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Kokanee beer

by Trevor Prosser
(Beer Delegate, AB)

Kokanee beer. It's the girl at high school you wonder why nobody asked out...

Kokanee beer. It's the girl at high school you wonder why nobody asked out...

Every time I head into the liquor store these days ("Hey, it's the guy who thinks he's a beer reviewer" says the gal at the cash), I try to find new and exotic local beers to sample and write about.

Who wants to drink Canadian when there's some fancy new microbrew that no one outside of Alberta will ever see? Why down another Big Rock when you can gamble with the unknown?

But when I go out for an evening with friends, most of the establishments I haunt don't have a huge selection of odd beers. In fact, at most places, your choices are limited to Molson, Big Rock, or Kokanee beer. And to butcher Robert Frost, these beers converge in a corner tavern, and I chose Kokanee - and that has made all the difference. Continues below

Kokanee beer is like that girl in high school who everybody liked. She wasn't drop-dead gorgeous, but she was pretty enough to make you wonder why one of your friends didn't ask her out. She was kind, she was friendly, and she was always there. She was everyone's pal. That's our glacier-spring ale, all right.

Kokanee is the beer you drink without thinking about it. The beer you grab a pitcher of at the sports bar when no one knows what they want to drink, but everyone agrees it shouldn't be Budweiser. And yet, in its simplicity is beauty.

It's a smooth beer, not a heavy drink by any means. Its golden hue and small head are very similar to the other big-brand beers, but it comes off with a bit more corn-bread flavour than the other contenders. It's slightly sweet, easy to chug, and like most of its ilk, is much better when served ice cold.

Really, the only thing that really separates Kokanee from the others is the quality of their ads. Who hasn't seen the Ranger, the Sasquatch, and the Ski Bunnies on television? And now, with their "Ranger - Live or Die?" campaign (I voted Live - heck, I even bought the tee shirt!), they're really pushing the brand.

Will that encourage more people to give Kokanee beer a try? I doubt it - because I don't know a single person who drinks beer who hasn't already had at least one pint of it - and declared it "pretty good". Not the most earth-shaking endorsement, I know - but hey, it's Kokanee.

Comments for Kokanee beer

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Oct 11, 2012
Hard to open NEW
by: Sharon Jolly

This is the best beer around for my taste, I was a Canadian beer drinker when I lived in Ontario but since being in the O'Kanogan my taste has changed. I only have two small problems, I have arthritic hands and really have a hard time taking the caps off, sometimes glass comes with it. I've also cut inside of my hand when opening the cap. I have heard this from others who have experienced the same problem, and they do not have the arthritis I have. Please can you make it easier to open with out cutting my hands and causing less pain. It's not enough of a problem to make me stop drinking Kokanee, I'll just have to find someone to open them for me!

Dec 02, 2011
Fell in Love in Whistler NEW
by: Anonymous

I travel from San Diego, California to Whistler B.C. once every December. I've drank my copius share of various beers in the U.S.A., Canada, South America and Europe. Kokanee is what makes my trip to Whistler complete. I know exactly what to expect and it never disappoints. Of course I always put the em- fassis (emphasis) on the wrong sil label(syllable) and don't know if its Ko-Kanny or Ko-kuny. Aa or Uh. Anyway... its always good as hell. Please don't ever sell Kokanee in San Diego. I won't have a good reason to come to Whistler.

Nov 27, 2011
kokanee NEW
by: Anonymous

love kokanee beer , where can i find it in n.e. penna?

Sep 08, 2011
by: Anonymous

I love favorite beer I've had by far. By the way, does anyone know where I can find it in Logan, UT?

Aug 05, 2011
I love you Kokanee
by: Don

I was at Merlin's in Whistler last week and asked what they had on tap. She rattled off a few names that I didn't know and then she said Kokanee. I said What and she said Kokanee. I ordered a pitcher and found the fresh taste along with a little taste of salt and sweetness to be fantastic!. I went there every night until I left and ordered a pitcher of Kokanee. I am back in Woo Pig Sooie Arkansas and am looking for some Kokanee at the local retailers. It's better than that Panther P*ss they call Miller Lite and Bud Lite.

Don from Woo Pig Sooie Arkansas

Jul 25, 2011
by: Anonymous

Discovered Kokanee last year. Absolutely love it. Got to be in a can though and ice cold. Only problem is that they don't last. LCBO used to sell tall boys; stopped this spring. 375 ml cans disappear too quickly. Pretty expensive at Brewer's Retail in Ontario (approx $45.00 for a 24).

Jul 20, 2011
by: Kalani

When I go to Canada, this is the beer I drink. Hands down the best! And for $25 a 12er in Whistler Village it better be. Sucks Hawaii does not have any.

Jun 29, 2011
by: NucksRule22

Just came back from visting family in Central California and wouldn't ya know it, the local Save Mart supermarket had 12'ers for $12. I could not believe it. The last time I drank it was at my Buddy's Irish pub in San Diego (He is from Vancouver) and he has it shipped in. So needless to say in the 8 days I was back home I believe I bought 4 12 packs and graciously shared them with my Bro In Law and Nephew In Law. They both loved it and said they will drink it again. Now I am back home in Texas where it might as well be a damn samsquantch cause you aint gonna find it round here. Great article and explains the majesty of such a simple yet timeless classic. Here's to you Kokanee. Cheers eh...

Dec 11, 2010
by: Beer in MN

I had never heard of Kokanee until stacks of it showed up on the staircase of our MN town liquor store. Since people here tend to drink more diverse beers compared to other towns, we get loads of good import and micro-brew overstock from elsewhere and sold cheap here. I picked up a case for $14. It's pretty decent for a light refreshing beer. I'm more of a fan of bold ales and stouts though.

