British Columbia has been experiencing something of a craft beer boom over the last decade but somewhere this is particularly apparent is in our home town of Penticton in the southern Okanagan.
Home to slightly less than 40k people, Penticton currently has seven craft breweries. Yep, that means the city has one of the best brewery per capita ratios in Canada!
Five of Penticton’s breweries are located in the compact downtown area. Three are actually located within the same two block radius, so you can easily walk between them for an impromptu pub crawl.
Needless to say, Penticton is an awesome destination for anyone who likes a pint or two.
What to expect in this post:
- Penticton breweries
- Where to drink craft beer in Penticton
Last updated January 2023
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Penticton’s reputation as a wine mecca is becoming better established by the day, and yet the brewery scene still remains fairly undiscovered.
Except by us locals, of course. We know have something special and I’m about to share the important details with you. Here’s everything you need to know about Penticton’s breweries for your own self-guided tour.
Penticton is located on the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Okanagan (Syilx) People
Cannery Brewing is my favourite of Penticton’s breweries by far. Their industrial style taproom is also my preferred place to drink for three main reasons.
First, they have an extensive selection of beers ranging from the fresh and light Lakeboat Lager to the rich and dark classic Naramata Nutbrown.
The Cannery will sometimes have as many as 13 of their beers on tap at any one time; almost everyone can find something they like here. My personal pick is the Apricot Wheat Ale, which is usually put on tap in the summer.
ExBEERimental beers are quite common to see on tap as well as collaborations with other breweries.
The second top reason to drink here – bar service! Order at the bar, open a tab, pick up your drinks, sit and relax. With no hassling from servers, the taproom has a wonderfully chilled atmosphere.
Choose a board game to play or have a go at bar billiards; the Cannery Brewing taproom is a great place to unwind and escape inclement weather. There is a small patio as well.
My third reason? This brewery is located just two blocks from my home!
In 2020, the Cannery opened the ‘Backyard’. This new, larger patio is situated to the side of the building and features a dedicated bar, slushie machine, picnic tables, astro-turf and rotating food trucks.
The Backyard is a wonderfully casual place to hang out on sunny summer afternoons. It is usually open from spring to around Thanksgiving.
Eating at Cannery Brewing
Food-wise, try the Sante Fe vegetarian nachos. Covered generously with jalapeno and pepper drizzle plus cheese, corn and black beans, these nachos are quite simply the best in town. For an additional fee, chicken can be added.
There’s a vegan version of the nachos as well, which I can confirm is just as tasty as the vegetarian Sante Fe original.
The pretzel bombs (homemade pretzel balls with melted cheese inside) also go down well. Other popular options on the rotating menu include charcuterie plates, hummus, sausage rolls and chowder.
The Cannery’s Backyard area has a separate menu, with half a dozen different appetizers. There are rotating food trucks on weekends.
Beer: Flights and pints available plus growlers and howler fills to take away
Food: Appetizers, food trucks in the Backyard
Website: Cannery Brewing
Address: 198 Ellis St, Penticton, V2A 4L5
Highway 97 Brewing Co.
While still pretty new to Penticton’s downtown beer scene, Highway 97 Brewing has actually been in operation since 2017. The previous location was, you’ve guessed it, on Highway 97 (close to the Ramada).
The new tasting room is found directly opposite Cannery Brewing on Ellis St, which makes these two breweries a perfect afternoon pairing.
The smart, bright interior has a road trip theme, with number plates and driving paraphernalia adorning the walls.
There are four beers in Highway 97’s core collection, with the Salted Chocolate Porter being a huge hit with my dark beer loving friends. Seasonal and limited offerings make up the rest of the menu and provide great diversity.
Batches of beer are usually small at Highway 97, in order to maintain a premium production and taste. Fresh flavours are highlighted, using all natural ingredients as sourced as close to the brewhouse as possible.
Food at Highway 97 Brewing
Upon opening in December 2021, Highway 97’s food offerings were limited to wings, pies and chips/salsa.
The menu has since expanded to include other bar snacks like potato skins, pretzels, hot dogs and charcuterie boards. Watch this space for a review after our next visit!
Beer: Flights and beer available plus growler and howler fills to take away
Food: Snacks and appetizers plus pies and charcuterie
Website: Highway 97 Brewing Co
Address: 200 Ellis St, Penticton, BC V2A 4L6
Slackwater Brewing‘s large two floor building used to be home to the (slightly seedy) Mule Club, but it would be hard to guess! It opened in 2019.
With an airy, casual yet smart atmosphere and bright finish, Slackwater is clean, modern and inviting. Two patios, one on the first floor, offer a chance to get some sun.
