Maple Ridge is going to follow the ale trail in order to combine its natural beauty with natural beer and good food as a way of growing local tourism.
The city’s economic development department is seeking $10,000 from Destination B.C. to launch a Maple Ridge Ale Trail. If successful, the city will kick in $5,000, while pubs and breweries will provide another $5,000 to start the program.
Ale trails involve creating one- or two- or three-day walking, cycling or driving tours of local tourism attractions, restaurants and breweries to provide a focused experience for tourists.
In B.C., 17 cities already have ale trails. In the Fraser Valley, for example, Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Langley combine to create a three-day tour that involves hiking, stops at unique coffee shops and tourist attractions and breweries. Ale trails also encourage alternative transportation and for people to be responsible when driving.
A staff report says local pubs are already on board and willing to help plan out a Maple Ridge Ale Trail.
Silver Valley Brewing, Maple Meadows Brewery, Ridge Brewing, Foamer’s Folly Brewing, Kingfishers Waterfront Bar and Grill, Black Sheep Pub and Grill, The Reach Neighbourhood Pub and Grill are all backing the plan.
“We definitely have support from the community,” said Kathryn Baird, tourism coordinator.
She said that Maple Ridge expects to hear early in 2019 if Destination B.C. will support the application, adding there’s a good chance the grant application will be successful.
One sample itinerary of a Maple Ridge Ale Trail involves starting the day off with a coffee or breakfast at Humble Roots restaurant on 224th Street, followed by a hike through Maple Ridge Park. The resulting thirst and hunger are then satisfied at the Black Sheep Pub and Grill nearby, followed by a stop in the afternoon at Silver Valley Brewing in downtown Maple Ridge.
Once there, people can explore Maple Ridge’s downtown, including a visit to the ACT, with dinner at the Witchcraft Pub and Restaurant.
A list of possible accommodations in Maple Ridge isn’t included.
If funding is approved, there will be an official launch of the Maple Ridge Ale Trail.