Kootenay Mountain Culture Magazine and the Nelson Brewing Company have joined forces to create a new brew called Spruce Tip Ale, available in stores this week.

The only thing better than walking through a cool, calming spruce forest is drinking the equivalent of one. This week, Kootenay Mountain Culture Magazine (KMC) and the Nelson Brewing Company (NBC) are releasing the limited-edition Spruce Tip Ale, which will be available in stores across British Columbia July 3.

The collaboration between the two Nelson, BC-based companies started a year ago when they discussed creating a beer that was representative of the province’s beautiful Kootenay region. Eventually, they decided harvesting new-growth tips from local spruce trees would create a fragrant and easy-drinking ale. Spruce tips were collected in early spring and then, according to NBC’s Tiffany Teefy, they were used to infuse Centennial hops. “We take the young spruce tips and grind them and blend during the pelletizing process,” she says, “and the result is a flavourful brew featuring evergreen, citrus, and floral characteristics.”

When asked what spurred NBC’s collaboration with KMC, Teefy says, “We thought that releasing a beer in collaboration with another well-known Kootenay company that we admire was a great idea. We loved the concept of working with people in our community to make a beer that celebrates the Kootenays.”

KMC’s co-publisher Peter Moynes says once they decided to make Spruce Tip Ale, they hired illustrator Ian Johnston to create the label. “Ian has been illustrating for the magazine since its inception almost two decades ago, and we thought his style was perfect for creating a fun, eye-catching logo.” Look closely at the label’s spruce tree and you’ll notice a heart with “KMC + NBC” on the trunk, as well as a rock climber, skier, snowboarder, and mountain biker hidden among the branches.

The launch of Spruce Tip Ale includes a fun video (see above) of both the magazine and brewery staff passing a can of beer throughout the city to get it to the hands of KMC co-publisher Mitchell Scott. The filming of the video was challenging because of COVID-19 physical-distancing rules, but the team came up with a hilarious solution. T-shirts featuring the Spruce Tip Ale label are available at kootenaymountainculture.com/shop. kootenaymountainculture.com/shop.

Nelson Brewing Company is located in the city’s original 125-year-old brewery building, where they are committed to hand-crafting organic, traditional beers. Kootenay Mountain Culture Magazine is entering its 19th year of business and has perfected the art of storytelling.