Spirits of the Cowichan Valley

Spirits of the Cowichan Valley

Spirits of the Cowichan Valley

Haunted by a desire for more than a glass of wine or the local pub’s brew? Explore the spirits of the Cowichan Valley. The distilleries nestled amid the Valley’s stunning landscapes and lush vineyards, are manifestations of its burgeoning artisanal culture. While often celebrated for its wineries, the Cowichan Valley has also emerged as a hotspot for craft distilleries, offering a diverse range of premium spirits created with passion and precision.

In this exploration, we delve into the rich tapestry of distilleries that grace the valley, uncovering their stories, techniques, and the unique flavours they bring to the world of spirits.

The Rise of Craft Distilleries and Spirits

In recent years, the craft spirits movement has gained significant momentum, with discerning consumers seeking authentic, locally-produced libations with character and depth. The Cowichan Valley’s temperate climate, fertile soil, and proximity to pristine water sources provide an ideal environment for cultivating premium ingredients essential for crafting exquisite spirits.

Home to a community of passionate artisans, the Valley has become a hub for this movement, with several distilleries leading the charge.

Exploring Distilleries in the Cowichan Valley


Merridale Cidery & Distillery:

  • Founded in 2000, Merridale Cidery & Distillery has garnered acclaim for its handcrafted ciders and spirits with an unconventional twist.
  • Following traditional techniques, including locally-sourced ingredients, they produce a range of spirits, including aromatic brandies, gins, rhumbs (rum), vodka, and fortifieds, each imbued with the essence of Vancouver Island’s terroir.
  • The distillery’s commitment to innovation is evident in their diverse product lineup. Their spirits collection showcases the artistry of their master distiller, who employs cider apples and honey to create Merridale’s unique selection of spirits.

Stillhead Distillery:

  • Situated on the outskirts of Duncan, Stillhead Distillery is a family-owned operation dedicated to producing small-batch, artisanal spirits of unparalleled quality.
  • Using distinctive local ingredients such as wild picked berries and locally farmed rhubarb, Stillhead puts the essence of the Island into every bottle.
  • With a dedication to traditional techniques and a passion for innovation, their portfolio includes a diverse array of spirits, from award-winning gin to barrel-aged whiskey, all crafted with precision and care.
  • Visitors are welcome to experience the artistry firsthand, immersing themselves in the distillation process and savouring the distinctive flavours that define Stillhead’s signature offerings.

Ampersand Distilling Company:

  • Founded by a dynamic duo with a shared passion for distillation, Ampersand Distilling Company is celebrated for its innovative approach to crafting premium spirits.
  • Standing as a beacon of creativity and craftsmanship in the world of spirits, their flagship gin is infused with locally foraged botanicals. Their award winning Vodka and experimental liqueurs are a testament to their commitment to quality and ingenuity.
  • Embracing traditional methods alongside modern techniques, Ampersand Distilling Company invites visitors to embark on a sensory journey, discovering the unique flavours and stories behind each meticulously crafted libation.

The Art of Distillation:

Crafting exceptional spirits is a delicate alchemy that requires a harmonious blend of science, artistry, and intuition. Distillers in the Cowichan Valley draw upon centuries-old traditions while embracing modern techniques to create spirits of unparalleled quality and complexity.

Just as winemakers celebrate the unique terroir of their vineyards, distillers in the Valley pay homage to the region’s distinctive landscape and microclimates. By sourcing locally-grown grains, fruits, and botanicals, they capture the essence of the land, infusing their spirits with a sense of place.

One of the hallmarks of the Cowichan Valley’s distilling scene is its spirit of collaboration and camaraderie. Distillers often come together to share knowledge, resources, and a passion for their craft, fostering a vibrant community dedicated to pushing the boundaries of artisanal spirits production.

In the Cowichan Valley, the art of distillation is more than just a craft; it’s a reflection of a community’s spirit, ingenuity, and connection to the land. As the valley continues to evolve and flourish, its distilleries stand as proud ambassadors of quality, creativity, and authenticity, inviting enthusiasts to savour the fruits of their labour and embark on a journey of discovery through the world of premium spirits (all without a single séance!).

