Food and Beverage

Grapes & Grains: A Prohibition-Period Event With Modern-Day Spirits

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Grapes & Grains: A Prohibition-Period Event With Modern-Day Spirits

Words by Gina Bégin and photos courtesy of the Hume Hotel & Spa in Nelson, BC. This article was originally published on

With 120 years under its belt, Nelson’s Hume Hotel and Spa has a number of decades to authentically pull from when seeking a party theme. So when the hotel’s team decided to host a celebration of local and international wines, spirits, and craft beer, there’s hardly a better decade to choose than the “Roaring Twenties.”

The 1920s were a big decade for the then double-decade old Hume Hotel. Not only had building said goodbye to its founders—the Hume family—just a few years earlier, but it was about to undergo major renovations and technological upgrades, such as telephones in every room and an icemaker. By the end of the decade, the interior and exterior renovations applied by Benwell—the hotel’s second owner—had so changed the building that the local paper described the Hume as “hardly recognizable.”

It is this period in the Hume’s history that creates the stage for the hotel’s present-day, second annual ‘Grapes & Grains’ event (Saturday, April 21).

A group a girls dressed in 1920s era clothing at Grapes & Grains festival

“The prohibition theme, set in this historical building, creates a great atmosphere,” says Tracey Brown, co-owner of Backroads Brewing, a Nelson craft brewery that served ales for attendees at the inaugural Grapes & Grains last year. “It provides a level of participation that the customers seem to really get into and enhances the whole experience for all involved.”

The soirée turns back the hands of time in a way that goes beyond attempting to replicate the period with decoration; it turns the hotel into a period piece, using tactics such as encouraging costumed customers and enlisting the help of local bands in playing period music.

Musicians playing at Grape & Grains Festival

“Being in Nelson, we have such a wealth of music talent to draw from,” says Hume Hotel’s Evening Operations Manager, Greg Basek, of the bands selected to play for Grapes & Grains. This year, four different jazz groups will perform throughout the festival.

Tiny details are also crucial to authenticity, and these are not overlooked. “They even had staff walking around dressed as [period-cigarette vendors] and handing out candy cigarettes,” says Brown.

Backroads Brewing and the Nelson Brewing Company will be in attendance again this year, pouring alongside other Kootenay-region favourites such as the Fernie Brewing Company and Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie Brewing Company. But it’s not just beer that’s the focus, which is one of the aspects that both Basek and Brown list as “unique” for this type of event.

“We incorporate wine, craft beer, cider, and spirits,” says Basek. “Most festivals focus on one—we try and create a cross-section of all,” noting that the organizers hand-picked 30 vendors which will provide over 150 different labels for patrons to sample through the night.

“It’s a great opportunity for visitors and locals to try a great variety of BC wines, beers, and spirits,” agrees Brown.

And food is not forgotten. The culinary skill of the Hume Hotel’s kitchen staff shines with the multiple food stations provided throughout the evening. In conjunction with the main event, the Hume will also hold a seven-course winemaker’s dinner on the preceding evening.

“There will be 13 different wines paired with chef and wine-inspired plates of food,” says Basek. “The night will be hosted by a fantastic duo… who work closely with the wineries being featured, ready to answer any questions attendees may have.”

When asked why the Hume adds significance to the vibe of Grapes & Grains, Brown says, “The building is a historical landmark in Nelson and is held dear to many locals. To have a themed event here really works.”

A bonus point for the Hume being the right place for this event? “Being a large hotel, visitors can attend the event and also stay in the hotel—no travelling is required,” says Brown. “ [Nelson has] many activities and places of interest in close proximity, so it’s ideal for a weekend stay or longer.”

The dance floor at Grapes & Grains festival.


Kaslo Gets Angry

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Kaslo Gets Angry

Angry Hen Brewing Company Coming Soon to Kaslo BC

Get ready to add this new Kaslo gem to your list of hot spots to cool down and quench your thirst. Angry Hen Brewing Company is working hard to open its doors this August, and will display a selection of twelve drafts made in-house by seasoned Brew Master, Shirley Warne.