Jul 17, 2010
Great Beer
by: Anonymous

Spent five years as an expat in Calgary before transferring back to Houston......Kokanee beer is amazing. I am lucky to have married a Canadian and now everytime my inlaws visit (once every 2 months) I get a case of beer. I treasure each of them like I do my Spain beers (Cruzcampo/Alhambra)

Jul 03, 2010
Just discovered Kokanee
by: KAS

Just returned to the dusty desert of Arizona after a week in Calgary, where I discovered Kokanee. I'm generally a dark ale drinker, but I loved Kokanee and will definitely check into finding it again, even if it means buying it online and having it shipped.

Jun 14, 2010
Best ever
by: Ikaika

I went to College in Wash. State and tried it for the first time. It was great!!! and still til this day (10 years later), still declare it my favorite beer. Unfortunately I live in Hawaii and for 10 ten years have been missing it.

Mar 29, 2010
Excellent beer
by: Anonymous

I love it so much that I named my beloved, and now passed Black Lab after the house beer - Kokanee. RIP baby girl

Mar 29, 2010
Excellent beer
by: Anonymous

I like it so much that I named my beloved, and now passed, Black Lab after the house beer - Kokanee. RIP baby girl

Jan 23, 2010
So good.
by: Anonymous

Its fucking good beer.

Jan 20, 2010
Kokanee QC
by: Anonymous

Where I can find Kokanee beer in Quebec Province ?

Nov 27, 2009
was a kokanee drinker
by: Anonymous

i don't know what happened to the recipe, but this spring/summer the flavour changed. must be buying cheaper hops or something, now searching for a new beer. too bad i have been drinking this for about 10 years.

i'll try again maybe next summer

Oct 17, 2009
Great brew!
by: Anonymous

The only places I have consistently found Kokanee is at WINCO grocery stores, and they are located only in Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Colorado, Oregon and, eventually, in Utah.

Oct 15, 2009
How to order Kokanee
by: Sean

Like several of the other commenters, I have been unable to find Kokanee at any of my local stores. After lengthy internet searches, I finally found a website that would ship it to me in the Midwest U.S. The site is called Liquid Solutions (, which appears to be a one-man operation based in Oregon. Their minimum order is a case (24 bottles) and the shipping actually costs more than the beer due to the weight. I believe my overall order was around $70, which works out to almost $3 per beer, but it was worth it since I have no other way of obtaining Kokanee. One word of warning: the shipping with this site is very slow. It took exactly 20 days from the time I placed my order until it arrived at my door via UPS ground shipping.

I hope this information is helpful... I know firsthand how frustrating it can be to find this beer in the U.S. if you live anywhere outside the Northwest.

Aug 14, 2009
How can I get some more....
by: P. Murphey

I found out about Kokanee while visiting Washington State Univ. I can not find this beer in Kentucky. Is there a way to order it??

Aug 03, 2009
Kokanee Conspiracy
by: KokaneeConspiracy

Once again Canada proves its superiority to the U.S. There must be a Canadian conspiracy to keep this most excellent beer (Kokanee) out of the U.S. I can't find it anywhere in California.

Jul 10, 2009
Kokanee Withdraw
by: Coach

I just visited Vancouver on a fishing trip. I asked to try a local beer and I was served a Kokanee. WOW!!! That was my choice of beer the entire week. I am from Ohio and they don't have it here. I am contacting all of my hangouts to see if anyone can order it for me. If anyone has a suggestion, I NEED MY KOKANEE.

Mar 11, 2009
by: Anonymous

ha, i'm from new york and i came to canada for my spring break. some locals introduced me to kokanee and finding the sasquatch on each bottle. love it very much. wish i could get kokanee back home.

Feb 22, 2009
Need some!
by: Sandeep Gill

i want to buy a case of 24 bottle of kokanee glacial beer . i live in hurst texas 76053 please advise
sandeep gill

Jan 30, 2009
Excellent Beer!
by: Anonymous

Discovered Kokanee in Idaho on a motorcycle trip. Stopped for a break. Had and Ice cold Kokanee Glacier Beer. Great Beer Ice Cold. Now I'm believer.. from Minnesota.

Dec 25, 2008
Good Stuff
by: Anonymous

I like this beer. It is easy to drink. I once saw it a liquor store in Nevada.

Nov 24, 2008
Fuckin' A man, fuckin' A.
by: I <3 Kokanee

"The beer you grab a pitcher of at the sports bar when no one knows what they want to drink, but everyone agrees it shouldn't be Budweiser."

I hear that man, the only reason I ever drank Budweiser was to try it, and my buddy had bought 24 to get a Buffalo Bills hat.

"She was kind, she was friendly, and she was always there. She was everyone's pal. That's our glacier-spring ale, all right."

Again, totally agree except for the "ale" part. It's hard to believe but Kokanee is actually a lager, not an ale and not even a pilsener. What's the difference? Molson, Budweiser, Coors are all lagers, but Kokanee stands above thanks to the delcious, Canadian glacier fresh water used brewing the beer.

Great review man, totally agree except about the ale part.

Nov 20, 2008
Kokanee Beer Lover
by: Anonymous

Kokanee Beer Lover

Sep 29, 2008
well said
by: kokaneepete

Spent the Labor Day weekend in North Idaho after being gone for several years. You said it when it comes to the Big K, and I'm not talking Kmart. It is not Bud, which is a good thing, and the pitchers were cheap at the roadside watering holes lining U.S. 95 south of Canada. Kokanee served it's purpose very fine over that long weekend.

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