Exploring the Grapevine: Cowichan Valley Wine Tours from Nanaimo

Exploring the Grapevine: Cowichan Valley Wine Tours from Nanaimo

Exploring the Grapevine: Cowichan Valley Wine Tours from Nanaimo

The Cowichan Valley may be the newest destination in the world of wine tourism, offering a delightful escape for enthusiasts seeking a unique and immersive experience. Just a short drive from Nanaimo, this picturesque region boasts a growing number of wineries and vineyards, each with its own distinct character and charm. Let’s take a virtual journey through the Cowichan Valley wine country and explore the flavours, landscapes, and stories that make this destination a must-visit for wine aficionados.

The Cowichan Valley’s Wine Renaissance

Traditionally known for its stunning landscapes and outdoor activities, the Cowichan Valley has undergone a wine renaissance in recent years. The combination of a favourable climate, diverse soil types, and passionate winemakers has transformed the region into a flourishing wine destination. In 2020 the Cowichan Valley was recognized as an official wine producing region in BC, a protected designation under BC law. Local vineyards are interspersed among the lush valleys, rolling hills, and pristine lakes in the valley, creating a picturesque setting that adds to the allure of the wine tours.

Departing from Nanaimo

Nanaimo, with its convenient location on coastal Vancouver Island, serves as an ideal starting point for a journey into the Valley’s wine country. A short drive south takes you through scenic landscapes, passing quaint towns and dense forests before unveiling the verdant vineyards of the Cowichan Valley. A wine tour shuttle bus means no designated driver required. Everyone can enjoy the fun and savour the fermented fruits of the region!

Enchanting Vineyards and Wineries

As you approach the Cowichan Valley, the landscape changes, giving way to neatly arranged rows of grapevines. The valley is home to a growing number of wineries, each with its own story to tell and a diverse selection of wines to offer. A few notable stops on your wine tour might include:

  1. Blue Grouse Estate Winery: Set against the backdrop of the mountains, Blue Grouse Estate Winery is known for its commitment to sustainable and organic practices. Visitors can enjoy a guided tour of the vineyards, learn about the winemaking process, and savour a tasting of their award-winning wines.
  2. Merridale Cidery & Distillery: While not a traditional winery, Merridale Cidery & Distillery is a must-visit for those seeking a unique tasting experience. Apart from their renowned ciders, they also produce brandies and fortified spirits. The picturesque orchards and rustic ambiance make it a delightful stop.
  3. Averill Creek Vineyard: This family-owned winery is perched on the sunny slopes of Mount Prevost. Averill Creek Vineyard is known for its cool-climate wines, especially Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. The tasting room offers panoramic views of the valley, providing a perfect setting to enjoy their elegant wines.
  4. Unsworth Vineyards: Spread across the heart of Cowichan Valley, Unsworth Vineyards is celebrated for its commitment to crafting wines that reflect the region’s unique terroir. With a beautiful tasting room and a restaurant serving farm-to-table cuisine, it’s a place where wine and gastronomy come together seamlessly.

Wine Tasting Experiences

The wine tasting experiences in Cowichan Valley are diverse, catering to both novice tasters and seasoned connoisseurs. Many wineries offer guided tastings where knowledgeable staff provide insights into the nuances of each wine, from the aroma to the palate. Some vineyards even offer unique experiences like barrel tastings, blending workshops, or vineyard picnics, allowing visitors to deepen their understanding of winemaking.

Scenic Beauty and Outdoor Activities

Beyond the wine, the Cowichan Valley is renowned for its natural beauty and outdoor activities. A wine tour in this region provides the perfect opportunity to explore hiking trails, take a leisurely bike ride through vineyards, or enjoy a picnic with a backdrop of breathtaking landscapes. The combination of wine and nature makes for a holistic and rejuvenating experience.

