The Fraser Valley—like many areas of BC—is no stranger to the craft beer boom. In the past two years, Langley, Abbotsford, and Chilliwack have grown into an emerging craft beer destination, housing some of the most impressive new breweries in the greater Vancouver area. With a penchant for local ingredients, Fraser Valley breweries prioritize using ingredients grown in their own backyard.
Visiting a Fraser Valley brewery is more than a simple tasting. With a special appreciation for home, these community-based breweries often throw community parties and educate their visitors on rich local history.
There are many amazing breweries in the Fraser Valley, each with their own unique taste, but to get you started on your Fraser Valley brewery tour, we chose four local favourites—including which beer you should sample.
For craft breweries, Old Yale Brewing Co. is a veteran. Incorporated in 1999, Old Yale has had years of practice perfecting their recipes and a decade of awards to prove it. The founder, Larry Caza, discovered his obsession with quality beer while he was stationed as an air force pilot in the late ‘80s in Goose Bay, Newfoundland. According to Old Yale Brewing history, pilots from around the world would stop by Goose Bay and share their beers with Caza. These weren’t the light lagers and ales that Canada offered, they were—at the risk of sounding pretentious—actually good. Since then, Caza’s taste has only refined and now he’s the brewmaster at one of Chilliwack’s most beloved breweries.
Since BC’s craft beer revolution, Old Yale has had to accommodate the growing demand for their beers. In Summer 2016, they opened a new brewery location expanding from a 2,500-square-foot facility to a 6,550-square-foot facility and an accompanying tasting room.
“Voted Best Beer in Canada for 2014, the Sasquatch Stout is smooth with notes of mocha, coffee and roasted barley. Match our Sasquatch with a steak, oysters, or even chocolate cake!”
Field House Brewing’s name is inspired by the diligent agricultural roots of Abbotsford. As the story goes: after a hard day’s work on the field, Abbotsford’s pioneers would retire to the field house to have a drink, a meal, and meet with their friends and family. It’s exactly this work ethic that inspired founder Josh Vanderheide to not only create a brewery but a destination. At Field House, you’re invited to relax, gather with old friends, meet new ones, and drink a well-deserved beer (or two). Field House’s tasting room is commonly buzzing with a variety of events including concerts, yoga, croquet tournaments, and their #fielddays. Regularly making use of the charming grassy knoll located right outside their modern tasting room, of course.
“A witbier brewed with dried orange peel and coriander, then soured with the addition of our house lacto yeast culture and finally dry-hopped to compliment the natural orange and citrus characters of a classic witbier.”
From locally-sourced ingredients to European-inspired West Coast beer, Ravens Brewing is dedicated to delicious beer excellently made. Founded in 2015, Ravens Brewing’s owners and operators have long resumes in brewing and alcohol distribution. Owner Paul Sweeting has experience in liquor management; brewmaster Nick Fengler has spent years perfecting his brew. Finding inspiration in their surroundings, Ravens Brewing is passionate about making delicious craft beer and they aren’t afraid to make an experimental batch or two. The best place to try out a Ravens brew is at their tasting room—open to beer lovers, hesitant beer experimenters, and dogs.
“With a renaissance of hop growers in the Fraser Valley we are excited to be able to feature fresh Cascade and Centennial hops in our ESB. The bright green flavours of fresh hops are balanced by the heavier malt backbone which provides a deep auburn colour and rich flavour. Taking influence from the changing colour of the season, it’s an excellent addition to cool autumn nights.”
Founded in 2016, Trading Post Brewing Company has quickly become one of Langley’s favourite places to socialize and enjoy craft beer. With both a brewery and eatery opening within six months of each other, Trading Post has ambitiously solidified itself as a staple for Fort Langley locals and visitors. Lance Verhoeff, with his father Paul Verhoeff, founded Trading Post with a desire to brew amazing beer and enrich their community. From the labels on the beer to the name of the brewery, everything is designed to help Trading Post’s visitors come together and get a healthy dose of Fort Langley history. The name itself is a reference to Fort Langley’s origins as a trading post for the Hudson’s Bay Company. Each beer’s name comes with a story—the What Cheer Brett IPA references a pub that was built in Fort Langley in 1860 called What Cheer. From the constant hum around Trading Post’s tasting room and eatery, cheer may be an understatement.
“Intriguing and complex, this IPA features aromas of mango, guava, and orange. Brewed using speciality malts and a cornucopia of hops, it’s fermented with the Brettanomyces Bruxellensis wild yeast strain. Funky and fruity, this unique beer will delight your senses and leave your palate refreshed.”
The Fraser Valley is full of breweries with their own irreplaceable charm. If you’re looking to add the deep cuts to your Fraser Valley breweries tour, make sure to check out these other breweries and tasting rooms.
Chilliwack: Chaos and Solace Brewery
Abbotsford: Old Abbey Ales