Wine Guy: 3 great non-alcoholic B.C. drinks for summer refreshment

All three of this week’s picks are widely available, from specialty grocers to larger chains like London Drugs.

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While the sunlit hours may be on the decline, it still feels like we’re in summer’s peak embrace.

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So even if the dog days of summer are on the wane, hopefully many more adventures abound: outdoors, on boats, in campgrounds, etc.

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And as summer carries on, so, too, does the need for summer refreshment — which certainly can come from the increasingly accessible non-alcoholic offerings.

Indeed, all three of this week’s picks are widely available, from specialty grocers to larger chains like London Drugs.

Wine Guy

Olé Cocktail Co. Margarita Lime Mocktail, British Columbia ($14.99 for four-355mL cans)

Indeed, there’s an overall trend toward less alcohol consumption (particularly among younger demographics), whether from those completely abstaining to the merely “sober curious.” Olé Cocktail Co. has both avenues covered. Building on their four tequila-based canned cocktails, Olé now offers two crafted mocktails. Their Margarita Lime Mocktail features real lime juice and agave nectar with a hint of sea salt and fizz, all in an — admittedly — sleek-looking can. At only 30 calories, it offers ample refreshment, pouring a touch hazy with evident citric aromas. It’s dry, tart, crisp and makes a fine picnic companion.

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Bottom line: B+, Classy limeade!

Wine Guy

Stanley Park Brewing Non Alcoholic Trail-Hopper IPA, Vancouver ($9.99 for four-355mL cans)

Then again, for many convention holds that summer is best paired with beer. Of course, there’s a non-alcoholic beer for that! In fact, Vancouver’s Stanley Park Brewing keeps the same name for both of their Trail Hopper IPAs, except the sans alcohol version checks in at 0.3 per cent alcohol-by-volume (ABV) versus the original’s 6.8 per cent (legally non-alcoholic beverages can contain up to 0.5 per cent ABV). The low test version pours golden with a beige head, and true to form wafts up bright hoppy, floral and citrus aromas along with cereal notes. It’s certainly crisp and refreshing with a bitter finish, yet comes across fairly thin overall.

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Bottom line: C, All day refreshment

Wine Guy

Phillips Brewing IOTA Pale Ale, Victoria ($8.99 for four-355mL cans)

Another well-known local craft brewer also into the non-alcoholic beer game is Victoria’s Phillips Brewing and Malting Co. Or, as the brewery states it on the can, this zero proof option is “Responsibly brewed by irresponsible brewers.” Phillips’ IOTA line now comprises four different non-alcoholic craft beers, including this bright Pale Ale. Pouring deep golden and offering aromas of malt and floral hops, this quencher gives decent richness leading to a snappy, bitter finish. At 70 calories per can, it checks in a tad higher than other “near beers,” but this brings engaging texture and overall body.

Bottom line: B, Bring on the fish tacos!

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The Swirl: Silver Star Wine Festival

Back for its second year, the Silver Star Wine Festival returns to the mountain resort for an extended weekend of wine-focused seminars, brunches. There’s also the signature walkabout Wine Tasting in the Village, featuring pours from more than 25 B.C. wineries, alongside food pairings. Numerous events are scheduled from Aug. 10-13 (the Wine Tasting in the Village is from 4-6 p.m. on Aug. 12), and for complete details on tickets and accommodation packages, go to

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