Farmhouse Saison & Wild Ale Festival – Vancouver (UBC)


On June 27th 2015 the inaugural  Farmhouse Saison & Wild Ale Festival was held at the UBC Farm.

farmhouse

This festival was a nice change from your average beer festival in this province.  Many of the beer were either one off saisons / sours or rare and hard to get beers.  Nothing for sample was a standard lineup beer.  The ticket cost $50 plus taxes and got you a fancy taster glass and 4 tokens.

Breweries at the Festival
Beerthirst – Elysian, Logsdon, North Coast
Brassneck Brewery
Bravo Beer Co – Brouwerij Verhaeghe, Dupont
Category 12 Brewing
The Commons Brewery
Copper & Theory – Breakside, Cantillon, pFriem
Craft Beer Imports – De Molen, Omnipollo
Dageraad Brewing
Driftwood Brewing
Four Winds Brewing
Goose Island Brewery
Lighthouse Brewing
Main Street Brewing
Moon Brewpub
Parallel 49 Brewing
Persephone Brewing
Powell Street Craft Brewery
Steel & Oak Brewing
Strange Fellows Brewing
Storm Brewing
Untapped Craft Imports – Double Mountain, Dieu Du Ciel, Les Trois Mousquetaires
Westbier – St Louis, Bockor, St Feuillien, ToØl
Yellow Dog Brewing

Full list found here.

The festival had a small amount of tickets sold which showed as there were very rarely lineups and those lineups were only for timed limited beers.  The weather was very hot as has been the case for the Month of June and this shows with brown grass!

As always I took many photos of the different beers that I was able to sample.  There were so many good sours that I did not stray form this style very often.

Full sized photos here.

This was probably one of the best festivals that I have ever attended.  The heat was brutal for me but being in June you would never have guessed it was going to be 30C in Vancouver (It probably should have rained).  If you are looking for just one festival to attend next year then this should be the festival you go to!

 

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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.

EKBeerFest-001

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!

Fest-Of-Ale Day 1 2015 – Penticton


Time flies when you are having fun so I must have been having fun this year as it feels like I just attended last years Fest-Of-Ale recently.  I was lucky enough to get Friday April 10th, 2015 off work so I headed up to Penticton first thing in the morning to take part in the festivities for my second year in a row.  This year was the 20th Anniversary of the festival and it brought some new exciting things to the table this year.  First off this year had a large outdoor section as well as the main festival inside the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre. The Fest-Of-Ale fan from 4pm to 9pm on Friday.

PicMonkey Collage(23)

Both the indoor and outdoor parts of the venue had stages with live music as well as lots of beer and food venders.  With a growth in the space for Fest-Of-Ale this year the breweries and Cideries went from 35 to 47.  Its never bad to have more than 10 more breweries at a festival!

This years brewery and Cidery list includes the following:
4 Mile Brewing Co.
BC Tree Fruits Cider
Bad Tattoo Brewing
Barkerville Brewing Co.
Barley Mill Brew Pub
Big Rock Brewery
Bomber Brewing
Bravo Beer Co
Cannery Brewing
Canuck Empire Brewing
Central City Brewers & Distillers
Coal Harbour Brewing Company
Crannog Ales
Creemore Springs
Dead Frog Brewery
Driftwood Brewing
Fernie Brewing Co
Firehall Brewery
Four Winds Brewing
Granville Island Brewing
Hoyne Brewing Co.
Lighthouse Brewing Company
Longwood Brewery
McClelland Premium Imports
Mill Street Brewery
Moon Under Water
Mt Begbie Brewing Co
Okanagan Spring
Old Yale Brewing Company
Orchard Hill Estate Cidery
Scandal Brewing
Parallel 49 Brewing
Persephone Brewing Co.
Phillips Brewing
Powell Street Craft Brewery
Red Collar Brewing Co.
Red Truck Beer Company
Spinnakers Brew Pub
Stanley Park Brewery
Steamworks Brewing Co.
Summerland Heritage Cider Company
Tin Whistle Brewery
Torchlight Brewing Co.
Tree Brewing Company
Twisted Hills Cider
Vancouver Island Brewery
Wards Hard Cider

Much like last year I was able to get a sneak peak at the festivities before the general public as I was part of the media and industry.  Here are my photos from before the public was let in.

Once 4pm hit and the doors were opened to the public it didn’t take long for the place to really fill up!  The after work crowd really came out to support the Friday night.  I would have to say that the average age on Friday would probably be much higher than on the Saturday afternoon event and was quite noticeable.  Friday had a different feel than Saturday with little to no costumes an a bit more subdued atmosphere.  Here are the photos from once the doors opened.

