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Elevation 57 takes beer to new heights

Brewer Brandon Amond (left) and Justin Jones at Elevation 57 Brewing at Big White Ski Resort in British Columbia. (John Nelson photo)

By John Nelson

Canada’s highest-elevation brewery has a secret ingredient.

“It all starts with the water here,” said Brandon Amond, head brewer at Elevation 57 Brewing Co. at Big White Ski Resort near Kelowna, British Columbia.

The water comes from Rhonda Lake at 6,600 feet at Big White, and Amond says it’s perfect for brewing crisp, clean session-style beers.

“Being up so high in the mountains above any pollution, it’s just so pure,” he said. He likens it to the soft water from the Czech city of Pizen, where pilsner style beer was born.

The Elevation 57 Brewing operation is just getting started, but already has a full product line through Sessions Taphouse at Big White. The name refers to 5,757 feet, the elevation of the brewery.

Braised oxtail ragu and handmade gnocchi are served with Elevation 57 pale ale. (John Nelson photo)

Besides the pilsner (6 percent alcohol by volume, 30 International Bitterness Units), Elevation 57 offers blonde ale (5.3, 25), pale ale (5.6, 35), hefeweizen (6, 20), saison (5.5, 20), IPA (6.3, 65), milk stout (5.4, 10) and smoked porter (5.9, 30).

As of now, it is available only at Sessions Taphouse, but plans are afoot to ramp up production and expand retail sales.

“Eventually we need to get a much bigger space,” said Justin Jones, general manager at Sessions.

John Nelson, a longtime journalist at newspapers around the country including The Spokesman-Review, is a regular contributor to the S-R as well as The Seattle Times, Los Angeles Times and SeniorsSkiing.com. See more of his work at his SkiZer blog.