Brew North Strong Craft Beer Festival (Tickets on sale) – Abbotsford


Growing up in Metro Vancouver I spent a lot of time at the Abbotsford International Airshow growing up.  The rumble of the planes and the aerobatics made for an exciting excursion as a child.

With Canada 150 being celebrated this year though there is a new exciting addition to the Abbotsford International Airshow.  This year they launch the Brew North Strong Craft Beer Festival.

The Airshow runs from August 11th – 13th, 2017.  The beer fest runs all three days as well.  The Airshow goes from 3-9pm Friday (Beerfest 3:30-9pm), 9am-6pm Saturday and Sunday (Beerfest 9am-6pm).  The Airshow will have a selection of food trucks on hand for a good selection of foods.

The beer festival costs $10 per day with drink tokens costing $1.5 each.  To gain access to the beer festival you will also have to have general admission tickets to the Airshow that will run you $26.25.  When you think about it $36.25 is a really good price to attend a beer festival in British Columbia.

Here are some promo photos that were provided by the organizers taken by Sequel Photography.

The breweries that are involved at this point are as follows: Old Abbey Ales, Ravens Brewing, Hathi Brewing, Highway 97 Brewing, Chaos & Solace Brewing, Mt Begbie Brewing, Two Wolves Brewing, Cannery Brewing, Dead Frog Brewery, Granville Island Brewing and 4 Mile Brewing.

Here is their promo video that they shot

I would highly recommend that you check out this festival as it not only seems to have some really tasty beer that will be poured but there will also be some really planes preforming in the sky.

Purchase tickets at the link below.

Buy tickets here.

Learn more about the festival here.

Click here for more info.

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Vancouver Craft Beer Week Festival – June 4th, 2017


Every year I hope to make it to more Vancouver Craft Beer Week events and every year my schedule gets stupid right at that time.  This year I finally made it out to the big festival at the historic PNE Fairgrounds on the second day day on Sunday June 4th, 2047.  This was the final day of Craft Beer Week and was a festival of epic scale covering a massive area in the PNE grounds.

The festival ran from 1pm to 6pm and hosted 100 craft breweries and cideries with over 300+ beer and cider being poured.  For the full list of breweries click here.  The tickets were a great value at $39.99 and included 2 drink tokens.  More could be purchased for a $1.5 each.  Breweries came from not only Canada but also from around the United States and I think there were some from around the world also.

The festival hosted live music also as well as a bunch of food truck options, art installations, market stalls, brewing demonstrations and a game area and barber shop.

With the festival being so spread out it never felt overly busy on the Sunday and I never had to wait more than a minute or two to get a sample of beer.  I had to leave early so I don’t know if it was this the entire time but I really enjoyed the fact that I could just walk up and get a sample of any beer I wanted without waiting forever in line.  I think VCBW might be onto something with this festival and I am glad that I was finally able to make it out to the PNE festival.  I would always recommend going to as many events during VCBW as you can but I know not everyone is made of money.  If you can only make it to one event you would not be doing yourself a disservice going to this one.  Tons of different beers to try with some of the latest breweries that have opened in BC as well as breweries from out of town you may or may not have had the chance to try.

If you have not made it out to VCBW yet then you need to head to their website and bookmark it for next year!

http://vancouvercraftbeerweek.com/

Fest-Of-Ale Beer Judging 2017 – Penticton


This was the fourth year that I was asked be a judge at the Okanagan Fest-Of-Ale in Penticton.  Once again the judging was held on day two of the festival on April 8th this year.  We had gone from 10 to 14 categories in the last two years but they scaled it back to 12 this year.  Those categories were Pilsner/Golden Lager, Pale Ale, Wheat Ale, Saison, Amber/Dark Ale, IPA, Specialty IPA, Dark Lager, Stout/Porter, Sour, Cider and Fruit Beer.  Once again we had 9 judges broken up into three groups of three.  The categories were broken up between the three groups in a way that everyone judged around the same amount of beer.  We were tasked with picking our favourite beer in each category that we were responsible for.  From there the groups were asked to pick their top two beer from those winners.  This gave us the top 6 beers for the entire group to deliberate over for the best of show.  I think this gets even more contentious every year and the discussions become arguments but we get down to a winner in the end.  The following photos of the Judges come from Kim of DogLeg marketing.

