Beer has almost always been commonplace in the Cariboo region of British Columbia. The Barkerville beers tell a tale of the historic gold rush in Cariboo. The very first brewery was founded in the 1860s and was located in an empty lot. After a fire ravaged the region, the town of Barkerville has been slowly trying to rebuild the brewery in the picturesque town of Quesnel, BC, as the old spot no longer seemed viable for a brewery. Since opening in 2014, the brewery has done a lot to introduce the craft beer scene back to the region.
Although the original building that housed the Barkerville Brewing Company burnt down, the brewery’s new location in Quesnel was a perfect selection for the base operations because it is only located a few miles away from the original factory and the Quesnel area experiences large amounts of foot traffic which has been instrumental in the brewery’s growth and expansion. The front doors of the new brewery reveal at small tasting area and a display of the numerous promotional items that are available for purchase.
Initially, the factory offered four bottled options consisting of the 18 Karat Golden Ale, Hound of Barkerville Brown Ale, Prospector’s Peril Blonde Ale and the Wandering Camel IPA. The 18 Karat Ale is a two-time medal winner at the Canadian Brewing Awards that is made from a mixture of malted barley and hops. The 52 Foot Stout with Birch Syrup is a British Stout and a Barkerville winter seasonal. It is made with boreal amber, roasted malt, and birch syrup. The Demi Mondaine, which is a DunkelWeizen also won a medal at the BC Beer Awards in 2016. It has a slight tartness that is complex and refreshing. Lastly, the White Gold also won an award at the 2015 BC Beer Awards in the German and Belgian wheat category.
All the beers that are created at the factory are inspired by the gold rush that was historically experienced in the Cariboo Districts. The designs of the bottles are masterfully created and designed to compound the northern craft beer market as well as pay homage to the wonderful locally sourced and grown ingredients. The brewery is growing slowly and steadily to attract a steady stream of customers; food trucks can be seen parked outside every day to cater to the local craft beer customers that arrive at Quesnel daily. Additionally, Barkerville beer is available in other communities in northern BC, as well as in other retail hotspots like Vancouver and Victoria.