A visit to Kelowna is not complete without trying all of the amazing food and drink options. Often, people will assume that means wine and winery restaurants, but did you know that Kelowna's breweries also have outstanding dishes that pair perfectly with locally grown ingredients? There are 20 (with 2 more opening soon) breweries in the Kelowna area, many with kitchens pumping out some of the most innovative dishes in town. Kicking things off, here are some highlights from six of the breweries in Kelowna's north end. Keep an eye out for more articles featuring more of the brews and bites around town.
Their slogan is "Weird Beer. Classic Pizza." and if you ask many locals you'll also hear that they have some of the best pizza in town. So, when you're craving a pizza head to Jackknife and eat in or take out (orders only taken in person). You won't go wrong with any of the options on the menu, but my favourite is the Matango Terror, shown above. It's a delicious combo of mushrooms, caramelized onion, Fiore di latte, mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil, chilli flakes and basil on their amazingly crispy thin crust. Even better, you can get a vegan version if that's your preference. Another great thing about Jackknife is that they are a proudly inclusive and safe space for everyone and they often collaborate with many other breweries in the area to create "weird beer". When I visit, a couple of my go-to's are the Chimeran Awakening, a white wine barrel fermented nordic farmhouse wheat ale (just trust me and try it) and Hair Straight Back a spruce tip pale ale.
Opened in 2019 as the first brick-and-mortar location for the team behind the popular CrAsian Food Truck, Provisions Kitchen & Catering at Kettle River Brewing creates a new menu every couple of weeks using what's in season from local producers. When I visited the menu was full of amazing sounding dishes, so we ordered four - mussels & prawns, fried chicken & waffles, grilled salmon, and pork belly sliders. Head Chef Brock Bowes knows what he's doing, so all dishes were great, but my favourite was the mussels & prawns and the chicken and waffles. From my beer flight the stand out was the Chocolate Milk Stout, with the strong Double IPA coming in second. Keep an eye on their social media for what's on the menu and check out their "Big Boards" that are rotating features that will feed at least two people.
In the middle of a huge expansion, Red Bird is now offering eats from a food truck on site Wednesday to Sunday. It's a perfect compliment to the live music and great beer that they've been offering in the north end for quite a while. At any brewery, if it's a first visit getting a flight is always a good idea so you get a sense of what they have to offer, but if you're only looking for a pint, at Red Bird you can't go wrong with the citrusy and refreshing Regatta Radler. It's a 50/50 mix of their Kölsch with grapefruit juice and it's a great match for the delicious Smokey Hot Dog with Mac & Cheese. The Mac & Cheese is super cheesy and creamy with bacon and garlic butter - yum!
Who knew Sunday brunch and beer paired perfectly? At Rustic Reel it definitely does, plus they have a make-your-own Caesar bar if you'd rather that instead of beer. I went there specifically for brunch to try out the Eggs Benny Flight - eggs benedict done three ways: smoked salmon, bacon, and arugula salad with pickled onions, all covered in house-made hollandaise. In my opinion, this classic brunch meal went well with the Raspberry Hibiscus Sour and the Nitro Coffee Stout, but why not try a flight when you're there and you can see what pairs well according to your taste buds. Another fun thing about Rustic Reel is that they often have live music supporting local artists, so check their social to find out who's up next and when.
Do you like smoked meats, house-made charcuterie and preserves and local ingredients? Then check out Vice & Virtue. They have a great menu, all of which is worth trying. On the day I was shooting, I went with the Brisket Burger, it's made with brisket that's been smoked for eight hours, house made slaw, dill pickle and barbecue sauce - simple, but high quality ingredients coming together into a delicious sandwich. And from my flight, my favourite was the super popular Love Potion Raspberry "Berliner Vice", with the Day For It Summer Smasher Sour coming a close second. Be sure to check out Vice & Virtue when you're in the north end, they are an inclusive space and welcoming to all.
It's one of the newest brewery's to open with the only English inspired menu in the north end, and it's one to put on your list. If you love traditional English chips, you cannot go wrong with Welton Arms. Add to that their cod, a bacon butty, or an English Banger and you've got yourself a traditional pub meal, they even have vegan options. What's great is that all the beer on the menu also go great with the food, it was tough to choose a favourite. Be sure to try as many as possible, and definitely try some of their nitro beers, they are so smooth.
Since this article was written, three new breweries have opened in the north end, making that a total of 11 breweries within a four block radius. Stay tuned for more info on Bad Tattoo Kelowna, The Office and Unleashed Brewing!