BC Beer Awards 2016 / Beer Festival – October 15th 2016


With October brings BC Craft Beer Month and with that brings the BC Beer Awards.  Once again this year the awards ceremony and beer festival were held at the Croatian Cultural Centre.  This year the event was held on October 15th just a little earlier than last year.

bcbeerawards2016

I have been attending the BC Beer awards for many years now and it seems to be getting better and better.  With the industry exploding like it is in the province this event will only get better.  Much like always the event began at 4pm and ended at 9pm.  The festival was once again in two room and even had some beer pouring in the front entrance area.  This year there were 75 breweries pouring beer at the festival and 5 cideries.

Breweries pouring at the event:  4 Mile Brewing, Andina Brewing, Arrowhead Brewing, Barkerville Brewing, Big Ridge Brewing, Big Rock Urban Brewery, Brewhouse Whistler, Bomber Brewing, Brassneck, Bridge Brewing, Callister Brewing, Cannery Brewing, Canuck Empire, Category 12 Brewing, Central City Brewers & Distillers, Coal Harbour Brewing, Dageraad, Dead Frog Brewery, Deep Cove Brewers & Distillers, Doan’s Craft Brewing Company, Dogwood Brewing, Driftwood Brewery, Fernie Brewing, Feild House Brewing, Foamers Folly, Four Winds Brewing, Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks, Granville Island Brewing, Hearthstone Brewery, Howe Sound Brewing, Hoyne Brewing, KPU Brewering and Brewery Operations Diploma, Longwood Brewery, Luppolo Brewing, Main Street Brewing, Mission Springs Brewing, Moody ALes, Moon Under Water, Off The Rail Brewing, Old Yale Brewing, Pacific Western Brewing, Parallel 49 Brewing, Parkside Brewery, Persephone Brewing, Phillips Brewing, Postmark Brewing, Powell Street Craft Brewery, Prohibition, R&B Brewing, Real Cask, Ravens Brewing, Red Arrow Brewing, Red Truck Beer, Ridge Brewing, Rossland Beer Company, Russell Brewing, Saltspring Island Ales, Spinnakers Brewing, Stanley Park, Steamworks, Steel & Oak Brewing, Strange Fellows Brewing, Strathcona Beer Company, Swans, Tree Brewing, Tofino Brewing, Townsite Brewing, Trading Post, Twa Dogs, Twin Sails Brewing, Vancouver Island Brewery, Whistler Brewing, White Sails Brewing, Yaletown Brewing and Yellow Dog Brewing.  The Cideries were Left Field Cider, BC Tree Fruits, Tod Creek Craft Cider, Sunday Cider and Dominion Cider Co.

Stephen Quinn from CBC Radio was once again the voice of the BC Beer Awards this year.  This year 83 breweries entered beers into the competition and there were 750 different beers entered.  Once again this was more breweries entering beer up from 70 last year.  Its nice to see that once again this year more breweries have come out to try their luck.  Instead of doing the awards at the end of the night this year they started it near the beginning.  Lets get to the winning beers of the year!

International Lager

1: 33 Acres of Darkness (33 Acres Brewing Company)
2: Vienna Lager (Moody Ales)
3: Red Racer Pils (Central City Brewers + Distillers)

German Pale Lager

1: Red Racer Old School Lager (Central City Brewers + Distillers)
2: Keller Pilsner (Persephone Brewing Company)
3: Steamworks Pilsner (Steamworks Brewing Company)

Kölsch

1: Steamworks Kölsch (Steamworks Brewing Company)
2: High Country Kölsch (Mt. Begbie Brewing Co.)
3: Arctic Kölsch (Swans Brewery)

German Amber Beer

1: Gladstone Altbier (Gladstone Brewing Co.)
2:  Vienna Lager (R&B Brewing Co.)

3: Potts Pils (Moon Under Water Brewery & Pub)

European Dark Beer

1: Dark Lager (Steel & Oak Brewing Co.)

2: Baltic Porter (Cannery Brewing Company)

3: Red Racer Dopplebock (Central City Brewers + Distillers)
Honorable Mention:  Brewmaster’s Black Lager (Okanagan Spring Brewery)

German Wheat Beer

1: Demimondaine Dunkelweizen (Barkerville Brewing Co.)
2: This is Hefeweizen (Moon Under Water Brewery & Pub)

3: Weizenbock (Steel & Oak Brewing Co.)

British Bitter

1: English Bitter (Foamers’ Folly Brewing Co.)
2: Red Devil Ale (R&B Brewing Co.)

3: Beacon ESB (Lighthouse Brewing Company)

British Pale Ale

1: Clover IPA (Big Ridge Brewing Co.)