There are usually at least twelve beers on draught at any one time, with two guest taps. Describing their beers as ‘approachable,’ the wide selection offers a little something for everyone.
While I have enjoyed every beer I’ve tried so far, I haven’t found one that stands above the others yet.
The Smoked Peach Sour (2021 seasonal) was almost there for me, while my dark beer loving friends seem to love the Coffee Stout. They had a nice cherry sour in 2022 as well.
Slackwater Brewing has two particularly awesome unique selling points over the other Penticton breweries – daily happy hour (3-5pm, selected beers) and Tuesday trivia nights! If live music is more your jam, check the events page.
Food at Slackwater Brewing
Slackwater Brewing’s menu has a focus on burgers, salads and a range of creative appetisers.
At the time of this update (January 2023), we find that Slackwater’s menu changes fairly often. There is always plenty of choice of vegetarians, however, and the burgers are one of the mainstays.
A local favourite is the Angry Chicken Sando, with breaded chicken and a spicy sauce.
Beer: Flights and beer available plus growler, howler and crowler (single cans) fills to take away
Food: Lunch and dinner menu, with burgers, soup and salads
Website: Slackwater Brewing
Address: 218 Martin St, Penticton, V2A 5K3
Though one of the newest breweries in Penticton, Neighbourhood Brewing has quicky become one of the most popular.
Neighbourhood’s impressive brick building on the corner of Westminster and Winnipeg is hard to miss and houses two floors of seating. Arcade games are scattered around the airy upstairs ‘Rec Room.’
Outside, there is a large wraparound streetside patio (dog friendly) with comfortable couches, picnic tables and misters for hot conditions. There’s an inside/outside fireplace as well.
Neighbourhood has four core beers plus a huge selection of experimental limited edition and seasonal brews. Due to this, they often have the largest amount of beers available to taste (as many as 17 different brews).
The seasonal brews are my personal go-to, with the Sunshine City Passionfruit Wheat Ale being a winner for hot summer evenings.
In June 2021, Neighbourhood Brewing opened a separate, temporary small patio called ‘Beerlandia’. Located at the back of the building with a separate entrance, this casual space served beers and seltzer in cans (5 for $20!) from a separate bar, with food available from a burger food truck.
Food at Neighbourhood Brewing
On the food side, Neighbourhood encourages guests to share small plates of delicious Mexican inspired food.
Some dishes have fun Canadian twists, while others retain authentic flavours. I have it on good authority that the Al Pastor tacos are the closest to those from Mexico City anywhere in Canada!
While I love the food at Neighbourhood, I do find the dishes to be fairly pricey for the portion received.
Beer: Flights and beer available
Food: Small plates (for sharing) menu plus tacos and burritos
Website: Neighbourhood Brewing
Address: 187 Westminster Ave W, Penticton, BC V2A 1J7
Tin Whistle Brewing Co.
The oldest craft brewery in the city, Tin Whistle was owned and operated by the same family for over 20 years.
It was recently purchased by an enterprising husband-wife duo, who are breathing new life into the brewery. I’m pretty excited about it, especially as they brew my all time favourite Penticton beer.
Named after one of the locomotives Penticton’s defunct Kettle Valley Railway, the train logo has been modernised. The tasting room (located in Penticton’s heritage Cannery Trade Centre) has also been refreshed and now features a beautiful, airy seating area.
If you like dark beers, Tin Whistle is a must stop. In winter, there can be as many as five different dark beer varieties to try. The highlight, however, is the Hazelnut Coffee Milk Stout. It recently won a top prize at the BC Beer Awards.
Prefer lighter, fruitier beers? Don’t worry – Tin Whistle’s best seller is actually the Peach Cream Ale, which tastes like a Penticton summer in a bottle (that all time favourite beer I previously mentioned). I also love the Gimlet Juniper Lime Sour.
Eating at Tin Whistle Brewing
At the time of writing, Tin Whistle Brewing does not serve food. The owners, however, are very happy for guests to bring food from elsewhere to enjoy alongside glasses or flights of beer in the brewery tasting room.
Within the Cannery building itself, takeout is available from JJ Joy (Asian fusion) as well as the Nest (upscale dishes made with local ingredients).
Beer: Flights and glasses available plus growler and howler fills to take away
Food: BYO (bring your own)
Website: Tin Whistle Brewing Co
Address: 112-1475 Fairview Rd (in the Cannery Trade Centre), Penticton, V2A 7W5
Barley Mill Pub
The Barley Mill is a large brewpub located towards the Skaha Lake side of town. The distinctive British Tudor style building contains a pub, beer/wine store, patio and a family-friendly bistro upstairs.