The other new thing at the Fest-Of-Ale this year comes thanks to one of the new Liquor Reforms (one that actually worked).  This year there was a popup liquor store at the festival!  Now when you leave the festival for the night you can leave and pick up beer or cider from all of the venders at the event.  This includes breweries that do not distribute their beer to the Okanagan!

Day one was once again a blast with so many great people to meet and chat with.  It was also great to catch up with so many of the Okanagan people that I have not seen in a year!  This years festival had just that much more great beer to sample and people really seemed to respond to that fact!  I tried to take Day one fairly easy as I knew that I had to be up early Saturday to once again be a judge at the event.

Full Sized photos can be found here.

The following photos are Kim’s of DogLeg Marketing.

Fest-Of-Ale Day 2 2014- Penticton


On Day two (April 5th, 2014) of the Fest-Of-Ale in Penticton the party started at Noon.  Seeing as I was one of the Judges for the Fest-Of-Ale Awards I was not able to join the party until 3pm.  From the Judging room it sounded like there was a tone of fun being had though.

okanagan-fest-of-ale-21354938

As with Day One the brewery’s involved included the following:

Breweries and Cider Makers
Alpine Brewing Company – Oroville Washington
Bad Tatoo Brewing – Penticton (Not Pouring)
Barley Mill Brew Pub – Penticton
Big Rock Brewery – Calgary, Vancouver
Bomber Brewing – Vancouver
Bravo Beer Co – International Imports
Cannery Brewing – Penticton
Central City Brewing – Surrey
Crannog Ales – Sorrento
Creemore Springs – Creemore Ontario
Dead Frog Brewery – Aldergrove
Deep Cove Brewers and Distillers – North Vancouver
Driftwood Brewery – Victoria
Fernie Brewing Co – Fernie
Firehall Brewery – Oliver
Four Winds Brewing Company – Delta
Hoyne Brewing – Victoria
Granville Island Brewing – Vancouver
Hoyne Brewing Co – Victoria
Lighthouse Brewing Company – Victoria
McClelland Premium Imports – International Imports
Mill St. Brewery – Toronto Ontario
Mt Begbie Brewing – Revelstoke
Nelson Brewing Company – Nelson
Orchard Hill Cidery – Penticton
Parallel 49 Brewing Company – Vancouver
Phillips Brewing Co – Victoria
Red Truck Beer Company – Vancouver
Stanley Park Brewery – Vancouver
Steamworks Brewing Co – Burnaby, Vancouver
Summerland Heritage Cider Company – Summerland
Tin Whistle Brewery – Penticton
Tree Brewing Co – Kelowna
Vancouver Island Brewery – Victoria
Wards Cider – Kelowna
Whistler Brewing Company – Whisler

There was also more great music on day two including Flashback, Joe’s Garage, Papa Wheeley, The Dungbeatles and Thursday Night Jazz Band.

Day one of the Festival was a bit more business for me as I knew that I had friends that would be at day 2.  While spending time with a few groups of friends I noticed that day two was quite a bit busier that the first day.  People seemed to be imbibing in a little more alcohol but everyone was having a great time!  I enjoyed a wide selection of beer although I did not need anymore really after all the judging.

 

Here are some photos from Kim of DogLeg Marketing

It was then time to announce the winners to the entire room.  Not only did they announce the beers that won the Judging portion of the competition but they also announced the people’s choice awards.  The winners of the Fest-Of-Ale are as follows!

Winners

Lager/Pilsner: Hoyner Pilsner – Hoyne Brewing Co., Victoria BC
Pale Ale: Red Truck Ale – Red Truck Beer Company, Vancouver BC
IPA: Four Winds White Rye IPA – Four Winds Brewing Co, Delta BC
Wit/Wheat: Robson Street Hefeweizen – Granville Island Brewery, Vancouver BC
Ales: Naramata Nut Brown Ale – Cannery Brewing, Penticton BC
Stout/Porter: Holy Smoke Stout – Firehall Brewery, Oliver BC
Belgian: Sunkissed Tea Saison – Deep Cove, North Vancouver BC
Fruit Beer: Stiegl Radler – McClelland Premium Imports, BC
Ciders: Red Roof Cider – Orchard Hill Estate Cidery, Oliver BC

Best of Show

IPA: Four Winds White Rye IPA – Four Winds Brewing Co, Delta BC

People’s Choice Awards

Best Beer: Project 9 Pils – Fernie Brewing Co, Fernie BC
Best Booth: Penticton Lakeside Resort, Penticton BC
Best Food: Brodo Kitchen, Penticton BC
Best Band: The Dungbeatles