Culinary Delights

The Cowichan Valley’s culinary scene is a delightful complement to its wines. Many wineries have on-site restaurants or partner with local chefs to offer wine-pairing menus that showcase the best of the region’s produce. From artisanal cheeses to fresh seafood and farm-fresh vegetables, the culinary offerings are as diverse as the wines themselves.

Community and Culture

One of the distinctive features of the Cowichan Valley wineries is the strong sense of community and culture. Many wineries actively engage with the local community, sourcing ingredients from nearby farms and supporting local artists. Visitors can immerse themselves in the region’s cultural events, farmers’ markets, and art galleries, creating a well-rounded experience that goes beyond the wine glass.

Starting a wine tour from Nanaimo to the Cowichan Valley is a journey of discovery, where each vineyard tells a unique story and each glass of wine reflects the terroir of this flourishing region. From the enchanting landscapes to the diverse flavours and the warm hospitality of the winemakers, the Cowichan Valley promises a memorable and enriching experience for all who venture into its wine country. So, pack your bags, raise your glass, and get ready to savour the essence of Cowichan Valley wine!


Spotlight on Ladysmith

Spotlight on Ladysmith

Spotlight on Ladysmith

Nestled in the Cowichan Valley on the eastern shores of Vancouver Island, Ladysmith is a picturesque town surrounded by stunning natural beauty. With a population of around 9,000 residents, this quaint community that sits on the 49th parallel, has become a popular destination for both locals and tourists seeking a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Ladysmith’s story is one of resilience, community spirit, and a deep connection to its surroundings.


The original inhabitants of this area of the Cowichan Valley, the people of the Stz’uminus First Nation, were established around Ladysmith Harbour for thousands of years living off the abundant fish and shellfish in the harbour.

After the arrival of Europeans, the town itself was founded in the late 19th century when coal mining became a prominent industry in the region. In 1898, James Dunsmuir, a prominent figure in British Columbia’s economic landscape, founded Ladysmith as Oyster Harbour to house the families of miners who worked the coal mines south of Nanaimo. The harbour was used as a shipping port for coal.

Dunsmuir renamed the town in 1900 to honour a British victory in the Second Boer War, particularly the siege of Ladysmith in South Africa. The name “Ladysmith” honours Juana Maria de los Dolores de Leon Smith (known as Lady Smith), wife of the British Governor of the Cape Colony. Many of the streets were named for British military officers including Roberts, French, Buller, and Warren. The town quickly grew, becoming a hub for coal mining and shipping.

One of Ladysmith’s most iconic features is its well-preserved and vibrant downtown area. Strolling down First Avenue, the town’s commitment to heritage preservation is evident as visitors encounter the famous “Heritage Row”. The storefronts reflect the architectural styles of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, offering a visual journey through Ladysmith’s past and housing a variety of shops, cafes, and galleries.

The Ladysmith and District Historical Society actively works to maintain and promote the town’s heritage, offering guided tours and educational programs that delve into the area’s fascinating past.

A View to the Sea

Beyond its historical charm, Ladysmith boasts an abundance of natural beauty. Set against the backdrop of the Strait of Georgia, the town offers breathtaking views of the ocean and nearby islands. Transfer Beach, a waterfront park located in the heart of Ladysmith, is a popular spot for both locals and tourists. The sandy shores, grassy areas, and play structures make it an ideal destination for picnics, family outings, or simply enjoying the serenity of the sea. Ladysmith provides over 110 hectares of parks, playgrounds, playing fields, and open spaces for its residents and visitors.

The Ladysmith Maritime Society contributes to the town’s maritime allure, operating the Ladysmith Community Marina. Boating enthusiasts and casual visitors alike can explore the coastline, discovering hidden coves and witnessing the diverse marine life that inhabits the waters surrounding Vancouver Island. The marina also serves as a gateway to nearby attractions, such as the Gulf Islands, providing endless opportunities for exploration.

