Okanagan Taste: Glasses up for Canada 150

What is the most appropriate drink for Canada’s sesquicentennial

I asked a couple of American friends what they thought was the most appropriate drink for Canada’s much talked about sesquicentennial this weekend.

One answer: beer. The second answer: coffee. If it’s still in production, Kettle Valley Brewing Co. in Kelowna made four different craft brews with four different coffees. So that settles any debate about coffee or beer. Have both.

On the beer front, and available at the local government liquor store, there is the Canada 150 Heritage Ale from Lighthouse Brewing in Victoria. They aren’t kidding when they call it a “strong ale.” It’s the lumberjack of craft beer, complete with a note of maple. The bottle has a cool label, if you’re into collecting those things.

Speaking of labels, and in limited quantities, Upper Bench Winery has just released a Merlot – great for a long weekend barbecue — with a special Canada 150 label. And Tightrope Winery has a red, white, and true Canada 150 three-pack of wine ready to order.

A suggestion for this long weekend? A libations tour is a good choice. Go to a couple of wineries you haven’t visited before. Follow the new B.C. Ale Trail in Penticton. Make a list of distilleries and compare gin samples. Of course, do all of this with a designated driver, and make sure s/he stays hydrated with a locally made soda, perhaps something from Penticton’s The People’s Crafthouse, conveniently located in the same space as barbecue joint Smuggler’s Smokehouse.

And, of course, Canada Day in Penticton means a visit to the huge celebration in Gyro Park. Three words: Nanaimo Bar gelato. You’ll find it at the BRODO booth.

Save the Date

Wednesdays, Naramata Bench: The Naramata Heritage Inn features Tiki Night beginning at 7 p.m. every Wednesday this summer, with local songstress Yanti, and the cuisine of Ambrosia by Chef Victor Bongo. naramatainn.com/ambrosia-restaurant-lounge/

July 1, Oliver: Enjoy a Canada Day barbecue buffet at the Fairview Mountain Golf Club. Reservations required, call 250-498-6050 ext. 2. www.fairviewmountain.com

July 1, Oliver: Mica Restaurant at Spirit Ridge Resort has a special four-course menu, live music, and fireworks. Reservations recommended. info@micarestaurant.ca

July 1, Okanagan Falls: Celebrate Canada Day at See Ya Later Ranch with your own picnic or choose from the winery’s own selection of picnic fare. www.greatestatesokanagan.com/Events/Estate-Winery-Events

July 1, West Kelowna: Mission Hill hosts a Canada 150 Long Table Dinner, four courses overlooking Okanagan Lake while listening to classical jazz. www.missionhillwinery.com

July 1 and 2, Naramata: Black Widow Winery hosts its annual vertical tasting of its flagship red blend, Hourglass. Free for wine club members, $25 for non-members. Email info@blackwidowwinery.com.

July 3, Penticton: The Hooded Merganser hosts its first dinner in its Culinary Culmination guest chef series, this one with Chef Weimar Gomez of Vancouver’s Yew Seafood and Bar. Five courses plus wine pairings. www.pentictonlakesideresort.com/events

July 7, Okanagan Falls: The annual Party in the Park with 15 wineries and a barbecue buffet dinner, followed by dancing to a performance by Uncorked. www.eventbrite.ca/e/party-in-the-park-2017-tickets-21391597845

July 7, Summerland: Savour Summer Progressive Dinner and Tasting. Travel along Summerland’s Bottleneck Drive for a three course progressive dinner and wine tasting.