British Columbia has some pretty good beers, according to On The Coast beer columnist Rebecca Whyman.

West Coast breweries tied with Ontario for the most medals at the 15th annual Canadian Brewing Awards, were held in Ottawa on May 27. 

B.C. took home 51 of 164 medals, with Revelstoke's Mt. Begbie Brewing winning the coveted "Best Brewery in Canada" award. 

Other notable winners from the province include Powell Brewing, which took home four medals, and Steamworks, Off the Rail and Bomber Brewing, which claimed three medals each. 

This is the first year that breweries were required to be 100 per cent Canadian-owned to be eligible for the awards, a rule that essentially highlights craft breweries by making bigger breweries ineligible, said Whyman.  

The columnist said the recognition is welcomed by owners.

"A beer award is an acknowledgment that all of their hard work and the risks taken to enter an industry with lots of competition and small profit margins were worth it – they made a really great beer!  And the industry, their peers and their faithful supporters recognize, and celebrate, that really great beer," said Whyman.

She added customers can use the awards to expand their tasting menu.

"If you're new to beer you can take the list of winners as a to-do list, tasting the local winners in each style category to gain an appreciation for the differences between, for example, classic-style India pale ales and North American-style IPAs, knowing you are trying very good examples of each style," Whyman said.

Here are the columnist's picks from the gold medal-winning beers.

Steamworks Brewing's Black Angel IPA 

"It's a black IPA, also known as a Cascadian Dark Ale, which means it is as malty as it is hoppy. Although it is dark in colour, it has angelic citrus notes keeping it light. 7 per cent abv. Available in 330ml bottles at liquor stores and the Steamworks tasting room."

Powell Street Brewing's Lazy D'haze IPA 

"It's a Northeast style IPA, which makes it as hazy as the summer days are long. Lots of fruity goodness from Amarillo and Equinox hops, with intense aromas of grapefruit, orange, apricot, melon and berries. 7 per cent abv. Available on tap at the tasting room."

Strathcona Brewing's British IPA 

"It's a classic English IPA, which means it is more balanced between hops and malts than a Pacific Northwest IPA. Lightly hopped with traditional English hops, it has subtle citrus flavour and a nice dry finish. 6 per cent abv. Available in 355ml cans and on tap in the tasting room."

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast