Originally published on BC Ale Trail
Some incorporate unusual ingredients like beets or pumpkins, while others brew traditional harvest-themed European styles like Belgian Saisons and German Oktoberfest-style Märzens or Festbiers. Many breweries work with local farms to add freshly harvested hops into brews—the resulting fresh hop or wet hop beers are the most uniquely seasonal style of beer there is, and this is the only time of year when you can taste them.
Plan your next brewery tour using the BC Ale Trail and be sure to download our app so that you can collect reward points at all the breweries you visit and then redeem them for prizes and discounts.
Look for these beers at the breweries or at local liquor stores.
Check out the list of Vancouver Island autumn beers below.
Fresh Hop IPA from Category 12 Brewing (6.6% ABV)
Capturing the peak of the hop harvest, Centennial hops grown at Topp’s Hops in the Chilliwack Valley were picked at their prime and rushed to the brewery the very same day!
Sartori Harvest IPA from Driftwood Brewery (7% ABV)
BC’s original and still favourite wet-hopped IPA can only be brewed once a year when, in the midst of the hop harvest, fresh Centennial hops are spirited from Sartori Cedar Ranch near Chilliwack to Driftwood Brewery in Victoria. Sartori’s fresh hops have a delicious profile unique to the patch of land they cultivate in the Columbia Valley making this limited release singular and remarkable.
Oktoberfest Festbier by Herald Street Brew Works (5.23% ABV)
Brewed using specialty malts and hops from Germany, this smooth lager has a smooth mouthfeel and caramel notes. Prost!
Several Harvest-Themed Beers from Howl Brewing in North Saanich
Fresh Hop IPA (6% ABV | 55 IBU)
Fresh Hop Tomato Saison (5% ABV | 20 IBU)
Marzen (6% ABV | 25 IBU)
Pumpkin Porter (6% ABV | 20 IBU)
Fresh Hop Grodziskie (5% ABV | 20 IBU)
Howl Brewing also has a range of more traditional styles on tap so be sure to check them out this fall if you haven’t visited this brewery just north of Victoria International Airport before.
Wolf Vine Wet Hopped Pale Ale by Hoyne Brewing (5.3% ABV)
This wet-hopped pale ale, brewed annually following the fresh hop harvest in September, is the culmination of a great friendship between Hoyne Brewery and the Hope Bay Hop Farm on Pender Island. On one special day every year, volunteers gather to pick fresh, aromatic hops, which are used to brew a single batch of Wolf Vine the very next day, capturing the rawness and fragrant intensity of island life.
Two “bières de la récolte” (harvest beers) from Île Sauvage Brewing
(6.1% ABV) Brewed in the German style with Pilsner and Munich malts and noble hops, but fermented with a Kveik yeast blend, then lagered for two months.
(5.1% ABV) A sour brown beer with pumpkins in the mash that is conditioned on cinnamon and nutmeg. It smells like pumpkin pie, but finishes tangy – almost similar to a mulled cider.
Oktoburr Lager from Land & Sea Brewing (6% ABV | 25 IBU)
This German Oktoberfest-style lager was brewed with Munich, Vienna and Pilsner malts and Hallertau and Tettnang hops—all from Germany. Fermented and lagered cool and long, it is crisp, clean, and crushable with the floral and herbal hop complementing the bready malt character.
Anchors Aweigh Wee Heavy from Lighthouse Brewing (7% ABV)
This Scotch Ale was brewed with Golden Promise and Simpsons Crystal Malts imported from the U.K. Medium to full-bodied, with notes of caramel, raisins or dates, and a hearty, bready backbone, this malt-forward ale is ideal for a rainy autumn evening.
Hopposites Attract Wet Hop Pale Ale by Longwood Brewery and White Sails Brewing (5.5% ABV | 32 IBU)
This collaboration between two of Nanaimo’s breweries features two varieties of locally grown and harvested wet hops from Maple Bay Hops along with two dry hops and a blend of barley, oats, wheat and rye to create a rich creamy body.
Three Fresh-Hop Beverages from the Moon Under Water Brewery, Pub & Distillery
Friends in High Places’ Fresh Hop Pale (5% ABV
Brewed with local red wheat from Field Five Farms in Saanich and fresh Cascade hops from Northwest Hop Farm that were frozen with liquid nitrogen and then shattered into a powder that was used to dry hop the beer.
Super Hans Fresh Hopped English Mild (3.2% | 20 IBU)
Brewed with Maris Otter malts and single-hopped with fresh-picked Fuggles.
Lemon Lupulus Wet Hop Seltzer (4% ABV | 0 IBU)
A hard seltzer made with lemon and strawberry juice and then wet-hopped with fresh-picked Cashmere hops. Gluten free.
Eclipse Stout from Phillips Brewing (4.5% ABV)
This traditional stout is surprisingly light and smooth-bodied thanks to the addition of russet potato, and finishes with a delicious roasted malt bite. It is creamy and flavourful with notes of dry dark chocolate and coffee beans, and a mild earthiness thanks to a high percentage of roasted barley in the mash.
Sunset Empire Fresh Hop IPA by Red Arrow Brewing (6% ABV)
This “co-op” beer marks an annual tradition — members of the community are invited to bring hops from various places around the Cowichan Valley, such as community gardens, customer’s homes, etc. Those hops are combined with hops grown at the brewery and then added to the brew kettle while they’re still fresh.
Estate Grown Fresh Hop ESB from Spinnakers Brewpub (5% ABV | 40 IBU)
Spinnakers grows its own hops in Sooke, and this year they say they had to pick them two weeks earlier than previous years due to all the heat this summer.
Centennial Fresh Hop IPA from Whistle Buoy Brewing (5.6% ABV | 53 IBU)
Golden in colour, a light base of primarily Pilsner malt was the canvas for a rich addition of Centennial fresh hops from Maple Bay Hop farm near Duncan. Floral notes along with citrus and berries come through from the hops to make this a light, fruity, and crushable IPA.
For a list of Summer Beers from all over British Columbia, check out the full blog on the BC Ale Trail.
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