Warne comes to Kaslo bringing with her thirty years of brewing experience. Having cultivated her craft from coast to coast by beginning her career in Toronto and traversing from Vancouver to Halifax, Warne has chosen to settle in the Kootenay mountain town of Kaslo. After consulting in larger commercial breweries in Vancouver, Warne looks forward to utilizing the relaxed, creative flexibility that small brew houses foster. A prime environment for “experimenting”, as Warne puts it.

Located in Kaslo’s relaxed downtown, Angry Hen Brewing is the perfect place to enjoy an artisan brew while soaking in the striking Purcell and Selkirk mountain range. This newly renovated space will feature a brewery lounge and outdoor patio styled with a “Kootenay Chic” aesthetic. The production area will also be open for tours and will feature a made-in-BC 7 barrel brewhouse, fermenters and conditioning tanks. Even the steam boiler is showy, painted a cerulean blue, and freckled with gauges and wrapped in pipes: "kinda steampunk" says co-owner Manon Gagnon.

Angry Hen Brewing Co logo    Front of what will soon be Angry Hen Brewing Co

When asked what makes Angry Hen different from other breweries in the Kootenay area, co-owner Andy LeCouffe replied, “I don't know. Craft beer making is a fraternity. We all try to make great beer.” A statement the Angry Hen team is set to deliver on as the brewery has been a project fueled by passion and dedication to the craft of brewing. This approach will definitely emanate from the warm, communal atmosphere of the lounge and the stunning quality of the beer.

Whether you’re a beer connoisseur or just enjoy a pint with friends, the Nelson and Kootenay Lake region will not disappoint.  The region boasts a number of unique brew houses that will be sure to quench a thirst of any kind; such as the Nelson Brewing Company, Torchlight Brewing, Savoy Brewing Company, and Backroads Brewing Company. So be sure to make the Kootenay Lake region your next stop for quailty beer with a beautiful view.

'Tis the Season for Stout in Nelson

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'Tis the Season for Stout in Nelson

By John Bowden

Winter’s frosty darkness is upon us. Plummeting temperatures and falling snow can only mean one thing.

Stout season has arrived.

Rich, dark, and warming, nothing quite says winter like a cascading pint of freshly brewed liquid courage. Fortunately for beer lovers, Nelson’s local breweries are serving up a variety of winter warmers this season.

The venerable Nelson Brewing Company has been quietly crafting stellar organic ales for over two decades. Their Face Plant Organic Winter Ale is a local’s favourite. The extra hit of organic brown sugar and organic molasses helps pump up this beauty to 6.5%, giving it a little more warmth to keep you warm on those cold nights.

NBC’s silky smooth Blackheart Organic Oatmeal Stout has also been resurrected this year. Available on tap and in slick 650ml bottles, it’s a definite go-to when the thermometer plummets.

To complete the hoppy trinity, NBC has partnered with the legendary coffee roasters at Oso Negro for a limited release coffee stout that launched just before the holidays. They didn’t have to go far to team up; they’re based out of the same heritage building.

Oso’s signature “Prince of Darkness” blend was cold brewed and added into the beer in the later stages. The mighty beans lend a one-two punch of espresso and coffee notes without too much bitterness. Don’t blink though; just 400 cases have been produced and it will only be available within 100 miles of Nelson. Alas, the one-off sold out almost instantly, but perhaps the success will inspire a repeat brew in the near future.

Just down the street, Torchlight Brewing Company specializes in bold winter ales. Serving up more than 50 (!) kinds of beer through the year, the small craft brewery reflects the beer tastes of co-owners (and co-brewers) Josh Secord and Craig Swendson. “Oh Baby it’s Cold Outside Winter Ale”, “Eleventy One Stout”, “Led Sled Porter” and “Stowaway Oatmeal Stout” are just some of the winter warmers you might find in their taproom.

What madness inspired this dynamic duo to churn out so many dark beers? “Mainly just because there IS such a diversity of winter-themed beers that we want people to try and explore. People have this tendency to lump all dark-coloured beers into one category and there are so many missed flavour experiences when you skip beers because they're 'dark'.” Fortunately for beer fans, Torchlight’s frequently changing rotation promises a new flavour with just about every visit. Torchlight also brings organic carbonated juices to the community where you can fill up your growler, or bring in the kids for a taster while you experience some fine beer. A new brewing and tasting space in the spring of 2017 will be provide more seats and snacks to compliment the brews.

