For years, Penticton was a hidden little gem in the south Okanagan sitting in a tranquil valley between Okanagan and Skaha lakes with orchards and vineyards stretching to the horizon.
Behind the relaxed vibe, groups of passionate locals were quietly crafting large networks of trails for mountain biking and one of the most robust beer scenes with the highest brewery per capita ratio in Canada. With fuel-free initiatives, biking and supporting local are integral cornerstones of the carbon-neutral community.
Coined “the beer capital of Canada” by Lonely Planet, there are more breweries in Penticton today than there were in all of B.C. when Tin Whistle Brewery and the Barley Mill Brewpub kickstarted the craft beer scene more than 25 years ago.
Fresh suds were soon added by Cannery Brewing, Bad Tattoo Brewing, and Highway 97 Brewing. The newest arrivals, Slackwater Brewing and Neighbourhood Brewing bring even more craft energy to downtown Penticton. The newest addition, Abandoned Rail Brewing, is nestled among the lush vineyards of Naramata Bench.
As “craft beer missionaries,” these breweries have put in decades of work converting traditionalist beer palates to the cosmopolitan flavour explosion that Penticton’s eight breweries are serving up today. With such density, competition could be fierce but the collaborative spirit between the breweries is what really sets the Penticton beer scene—and the Penticton Ale Trail—apart.
The biking is just as diverse as the beer. Cycling has a rich, interdisciplinary history in Penticton—from hosting Ironman competitions since 1983 to cycle touring the wineries and the endless singletrack options for mountain biking, Penticton’s early spring season is a great time to enjoy adventures on two wheels when a lot of the province is still locked in snow.
The terrain varies from dense forest of Douglas fir and Ponderosa pine opening into grasslands and rock slabs descending to Okanagan Lake. No matter your style, there’s something for everyone to complete the perfect combo of bikes and beer.
Credits: Ben Haggar @benhaggarphoto and Mike Gamble @MikeGamble
Featured Breweries: Abandoned Rail Brewing Company, Bad Tattoo Brewing, Barley Mill Brew Pub, Cannery Brewing, Highway 97 Brewing, Neighbourhood Brewing, Slackwater Brewing, Tin Whistle Brewing.
Featured Trails: Three Blind Mice Network.