Roy Henry Vickers signs copies of artwork prints from the seasonal series at the Dec. 4 event. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

Roy Henry Vickers signs copies of artwork prints from the seasonal series at the Dec. 4 event. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

Smithers Brewing Company celebrates launch of four-beer Skeena Seasonal Series

Each of the unique offerings feature artwork by Roy Henry Vickers and locally-sourced ingredients

Call it an ale of two cities.

Forget seeing, smelling, hearing and feeling the differences between the seasons of the Bulkley Valley — now you can taste them.

Last Wednesday renowned Indigenous Canadian artist Roy Henry Vickers was at Smithers Brewing Co. (SBC) to celebrate a first in local beermaking innovation.

Partnering with SBC, the team has created the Skeena Seasonal Series: four unique, seasonal beers that correspond to each of the four seasons in the Skeena.

READ MORE: Smithers Brewing Company grand opening

Each of the four unique offerings feature Vickers’ unique artwork on the label and feature a number of locally-sourced ingredients. Three of the beers feature local honey, which SBC co-owner Blaine Estby said was sold to the brewery at a steep discount by local producer Bulkley Valley Hive & Honey.

To celebrate the launch Vickers talked about how the series fits into the larger theme of protecting the Skeena for future generations.

The collaboration began with the intent of creating a variety of beers to represent the artwork and flavours of the region.

Vickers said the link between beer and environmental stewardship is simple: water.

“Water is what we’re all made of. [It’s] the most precious thing that we have on the face of the earth and so it was a no-brainer that if you’re going to do beer then we should bring attention to the Skeena River drainage,” he said.

Estby said the plan to create a collaborative beer representative of the region had been in the works even longer than the brewery had been open.

“We had a conversation about it and we started talking about how we could utilize local ingredients from the Skeena region and sort of integrate Roy’s artwork,” said Estby.

Initially the plan was just to create a one-off beer, however after the creation of their Old Man Winter Ale Estby said the whole thing sort of just snowballed.

“It ended up becoming an entire seasonal series, so basically a new beer every three months to represent the seasons of the Skeena.”

The four featured beers (Cloudwaters Witbier – Spring; Sunset Summer Ale – Summer; Smoke on the Water Amber Ale – Fall; Old Man Winter Wee Heavy – Winter) were on sale in limited-edition variety packs during the event.

READ MORE: North BC Ale Trail features Smithers

But even if you missed them, you will be able to try each over the next year as Estby said they will continue to be sold on a seasonal basis, with this year’s batch of Old Man Winter Ale being the first of the series the brewery has done a second round of.

Estby said the name for the offering is a reference to the wildfires that plagued B.C. in the summer and fall of 2018 and covered the Valley in a huge plume of smoke for many days.

“The evacuees from up in, like, the Telegraph Creek and Stikine region and from Southside out by Burns Lake and stuff were all here, they were all coming in, coming to our brewery so we really wanted to do something to give back to them,” he said.

Vickers said he wasn’t much of a beer drinker before he began on the series.

That has now changed, as he says he has discovered a love for craft beer, especially smoked ales.

To that end, Vickers said he would like to build a smokehouse on the Skeena to smoke the grains used for the 2020 iteration of Old Man Winter.

“I want to use alder wood from the coast which is what we smoke salmon with.”

He said his hope is that people will both enjoy the beverages and that they will inspire them to think about their connection to the local environment.

“To me what better thing to sit around and talk about over a beer than how much we should take care of the land we live in and the rivers that flow by our door.”

Discussing his recently-released book Voices of the Skeena, which features illustrated stories combined with text excerpts from the interviews of CBC radio producer Imbert Orchard recorded in the 1960s, Vickers made an interesting point.

“Really what’s happened is these beers are more voices from the Skeena.”

SBC is one of two craft breweries currently operating in Smithers.

It opened its doors on June 27, 2018.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Houston physician Dr. Stefanie Steel receives her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine Jan. 19 from RN nurse manager Cindy Cockle. (Northern Health photo)
COVID-19 vaccinations get underway in Smithers

First doses are being administered to long-term care residents and priority health care staff

The COVID-19 outbreak at the two Coastal GasLink workforce lodges has officially been declared over. (Lakes District News file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Coastal GasLink worksites declared over

In total, 56 cases were associated with the outbreak in the Burns Lake and Nechako LHAs

Fentanyl was among the drugs seized by New Hazelton RCMP in a big bust in early January. (File photo)
New Hazelton RCMP arrest five, seize drugs and large amount of cash

Police find suspected heroin, fentanyl and crystal meth during early January drug bust

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

Most Read