Nelson’s ale trail continues over at the Savoy Hotel, where a brand new nano-brewery is now up and running. Although the hotel is still under construction, you can enjoy freshly brewed pints at Farm Fresh Café and Falls Music Lounge on site.

Their IPA and Pale Ale are tasty, but the nitrogen-dispensed stout takes the cake. Described as a “medium-bodied traditional Irish stout with pronounced chocolate on the top, it offers a classic dry crisp finish”. In other words, you’ll be licking your lips and looking for another pint in no time. The roasty-toasty stout should be on tap through the winter.

With Backroads Brewing slated to open on Nelson’s historic Baker Street in early 2017, the region is now a destination worthy of any beer lover. But don’t wait too long – these seasonal ales are only available while Old Man Winter is in town.

Baked in the Kootenays

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Baked in the Kootenays

By John Bowden

Wake and bake, the flavours of Nelson and Kootenay Lake are calling. Careful though, you might just get hooked on the selection of hand-crafted varieties. That sweet aroma is tough to resist. 

Yes, this place is a haven for artisan bakeries and fresh breads. 

I’m not talking Wonder Bread. I’m talking the real-deal, handmade by independent bakeries, with equal parts pure ingredients and a passion for the craft. Little suprise that sourdough, the most natural of breads, is the focus for bakeries here.

A step inside Nelson’s well-known Kootenay Co-op grocery store reveals shelves overflowing with locally baked bread from the region. I found myself wondering how so many bakeries are able to thrive here. What follows is a little (written) taste of some of Nelson and Kootenay Lake's favourite bread makers.

The venerable Kaslo Sourdough Bakery has been creating traditional bread for over 20 years. What started out as a small summer-only enterprise on the town’s lakeside main street has grown to become a year-round business. The family-run bakery currently crafts over a dozen different varieties of hearty bread, and has recently pioneered sourdough pasta.

I asked Heide Lettrari what makes her family’s bakery distinctive. “Over the years that my parents have been baking, they've developed a large variety of different kinds of breads, in part as a response to customer requests, but also because of wanting to stay relevant and ahead of the curve for bread-making. So that is reflected not only in our various regular sourdough breads, but also in our rye and pumpernickel loaves, and our wheat-free breads like Ryelander, Hobo, and Rebel.”

She also mentioned that the remoteness of the Kootenays leads to unique opportunities, including taking risks and trying something different. Baking sourdough bread made sense for KSB, as it aligns with local demand for healthy and nutritious food.

I got a similar feeling from David Berringer, owner of Uphill Bakery in Nelson. David refers to his company as an organic “micro-bakery”, with his limited production featured in only a handful of restaurants and grocery stores in town. “People here like buying locally, and appreciate the diversity of small local businesses.” Hot tip – Oso Negro makes their killer sandwiches with his bread, while gourmet restaurant Bibo features it too.  

During the warmer months, David can be seen in Uphill Bakery’s signature bright orange “ELF” tricycle making deliveries around town. Perhaps tricycle is a bit of a misnomer; it’s more like a three-wheeled pod, complete with a trailer for his freshly baked goods. Does it get any better than handcrafted bread delivered by environmentally friendly transportation?


"People here like buying locally, and appreciate the diversity of small local businesses." 

David Berringer, Uphill Bakery


Located on Nelson's bustling Baker Street, the Kootenay Bakery Cafe Cooperative has been a community fixture since 1991. It offers a recently renovated, family-friendly place to enjoy wholesome, organic and delicious foods. KBCC also supports local farmers and producers. "People feel good knowing that while they enjoy a delicious treat they are supporting our worker owned business and in turn the greater community." 

"Kootenay communities are strong supporters of local farmers, artisans, and craftspeople, and bakeries are no exception. People in the Kootenays are lovers of healthy and flavourful foods."

Kootenay Bakery Cafe

Locals particularly embrace the freshly baked sourdough varieties. "Kootenay communities are strong supporters of local farmers, artisans, and craftspeople, and bakeries are no exception. People in the Kootenays are lovers of healthy and flavourful foods. Sourdough bread has the combined benefits of increased digestibility, complex flavours, and a wonderful crumb texture and crust that yeasted breads do not. Sourdough breads are labour intensive and take up to 24 hours to produce and people really appreciate the artistry and time put into making such wonderful bread."

