The Very Best Craft Breweries in Kelowna
Kelowna’s craft beer scene has exploded in recent years, with a handful of new brewing venues opening in the last 2 years alone. Kelowna’s North End has been the beneficiary of most of these new brewpubs, making it the hippest new area to fill up your growler, sport a twirly moustache, or just sip the night away wearing flannel. #BeerHipster cliches aside, Kelowna now has a killer microbrew scene well worth drinking your way through, and this guide taps into our local sud sampling expertise to bring you only the best.
Tree Brewing Beer Institute
Tree Brewing is a longstanding Kelowna brewery with a spacious flagship microbrewery near the waterfront boardwalk along Water Street that launched in 2014. Tree’s Beer Institute serves hot pizza, pretzels, excellent brews, and wine and cider for those who are barley and hop-averse. With board games, large communal tables, and outdoor seating, Tree Brewing stays busy with happy beer drinkers all year round.
Address: 1346 Water St, Kelowna, BC V1Y 9P4
Phone: (778) 484-0306
BNA Brewing Co. & Eatery
Since opening its doors to the public in 2014, ‘the BNA’ has become one of Kelowna’s go-to nightlife venues. This massive, 2-story building has 10-pin bowling upstairs, shuffleboard, arcade games, and plenty of seating options, including comfortable leather couches. The BNA attracts a diverse and fun-loving audience, serves great food, and stays open later than every other venue in this guide, so you might want to end, or also start your night there.
Smash a Dinosaur IPA, Wild Blonde, or for something actually unique to Kelowna, the Earl Grey Pale Ale. If hipster beer just isn’t your thing, there’s also an extensive wine and cocktail list.
Address: 1250 Ellis St, Kelowna, BC V1Y 1Z4
Phone: (236) 420-0025
Kettle River Brewing Co.
To give you a sense of what Kettle River Brewing’s tasting room is about, know that they are dog friendly, play foosball, darts, and host an open mic night every Thursday. In other words: rad. Their lineup of masterful and experimental craft brews is served in a not-uncommon industrial-cabin-thing building with curious art pieces to yammer over and a bright outdoor patio to hang out with your pup, human, or mobile device.
Address: 731 Baillie Ave, Kelowna, BC V1Y 7E9
Phone: (250) 862-5115
Red Bird Brewing Co.
Red Bird Brewing opened its doors to Kelowna’s new north end beer scene in 2017 and is well known for their spacious patio, German Kolsch, IPA, and reasonably priced 6-packs. Their wood-framed roadside venue features communal bench tables, games, and often has a Surf Side California Taco Truck parked outside, which means you might make some new friends or at least go home with a delicious taco.
Address: 1086 Richter St, Kelowna, BC V1Y 2K5
Phone: (250) 317-5468
Vice & Virtue Brewing Co.
Vice & Virtue opened its ozzie-owned doors to rave fanfare last year and has since won multiple awards for their fresh beers and fantastic restaurant open for brunch through dinner. Vice has a clean cut, industrial, and slightly upscale feeling going on inside and gets high praise for their virtuous charcuterie platters, pilsner, and smoked brisket sandwiches.
Address: 1033 Richter St, Kelowna, BC V1Y 2K4
Phone: +1 800-325-3686
Rustic Reel Brewing Company
This modern, spacious, yet character-filled brewery is quickly becoming one of Kelowna’s most well-known microbreweries. Next to BNA, it’s also the largest north end beer venue with high ceilings, catching decor, and a large outdoor patio. Whether it’s the great food or their delicious beers, they must be doing something right as they’re getting rave reviews online after one season of business.
Address: 760 Vaughan Ave, Kelowna, BC V1Y 7E4
Phone: (250) 862-3737
Copper Brewing Co.
Copper Brewing is the first craft brewery to come to Kelowna’s Landmark district on Kirschner Road and features 4 house brews, 5 rotating local taps, tasty pub fare, and a dog-friendly patio with dozens of seats. Copper has received local praise for their contributions to the science of IPA, Pale Ale, and Nut Brown. It’s pretty easy to have a good time at Copper Brewing - they have Nintendo.
Address: 1851 Kirschner Rd #102, Kelowna, BC V1Y 4N7
Phone: (250) 762-8850
Jackknife Brewery is getting ready to unsheath its brews to the world on Halloween night 2019, but there’s nothing scary about fun beers and fresh pizza. Jackknife is being opened by Brad from Kettle River Brewing, who is promising an out-of-the-box 80’s vibe, ‘weird’ brews, and ones that will satisfy more traditional tastes. If his past tenure at Kettle River is anything to judge him by, we expect great things from Jackknife, but no pressure Brad.
Address: 727 Baillie Ave, Kelowna, BC V1Y 7E9
What Beer Bubble?
Is Kelowna’s craft beer scene in a frothy bubble? The chart below plots the number of microbreweries with tasting rooms operating in Kelowna since 2002 - notice the explosion starting around 2012.
Are twelve microbreweries too many for Kelowna, a city with 132,000 residents?
Looking to Portland, Oregon, a pinnacle of the North American craft beer scene, there are approx. 84 microbreweries for 2.5 million residents, an average of one brewery per ~30,000 citizens. Are we saturated in suds at one brewery per ~11,000 citizens, or have we reached a new paradigm? Per capita, Kelowna now has 3x more craft breweries than Portland.
The good news for beer drinkers is that with 12 Kelowna microbreweries competing for your hard-earned dollars, competition - meaning cheaper beer - is likely to flow your way very soon.
You’ve read this far, now go forth and enjoy your thirsty self. 🍻
All photos are courtesy of the respective websites / official instagram accounts of each brewery.