Meet The Judges

Chelsea – Brewtiful BC, Jeremy – Craft Beer Vancouver, Jan Zeschky – Beer writer

Rebecca Whyman – Beernesday.com, Rob Mangelsdorf – The Growler, Joe Wiebe – Author

Wade Dhooge – Cask & Barrel, Me, Jason Van Rassel – Daily Beer

Every year this panel is done by blind tasting with all samples poured by a team and handed out to each judge.  We do not judge to the full standards of the BJCP but only pick what each of the three judges in a group likes best then deliberate which of those should be our choices for number one.  Like I said above once we had decided which of the beers were the winners in our categories we had to choose our top two.  We had some pretty good discussions and disagreements about what beer should go on to the full judge panel.  Wow was there ever some serious disagreement this year when we came together as a group of nine to pick the best of show.  We started out with a very civil conversation where we discussed if the winner should be an approachable beer for the masses or what we thought was the most technically interesting beer.  Just this simple part of the conversation was a contentious one.  I don’t know if this was the most contentious judge panel that I have been a part of or not but this was definitely the one that had the most swings in our voting.  There was absolutely two different camps when it came to which beer should win.  The funny part is that the winner in the end was an underdog.  It wasn’t until one person voting against the winner said something that swayed the balance to the winning IPA.  I am really happy that I was able to come out on the right side of this vote in the end but it was close.  The judging once again started at 10am (Its a hard job but someone has to do it) and it went on for quite some time.

Once we had made all of our decisions about best beer of every category and best of show we were given the names of all of the winners we had chosen.

Best in Class, Judges’ Choice Awards:

Pilsner/Golden Lager Pixel Pils – Fuggles & Warlock, Richmond, BC
Pale Ale Dusk Pale Ale – Parkside Brewery, Port Moody, BC
Wheat Ale Summer Ale, Witbier – Steamworks Brewing, Burnaby, BC
Saison Sirens Chai Saison – Britannia Brewing, Richmond, BC
Amber/Dark Ale Brave Liver Scotch Ale – Mt. Begbie Brewing, Revelstoke, BC
IPA Street Legal IPA – Twin Sails Brewing, Port Moody, BC
Specialty IPA High Five Hazy IPA – Yellow Dog Brewing, Port Moody, BC
Dark Lager Dark Lager – Steel & Oak Brewing, New Westminster, BC
Stout/Porter Dry Irish Stout – Ravens Brewing, Abbotsford, BC
Sour Nectarous – Four Winds Brewing, Delta, BC
Cider Pippin’s Fate – Twisted Hills Craft Cider, Cawston, BC
Fruit Beer Park Life Passionfruit Ale – Bomber Brewing, Vancouver, BC

The People’s Choice Awards, voted for by guests at the event:

Best Beer                                                 Old Style Lager – Red Arrow Brewing, Duncan, BC
Best Cider                                                Pears & Peaches – BC Tree Fruits Cider, Kelowna, BC
Best Food                                                Brodo Kitchen, Penticton, BC

Best in Show, Judges’ Choice Award:      

High Five Hazy IPA – Yellow Dog Brewing, Port Moody, BC

This was once again an amazing judging session at the Okanagan Fest-Of-Ale.  To check out the post on the festival itself click here.  Here are some of the photos of the group of judges and our amazing group that set up the juding and poured our samples.

Here are the photos from the Awards ceremony that was held in the main hall of the festival a few hours after we had finished the judging session.

Soirée Dieu Du Ciel – Steel Toad Brewpub


On February 25th, 2017 UnTapped Craft Imports and Steel Toad Brewpub in Vancouver hosted the Soirée Dieu Du Ciel.  When you hold a party with this epic Quebec brewery and the master brewer Jean Francois in attendance you know you are in for a treat.