If you spend any time in Nelson, you might be surprised to hear locals conversing in French, despite Quebec being five provinces away. (That’s about the equivalent of Madrid to Moscow. Canada is ridiculously big. But I digress). The mountain town boasts a significant French Canadian population, and is also home to the European influenced Au Soleil Levant bakery.

Tucked away off busy Baker Street, it can be a bit of treasure hunt to find. But the reward is well worth the effort. Stepping inside the swing door of the tiny bakery is a feast for the senses. There’s nothing to hide here; everything is right in front of you.

The mouthwatering aroma of fresh baked bread complements the sight of artistic loaves and baked goods for sale. Each day features a selection of seven different breads (if you’re there on a Friday you’re in luck! The egg bread, or challah, is superb).

Like the other local bakeries, Au Soleil Levant has been a community fixture for quite some time. Both the business and the sourdough starter have been going strong for 17 years!

This sustainability is a testament to the community’s desire to support local businesses, and particularly those that create healthy and fresh food. It also means that as a visitor, you can trust that the locally baked bread in Nelson and Kootenay Lake region is worth seeking out.

Although Nelson continues to develop a well-deserved reputation for serious coffee, it’s bakery scene is also worthy of any visitor’s attention. Empire Coffee is a great example, combining top-notch coffee with fresh baked goods from their fancy new pastry kitchen. Kaslo's Landmark Bakery also serves up freshly baked goods in a cozy small town atmosphere.

Healthy, wholesome, and delicious, locally baked goods are a culinary delight sans comparaison. Bon appetit! 




19 Brilliant Burgers in Nelson and Area

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19 Brilliant Burgers in Nelson and Area

Burger Week 2016“Burger Week” is actually “Burger Month” if you talk to the chefs in Nelson and area. The annual event has expanded from one week, and runs from November 4th – 25th at 19 local restaurants this year.

The month begins with arduous burger testing and sampling by the chef and staff, until the perfect combination of patty, condiments and bun are created. 

Then begins the public savouring of flavours and textures. Some places have served over 500 burgers in the first week alone. By the end there could be over 1000 burgers served at each restaurant, for a total of over 19,000 mouth-watering meals. This is quite incredible for this little City.

Chefs told us that locals and visitors from out of town arrived in groups and ordered one or two burgers, shared them, and then headed off to a couple more restaurants to partake in this burger bliss. It’s a great way to walk about town, take in the heritage and culture, and explore the dining scene. Burgers are only $11.95, a fair price to explore the region’s culinary prowess.

The public can vote online through the Nelson Star until November 25th. When you vote you are also entered to win a $25 gift card to each of the participating restaurants. That’s a value of $475!!! TIME TO VOTE!

A select group of six well-prepared judges dined at each of the 19 restaurants. And yes, we ate a portion of 19 burgers, all in the span of three days. As one of the judges, it was tough (well maybe not that tough), but by the end it was no easy feat to decide the winners. Burgers were judged in three categories: Best Presentation, Best Taste, and Most Original. The winners of three categories and the top voted burger will be announced after November 25th.

No matter where you slice it, you’ll have a delicious dining experience during Nelson Burger Week.

Big thanks to the Nelson Star for organizing this contest, and of course to all the chefs and restaurants who committed to making amazing burgers. And to all of you for getting out and trying as many burgers as possible, and voting!


From Farm to Table

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From Farm to Table

Shambhala Music Festival Team Launches New Café

By John Bowden

Canada’s café capital has a new player.

Farm Fresh Café, an extension of the up and coming Savoy Hotel in Nelson BC, opened its doors in late October. The team behind the world-renowned Shambhala Music Festival has scored another triumph in their newest offering.

Bringing the freshness of the farm to the table, the café reflects an emphasis on local influence and sustainability in both the food and design.

If it seems to resemble a modern farm, it’s on purpose. “There are elements of a farm throughout the café, including the posts, ceiling, floor, and wood interior,” said head chef Grant de Montreuil. “It’s a handmade approach built by our in-house contractors”.

De Montreuil has been involved in the BC food scene for decades, helping to create a movement for local agriculture and wine. He’s taking that approach to a new level with Farm Fresh Café.