The town’s vibrant arts and cultural scene further enhance its appeal. Local galleries showcase the works of talented artists, reflecting the creative spirit that thrives in Ladysmith. The Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery, situated in a historic building overlooking the harbor, provides a platform for local artists to exhibit their creations and contribute to the town’s cultural tapestry.

The Great Outdoors

For those seeking outdoor adventure, Ladysmith offers a network of hiking and biking trails that showcase the region’s natural splendor. Heart Lake, just a short drive from the town center, is a popular destination for hikers, offering a tranquil escape surrounded by lush forests. The 26 km trail system caters to varying skill levels, making it accessible to both seasoned hikers and beginners. For those who want to enjoy a scenic stroll with their best friend, in addition to the trails, there are five off-leash dog areas.

Ladysmith has a challenging nine-hole par 3 golf course. The Ladysmith Golf Club is a public course, open to anyone over the age of six who can swing a club!

Ladysmith’s commitment to environmental sustainability is evident in its initiatives to protect and preserve its natural surroundings. The town actively promotes eco-friendly practices, from waste reduction programs to supporting local conservation efforts. This dedication to environmental stewardship ensures that Ladysmith remains a pristine destination for generations to come.

It’s Festival Time

Ladysmith’s commitment to fostering a sense of community is exemplified by its numerous events and festivals throughout the year. The Ladysmith Show and Shine, a car enthusiast’s dream featuring classic and vintage vehicles, revs up on the third Saturday in August. The Ladysmith Art Council’s Arts on the Avenue is another highlight of the summer, taking place in late August. The town’s calendar is filled with activities that bring residents and visitors together. These events not only celebrate Ladysmith’s diverse interests but also showcase the warmth and friendliness of its community.

A key highlight of Ladysmith’s heritage is the annual Festival of Lights, a holiday tradition that has garnered national attention. Each year, thousands of twinkling lights transform the town into a winter wonderland, attracting visitors from far and wide. The festival not only celebrates the holiday season but also pays homage to Ladysmith’s coal mining heritage, with the illuminations symbolizing the miners’ headlamps. The event embodies the community spirit that defines Ladysmith, as volunteers come together to create a magical experience for residents and visitors alike.

From its charming heritage buildings and the annual Festival of Lights to the stunning waterfront and outdoor recreational opportunities, Ladysmith offers a diverse range of experiences for those seeking a tranquil escape. Whether exploring the town’s historical sites, enjoying the picturesque landscapes, or immersing oneself in the local arts scene, Ladysmith beckons with open arms, inviting all to discover the unique charm and spirit that define this enchanting community in the Cowichan Valley.


Merridale Cidery: Christmas at the Farm

Merridale Cidery: Christmas at the Farm

Merridale Cidery: Christmas at the Farm

Merridale Cidery, located in the heart of the Cowichan Valley’s scenic landscapes, transforms into a winter wonderland during the holiday season. This charming cidery, known for its artisanal ciders and picturesque orchards, becomes a magical destination where locals and visitors alike gather to celebrate Christmas in a unique and memorable way.

As the holiday season approaches, Merridale Cidery undergoes a stunning transformation. The orchards, once bursting with the colors of fall, take on a serene winter coat, creating a serene and enchanting backdrop for the festive celebrations. Tall evergreen trees, adorned with twinkling lights, line the pathways, guiding guests through the orchards and setting the stage for a truly magical experience.

Light Up

The festivities kick off with the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony, a community event that brings together friends and families from near and far. The main courtyard, decked out in festive decorations, serves as the focal point for the ceremony. A towering Christmas tree, sourced locally and adorned with ornaments handmade by the cidery’s staff and local artisans, takes center stage. The excitement builds as the crowd gathers, eagerly anticipating the moment when the tree will be illuminated, marking the official start of the holiday season at Merridale Cidery.

As the sun sets and the sky darkens, the cidery’s staff dressed in festive attire lead the countdown, and with the flick of a switch, the Christmas tree comes to life in a dazzling display of lights. Cheers and applause fill the air as the cidery officially transforms into a winter wonderland, welcoming the Christmas season.