2: Paddywhack Organic IPA (Nelson Brewing Company)

3: English IPA (Strathcona Beer Company)

British Brown Ale

1: After Dark Ale (Nelson Brewing Company)
2: Tall Timber Ale (Mt. Begbie Brewing Co.)
3: Aethelred the Mild (Foamers’ Folly Brewing Co.)

Scottish and Irish Ales

1: Classic Scotch (Steamworks Brewpub)
2: Irish Stout (Ravens Brewing Company)
3: 1880 Export Stout (Moody Ales)

British Stout

1: 52 Foot Stout (Barkerville Brewing Co.)

2: Perfect Storm (Townsite Brewing Inc.)
3: 710 Oaked Stout (Faculty Brewing Co.)

Strong Ale

1: Thor’s Hammer (Central City Brewers + Distillers)

2: Wee Heavy (Persephone Brewing Company)
3: Wobbly Bob (Red Collar Brewing Company)

Fruit Beer

1: Pinot Noir Raspberry Blonde (Tin Whistle Brewing Company)
2: Red Truck Raspberry Ale (Red Truck Beer Company)
3: Tropic Vice (Dead Frog Brewery)

Spiced Beer

1: Jackline Rhubarb Grissette (Lighthouse Brewing Company)
2: Spruce Tree Ale (Tofino Brewing Company)

3: Hibiscus Wit (Brassneck Brewery)

Smoke and Wood Aged Beer

1: Entropy Series No. 1 (Dageraad Brewing)
2: Inertia II (Brassneck Brewery)
3: Thor’s Hammer Bourbon Barrel Aged (Central City Brewers + Distillers)

Specialty Beer

1: Roggen Weizen (Steel & Oak Brewing Co.)
2: Londen (Dageraad Brewing)
3: Sour Wheat Gose (Field House Brewing Co.)

North American Light Beer

1: Hooligan Organic Pilsner (Nelson Brewing Company)
2: Jerkface 9000 (Parallel 49 Brewing Co.)
3: Cypress Honey Lager (Granville Island Brewing)

North American Blonde Ale

1: Organic Wild Honey Ale (Nelson Brewing Company)
2: Postmark Blonde (Postmark Brewing)
3: Dutch Pale Ale (Field House Brewing Co.)

North American Pale Ale

1: Chase My Tail Pale Ale (Yellow Dog Brewing Co.)
2: One Hop Mind (Callister Brewing Company)
3: East Side Bitter (R&B Brewing Co.)

North American Amber Ale

1: 33 Acres of Life (33 Acres Brewing Company)
2: Troller Bay Ale (Howe Sound Brewing)

3: Thirsty Beaver Amber Ale (Tree Brewing Co.)

North American Brown Ale

1: Bandit Brown (Foamers’ Folly Brewing Co.)

2: Slipstream (Phillips Brewing & Malting Co.)

3: Kim-Ach-Touch Ale (Tree Brewing Co.)

North American Porter and Stout

1: Commander Imperial Stout (Dead Frog Brewery)

2: Stag and Pheasant Imperial Stout (Main Street Brewing Company)

3: Russian Imperial Stout (Moody Ales)

North American IPA

1: Flagship IPA (Steamworks Brewing Company)

2: Play Dead IPA (Yellow Dog Brewing Co.)

3: The Ultra Deluxe (Boombox Brewing)

Specialty IPA

1: Blonde IPA (Dageraad Brewing)
2: White ISA (Red Truck Beer Company)
3: YVR ISA (Steamworks Brewing Company)

Imperial IPA

1: 187 On An Undercover Hop (Parallel 49 Brewing Co.)

2: Cosmic Wave Double IPA (Tofino Brewing Company)
3: Second Anniversary Double IPA (Main Street Brewing Company)

Belgian Ale

1: Jongleur Wit (Strange Fellows Brewing Company)
2: Bier de Garde (Old Abbey Ales)
3: White Gold Witbier (Barkerville Brewing Co.)

Belgian Strong Ale

1: Dageraad Blonde (Dageraad Brewing)

2: Saison #7 (Main Street Brewing Company)
3: Old Barn Saison (Fernie Brewing Company)

Trappist Ale

1: 33 Acres of Euphoria (33 Acres Brewing Company)
2: Central City Belgian Strong (Central City Brewers + Distillers)
3: 10 Degrees (Dageraad Brewing)
Honorable Mention: 8 Degrees (Dageraad Brewing)

European Sour Ale

1: Raynard (Strange Fellows Brewing Company)

2: Cantus Fermus (Main Street Brewing Company)

3: Bizarro (Phillips Brewing & Malting Co.)

