Travel down Highway 97 from downtown Kelowna and you’ll arrive at Freddy’s Brewpub, the city’s longest-running brewery. The brewpub adjoins the McCurdy Bowling Centre, a well-loved Kelowna family fun experience with dining and Freddy’s beers on tap.
The outlet was established in 2000 as Big River Brewpub. Back then, the brewpub launched the career of Vern Lambourne (formerly Head Brewer at Granville Island Brewing and now co-founder of Port Moody’s The Parkside Brewery). Subsequently, the brewhouse was referred to as Mill Creek Brewery. However, the locals know it best as Freddy’s.
The brewpub is upping its game in 2020 by completely rebuilding from scratch, and relaunching with an expanded beer menu. To find out more, we connected with Sales and Marketing Manager Chris Bunnage.
Q & A WITH CHRIS BUNNAGE OF FREDDY’S BREWPUB
Craft beer fans around the province will likely not know much about Freddy’s. Who is your head brewer, and what do they like to brew?
Keith Bennett has been with our company for over four years. He is very versatile and thinks of the brewing process like poetry. He’s done an amazing job pairing local flavors to match the Okanagan seasons. If you ask our regulars, he makes the best beer in town!
Keith brews a wide variety, but he has a true passion: “Dark beers have more depth of flavour, and really showcase what craft beer is all about”, he says.
In 2020, Freddy’s has undergone a major renovation. How are things progressing with the reno, and what will be different when it’s complete?
To highlight our expanded brewery, we have taken the space right down to the studs and are rebuilding from scratch. There will be brand new booth seating, expanded indoor patio and lounge area, revamped menu featuring several new food items, 15 beers on tap with as many as 10 Freddy’s beers, new brewing equipment with see-through windows and large, open-concept garage doors by our bowling centre.
We have been part of the Kelowna community for almost 20 years, so this reno is our way of saying ‘Thank You’ for all the support. Our incredible team is working hard to meet our planned Fall re-opening dates. When you visit, you will experience a brand new Freddy’s Brewpub!
Countless Kelowna residents have spent a fun night at the Bowl and Brew. What are the most attractive reasons to come in?
Our facility is about socializing in a safe and fun environment. There are few places in our province to enjoy small batch craft beers, have an amazing dining experience, and get active with 30 lanes of fun (on our McCurdy Bowling Centre side).
It seems like good timing to conduct a reconstruction project in 2020. Did the lockdown have any effect on your plans?
Over a year and a half ago, we made plans to break ground at the end of April 2020. Originally we were going to keep the brewpub side open during the renovations, but with COVID capacity limitations that changed. However, customers are still able to dine and enjoy a Freddy’s brew on the bowling side.
Our brewhouse is operational, although it will pause for expansion in October. Fortunately our cold storage is not affected, so we will keep pouring Freddy’s beers all Fall! Keith is brewing hard for this, and joining forces with other Kelowna breweries to expand from eight to 15 beers on tap for our re-opening (big thanks to Wild Ambition, Kelowna Brewing Company and Kettle River).
This Fall, our planned brewpub hours will be 3pm – 11pm Monday to Friday and extended hours Saturdays and Sundays. This will expand as COVID restrictions are lifted.
Stay tuned for the grand re-opening Fall 2020!