The illuminated orchards take on a magical glow, inviting guests to explore the grounds and take in the beauty of the season. Twinkling fairy lights are strategically placed among the apple trees, casting a warm and inviting glow. The crisp winter air is filled with the sweet aroma of mulled cider, wafting from outdoor stations where guests can warm up with a cup of this seasonal delight.

Festive Market

One of the highlights of Christmas at Merridale Cidery is the festive market that springs up in the courtyard. Local artisans and vendors set up stalls, offering a diverse array of handmade crafts, ornaments, and holiday treats. Visitors can meander through the market, discovering unique gifts and treasures while sipping on warm cider and enjoying the festive atmosphere.

Dine in Style

The cidery’s restaurant, known for its farm-to-table philosophy, curates a special Christmas menu featuring seasonal ingredients sourced from local farms. Guests can indulge in a festive feast, with dishes that showcase the flavors of the region. The cozy interior, adorned with rustic decorations and a crackling fireplace, provides the perfect setting for a warm and intimate holiday meal.

The sounds of holiday classics and cheerful tunes fills the air, creating a festive ambiance that resonates throughout the cidery. Grab a warm mulled cider or their new seasonal ciders and enjoy the lights as you bask in the joyous spirit of the season. Got some last minute gifts you need to find for those hard-to-buy-for friends and family members? Merridale’s gift shop has you covered: unique ciders, apparel, and pre-packaged holiday kits that come with recipes and all the ingredients!

Family Friendly

For families, Merridale Cidery’s festive display of lights ensures that children have a magical experience. The cidery’s commitment to creating a family-friendly environment ensures that Christmas at Merridale is an inclusive and joyful experience for guests of all ages.

As the evening progresses, the cidery comes alive with the soft glow of candlelight. The outdoor spaces are lit with an array of lanterns, creating a romantic and enchanting atmosphere. Couples and friends can be seen strolling through the orchards, hand in hand, taking in the beauty of the season and creating lasting memories against the backdrop of Merridale Cidery’s winter charm.

The cidery’s unique blend of natural beauty, artisanal offerings, and festive activities creates a holiday experience that is truly one-of-a-kind. As visitors depart, they carry with them the magic of the season and memories that will last a lifetime. Christmas at Merridale Cidery is not just an event; it’s a tradition that brings people together, fostering a sense of community and joy that lingers long after the holiday lights have dimmed.

Party On, Planners!

Party On, Planners!

Party On, Planners!

Hey party planners! It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And it’s time to plan the office Christmas party. Did that land on your desk? Just another “To Do” rapidly making its way to the top of the list?

Not to worry! The Cowichan Valley, with its stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage, provides an idyllic backdrop for a corporate Christmas party that combines festive cheer with the region’s unique charm. Planning a memorable event requires a thoughtful combination of the corporate culture and activities that resonate with both employees and the spirit of the season.

Think Outside the Box

The Cowichan Valley boasts a diverse range of venues, from rustic wineries to elegant estates, providing ample opportunities for hosting a corporate Christmas party. Choose a historic venue such as Keating Farm (it’s not just for weddings!) which offers a blend of tradition and modern amenities for a sophisticated celebration. Alternatively, the Merridale Cidery & Distillery is currently hosting Christmas at the Farm. Enjoy the party atmosphere and even do some Christmas shopping while you’re there!

Get in the Christmas Spirit

Given the Cowichan Valley’s reputation for excellence in wine and spirits, consider a winery tour and tasting event, allowing employees to unwind amidst picturesque vineyards. This can be a sophisticated addition to your corporate Christmas party. Partner with local wineries, distilleries, or breweries to organize a tasting experience where employees can sample a variety of beverages while learning about the craftsmanship behind each product. This not only provides a unique and educational experience but also supports local businesses.

Take It Outside!

Why not get out of the office or out of the house for you work from homers, and embrace the natural beauty of the Cowichan Valley? You can easily incorporate outdoor activities into your corporate Christmas party. Arrange a festive hike in the Cowichan River Provincial Park, where teams can explore scenic trails while participating in holiday-themed challenges and games. For a more laid-back experience, host a lakeside picnic at Cowichan Lake, complete with bonfires, hot cocoa, and carol singing beneath the starlit sky.