"We like to joke that we cultivate more than one type of beat there (Salmo River Ranch, site of Shambhala Music Festival)"

Grant de Montreuil, Farm Fresh Café

“We have a five acre farm at Salmo River Ranch where Shambhala is held. This year we harvested more than 20,000 pounds of tomatoes and raised our own pork.”

Wait a minute – Shambala is held on a farm? “We like to joke that we cultivate more than one type of beat there” laughed de Montreuil.

Much of the food at the Café is grown at the Ranch. The rest is sourced from local producers. “Our long-term goal is to be as self-sufficient as possible. We’d like to have our own butchery and have plans for orchards, nut trees and our own hops for the brewery.”

Nelson is widely considered to have the highest amount of restaurants per capita in Canada. So is there room for another one?

“We had some initial concerns about saturation, but everyone in town seems to be doing ok. There’s a very vibrant food scene here. We’re just trying to take it one step further,” noted de Montreuil.

The “friendly rivalry” amongst local businesses forces everyone to keep pushing the envelope. The result is a gastronomical feast for foodies. It’s no coincidence that the dozens of restaurants in Nelson and the Kootenay Lake region are consistently rated above 4 stars on TripAdvisor

Expect to see Farm Fresh Café shooting up the ranks as more locals and visitors discover Nelson’s newest eatery. Designed as an upscale self-serve cafeteria, guests can easily and quickly curate their own meal. With half a dozen daily salads and upwards of eight different mains, the combinations are as diverse as the flavours.

Add in locally roasted coffee, healthy smoothies, fresh kombucha, and craft beer from the hotel’s namesake brewery, and there’s a beverage to suit every taste. Meals are also available to go, and fresh produce is available in the summer.

Farm Fresh Café is bursting with fresh flavours and local energy. Thanks to the efforts of de Montreuil and the Savoy team, the farm to table movement is alive and well in this little slice of foodie paradise. 

The Nelson Bun Run

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The Nelson Bun Run

Photos and Story by: John Bowden of Bikes, Brews and Beyond

Bun RunFirst things first. The Bun Run isn’t a “run”. And it won’t make your “buns” any smaller. But it might just be the perfect combination of cycling and cinnamon rolls in Canada.

Just make sure to rise and shine.

What I’m about to tell you is a jealously guarded secret in interior British Columbia, akin to how they get the caramel into the caramilk bar. It’s the kind of clandestine knowledge usually only reserved for those who inhabit these parts of the Kootenays. But it’s just too good to keep privy to those living in Nelson and surrounding areas.

The ridiculously charming town of Nelson is pretty far off the beaten path itself, located halfway between Vancouver and Calgary. It’s a mystical place where the scenery is only equalled by the artsy and independent vibe that so many mountain towns seek to emulate. And it’s the starting point for the “bun run” in question.

The 70km out and back is an ideal half-day ride with expansive lake views and quiet roads. Heading out of Nelson on the iconic Big Orange Bridge, follow the 3A for the first 27km to the ferry crossing for Harrop/Procter.



Grant de Montreuil - Farm Fresh for You in Nelson

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Grant de Montreuil - Farm Fresh for You in Nelson

Farm-to-Table Food in Nelson - The Time Has Come

For Grant de Montreuil, his latest project at the Savoy is a homecoming. The chef, who has made a name for himself in Vancouver, the Okanogan and most recently in Kelowna, has wanted a reason to come back to Nelson for years.

The time has come.

In a 102-year-old building which is currently being renovated by the owners of Shambhala, Grant de Montreuil and his wife are working their farm-to-table magic on a grand scale. 

The dream is a modern one, a near-fairy-tale story where all the pieces come together to create something bigger than the sum of their parts.

Shambhala, the electronic music festival that takes place each August near Salmo, takes place on a 500-acre working farm. This is how the sounds of music will now meld with the flavours of local cuisine.

A 500-acre working farm. 

Bloom NighclubShambhala decided to bring some of that juicy music vibe downtown, buying the Savoy hotel complex right on Baker Street, and installing Bloom nightclub downstairs. That nightclub is up and running now, while the upstairs is being renovated for the Falls Lounge, Farm Fresh, and a 12-room hotel complex that will be rolling out starting late February.

