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.
The BC Summer Games are in Abbotsford from July 21 to 24th. We're excited to welcome all the participants, families and friends to our city. Find time in between competitions and take a few hours to explore these exciting ideas and adventures below. Go Abby Games!
1. Circle Farm Tour
While in Abbotsford, don’t miss our Circle Farm Tour. This self-guided tour takes you through our country side and will lead you to a variety of specialty farm gate vendors, charming eateries, a barn full of antiques and the best ice cream you will ever eat. Download Guide
Walk through the heart of Abbotsford and discover vintage stores, charming boutiques and delicious eateries while in Historic Downtown. It’s the perfect meld of past and present, where you will find unique restored heritage buildings and shopping.
3. Castle Fun Park
A free-admission, family amusement park offering year round excitement for everyone. From mini golf, go carts, batting cages and arcade games, Castle Fun Park is a great place to bring the kids for an afternoon in Abbotsford.
4. Beer & Wine Tour
Sip, Savour and Share on the Abbotsford Beer & Wine Tour! Download the map to start your self-guided tour of our local craft breweries and wineries. While tasting, take time to discover the unique flavours of our valley. Download Map
5. Walks, Trails & Mountain Biking
Enjoy the great outdoors with the whole family in Abbotsford's 157 parks consisting of over 2,584 acres of parkland and 98 kilometers of urban trails. From Mill Lake Park to Sumas Mountain, there is so much terrain to be discovered by you. More info here. Photo Credit: Mona Lucas
6. Comedy Show
Enjoy a laugh at Canada’s national stand-up comedy club, Yuk Yuk’s. Shows run nightly Wednesday to Saturday. Check out their website to see who's in town while you're here.
7. Visit a Museum
Abbotsford is a city rich in talent, culture and history. While you check out all the museums, galleries, & artisans, don't forget to tour all the public art that can be found throughout Abbotsford. More info here.
Let us be your guide as you hunt for those one-of-a-kind items during your stay. Sevenoaks Shopping Centre is centrally located and likely has all that you need. If you’re looking for an outdoor shopping centre, check out Highstreet – a new, open-air shopping centre located at Mt.Lehman interchange.
The lush greenery of Abbotsford is home to a variety of courses that are open year-round! Regardless of your swing, there is a tee waiting for you. During your next stay, take a visit to Fraserglen or Ledgeview Golf Course. More info here.
Seeking thrill & adventure? Why not book a trip with Vancouver Skydive and experience the Drop Zone which is located in scenic Abbotsford. All of their Tandem Skydives are done with an experienced and qualified Tandem Instructors!
More from #ExploreAbbotsford:
Let the fun and festivities of summer begin with the 35th Annual Berrybeat Festival. Bring the family down to enjoy and explore beautiful Historic Downtown Abbotsford during this two day festival celebrating local music, agriculture, and community.
When: July 9 (9am – 6pm) & July 10 (9am – 4pm)
Where: Montrose and Essendene Avenue, Abbotsford
BeerBQ in Abbotsford is a spectacular culinary experience that pairs the best BBQ pitmasters with BC craft brewmasters. Staged with the Fraser Valley backdrop of hop fields in full bloom, guests meander from tent to tent tasting great food and sipping equally great beer. Don't miss your chance to taste a bit of Abbotsford.
When: July 16
Where: Kinloch Farms 1893 Cole Road, Abbotsford
Website & Tickets
As many as 3600 participants will be coming to Abbotsford to compete in 18 different sports all around the community. Abbotsford is the perfect outdoor destination offering hiking, mountain biking, fishing, golf and water sports. With more than 2,400 acres of parkland and a 33 km paved outdoor trail system, this will be an amazing 4 day event for you, your family & friends to be involved with or enjoy watching.
When: July 21 - 24
Where: Abbotsford Exhibition Park & Various Community Locations
There’s something for everyone at the Annual Abbotsford Agrifai, the best little country fair sice 1911! Traditionally when people think of an agriculture fair, they think animals, tractors, and farmers. Agrifair is still proud to present many of your favourite and memorable agricultural attractions, but they have so much more planned for 2016.
When: July 29 – 31
Where: Exhibition Park, 32470 Haida Drive, Abbotsford
The keystone annual event-- The Abbotsford International Airshow is an aviation festival that has grown well beyond its borders over the past 5 decades while beginning in 1962. Abbotsford Airshow will feature diverse aerial and aviation-related displays, and offer exciting entertainment to all ages. As well, don’t miss the twilight show featuring beautiful fireworks on Friday evening.
When: August 12 - 14
Where: Abbotsford International Airport, 1595 Townline Rd, Abbotsford
More from #ExploreAbbotsford: