From Calgary Alberta’s Big Rock Brewery comes their “Traditional Ale” an English Style Brown Ale that is also brewed at the breweries in British Columbia and Ontario. The beer pours a medium chestnut brown colour with a tan head. The aroma consists of caramel, mild roast, nuttiness, earth and a sweet finish. The flavour is of nuts, caramel, mild roast, earth some mild bitterness and sweetness. The alcohol content comes in at 5% with an IBU of 20. This beer isn’t going to knock your socks off but that is not what a brown ale is about anyways. This is a tasty clean brown ale that hits the right notes.
Commercial Description: A recipe gone untouched since Big Rock’s founding. Toasty malt and sweet caramel up front, finishes with a nutty flavour, medium creamy carbonation and mild hop bitterness. “The unmatched quality of our Canadian grown barley is still the backbone of this beer over 30 years after it was first brewed. My comfort food in a glass, some things just never get old.” ~Brewmaster Paul Gautreau
Food pairing as per brewery: Sharp cheeses, red meats and stews.
With April comes one of my favourite beer festivals in the province in the Fest-Of-Ale. This was the 21 annual event in Penticton and was once again a great party! This two day festival took place on April 8th and 9th a Friday and Saturday. Once again the festival was able to have an indoor and outdoor section that included beer, food and live music. The Penticton Trade and Convention Centre was again the host location of the festival.
Every year the festival invites new breweries to the festival. This year there was just over 50 breweries and cideries in attendance.
This years brewery and Cidery list includes the following:
4 Mile Brewing
Bad Tattoo Brewing
Banff Ave Brewing
Barley Mill Brew Pub
BC TRee Fruits
Big Rock Brewery
Category 12 Brewing
Central City Brewers & Distillers
Coal Harbour Brewing
Dead Frog Brewery
Dominion Cider Co
Four Winds Brewing
Highway 97 Brewery
Howe Sound Brewing
Howling Moon Craft Cider
Marten Brewing Company
McClelland Premium Imports
Mt Begbie Brewing
Old Abbey Ales
Old Yale Brewing
Orchard Hill Estate Cidery
Parallel 49 Brewing
Powell Street Craft Brewery
Ravens Brewing Company
Red Collar Brewing
Red Truck Beer
Steel & Oak Brewing
Tin Whistle Brewing
Twisted Hills Craft Cider
Vancouver Island Brewery
Yellow Dog Brewing
On the Friday I was able to get into the festival early as I was part of the Media for the festival. It is nice to get some photos before the place gets packed!
The Friday event ran from 4pm until 9pm and was a great mix of people. The crowd that comes after work to drink is quite civilized. Friday’s crowd seems to be more interested in getting to know the flavours and brands on hand at the festival.
Once again the fist day of the festival was a total blast. The breweries involved were great and the people attending where all really excited to be there. Like always I took the Friday easy as I was once again one of the Judges for the festival.
After our session of Judging on Saturday the judges all headed back into the festival for day two. For the general public the festival ran from 12-6pm. Like always day two for me is more about the food and the people than the beer as we have judged so many beers. There were still lots of great beer that I sampled though especially some of the beers that we judged as winners. With the second day being during the day the crowd seems to both be younger and less knowledgeable about craft beer. Saturday is more rowdy and there are way more costumes. Something that seems to be very popular at some beer festivals and even more at music festivals.
At 3pm all of the judges had to be up at the main stage that is located in the middle of the indoor portion of the festival. This is where the awards where given out to the winning breweries and cideries. Kim of DogLeg Marketing sent me these following photos of the winning breweries. I could not take them as I was standing on the stage in behind the winners.
Here is the list of winning beers as chosen by the judging panel.
Once again the Fest-Of-Ale was a massive success in 2016. If you can only make it to one beer festival in the province next year this is a great contender! I forgot to take photos this year of the pop up liquor store but it was once again had an amazing selection of great beers. I was able to pick up some from Torchlight Brewing that is usually only available in a small area in the Nelson area.
Alley Kat Brewing and Big Rock Brewery have collaborated in Edmonton at the Alley Kat location to bring us “Big Brown Kat” a Pacific North West Single Hopped Brown Ale. The beer pours a deep brown colour with red hues and a tan head. The aroma consists of caramel, roasted malts, mild sweetness and mild fruits. The flavour is of caramel, roasted malts, mild chocolate, mild spicy pine and some earth. The alcohol content comes in at 4.8% and 40 IBU. Not an overly complex beer but a great beer to sit down to a pint or two if you can find it.
Commercial Description: Three specialty malts and premium Alberta barley balance out this delicious brown ale. Collabrewation never tasted so good.
From Calgary Alberta’s Big Rock Brewery comes their new Limited Release the “Dark Cherry Abbey Ale” a Belgian Abby Style Ale. The beer pours a deep brown colour with a brown head. The aroma consists of cherry, plumb, chocolate, roasted malts and sweetness. The flavor is of chocolate, banana, bubbble gum, plum, cherry, roasted malts and an overall sweetness. The alcohol content comes in at 9.5%. This kind of beer is not for everyone but I think this is one of the better winter style beers. I would drink it again for sure.
Commercial Description: Dark sweet cherries are blended with a strong Belgian ale in this special edition winter offering from Big Rock. Here’s an ale whose aromas will warm you even before the first sip; dark and chocolate malts, Belgian candi sugar, coriander, orange peel …and all those cherries. Our Brewmaster takes one of his favourite beer styles and elevates it to the next level. Share this limited time offering with friends or enjoy it on your own wintery retreat.
Last September I attended what turned out to be one of my favourite beer festivals in BC in the Whistler Village Beer Festival. The weather was beautiful and the beer was amazing! Here is last years official festival video.
Last year was such a success that this year Gibbons Events Co decided to make the Main Festival happen over two days with many satellite events that ran over 5 days. The main Festivals took place on September 19th and 20th 2015.
While last year had epic weather this year we did not get so lucky! But hey this is BC and we all own rain jackets so a little rain didn’t stop an epic party! I was only able to attend the Saturday Main Event which was lucky for me as the rain was not quite as bad. The festival was held at the Whistler Olympic Park in the Whistler Village once again. The event started for average attendees at 1pm (opened at 12 for gatecrashers) and ran until 5pm (last call at 4:45). I got into the grounds before the festival opened to the public and gate crashers and was to take lots of photos of the booths as they set up.
This year the Resort Municipality of Whistler gave the green light to increase the festival grounds by 40% to increase the amount of breweries to around 80. This is impressive as 2013’s event was half the size of 2014!
Breweries involved included the following (Ordered by booth Number)
Muskoka Brewing, Steam Whistle Pilsner, Steamworks Brewin, Persephone Brewing, Big Rock Brewery, Off The Rail Brewing, Moody Ales, Russell Brewing, Red Truck Beer Company, Glutenberg, Bomber Brewing, Phillips Brewing, Howe Sound Brewing, R&B Brewing, Steel & Oak Brewing, Postmark Brewing, Lighthouse Brewing, Shacksbury, Lagunitas, Deschutes Brewing, Sierra Nevada Brewing, Double Mountain Brewing, Scuttlebut, Stone Brewing, New Belgium Brewing, Ninkasi Brewing, Strongbow, Maui Brewing, North Coast Brewing, Crabbie’s Ginger Beer, Czechvar, High Mountain Brewhouse, Yaletown Brewing, Big Ridge Brewing, Bowen Island Brewing, Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks, Parallel 49 Brewing, Fernie Brewing, Prohibition Brewing, Rider Cider Company, Whistler Brewing, LoneTree Cider, Stanley Park Brewing, Old Yale Brewing, Hoyne Brewing, Goose Island, Okanagan Springs, Unibroue, Tofino Brewing, Black Kettle Brewing, Central City Brewers & Distillers, Scandal Brewing, Cannery Brewing, Yellow Dog, Dead Frog Brewery, Strange Fellows Brewing, Deep Cove Brewers & Distillers, Doan’s Craft Brewing, Mt Begbie Brewing, Beverage Concepts, Pilsner Urquell, Spinnakers, Coal Harbour, Main Street Brewing, BC Tree Fruits Cider, Four Winds Brewing, Off the Rail Brewing, Granville Island Brewing, Hearthstone Brewing, Mission Springs Brewing.
Last years attendance came in around 3,500 for the festival and this year even with bad weather beat that with around 3,000 people on Saturday and 1,300 on Sunday with a total over the five day of around 5000 people (numbers from here). Craft Beer fans are tough (and own rain gear) and we don’t stop for rain. I could only imagine how big Sundays numbers would have been on a sunny day.
Yes that is me
Like at all festivals I attend I took photos of many of the samples I drank while enjoying the event.
Even with awful weather this year everyone in attendance had a great time! I still think this is one of the best festivals I have attended (even this year) as even though there are tons of people there are little to no lines and everyone is just having a great time! The only issue was a lack of washrooms probably made worse with all the rain.
I am excited to see what Gibbons Events has in store for us next September!
This years top three breweries as voted by Festival Goers won 1 year tap or bottle contracts at multiple pubs in Whistler Village which is a very lucrative prize!
Parallel 49 Brewing – Longhorn Saloon, Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub, Garibaldi Lift Co
Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks – Tapley’s Pub, Merlins Bar & Grill, Amsterdam Pub
Whistler Brewing Co – FireRock Lounge, Dusty’s Bar & Grill