Drinks,  Travel

Wander and Sip at These Tasting Rooms on BC’s Sunshine Coast

Continuing on with our #friendsinbeerplaces road trip, the Brit and I visited two tasting rooms while on the Sunshine Coast (a.k.a. Brewer’s Coast) leg of the trip that are unique in location and purpose: The Bricker Cider Company and Persephone Brewing. They have the fields of dreams. (Don’t worry I won’t use the quote!)

As soon as I get to the Sunshine Coast, my entire being chills the **** out. This also happens on Vancouver Island. The entire vibe changes, and it all makes me feel like we need to move there, and soon. Add a glass of something lovely to my hand, or getting me strolling through a field or forest and I’m in heaven.

But I digress; let me tell you all about why you need to go wander the fields at Bricker Cider and Persephone Brewing. Or at the very least, sit and admire them while sipping and chatting.

Top Tip: If you’re wanting to have some peace and quiet and get those Instagram shots in, go early. Like for opening or at a non-peak time (Google maps can help with this). That way, you get a good spot for enjoying your drinks and food, and you can capture your wander through the picturesque fields without interruption.

The Bricker Cider Company

The first thing you should know about Bricker Cider is that it is 100% family owned and operated. Which immediately makes me want to support them. They named their cidery for their grandmother, so you know these are good people.

Until recently, I wasn’t really a fan of cider, possibly because any ciders I had tasted prior to then had been in the UK. ( And they aren’t my favourite – much too sweet. When I’m in the UK, give me a pint of stout, a glass of Pinot Noir or a G&T.) But I’m pleased to say that Doc the bear (the Bricker Cider mascot) changed my mind, and the Bricker Frambo is one of my new favourite drinks. Clearly, I’m meant to be drinking craft cider, not Strongbow.

Top Tip: Bricker Cider is 100% gluten-free and it’s as pure in ingredients as you could ever wish for: BC apples and yeast. That’s it. So for all my Celiac/gluten-sensitive and non-beer drinking gals, this is for you! You’re welcome.

We were hosted by the lovely Nova (a super cool gal), and she gave The Brit and I a lesson in liquor licensing. Bricker is licensed as a winery (because our province needs to catch up with the times and update the rules to include cideries…), which means they are hampered by a set of rules that don’t really make sense.

The Cole’s Notes version is that their licensing only allows them to serve flights and tasters indoors, but people can buy bottles and growlers and take them outside to the garden – with glasses provided by the tasting room. You can also take your flight outside. This is because of a loophole picnic endorsement in the liquor laws – so the government isn’t really taking away all the fun, but the tasting room thing is a bit weird.

You might look at my flight of Original, Hopped, and Frambo dry ciders and wonder why I didn’t take a picture of it when the glasses were full. Well, that’s them as full-up as they are allowed to be. The aforementioned liquor laws state that the tasting room can only pour up to 5fl oz of samples per person, per day in the tasting room. It’s such a bizarre set of rules. But I digress.

The June weather was more spring than summer-like when we were there, but I desperately wished that I was wearing a flowy peasant dress and had a flower crown on while I was wandering the three acres of trees, glass in hand. Next time!

The tasting room is extremely cosy but get a table outside while the summer weather is still upon us.  (And make sure to take a picture with Doc before you leave!) They have a food truck on site and people are welcome to bring their own food. We left knowing we will go back in the near future, with more time to spare, so we can buy a growler and take advantage of that picnic endorsement.

Location: 6642 Norwest Bay Rd, Sechelt | Web: brickerscider.com

Persephone Brewing

Because we were incredibly spoiled on this trip, we went from one field of dreams to another. After checking in at our Airbnb (which was super cute and had a fab view), we took a taxi to Persephone Brewing to meet up with their Tasting Room Manager, Roo. (Who, as a former theatre major, understood the importance of his role in my photos and Instagram stories. Thank you!)

Persephone Brewing is located in Gibsons, and there are so many things to talk about – but in a nutshell? They are not only a brewery with a pretty field and a kick-ass pizza oven. They are an 11-acre fully operational farm with two hop yards, an apple orchard, one very large market garden and a flock of laying hens. And let’s not forget the honey bees. It’s kind of like “The 12 Days of Christmas”. Oh, and it’s all organic. Do you hear the angels singing? I did.

I like the name of this brewery because it honours not only the boat from the CBC classic TV show, The Beachcombers (which was filmed in Gibsons), but also for the goddess Persephone of Greek mythology. Persephone had a bit of a soap opera life – she was kidnapped by Hades to be his wife in the underworld, and that was the least of it – but she was worshipped by agricultural communities and is often portrayed in artwork with a sheaf of grain. (Appropriate, right?)

PBC (as they call the farm) are doing the right things to worship her, because I swear we had a salad’s worth of vegetation on our tour. Roo kept handing us delicious things to taste. I’m a big fan of kale, and they have the most beautiful rows of it. And the beer is very flavourful and fresh.

It’s no wonder, since they compost all their brewing and food scraps to make the fertiliser for the gardens, hops, and orchard. Oh and the grain they’ve started growing. (You have no idea how mind-blowing this place is…) This is farm-to-table at its best. For more information on this and PBC’s community initiatives, click here.

Let’s get back to the the beer for a second. Persephone is one of few craft breweries I’ve been to that keeps a dark beer on tap during the summer. So I love them as much as I love their Nitro Stout and Black Lager. And the pesto pizza. Good thing, too, as they only make one flavour a day, with their own veggies and other locally sourced ingredients.

We were given a tour of the entire property, and can I tell you? Those angels didn’t stop singing until we had to leave. They actually started crying.

Location:  1053 Stewart Rd, Gibsons | Web: persephonebrewing.com

Thank you to Bricker Cider and Persephone Brewing for hosting the Brit and I at their tasting rooms, and to Townsite Brewing for liaising and connecting us. As always, opinions are my own.  

“I work hard in the orchard, not for the money anymore, but for something I can’t explain. Something worth more than money.” ~ Steven Herrick, A Place Like This

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