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The $40 ticket got you entry into the event between 2pm and 5pm and that included a commemorative glass and 4 beer tokens.  The real star of the show was the rare beer that have not been seen in British Columbia as of yet.  These beers included the following:

Moralité (American IPA)
Ultra Mosaika (Ultra Mosaic Pale Ale)
Hélium (Helles Lager)
L’Austérité (American Barleywine)
Grande Noirceur 2015 (Imperial Stout)
Hérétique Blonde
Hérétique Obscura (Funky Black Beer)
Rigor Mortis Brandy/Cognac (Abbey-Style Brown Ale)
Isseki Nicho Pinot 2015 (Imperial Black Saison aged in Pinot Noir Barrels)
Exorciste Mûres 2015 (Blackberry Sour Whete)
Péché Véniel 2015 (coffee Stout)

Bottle
Exorciste
Solstice D’Hiver Barrel Aged
Peche Mortel Barrel Aged

This was the ultimate introduction to the beers of Dieu Du Ciel!  I have never had a bad beer from this brewery but these are the crème de la crème from them.  Why not get to know a brewery with their absolute bests?

With great events comes great people usually.  Here are my shots as well as some from Whats Brewing and Vine & Hops Wine and Craft Beer Tours.  It was great to meet Jean Francois the Master Brewer and chat with him about beer.

My absolute favourites from this event include the Grande Noirceur 2015 (Imperial Stout), Hérétique Obscura (Funky Black Beer) and the absolute winner the Rigor Mortis Brandy/Cognac (Abbey-Style Brown Ale). 

If you are not familiar with this brewery yet it is time to get familiar.  Their beer is available at liquor stores on the West Coast and well worth picking up.  This is truly one of the best breweries in Canada.

 

Tri-Cities Cask Festival Winter 2017 Pro-Am – Coquitlam


On January 22, 2017 I finally attended the Tri-Cities Cask Festival Winter 2017 Pro-Am.  What a festival it turned out to be.

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As beer festivals go this has to be one of the best fests for your buck in the province.  With $49 dollars getting you 10 samples, a custom burger and custom poutine you just can not go wrong.  I also love that this beer fest is 100 percent casks!  Basically every beer that was on offer was a one off creation just for this festival and that seems to be lost in the majority of beer fests these days.  When I saw that 577 people would be in attendance for this festival I expected the room at the Executive Plaza Hotel & Conference Centre to be larger.  Somehow with even this many people in the space it never seemed super busy.  I never had to wait more than a minute to get a sample of a beer I wanted to check out.

Here are the breweries that took part in the cask festival:

One of the more interesting facts about this festival was that it was a pro-am so there were also casks from some home brew clubs that were made in collaboration with local breweries.

Here are the home brew clubs involved:

Everyone that I talked to at the festival was having a great time and seemed to be really happy with the cask beer that was on offer.  I have to say that the burger and the poutine were also awesome!

The following photos are of the different beer that I was able to sample while enjoying the festival.  Every beer that I consumed was enjoyable but like all experimentation some were better than others and some were next level.

I had a great time tying out all of the beers that I did try and I wish that I could have tried more.  Here are my winners for the ones that I was able to try.

Best Commercial Brewery – Storm Brewing – Vanilla Brandy Black Plague

Best Home Brew Club – Full Barrel Brew Club (Langley) – Maple barrel Imperial Stout

Most Intriguing Beer – Mango Habanero Play Dead IPA

My Best of Show – Full Barrel Brew Club (Langley) – Maple barrel Imperial Stout

Now the festival had awards that were voted on by the ticket holders of the festival.  All voting was done via a website and near the end of the festival the winners were announced.  While one of the awards Lines up with mine the other one did not.  Here are the festival winners as per the overall festival goers.

Best Amateur – Full Barrel Brew Club (Langley) – Maple barrel Imperial Stout

Best Pro – Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks – Haze For Daze

Best of Show – Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks – Haze For Daze

There is no doubt in my mind I will be attending more festivals in the future put on by the Tri-Citires Cask Festival people and you should check one out too!  They consist of great beer, food, people and you never have to wait long for a sample like you do at some festivals. Also as the BC government opens up the liquor laws these pro-am events may become even more easy to host.

The next festival they are holding is taking an whole new spin on the festival and making it about the Women in Beer in the Province of British Columbia.  Not all of the women involved will be brewers per say but they are all integral in making their brewery awesome and will help make the casks for the event!

Make sure to check out Siris Cask Fest coming up on April 22nd, 2017.  An added bonus for the women out there the first hour is only open to Women!

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