Sessions Taproom and Kitchen (Campbell River, BC)

A couple days before our Ace Brewing adventure, our crew met up at a Campbell River joint to plan some of our holiday adventures. Sessions Taproom and Kitchen had been suggested to me numerous times but despite biking by it to and from work for two years I’d never had a chance to sit down and enjoy it’s hospitality.

Shame on me for such an oversight. Not only does Sessions deliver an exceptional lounge/drinking experience, but it has – I’m not messing around here – the best pizza in our town.

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Gladstone Brewing (Courtenay, BC)

Gladstone Brewing is one of the Comox Valley’s most beloved institutions. It’s the flagship brewery of the North Vancouver Island craft brewing scene and it’s an absolute blotch upon EDB’s already sketchy reputation that we’ve only just got around to discussing them. For shame!

I’m definitely familiar with the brewery’s work. In fact I’ve drank quite a bit more of Gladstone’s beer at various local restaurants than I have almost any other local brewery. I’ll also admit to frittering away more than a few afternoons at the brewery proper, debating proper pizza dough thickness with Chef Matt while quaffing some seriously tasty craft beer. (more…)

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Howe Sound Brewpub (Squamish, BC)

howe-sound-brewery-1Squamish (or “Squampton” depending on where your allegiances lie) is a small burg nestled in the peaks between metropolitan Vancouver and the bacchanalian circus that is Whistler. It’s one of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful places in BC that you can easily visit by car (half an hour from the Horseshoe Bay Ferry!) and if you happen to love outdoorsy stuff like my wife and I do it’s a must-visit destination… Except… Well… It’s kind of at war.

Y’see it’s still a small town, just enough industry to keep it going during the winter and enough summer kids hanging around to run the store while all the tourists pile in. Problem is we’re not talking a handful of tourists here. When a sizable portion of metro Vancouver decides to holiday in Whistler, they’re all driving up the same highway at the same time to get there. And they’re all having lunch in Squamish.

During our entire five day long stay in Squamish we witnessed cooks, servers and baristas battling some of the most outrageous lineups of entitled people we’ve seen since… Well, Whistler *laughs* But Whistler’s veteran hospitality army can handle ‘em… Squamish just couldn’t seem to hold the line. Nearly everywhere there were long waits for food, dirty tables and panicked bussers, fuming customers and thousand yard stares from beyond the pass. Our sushi restaurant even ran out of rice!

But I said “nearly” everyone didn’t I? Yes! One shining beacon of hospitality stood out amidst the cloud of war. It’s the biggest, baddest, jam-packed fullest joint in town. The number one recommendation for dinner and post-MTB drinks we got from everyone. Squampton’s Generalissimo in the war of hospitality: The Howe Sound Brewpub.

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Cumberland Brewing Co. (Cumberland, BC)

Cumberland BreweryCumberland 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! (more…)

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