They also make their own handcrafted ales and lager at the small on-site brewery.
As well as offering lighter, easy drinking beers, the Barley Mill also brews an English Brown Ale, IPA and Stout. The beer menu also has seasonal variations and they sometimes host guest taps from other local breweries.
If you’re looking for a place to watch a sports game with a plate of wings and locally brewed beer, the Barley Mill is the perfect spot!
Event nights are very popular at the Barley Mill, with trivia on Thursday nights and karaoke on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Eating at the Barley Mill Pub
The Barley Mill Pub offers a comprehensive restaurant menu, featuring Canadian favourites like ribs, poutine, calamari, nachos, burgers, pot pie, French dip and more.
Portions are on the larger size, offering excellent value. The food is reliably good too!
Salads are also on offer if you are looking for something lighter. There’s a good choice of vegetarian dishes as well, with the chickpea curry being popular.
Beer: Flights and beer available plus growler fills to take away
Food: Full restaurant menu
Website: Barley Mill Pub
Address: 2460 Skaha Lake Rd, Penticton, V2A 6E8
Abandoned Rail Brewing Co
Abandoned Rail may the newest brewery to join the ranks in Penticton but it may well be the most unique.
For one thing, the brewery grows and harvests their own barley (really!) The majority of other ingredients used in the resulting beer are also sourced from BC.
Second, Abandoned Rail is situated right on the Kettle Valley Rail (KVR) Trail on the Naramata Bench. As far as locations go, this one is pretty fabulous. Walk, bike or drive here from town and enjoy the beautiful bucolic surroundings on the sunny patio while playing lawn games.
As for the beer, Abandoned Rail is quickly building an excellent reputation. Most notably, their Märzen won best amber lager at the 2022 BC Beer Awards. The Brewmaster is German certified, which indicates the style and quality of the beer brewed here.
Opening hours are limited during winter and the shoulder seasons, so do check before you go. The walk/cycle from downtown Penticton is 5km one-way (1 hour on foot, 20 minutes by bike).
Eating at Abandoned Rail Brewing
The menu at Abandoned Rail is on the small size, with several larger dishes (salad, taco hand pies) being accompanied with a selection of snacks. A couple of dishes are vegan.
Rotating food trucks set up by the patio during summer weekends, offering a wider selection of snacks and meals.
Side note – some non-drinkers in your group? Abandoned Rail is famous for their apple slushies, a carry over from the previous property on this land (the Trail Store).
Beer: Flights and beer available
Food: Small menu with salad, pies and snacks
Website: Abandoned Rail Brewing
Address: 1220 Davenport Ave, V2A 8V1
Bad Tattoo Brewing Company (closed Dec 2022)
If you’ve visited Penticton before or have read other articles about the city, you may be wondering, ‘hey, where’s Bad Tattoo?’
Bad Tattoo Brewing was the first craft brewery established in Penticton’s downtown area. Founded in 2014, it occupied a custom building on Winnipeg Street, just a block from Okanagan Lake.
The brewery was best known for its innovative selection of seasonal beers (my favourite in town!) and hand made wood fired pizzas with unusual toppings.
Sadly, Bad Tattoo Brewing Company permanently closed in December 2022 after being purchased by Yellow Dog Brewing. Hailing from Port Moody in Vancouver, this brewery also co-owns Neighbourhood Brewing (above).
It is unknown right now what form the new brewery will take and when it may open. Watch this space for updates!
Where to drink craft beer in Penticton
The breweries are not the only places to drink local craft beer in Penticton.
Here are my recommendations for places that local beer alongside other local tipples. Any of these restaurants would be a good add-on to a tour of Penticton’s breweries.
The Station Public House
With gastropub vibes and a great patio, the Station Public House is one of my top spots for a sit-down meal in Penticton. It’s casual enough to be relaxed but is smart enough for a business lunch or special occasion.
The reason I mention the Station in this particular post is their continued support of Penticton’s breweries and BC’s craft beer scene in general. Their full restaurant menu is accompanied by a decently sized BC wine and beer list.
Website: The Station Public House
Address: 1070 Eckhardt Avenue, Penticton, V2A 2C3
Pizzeria Tratto is home to the best Neapolitan-style pizzas in Penticton. These beautifully charred, slightly chewy thin crust pizzas are accompanied by an excellent range of local brews.
Wednesday is a great time to visit Tratto, with two sleeves of beer and a margarita available for a bargain price of $19. The pizza is usually $14 and beer $5 separately, so you’re basically getting one free sleeve of beer!