The Valley is home to three golf courses: Duncan Meadows Golf Course, the Cowichan Golf Club, and Mount Brenton Golf Course (in Chemainus). Why not put together a Christmas themed golf tournament with seasonal challenges and prizes? You can have tons of fun with this: costume contests, using red and green golf balls, egg nog beverage carts, the list goes on!

Or Keep It In-House

Pick a theme: Consider a “Cowichan Winter Wonderland” theme, incorporating local art and indigenous motifs into the decor to pay homage to the region’s cultural heritage.

Use seasonal décor: Infuse the holiday spirit into your corporate Christmas party by incorporating locally inspired decorations. Use elements like cedar boughs, pinecones, and native flora to create a rustic yet festive atmosphere.

Serve local fare: The Cowichan Valley is renowned for its farm-to-table culinary scene, making it an excellent choice for a Christmas feast featuring locally sourced ingredients. Collaborate with a local catering company to create a menu that highlights the region’s diverse flavours, from artisanal cheeses to freshly caught seafood. Consider hosting a cooking class where employees can learn to prepare a signature Cowichan dish, fostering teamwork and culinary creativity. Want to keep it simple? What about a Christmas Cookie Exchange?

Don’t forget to entertain the troops!: Elevate your corporate Christmas party with entertainment options that reflect the Cowichan Valley’s cultural richness. Hire local musicians to perform traditional carols or showcase indigenous performances that celebrate the area’s First Nations heritage. Additionally, consider incorporating interactive elements, such as a holiday-themed murder mystery or a team-based scavenger hunt, to keep employees engaged and entertained throughout the event.

Embrace the spirit of giving by incorporating charitable activities into your corporate Christmas party. Collaborate with local charities or non-profit organizations to organize a fundraising event, such as a silent auction or a donation drive for essential items. This not only fosters a sense of community and goodwill among employees but also contributes to the well-being of the local Cowichan Valley community.

Planning a corporate Christmas party in the Cowichan Valley offers a unique opportunity to blend the festive season with the region’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. From enchanting outdoor activities to locally inspired decorations and culinary delights, the options are diverse and promising. By embracing the spirit of the Cowichan Valley, your corporate Christmas party can become a memorable and meaningful experience for employees fostering a sense of connection, appreciation, and celebration. Party on!

Autumn in a Glass: Fall-Themed Cider, Beer, and Wine

Autumn in a Glass: Fall-Themed Cider, Beer, and Wine

Autumn in a Glass: Fall-Themed Cider, Beer, and Wine

The days are growing shorter in the Cowichan Valley, and the colourful flowers of summer have given way to the colourful leaves of fall. We’re sitting in that time between cold frosted beer mugs and cold frosted window panes. As the leaves crunch beneath your feet and the air takes on a refreshing chill, fall-themed cider and beer offer a delightful way to embrace the season.

Fall-themed cider and beer offerings are becoming a seasonal tradition here capturing the essence of fall. It’s time to get out those chunky knit sweaters and embrace the cozy and heartwarming flavours of autumn bonfires and brisk walks in the cool, crisp air.

Cider: It’s Autumn’s Brew

Cowichan Valley cider has a time-honoured history as one of the quintessential fall beverages. It’s a versatile and diverse drink that encompasses a wide range of flavours and styles. Autumn is the time when apples are harvested. Their flavours are at their peak, so it’s the best time to craft a delicious brew.

Spiced Apple Cider, a Good Book, and a Crackling Fireplace 

Apple is most certainly the most well known and common form of cider as apples come in an amazing number of varieties. Each brings its unique characteristics to the table, from sweet and juicy to tart and crisp. This versatility allows cider makers to experiment with different combinations. Crafted with warm spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and allspice, spiced cider is like a cozy blanket for your taste buds.