North American Wild Ale

1: Bodhisattva (Parallel 49 Brewing Co.)
2: Sour Raspberry (Old Abbey Ales)
3: Little Red One (Strange Fellows Brewing Company)

Best in Show

Flagship IPA (Steamworks Brewing Company)

Richards Buell Sutton LLP Rookie of the Year Award

Field House Brewing Co.

Dan Small Homebrew Award

Sho Ogawa and Novia Chen

CBC People’s Choice Award

Pablo Esco Gnar IPA, Boombox Brewing Company

Timber Brewers Challenge

Old Money Mild, Brassneck Brewery

This year’s Best of Show Flagship IPA is even more exciting as Julia Hanlon of Steamworks becomes the first female Head Brewer in BC to win this award!  A huge congratulations is in order for this!

Once the awards finished everyone went back to enjoying the beer that was on hand.  This was once again an amazing event with amazing beer being poured as well as great people be it craft beer fans or brewery staff.  Every year this event gets bigger and better!  Here is to another year of sticking it to the flavourless garbage that macro breweries make.

Once again like last year I helped set the festival up between 10:30am and 3pm.  It makes the festival even more fun when you are able to get involved in any part of the event.

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Berries of the Night – Arrowhead Brewing


From Invermere’s Arrowhead Brewing located in the Kootenays comes their “Berries of the Night” a raspberry wheat ale. The beer pours a cloudy amber colour with a white head. The aroma consists of raspberry, wheat and lots of sweetness. The flavour is of raspberry, bready wheat, yeast, earth and a mild sweetness. The alcohol content comes in at 4.5%. I wish the raspberries were more present as they were mild enough to seem a bit odd to be there at all. Still a tasty beer but could have used a few more raspberries in the brew.

Commercial Description:  Previously known by a different name, our raspberry wheat is back on tap. This beer is the same recipe, brewed with real BC raspberries, and is clean, crisp and tart. A perfect beer to complement your summer.

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East Kootenay Beer Festival (4th Annual) 2015 – Fairmont Hot Springs Resort


Sometimes really cool events come up that inspire you to go on a road trip.  On a visit to Vancouver’s Bomber Brewing I was made aware of the East Kootenay Beer Festival at Fairmont Hot Springs resort in the Far Eastern portion of the Province right on the Alberta border.  If you have been following this blog for a while you will know that last year I did a road trip around the Kootenays and loved it (Click here to read).  On that trip I fell in love with the Kootenays and could not wait to get back (but assumed it would be years before being back).

East Kootenay

A beer festival held at the base of a ski resort that happens to be at a Hot Springs resort sounds like a match made in heaven.  Already using many of my holidays I took a long weekend to attend the festival.  On Friday June 19th my Mom and I hit the road around 9am for our 850km trek to the resort.

EKBeerFest Route

Heading to the resort we headed East on Highway 1 until we got to the Coquihalla Highway.  The Coquihalla Highway brought us to Kamloops where we joined back up with Highway 1 until Golden.  Once in Golden hundreds of km from home we took highway 95 South to the resort. The drive is very picturesque and will take your breath away!

On arrival to Fairmont Hot Springs we were greeted with a welcome to the 4th annual beer festival.

Fairmont HS-035

Seeing as the last time I was at this resort it was only to use the public hot spring pools as my Girlfriend and I were camping down the highway we did a bunch of exploring around the resort.  Besides the Hotel portion of the resort there is also camping (although I think it was only for RV’s).  They also have a golf course and it looked like a mini golf course but I only spied it while driving by.  On top of this they also have a ski hill which rounds out their Winter operations and this is where the festival was to be held on Saturday June 20th.

Seeing as I wanted to get up early on Saturday to hit up the hot springs as well as head into Invermere to visit Arrowhead Brewing I headed to bed at a pretty reasonable time.  Once Saturday rolled around wristbands could be picked up after 1pm that would allow you into the festival grounds.  Shuttle buses started at 3:30pm to bring you up the 3km access road as the festival ran between 4pm and 8pm.

