Fest-Of-Ale Beer Judging 2016 – Penticton


For the third year in a row I was invited to be a judge for the Okanagan Fest-Of-Ale.  Like the last two years the judging took place on day 2 of the festival.  Last year we had 10 Categories to judge from but this year it was up to 14.  The categories were as follows Pilsner/Golden Lager, Pale Ale, Wheat Ale, Belgian Golden/Saison, Amber/Dark Ale, IPA, Dark IPA, Dark Lager, Belgian Strong, Stout/Porter, Blender, Sour, Ciders, Fruit Beer.  With the increase in number of beers being judged this year the organizers of the Fest-Of-Ale invested a few new judges and broke us into three groups.  Each group of judges tasted a third of the beers put in for judging.  Each group picked their top beers beer of each category.  From those they were asked to pick their top two.  These two from each group were brought together to make 6 top beers to choose Best In Show.  From this we sat and sampled each of the six and discussed what one should be the winner.  The following photos of the Judges come from Kim of DogLeg marketing.

Meet The Judges

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Joe Wiebe – Author, Chelsea – Brewtiful BC, Jeremy – Craft Beer Vancouver

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Jason Van Rassel – Daily Beer, Stephen – The Growler, Jim Martin

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Me, Brady Strachan – CBC Radio, Jan Zeschky – Beer writer with The Province

This was a blind tasting like every beer competition.  We used a very simplified score card to decide which beer we though best fit the style and tasted best.  Once again Warren Everton was the Director of Judging.  Each group of three judges tasted their samples individually then came together to discuss their personal favourites.  When we came to a consensus of our top beer in each category the group decided what their top two beers overall were.  For my group there was not a ton of deliberation as we all were fairly similar in or opinions.  When all three groups came together after a short break to taste the top 6 beers and decide what one would be chosen as the Best In Show it actually went pretty well this year.  This year there was much less animosity about what beer should be the winner.  The only real hard discussion we had was should the winning beer be very approachable or should it be our overall favourite. When it came down to it I think we ended up picking the beer that was both our favourite as well as a very approachable beer.  The juding this year started at 10am like normal but it seemed to go a bit quicker than previous years.

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 – Bohemian Pilsner – Hearthstone Brewery, North Vancouver
Pale Ale – Persephone Pale Ale – Persephone Brewing Company, Gibsons
Wheat Ale – Smoked Hefeweizen – Steel & Oak Brewing Company, New Westminster Belgian Golden/Saison – Old Barn Saison – Fernie Brewing Company, Fernie
Amber/Dark Ale – A Wee Angry Scotch Ale – Russell Brewing, Surrey
IPA – Slingshot Session IPA – Fernie Brewing, Fernie
Dark IPA – Disruption Black IPA – Category 12 Brewing, Victoria
Dark Lager – Black Lager – Tree Brewing, Kelowna
Belgian Strong – Delirium Tremens – McClelland Imports
Stout/Porter – Dry Irish Stout – Ravens Brewing, Abbotsford
Blender – Smoke & Mirrors Imperial Smoked Ale – Coal Harbour Brewing, Vancouver
Sour – Sour Raspberry – Old Abbey Ales, Abbotsford
Ciders – Calville’s Winter – Twisted Hills Craft Cider, Cawston
Fruit Beer – Tropic Vice Tropical Fruit Ale – Dead Frog Brewing, Aldergrove

Best in Show, Judges’ Choice Award: 

Persephone Pale Ale – Persephone Brewing Company, Gibsons

After all the judging was done we had a few group shots taken by Kim of DogLeg Marketing.

After all the judging was finished we were left to our own devices with what was left of the Saturday portion of the Fest-Of-Ale.  The only thing we had to do was be at the main stage for 3pm so that we could be on the stage for the announcement of the winners.  The following photos are taken again by Kim of DogLeg Marketing.

Fest-Of-Ale Beer Judging 2015.

Fest-Of-Ale Beer Judging 2014.

Full sized photos

Pacific Beer Chat Podcast #1


Today is the launch of my new joint project with Joe Wiebe (Craft Beer Revolution author), Terry (West Coast Beer Geek), Mike (TheBeerRater) and Steve (Mike’s Craft Beer). Pacific Beer Chat is our new Video Podcast. Episode one is now live and is called “Meet The Bloggers”. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Look forward to a monthly episode.

Pacific Beer Chat

Meet the Bloggers (Pacific Beer Chat #1)

This is the inaugural podcast from Pacific Beer Chat.

Bloggers involved include;
mike G of http://www.mikescraftbeer.com,
Terry of http://westcoastbeergeek.com/
Joe of http://thirstywriter.com/,
Mike of http://thebeerrater.com/ and
Steve also of http://www.mikescraftbeer.com.

Establishments and breweries mentioned in this podcast include, steamworks Brewing, Steel and Oak Brewing, Spinnakers Brewing, Strange Fellows Brewing, Moody Ales, Dead Frog Brewery, Central City Brewers and Distillers, cCraft Beer Revolution, Victoria Beer Week, CBC Radio, Four Winds Brewing, Lighthouse Brewing, Hoyne Brewing, Dageraad Brewing, Powell Street Craft Brewing, Fernie Brewing, Townsite Brewing, Cannery Brewing , Driftwood Brewing, Garickshead pub, Granville Island Brewing, Big Ridge Brewing, Brassneck Brewing, 33 Acres Brewing, Drake Eatery, St Augustines, Alibi Room, Tap and Barrel.