Nothing says autumn more than wrapping your hands around a hot spiced apple cider and breathing in the scents of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Pumpkin Spice: It’s Not Just for Coffee Anymore

Not into pumpkin spice lattes? Me neither! But it seems like the world goes crazy for them at this time of year. Try this fall favourite instead: pumpkin cider, which takes the essence of pumpkin pie and infuses it into a crisp, apple-based brew. This cider boasts flavours of pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and tastes like a delicious autumn dessert in a glass. Skip the calories in that piece of pumpkin pie and enjoy the season’s signature flavour without the guilt!

Beer: Crafting Fall’s Magic

What says “fall is here!” more than the celebration of beer that is Oktoberfest? This festival is a beloved tradition that originated in Munich, Germany. It marks the arrival of autumn with the tapping of the first Oktoberfest beer keg. This style of beer is characterized by its rich, amber colour and a medium to full body. It has a balanced maltiness, with a clean, dry finish, making it perfect for pairing with hearty German fare.

Craft breweries and microbreweries in the Cowichan Valley have embraced the challenge of brewing unique beers that evoke fall. Taking inspiration from the spirit of the season, beer makers have introduced a variety of fall-themed brews that capture the spirit of autumn in a glass.

Pumpkin Ales: Brewing the Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin ales are a quintessential fall favourite. Crafted with real pumpkin and a blend of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, these ales are reminiscent of pumpkin pie in a glass. A variety of pumpkin beers embody the cozy essence of pumpkin carving and bonfires.

Harvest Ales: The Bounty of the Fields

Harvest ales celebrate bringing in the harvest and season’s agricultural abundance. These beers often feature ingredients like fresh hops, barley, and wheat, giving them a rustic, earthy quality. They are a perfect way to connect with the agrarian roots of fall in the Cowichan Valley and honour the hard work of the harvest season.

Brown Ales: Embracing the Essence of Cozy

Brown ales are another popular choice for the fall season. They have a rich and malty profile, with a flavour that has been described as toasty, chocolatey, caramel-like, or toffeeish. The nutty undertones and smooth finish make them a warm, inviting choice, perfect for chilly autumn evenings.

Pairing Fall-Themed Cider and Beer with Food

Fall-themed cider and beer are versatile beverages that can be enjoyed on their own, but they truly shine when paired with the right foods. Here are some delectable pairing suggestions:

  1. Cheese and Charcuterie Platter: A selection of cheeses, cured meats, and crusty bread is a perfect accompaniment to both cider and beer. The salty and savory elements of the charcuterie complement the sweet and spiced notes of the beverages.
  2. Roasted Root Vegetables: Fall is the season for hearty, earthy vegetables. Roasted root vegetables, seasoned with herbs and drizzled with olive oil, make a wonderful pairing with the malty richness of brown ales or the spice-infused notes of pumpkin ales.
  3. Apple Pie: What’s fall without a slice of warm apple pie? Pair it with a spiced cider or a pumpkin ale to create a heavenly combination that celebrates the quintessential flavors of autumn.
  4. Sausages and Bratwurst: For those enjoying Oktoberfest beers, sausages and bratwurst are the classic pairings. The beer’s maltiness and clean finish complement the savory and slightly spicy notes of the sausages.

Autumn’s Elixir: Fall-Themed Wines

As autumn paints the Cowichan Valley red and gold, winemakers craft a symphony of flavours that harmonize with the season’s essence. It’s the perfect time for rich, velvety reds to take center stage.

Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots offer robust notes of blackberry and cedar, evoking cozy evening by the fireside. Pinot Noirs dance with delicate hints of cranberry and spice, a perfect accompaniment to harvest feasts and festivals.

Crisp Chardonnays with apple and pear undertones bring to mind orchard wrapped in early morning mist. Finally, sweet dessert wines, embody the apple pies topped with whipped cream and caramel drizzle.

So, gather your loved ones, savour the flavours of this wonderful time of the year, and toast to the magic of autumn with these delightful seasonal offerings.