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Breweries that attended this years festival were as follows:
Arrowhead Brewing
Banff Ave Brewing
Big Rock Brewery (Alberta)
Big Surf
Bomber Brewing
Bravo Beer Co
Cannery Brewing
Cariboo Brewery
Fernie Brewing
Hoyne Brewing
Last Best Brewing
McClelland Imports
Moon Under Water
Mt. Begbie
Okanagan Springs
Pacific Western (Scandal)
Phillips Brewing
Prohibition
Rider Cider
Russel Brewing
Stanley Park
Steamworks
Wild Rose Brewery
Yukon Brewing

The brewery list was fairly impressive considering the distance some of the breweries had to travel including all three Victoria Breweries that came!  The cost of the festival on its own was $49 and was all inclusive for the beer while food could be purchased from a food truck and the bbq stand.  There was live music played by the band Cod Gone Wild and they rocked it.  The festival was a blast!  Between the live music, beautiful setting and a bunch of beer that I had actually never been able to sample I was totally in my element.  The people from the Kootenays were amazingly friendly as well as all of the Albertans and the odd crazy person like me that came a long way to partake in the festivities.  I would not hesitate to head back to this festival in future years.  The beer was served from packaged products (Bottles and cans) as well as from tap depending on how the breweries transported it.

In some ways I would have to say that I had more fun at this festival than most I have been to.  Yes as a blogger and beer traveler I know many of the brewery staff but I did not know one festival goer at the festival!  I made some many great short term (festival) friends and had a ton of great conversions with interesting people.  There was even an after party at the ski lodge from 8pm until 11pm with a cash bar and other live music.  I headed down the mountain without sticking around for the after party to meet up with many of the brewery staff for more beer and a soak in the hotsprings.  Sadly when Sunday rolled around my Mom and I had to hop back in the car for anouther marathon drive.  This time we took the South Route though and went through Osoyoos and Manning Park on the way to Vancouver.

EKBeerFest Route2

This drive is a at least an hour longer than the Northern route but just as pretty.

For the sake of showing the entire route we took on the 1800km trek here are two maps one close up of the entire trek and one of the entire province of BC for scale.

I had an epic time in the Kootenays and so did my mom and I look forward to getting back sooner than later!  The East Kootenay Beer Festival for 2016 has already been announced so think about saving the date June 18th, 2016!  The long weekend model is quite feasible for Albertan and Okanagan residence and I would not hesitate to recommend considering going this route.  If like me though you live further West or even further North or South I would recommend taking a week and taking a few days to explore the province on the way to and from the Festival.  The Kootenays also have so much to offer in the way of Hot Springs, Breweries, hiking and really any outdoor activity you can think of.  Once you get to the Kootenays don’t run away as you will love every second you linger in this beautiful countryside.  If you can’t make it for the East Kootenay Beer Festival take a trip out to Fairmont Hot Springs Resort when you can you will not be disappointed! Congratulations Fairmont Hot Springs Resort for putting on a very successful event this year!

Fairmont Hot Springs Resort
http://www.fairmonthotsprings.com
5225 Fairmont Resort Rd,
Fairmont Hot Springs, BC

1-800-663-4979

Distances as per Fairmont Hot Springs Resorts website
Cranbrook, BC     108 km (67 mi)
Calgary, AB     299 km (185 mi)
Lethbridge, AB     392 km (244 mi)
Spokane, WA     410 km (255 mi)
Red Deer, AB     432 km (268 mi)
Kelowna, BC     490 km (305 mi)
Edmonton, AB     584 km (362 mi)
Saskatoon, SK     901 km (560 mi)
Vancouver, BC 850km or 950km (last one added by me)

Full sized photos.

So if you are as crazy as I am and live in Saskatoon you could make it to the festival in the same time it took me!

I’m So Freaking Hoppy Imperial IPA – Arrowhead Brewing


From Invermere’s Arrowhead Brewing located in the Kootenays comes their “I’m So Freaking Hoppy Imperial IPA”.  The Double IPA pours a deep reddish copper colour with an off white head.  The aroma consists of caramel malts, floral hops, pine and a sweet tropical fruit finish.  The flavour is of caramel malts, tropical fruits (possibly pineapple), citrus and a pretty decent hops bitterness although lower than expected for a Double IPA.  The alcohol content comes in at a decently high 7.5%.  This is an Imperial IPA that I would be happy to drink on a regular basis!  I wish you would find it on tap in Vancouver.

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Doc Tagart’s ESB – Arrowhead Brewing


From Invermere’s Arrowhead Brewing located in the Kootenays comes their “Doc Tagart’s ESB” an Extra Special Bitter.  The beer pours a copper colour  with an off white head.  The aroma consists of floral hops, tropical fruits, citrus and a good malty finish.  The flavour is of pine, hops bitterness, caramel, earthiness, tropical fruits and citrus.  The alcohol content comes in at 6.5% and an IBU of 60.  Like the stout I tried before this beer was very well crafted and I wish I had more than one bottle!

Commercial Description:  Doc Tagart’s Extra Special Bitter is a fresh tasting ale with citrus notes.  A floral aroma and an IBU of 60.

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