I am in Kamloops this weekend for a friend’s wedding. Prior to making the trip up, I did a fair amount of research online to find the best places to visit for food and beer in Kamloops. From what I have seen so far, Kamloops is not a great city for beer – nor is information readily available online about restaurants, pubs and breweries in the Kamloops area. Urbanspoon and Yelp were of little help – both have an almost nonexistent online-presence in Kamloops.
Unlike most large cities in British Columbia’s Thompson-Okanagon region, Kamloops is not home to a brewpub, and the only brewery in town, KB/Whistler Brewing/Bowen Island Brewing, is confusing, mediocre and therefore somewhat unsatisfying. This lone craft brewer was once name Kamloops Brewing prior to a series of corporate mergers that eventually ended up with the decline of KB beer – Whistler Brewing is now this brewery’s flagship beer. This misleading beer is brewed using glacial water trucked in over the long mountainous roads from Whistler – ridiculous. I am in Kamloops right now and the water tastes great, but why use local water when “ultra-premium” water can be shipped in – climate change is a myth.
We did manage to find a local pub named Duffy’s Pub within walking distance of our hotel that offers KB Black Bear Ale on draught. Black Bear is still brewed using local Kamloops water and has a delicate roasted malt flavor with a pleasing aroma that is distinct to the Kamloops area and their local water supply. The food was typical Canadian pub fare – pizza, burgers, pasta, steak and other simple dishes; the beer selection was made up of light lager and a few other darker ales. According to the limited number of reviews on urbanspoon, Duffy’s Pub is one of Kamloops’ top 10.
In doing some research I did come across Rethink Beer – a herb infused lager brewed at KB Brewing. I have no idea if this gimmicky product is still in production or if this brand ever achieved success. According to Rethink’s website their beer is not available in Kamloops. But lets be serious for a minute here, no amount of ginseng, ginko or tribulus will make beer any healthier or tastier. Beer is a naturally nutritious beverage that does not need to rely on herbal additions to attain a healthy status – red wine is not the only healthy drink option.
Local breweries play a big role in the development of a city’s beer culture. Vancouver Island for example, is a destination for beer enthusiasts, largely because of the number of small craft breweries that support and encourage a growing regional beer scene. Unfortunately, the only brewery in Kamloops no longer focuses on servicing it’s surrounding area and instead has opted to pursue flashier export markets with the internationally recognized brand Whistler Brewing.