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CBC Music “Canadian Band Beer” 2013


In the fall of 2012 CBC Music (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) Radio Host Grant Lawrence gave his listeners a challenge to come up with band inspired beer names.  This contest caused the hashtag #CDNbandbeer to trend in Canada for two days.  Eight of these inspired names were picked and labels were designed by CBC Music’s senior designer Ben Didier.  These labels are shown below courtesy of Canadian Beer News.

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One local Craft Brewer caught wind of this contest and helped make it happen.  Jeremy Sibley of Old Yale Brewing recruited three other great BC breweries including Townsite Brewing, Cannery Brewing and R&B Brewing to bring the Canadian Band Beer Series to life!  Every Friday from May 17th to June 7th 2013 a new beer was released.  The series started with the Old Yale Brewing’s offering named the “D.O.Ale” inspired by D.O.A this was followed by R&B Brewing’s “You Say Party We Say Rye” inspired by “You Say Party” (Originally ‘You Say Party We Say Die’ but changed after the the drummer died after playing a show in Vancouver from a brain hemorrhage).  The next release was Townsite Brewing’s “Said the Ale” inspred by “Said the Whale” and finally Cannery Brewing’s “Pink Mountainhops” inspired by “Pink Mountaintops“.

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Old Yale Brewing – D.O.Ale

From Chilliwack’s Old Yale Brewing comes the “D.O.Ale” a classic brown ale.  The beer pours a brown colour with a tan head.  The aroma consists of roasted malts, sweetness, chocolate, brown sugar  and coffee.  The flavour is of coffee, milk, roasted malts, chocolate, sweetness, bitterness and brown sugar.  The alcohol content of the beer comes in at 5% with an IBU of 28.  This is a great mix of flavours that come together and kick your but just like D.O.A does!

Old Yale Brewing
Our philosophy is that, when life gets too hectic, it’s sometimes best to take a step back and enjoy the simpler things in life. Since 2000 we’ve been dedicated to creating a true handcrafted beer, and we’re proud of what we do.

D.O.A.
For more than thirty-five years, hardcore punk pioneers D.O.A. have been happily slashing away at all manner of philosophical enemies. They’ve travelled the globe almost continuously since they formed in 1978, always wearing their politics on their leather sleeves.

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R&B Brewing Company – You Say Barley! We Say Rye!

From Vancouver’s R&B Brewing Company comes their “You Say Barley! We Say Rye!” a Dark Rye IPA.  The beer pours a dark copper colour with an off white head.  The aroma consists of rye and barley malts, pine and floral hops.  The flavour is of rye and barley malts, pine, resin, hops bitterness with a semi sweet finish.  The alcohol content of the brew is 5.5% and the IBU is 55.  This is one tasty India Pale Ale and You Say Party would be proud to have this named loosely after them!

R&B Brewing
At R&B Brewing Co., we’ve been brewing finely handcrafted ales and lagers in the heart of East Vancouver’s historic Brewery Creek district for more than a decade, with a commitment to keeping things modest, independent and unique.

You Say Party
You Say Party (formerly You Say Party! We Say Die!) is a dance-punk band formed in Abbotsford, B.C., in 2003. Before their recent hiatus they toured extensively in support of their highly successful fourth album, XXXX.

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Townsite Brewing Company – Said the Ale

From one of my favorite breweries Townsite Brewing tucked away in  Powell River comes their “Said the Ale” a Belgian Pale Ale.  The beer pours a deep red/copper colour with an off white head.  The aroma consisted of fruit, yeast and some great floral hops.  The flavour was of pine and hops up front with some sweet fruits and yeast.  The alcohol content came in at 5.8% with an IBU of 28.  The beer was super tasty and I would pick this up if it was a normal seasonal brew!

Townsite Brewing
At Townsite Brewing, we’re passionate about sustainability and community, but more than anything we’re passionate about great craft beer. Frankly, we are ecstatic that we get to make it in this beautiful place along the shores of the Salish Sea. Why not come visit us?

Said the Whale
Their hook-heavy pop rock sound has landed them a national CBC documentary, a Juno Award and a seemingly endless series of tours. Theirs is a true grassroots success story that has allowed the group to take its place among the Canadian indie rock elite.

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Cannery Brewing – Pink Mountainhops

From Penticton BC’s Cannery Brewing comes the “Pink Mountainhops” a maibock or strong golden lager.  The brew poured a light straw yellow with a white head.  The aroma was of sweet apples, grains and grass.  The flavour consisted of sweet fruits such as apples and a nice mild hops bitterness.  The alcohol content of this brew was 6.5% and the IBU was 40.  Not the best of the band beer but very worthy of being in this company of 4 great beer!

Cannery Brewing
A microbrewery that produces individually handcrafted fine ales and lagers of unmistakable complexity and balance. We pay unrelenting attention to every detail of the brewing process — and it shows. We are the Small Brewery with Big Flavour!

Pink Mountaintops
Stephen McBean formed Pink Mountaintops as the slightly mellower counterpart to psych-rock juggernaut Black Mountain. The Vancouver band has featured a host of prominent guest musicians over the course of three albums.

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I would like to finish by saying this may have to be the best Collaboration between a brewery (or 4) and any corporation.  All the beer involved were great tasting and it also sounded like some of the bands were actually involved in some of the planning of the brew!  This just sounds so bloody Canadian I can not believe it!