale I knew I’d found my new summer obsession. Jen likewise found a lifelong beer-buddy in the dark lager. Crystal (who rarely drinks beer) settled somewhere in the middle with the pale ale, but later stole some of mine, applauding my flawless palate and all around genius! Alright, that was definitely the beer talking.
Speaking of genius, the brewery’s got a deal with Riders Pizza (conveniently located next door) to supply their thirsty patrons with handmade slices of deliciousness. We ordered a simple Margherita, but the menu boasts a couple of really interesting combos like the “Pearadise” (bacon, clue cheese and pear) and the “Harvest Moon” (squash/garlic/walnut-puree with sun dried tomatoes and feta).
We ate, drank, got sunstroke, laughed about our various bike-related injuries and cursed all the Australians out there who followed us too closely on gnarly downhills. I bought a growler of the wheat beer and a T-Shirt and the whole shebang (pizza and all) came out to under a hundred bucks! Incredible value!
On the way home “For Sale” signs flashed by the window and a phrase from the Riders Pizza menu sprang to mind: “The Cumberlander – just another reason to live here.”
Hmmmmm… I wonder.
Big love to Britta for the recommendation!