Starting With the Falls Lounge 

The Falls Lounge will include a brew pub, offering local brews as well as in-house beers which will be brewed by Grant himself.  Open from 11:00 am to around 11:00 pm each day, Falls Lounge will be the first to open as early as this month, with micro greens, flat bread pizza, “really approachable food, as Grant says. Gastro pub fare including share plates, burgers. Casual and not too froofy. The kind of food you sit and enjoy music to. Falls Lounge hopes to highlight local performers, with the occasional live music special guest thrown into the mix. 

Where the plot thickens just a bit requires us to go back again to that 500-acre farm, and Grant’s background in farm-to-table cuisine.

The easy funnel from 500-acre working farm in Salmo to casual gastro-pub tables in Nelson can’t be missed. Food isn’t going to be shipped in on a Sysco truck for this establishment. Instead, the plans include growing as much of the menu as possible on that farm, including cattle, pigs and chickens. 

Longer term plans see an abattoir being built as well as growing barley and hops for the brew pub. As Grant says, he likes to dream big. 

He’s got the chops to dream this big, though. As a founding member of Farm Folk, City Folk, Grant has been a part of the farm-to-table movement from the beginning, advocating for farmers and being part of bringing culinary garden restaurants to the fore in places like Vancouver, Naramata, and, most recently, Kelowna. 

For this project, he wants to ramp up what a farm can produce, hoping to push the edge and supply as much as possible from the farm.

And why not? The menu will change slightly based on availability and the food will always be in season, fresh and local. Grant has years of experience with charcuterie, which he expects to put into use with his menu.

Savoy Hotel owners and workersFarm Fresh 

The next phase will be the Grab n’ Go restaurant “Farm Fresh” which hopes to open early summer offering breakfast and lunch items for hotel guests as well as the casual lunch crowd. On the menu will be lots of fresh choices from the farm, a lunch counter cafeteria-style with 8 to 10 salads, soups, stews, fresh roast of the day, pastries, breads. You’ll be able to build your own sandwich with the idea that you can be in and out the door within 10 minutes. 

There will also be seating in-house, and options to purchase meats and product from direct from the farm as well. 

As he explains the menu, the motivation is to use what you have locally and remain flexible. At the moment, for example, he’s been exploring Ethiopian cuisine. Using all locally grown ingredients but staying true to the cuisine is a challenge and one he’s happy to accept. As he says, he “finds that way more fun.”

Farm Fresh will open along with a 12 room hotel offering rooms to the local adventure tourism crowd. With room for between 12 to 24 guests, a tour group could conceivably rent the entire space, which includes access to rooftop jacuzzis, a common area, and rooms equipped with steam showers and all the amenities.

As he explains the renovations, you can hear the excitement for this project building. Philosophically, the entire project falls into line with his vision. As he says, the kitchen being built is the nicest kitchen he’s ever worked in, with hospital specs, incredibly well-appointed.

As far as the rest of the building, much of the work is being done in-house. There is a mill on the farm, and so much of the wood used in the renovation has been milled on-site. 

Politics of Food

This vision, of taking the culinary garden and expanding it to its limit, becomes political for Grant. The advocacy for food security, for offering the best life possible for farmers, and for appreciating locally grown, fresh food, is personal. He grew up in a farming family in the Okanagan and saw first-hand that it was easier to buy an apple from Chile than a locally grown apple in the stores.

He’s spent his career fighting for this vision, teaching restaurateurs the benefits of closing that loop between food and table. 

And there are several benefits. One great example Grant shared is of one year growing 10,000 pounds of heirloom tomatoes. Remaining flexible, he was able to turn that 10,000 pounds of tomatoes into some culinary magic, freezing leftovers and ending up with pizza sauce and pasta sauce for the entire year. As he says, he would never have bought $45,000 worth of tomatoes, but he certainly was happy for the opportunity to use that much produce. Employing a gardener full-time means that you have a source for produce all year-round. If there is a negative to it, it could be the number of hours it takes to manage it. For Grant, taking two hours in the garden pruning tomato vines is like therapy, helping his to set his brain for the next task. 

He appreciates that not all chefs share his vision or outlook on this, but for him, it works. When things are grown on the farm, that’s where the ultimate benefit is. 


