Coastal BC Craft Breweries That Make It Worth Going the Extra Road Trip Mile

Continuing with our #friendsinbeerplaces road trip along the Coastal Ale Trail… When I travel,  I’m all about convenience, efficiency, and quality. No set order. All three things come in handy when exploring, but sometimes you need to go the extra mile (or ferry) in order to find quality. The road less travelled, if you will. And that is why the Brit and I are big fans of Love Shack Libations and Townsite Brewing – they are craft breweries that go the extra mile for their customers, which makes going off the beaten path completely worth it.

I really could loop most the craft breweries that we’ve been to into this post, but these two stand out. And here’s why:

Love Shack Libations

When the Brit and I were on our road trip, I was doing a take over of the Townsite Brewing Instagram. Dave Paul at Love Shack reached out on Day 2 through the Townsite account to invite us to visit him at his brewery in Qualicum, and we happily accepted the invitation.

It’s a bit of a drive to get there, and the cell service isn’t great. But when you get there, you forget about that. We also realized that the tasting room is only open two days a week and this day was not one of them; which meant Dave had invited us to completely interrupt his workday. So we felt pretty special.

You might be saying “open only two days a week??”, but for perspective, Love Shack is considered a ‘nano’ brewery, and, aside from someone who mans the front on those open days, Dave operates the brewery solo. And he is doing it with purpose and love. He is also a complete romantic – but I’ll get to that in a second.

You know how Skittles tells us to taste the rainbow? The Love Shack rainbow is way better. (ROYGBIV represent!) Dave spoiled us and we got to taste some brews that weren’t available to the public just yet; like the Lemon Lavender Love. (Thank you!)

The tasting room features a gorgeous live edge wood bar table – that he made himself! – and none of the tasting glasses are the same, which makes the experience that much more fun. Dave has poured (ha) himself into his nano-brewery, and the quality is shows. If pressed – because I loved them all – my favourite of the mega-flight that we shared was the Precious Porter and The Brit’s was a tie between the DPA (Dark IPA a. k. a. Dave Paul Ale) and the Juicy Juice IPA.

I could see my love’s interest completely spark when we walked into the tasting room/brewery. If there were no roadblocks, having an operation like this would be right up his alley. He makes his own excellent IPA and a lovely stout for me, at home. I could have left for a bit and my very tall Brit and the even taller Dave would have chatted for hours.

This was one of my top 3 highlights on our trip. It was unexpected (which usually ends up being the best!), and because we went a few extra miles, we got to experience someone going the extra mile to do what he loves.

Speaking of love, you need to click here to read about how Love Shack Libations came to be. Dave tells it much better than I ever could, but I will say that the man loves his wife and family so much. I mean, never mind naming the DPA for himself, he named the RPA for his wife, Rachel. Sigh. And the glass racks are heart shaped. I mean really… He is the nicest man.

Location:  #1-4134 Island Hwy W, Qualicum Beach | Web: loveshacklibations.com

Townsite Brewing

You’ve possibly already read about Townsite Brewing here via my interview with (my now mentor) co-owner Michelle Zutz, and in my newly updated guide to Powell River.  The Brit and I are fans for life, and it’s a place now near and dear to our hearts. Michelle at Townsite is also the reason the #friendsinbeerplaces road trip came to fruition.

Since opening in 2012, the Townsite team has really pioneered the craft brewery movement on the Sunshine Coast. They are also incredibly supportive of their fellow craft brewers and creators. And there’s a mutual respect for them – and for Cédric, the brewer – because of that. (I mean, what’s the point of NOT being collaborative and supporting each other?) Hence, #friendsinbeerplaces.

If you were to look at a map of the BC Ale Trail along the Sunshine Coast, you will note that you need to take a ferry from Vancouver Island to get to Powell River, or two (yes, two) ferries to get there from Vancouver. So you are either going there with purpose or you get a nice bonus for taking that second ferry. It’s worth it. Especially going to the historic Townsite area.

We first visited Townsite in October 2017, and then we spent our 2017 NYE there when we were staying at Finn Bay Farm. It’s become a place where the staff knows us, and they are just so lovely. (Why I am surprised that they remember my name, I don’t know. Possibly because the baristas and waiters in Vancouver can’t seem to spell my name right, even when I spell it out for them… Ah, city life.)

Who doesn’t want the head brewer or the GM to see them, give them a big hug, and say “Come up to the barrel room; we’re doing a little tasting!” (Cédric, you are a star and know the way to our hearts!) This is the extra mile. It is also a place where I could have left Mark and Cédric and they would have chatted for hours about Perfect Storm Stout. (They basically did!)

That random tasting was of their recently launched Quartz Wild Ale, which, as a blended fermentation brew, is very wild, indeed. You should go try it! (And no, you don’t have to take two ferries to do that. (But you could, it’s worth the trip!) Just go to a local liquor store in Vancouver or on the Island.)

Location:  5824 Ash Ave, Powell River | Web: TownsiteBrewing.com

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A big thank you to Dave at Love Shack Libations for his hospitality and for letting us interrupt his workday. An even bigger thank you to Michelle at Townsite for helping me coordinate this road trip and hosting us; and to the Townsite team for always making us feel so welcome. Sunshine Coast Tourism brought us from Vancouver Island to Powell River, and we are grateful. As always, opinions are my own.

“There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.” ~ Zig Ziglar

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