Fall is a great time to enjoy the bounties of our local harvest and what better way to do that than trying local craft beer!
With the craft beer industry showing no signs of slowing, Abbotsford has reemerged as a valuable hop producing region and for good reason.
Not every wine adventure needs to be a road trip. Abbotsford is a thriving agricultural hub in British Columbia and is home to several wineries nestled in the countryside of Mt. Lehman, famous for its rolling hills and stunning views of Mt. Baker.
Although Abbotsford might not be known as the spot to go for a romantic weekend away, we believe that after a few days in the city you’ll have changed your mind.
From hot mulled apple cider and spiced honey meads to hot chocolate porter and a fir tips brew, you’ll be loving the winter vibes in Abbotsford.
Reputable breweries all over BC are pumping out liquid gold, but it’s the smaller towns where you’ll find the diamonds.
The fields in Sumas Prairie are budding with rows of vibrant, green hops to accommodate an exploding craft beer industry.
Although the recent boom of craft beer may make it seem like hops are a new crop to the Fraser Valley, it has been grown in our fertile soil for more than 100 years.
Until the 1940's, the Fraser Valley was a huge hop-growing region but dissipated as demand dropped. Now with 120 local craft breweries and more launching every month, the demand for local hops has returned.
On October 1, it’s this rich tradition BC Hop Company celebrates, as well as the emerging craft beer industry, at the second annual BC Hop Fest at Kinloch Farms on Sumas Prairie.
“What makes it unique is there aren’t festivals focusing on wet-hop beer,” said event organizer Donna Dixon. The festival is timed to coincide with the hop harvest and the beginning of BC craft beer month.
Wet hop, or fresh hop, beer is a challenging type of brewing utilizing the green hops of the harvest. Hops are fragile and don’t survive long after being cut, and are meant to be drunk within weeks of brewing. Wet hops are said to taste different than traditional kiln-dried hops.
“The hops add a vibrancy, a fineness, a definition, and a chlorophyll-driven energy you don’t get in standard hopped beers,” said Dixon.
Kinloch Farms grows some of the hops used for the festival and is the only hop farm in Abbotsford. Using the best European technology to preserve the quality of the hops, they’ve just completed building a world-class processing plant.
Traditional large-scale processing involves drying thousands of pounds of hops over direct fired furnaces and can take up to three days from harvest to bailing. This European technology uses indirect heat and air conditioning so the hops are in final bailing condition in less than one day.
“We’re very excited because we grow hops and process them and a lot of the breweries attending are using our hops,” said Dixon.
More than 30 of the province’s best craft breweries are bringing their fresh-hopped beer to this year’s BC Hop Fest. Attendees will not only get to sample fresh-hop beer but also enjoy field and plant tours, take in a panel talk from local brewers discussing how they use wet hops, learn home brew tips and tricks, shop at the artisan marketplace, and take in live entertainment.
“Breweries love coming out here to the Fraser Valley because they can engage with a new customer base. Customers love the breweries coming to them.”
Last year’s event sold out so they’ve added more space for this year’s event, which happens rain or shine. Tickets to the 19+ event are only available in advance.
BC Hop Fest
October 1, 2016
1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
1905 Cole Road, Abbotsford BC
Robyn Roste lives and works in Abbotsford. She loves telling stories and learning more about her city. All photo credit: PhotoArt by Simpson & BC Hop Co.
More from #ExploreAbbotsford:
Sip, Savour and Share on the Abbotsford Beer & Wine Tour! Meet all the local craft breweries & wineries and start tasting the unique flavours of our valley. From honey mead and berry fruit wines to salted stouts and raspberry ales, you'll discover something new. Download your tour map here or pick a copy up from one of the locations below. Cheers!
At Field House Brewing Co., we believe it’s about a full craft beer experience, we brew great beer that we love and want to share with our community and beyond. We’ve also created a unique gathering place for friends and family to create new experiences and learn more about the world of craft beer. Whether you are new to craft beer or a seasoned pro - we offer a range of styles, all with a high drinkability factor and we’re always searching for new inspiration and ideas. Cheers.
2281 West Railway St
Old Abbey Ales brews and serves 30 beers on tap. Brewed with the finest ingredients and employing the time-tested traditions of Belgian beer brewing methods with West Coast creativity affectionately called Belgian Forward. Visit our tasting room for pints, flights, and growler fills.
1A-30321 Fraser Hwy
Ravens Brewing Company is inspired by the agricultural roots surrounding the Abbotsford area. We will be brewing European and West Coast beers, respecting the ingredients traditionally found in these great brews. Working with local growers and suppliers to craft great beers full of character and style, we look forward to welcoming you to our tasting room.
2485 Townline Rd
A culmination of three generations of farmers, has brought forth a taste of true distinction. From ground to glass, Maan Farms wines are soley produced here, leaving no room for anything less than the best. Showcasing wines made from Maan Farms mouth-watering berries, expanding to now include grape wines, and a VIP Wine Club. Visit our fun family farm for our tasting room, great country food and family activities.
790 McKenzie Rd
Believed to be the oldest known alcoholic beverage, Mead or Honey Wine was first discovered by the Samarians in Mesopotamia thousands of years ago. Campbell’s Gold produces these ancient elixirs including the traditional Mead. In addition, they offer Pyment (honey wine & grapes), Melomel (honey wine with fruit or berries), Metheglin (spiced honey wine), and Cysor (honey wine with apple juice/cider).
2592 Lefeuvre Rd
Mt. Lehman Winery is a family owned boutique winery specializing in small lots of premium naturally made wines. Come tour
our beautiful farm and vineyard where we have over 15 acres planted of a variety of grapes including Pinot Noir (our flagship wine), Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Merlot, and others. While you’re here, drop by our tasting room to sample our unique award winning wines.
5094 Mt. Lehman Rd
Join us at Singletree, a family operated Vineyard and Winery located in Mt.Lehman. The site where the farm is located has a rich farming history, with activity starting in the late 1800’s. We are proud of our focused portfolio of wines, crafted by family member and winemaker, Andrew Etsell. We welcome you to taste a new generation of wines in our rustic tasting room and also enjoy the vineyard and surrounding area in our licensed picnic area located right beside our winery.