Here are some photos from Kim of DogLeg Marketing



Click here to see full sized versions of my Photos

The festival went on until 6pm and was a blast!  Once again I did take it easy at the actual event as I had one more event to hit up after this Festival.  I have to say that this is a very well run Beer Festival.  it is more about learning more about craft beer and different flavours than it is about over indulging.  It is great to see that this event has matured in the last 3 or 4 years from what I hear was a bit of a drunk fest.  It is amazing what removing a few vendors can do to change the whole feeling of a festival.  Congratulations to the organizers of the Fest-Of-Ale for pulling off a wonderful 19th Annual Event.

Fest-Of-Ale Day 1 2014- Penticton


On Friday April 4th, 2014 the Penticton Fest-Of-Ale returned for a the 19th year.  I did not know what to think when I headed out to this festival as it was my first time attending.  I had heard that it was a small event which seemed to make sense as it takes place all the way in the Okanagan.  I was glad to be surprised by the scale of the event though.  The event took place at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.  This year the floor layout was rearranged to allow for more amazing craft beer and some cider makers.  35 brewers came out to the event this year including 8 that had not been to the festival before.

okanagan-fest-of-ale-21354938

Breweries and Cider Makers
Alpine Brewing Company – Oroville Washington
Bad Tatoo Brewing – Penticton (Not Pouring)
Barley Mill Brew Pub – Penticton
Big Rock Brewery – Calgary, Vancouver
Bomber Brewing – Vancouver
Bravo Beer Co – International Imports
Cannery Brewing – Penticton
Central City Brewing – Surrey
Crannog Ales – Sorrento
Creemore Springs – Creemore Ontario
Dead Frog Brewery – Aldergrove
Deep Cove Brewers and Distillers – North Vancouver
Driftwood Brewery – Victoria
Fernie Brewing Co – Fernie
Firehall Brewery – Oliver
Four Winds Brewing Company – Delta
Hoyne Brewing – Victoria
Granville Island Brewing – Vancouver
Hoyne Brewing Co – Victoria
Lighthouse Brewing Company – Victoria
McClelland Premium Imports – International Imports
Mill St. Brewery – Toronto Ontario
Mt Begbie Brewing – Revelstoke
Nelson Brewing Company – Nelson
Orchard Hill Cidery – Penticton
Parallel 49 Brewing Company – Vancouver
Phillips Brewing Co – Victoria
Red Truck Beer Company – Vancouver
Stanley Park Brewery – Vancouver
Steamworks Brewing Co – Burnaby, Vancouver
Summerland Heritage Cider Company – Summerland
Tin Whistle Brewery – Penticton
Tree Brewing Co – Kelowna
Vancouver Island Brewery – Victoria
Wards Cider – Kelowna
Whistler Brewing Company – Whisler

I was lucky enough to be given access to the industry event that took place before the doors opened to the public.  This was a chance for industry people to get to the different booths and try the beer before the craziness began.  The Fest-Of-Ale started in earnest at 4pm but the industry was let in at 3pm.  Here are a few photos from this portion of the event.

Once the doors were opened to the public at 4pm the hall really started to fill up!  People were really jacked up to try all of the beer that was being offered.  There was also a bunch of live music on hand including Flashback, Joe’s Garage and Papa Wheeley.  There was also some fantastic food on hand from Barley Mill Brew Pub, Bogner’s, Boston Pizza, Jack Kelly Coffe, La Casa Ouzeria, Murray’s Pizza, Opus Cafe Bistro, Penticton Lakeside Resort, Smoking Hot Donair and Brodo Kitchen.

I think my highlight of the fist day of the event was meeting so many great people from all over the Province from the Owners of the Lions Head Pub in Robson to meeting new Brewmasters and Brewery staff.  My favorite booth and beer of Day one came from Firehall Brewery.  Not only did they have great beer but they also had a really firehall like setup with flashing lights and suspenders.  My favourite food had to be the Meatloaf Sandwich from The Barking Parrot Greasy Spoon.  I drank a bunch of samples during the event although I did not pay close attention as I was more just taking in the event and the people.  I also knew that I was going to have to be up very bright and early to Judge the Beer of the competition.  I kept the beer consumption fairly low.

Here are some photos from Kim who does the Marketing for Cannery Brewing

Day one was a blast and it was only the beginning for me!  I was pretty excited and a bit nervous about day two and being one of the Judges for the event.

Find Full Sized photos of the event here.