Website: Pizzeria Tratto
Address: 256 Westminster Ave. W, Penticton, V2A 1J9
Other local restaurants
These restaurants and pubs also pour local beers:
- Patio Burger – casual, family friendly lakeside burger place
- The Black Antler – hip, modern Canadian spot
- Elma – Turkish tapas restaurant with stunning lake views
- Salty’s Beach House – Casual lakefront restaurant with seafood and extensive vegan menu
- Time Winery – upscale downtown winery serving modern Canadian dishes
- Copper Mug Pub – second oldest pub in BC, serving classic Canadian fare
- Brexit – British themed bar with inexpensive pub style menu
- The Nest – locally sourced modern Canadian menu in historic cannery building
- Loki’s Garage – hip yet casual restaurant with the best brunch in town
Read Next: The Best Restaurant Patios in Penticton
Penticton is one of the only communities in British Columbia that allows beer (and other alcoholic beverages) to be legally drank on select city beaches.
The pilot project was initiated in 2020 in response to the pandemic and is set to continue into 2023 and beyond.
Enjoy a beer on any of the following beaches from May to October:
- Marina Way Park
- Okanagan Beach (east of Power St.)
- Okanagan Lake Park
- Rotary Park
- Skaha Beach
Please note that public intoxication is not permitted. Littering of glass, bottles or cans will result in a fine.
Looking to book a stay in Penticton?
Penticton Lakeside Resort – Awesome lakefront location on north side of town, within walking distance to beach, shops, entertainment, restaurants, trails
E’Laysa Guesthouse and Vineyard Retreat – Gorgeous property on the Naramata Bench, very close to the KVR Trail. A full breakfast is included with every stay
Casa Grande Inn – Highly rated B&B situated across from Okanagan Lake with large outdoor patio
For more great things to do in Penticton, read these articles next:
16 Fast and Fun Hikes in Penticton
73 Things to Do in Penticton and the Southern Okanagan
The Perfect Summer Weekend in Penticton: Itinerary + Tips
Floating on the Penticton River Channel
A Guide to Climbing at Skaha Bluffs
Walking the KVR Trail in Penticton
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One half of the Canadian/British couple behind Off Track Travel, Canada. Jean Robert (JR) is up for anything, but you’re most likely to find him either snowboarding, fishing or building something. Gemma and JR are currently based in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada.
Monday 20th of January 2020
This sounds like a fun trip.
Tuesday 9th of January 2018
It's such a small scene that it's impossible not to compare these five breweries as if it's a competition, even though they're at very different places in their development, and have different goals. Agreed that Bad Tattoo is more about the sit-down-with-food experience, and that the beers have been generally good. The Cannery is our favourite too, especially when they hit the mark on their seasonals like Hop Chowdah or the current Kindling stout -- all they need is a big-time, full-bodied IPA that would let them re-position Trellis as a session ale. Tin Whistle has been so steady over the years that it's easy to forget about them -- could use a re-branding, methinks (get the artist who did the Driftwood labels and watch their sales soar).
I hope Hwy 97 is still learning the ropes and will improve, both in the beers and the experience -- I couldn't believe the "premium" prices for what was initially mediocre (at best) beer, and I found a couple of them undrinkable. Their Scotch Ale was great entertainment at a Christmas gathering last year, becoming a sort of party game that was served to new arrivals just to see the expressions on their faces, and to hear the adjectives and descriptions it evoked. Railroad ties, shoe polish, turpentine and swear words. At least it's still better than the Barley Mill, which has been so bad for so long that the only positive thing you can point to is their consistency.
Close enough to Penticton to warrant another honorable mention: Detonate Brewing in Summerland, 15 minutes up the highway. No real tasting room, but you can order a flight at the tiny counter and fill growlers. It's still new enough to be working out the bugs, but I'd say it's promising, with a good oatmeal stout and a willingness to try lots of different styles in small batches.
Thursday 11th of January 2018
Thanks so much for your comments Jeremy! It was interesting to read your opinion on the local breweries and I do absolutely agree that all five are at completely different stages and have different goals in mind. A very good point! I visited Detonate Brewing in September and it is looking promising. I hope they manage to extend their tasting room as there were a few line-ups when I was there!
Tuesday 19th of December 2017
Sounds fantastic, I love craft breweries!
Tuesday 19th of December 2017
In that case, Penticton is a great place to visit! :)
Sunday 17th of December 2017
Hi Gemma, Is there a tour I can buy of some of the craft breweries in Penticton? I'd love to get a package for my nephew for Christmas.
Tuesday 19th of December 2017
I think there is at least one company offering craft beer only tours in Penticton, the name of the company I know is called Canadian Craft Tours