  • Bloom photo courtesy of Hollie McGowan
  • Workers with Jimmy and Jenna at the Savoy Hotel  - photo courtesy of Will Johnson and the Nelson Star
  • Cover photo by



Nelson Brewing Company: Organic, Tasty & Fun

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Nelson Brewing Company: Organic, Tasty & Fun

Nelson is one of the few towns in British Columbia with a 100% certified organic brewery. Becoming completely certified organic is a long and expensive process, but one that the team at Nelson felt was completely worthwhile because they

"felt it was a natural progression from our traditional, all-natural ingredients to fully certified organic ingredients and production methods. It was also a natural fit with the progressive, natural and organic food culture in Nelson."

True enough. The Nelson Brewing Company vision is one of adding to the health of the community at large, be it through supporting local arts and heritage organizations, hosting book launches (A great example of this is local author, Deryn Collier's first book launch which took place in the brewery building itself.) and partnering with local businesses whenever possible.

Nelson Brewing Company in the Community

And if you talk to head brewer Mike Kelly long enough, you'll begin to believe that "beer predates baking and agriculture; in effect, brewing predates civilization, and contributed to the formation of civilization." No doubt, and it's definitely true that "beer has been a part of human communities for thousands of years." Another example of the symbiotic relationship Nelson Brewing Company has with its community is its relationship with local farmers. Breweries churn out tons of spent grain, and that grain makes ideal feed for livestock. Farmers regularly come by the brewery to pick up the spent grain, and in fact, the tasting room at NBC boasts pictures of a few of the lucky animals :). Hops are useful as well, with many farmers and avid gardeners taking the spent hops to use as fertilizer.

Nelson Beer Goes Great with Nelson Food...

In recent years, more and more people have become aware of beer as a healthy drink to pair with all kinds of foods. As Mike says, "Anything works with beer, but many people like to pair spicy foods with hoppy beer like our Hopgood or Paddywhack IPA, or savoury foods with rich, malty beer like our Blackheart Stout or Nelson After Dark. Our newest creation, our Organic Ginger Beer, pairs particularly well with Thai food...for example, local Thai restaurant Busaba's Pad Thai works great with our IPAs and the Ginger Beer. Wine sometimes gets all the limelight, but lately, there have been some convincing studies pointing to the health benefits of drinking a moderate amount of beer with food. From a reduction in strokes, to a healthier heart, the antioxidants and other nutrients in beer might contribute to a longer, healthier life. And, of course, beer and coffee are a natural pairing... Well, in Nelson they are. Oso Negro, the local coffee roaster, and NBC teamed up last year to make Stimulator, an organic "Mochabock", a strong dark lager infused with Oso Negro coffee and cocoa. The idea had been brewing for awhile, at least in part because Oso and NBC share space in the original Nelson Brewing Company building, and they also "share a passion for crafting honest, organic products," according to Mike. So raise a glass, and here's to your health!

This blog is a repost from our sister blog, 108 Healthy Things to Do

Beer and History Tour: a pairing made in heaven, well, Nelson BC

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Beer and History Tour: a pairing made in heaven, well, Nelson BC

Paddy Whack Nelson Brewing Company (NBC) has quite the view, whether you are on the roof looking out over Nelson, BC or in the brewery admiring their long line of organic beers and stacks and stacks of beer getting processed, bottled, capped and ready to be shipped out. Since NBC’s inception in 1991, they have been dedicated to producing all natural, traditional, full-flavoured ales. The Nelson Brewing Company brings you Certified Organic, hand-crafted beers, and from someone who toured the brewery, and did the tasting, they are as they claim and better. The family of beers currently consists of eight beers:

Mike Kelly, the brew master, gave a detailed tour educating us on the history, the current brewing methods and future plans for the brewery. Mike was incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about his beer. You can understand very quickly why NBC has been such a success. Mike treated us to several beers and shared the intricacies and subtle, or not so subtle, flavours meticulously chosen to create their proud line of diverse locally brewed organic beers. I’d do this tour again, no question, but maybe in the afternoon next time (was a stimulating start to my day having the tour in the morning).

Nelson Brewing Company View

Nelson Brewing Company Sign

Nelson Brewing Company Paddy Whack



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