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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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.

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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.

BC Beer Awards 2014 / Beer Festival – October 25th 2014


It’s that time of year again!  It is time to celebrate the best of the best breweries and beer in British Columbia.  On October 25th, 2014 the BC Beer Awards were held at the Croatian Cultural Centre.

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Like every year the beer awards are held with a caskbeer festival that runs at the same time.  The event started at 4pm and went until 9pm.  The beer festival starts right when the doors open and features some amazing beers from both the local Metro Vancouver and Victoria breweries as well as many breweries from around the Province.  The breweries that poured beer at the event are as follows: Bomber Brewing, Bowen Island Brewing, Bridge Brewing Co, Cannery Brewing Company, Central City Brewers & Distillers, Coal Harbour Brewing Company, Dead Frog Brewery, Driftwood Brewery, Vancouver Island Brewing, Four Winds Brewing, Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks, Granville Island Brewing, Howe Sound Brewing Co., Hoyne Brewing Co., Lighthouse Brewing Co, Longwood Brewing, Main Street Brewing Company, Mission Springs Brewing Company, Moody Ales, Moon Under Water, Parallel 49 Brewing, Persephone Brewing Company, Phillips Brewing Company, Powell street craft brewery, Prohibition Brewing Company, R&B Brewing, Red Truck Beer Co, Russell Brewing, Scandal Brewing, Shaftbury Brewing Co., Steamworks Brewing Co., Steel & Oak Brewing Co., Three Ranges Brewing Company, Tofino Brewing, Townsite Brewing, Tree Brewing Company, Turning Point Brewery, Whistler Brewing Company, Yaletown Brewing co, Yellow Dog Brewing, Fernie Brewing, Brewhouse Whistler, Big Ridge, Vancouver Island Brewing.

I am not sure what time the awards began but at a point they announced that everyone should approach the stage.  Like last year Stephen Quinn of CBC Radio was the presenter for the awards.  Last year around 300 beer were entered into 18 categories.  This year there was around 500 entries in the same 18 categories which really shows the growth of craft beer in BC.  This year there was a lot more diversity to the winning breweries at the awards.  Here are the winning beers in the categories as presented.
Light Lager – 22 Beers entered

1    Turning Point Brewing Company – Stanley Park Noble Pilsner
2    OK Springs – Okanagan Spring 1516
3    Hoyne Brewing Company – Helios-Dortmunder Golden Lager

Pilsner – 22 Beers

1    Steamworks Pilsner – Steamworks Brewing Company
2    Barley Station Brew Pub – Canoe Creek Pilsner
3    Russell Brewing Company – Lager

Special Lager – 17 Beers

1    Tree Brewing Company – Captivator Doppelbock
2    Pacific Western Brewing – Pacific Schwarzbock
3    Persephone Brewing Company – Black Lager

Hybrids – 37 Beers

1    Steamworks Brewing Company – Steamworks Brewpub Kolsch
2    Phillips Brewing Company – Slipstream Ale
3    R&B Brewing Company – Sun God Wheat Ale

German Wheat/Rye – 10 Beers

1    Moon Under Water Brewery – This Is Hefeweizen
2    Moon Under Water Brewery – Moon Berliner Style – Weisse
3    Big Ridge Brewing Company – Big Ridge Dunkleweizen

UK Ales – 40 Beers

1    Tin Whistle Brewing Company – Stag Apple Scotch Ale
2    Bowen Island Brewing – Snug Cove ESB
3    Moon Under Water Brewery – Wee Woody

North American Ales – 48 Beers

1    Main Sreet Brewing Company – Main Street Sessional IPA
2    Phillips Brewing Company – Coulrophobia IRA
3    Rossland Beer Company – Paydirt Pale Ale

Porter/Brown – 30 Beers

1    Yellow Dog Brewing Company – Shake A Paw Smoked Brown Porter
2    Powell Street Brewing Company – Dive Bomb Porter
3    Lighthouse Brewing Company – Road Trip Fresh Hopped Dark Ale

Belgian/French – 45 Beers

1    Driftwood Brewing Company – White Bark Witbier
2    Dageraad Brewing – De Witte
3    Four Winds Brewing Company – Juxtapose Brett IPA

Vegetable/Spice Beer – 27 Beers

1    Parallel 49 Brewing Company – Lost Souls
2    Howe Sound Brewing – Pumpkineater Imperial Pumpkin Ale
3    Fuggles & Warlock Craftwerks – Bean Me Up Espresso Milk Stout

Stout – 24 Beers

1    Persephone Brewing Company – Dry Irish Stout
2    Dead Frog Brewing Company – Commander Imperial Stout (2013)
3    Dead Frog Brewing Company – Commander Imperial Stout (2014)

North American IPA – 44 Beers

1    High Mountian Brewing Company – 5 Rings IPA
2    Four Winds Brewing Company – Four Winds IPA
3    Central City Brewers and Distillers – Red Racer IPA

Imperial IPA – 14 Beers

1    Brassneck Brewery – One Trick Pony
2    Central City Brewers and Distillers – Red Racer Imperial IPA
3    Bomber Brewing Company – SuperPest

Fruit/Sour – 24 Beers

1    Driftwood Brewing Company – Bird Of Prey- Flanders Red
2    Parallel 49 Brewing Company – Schwarzwald
3    Brassneck Brewery – Peach Changeling

Strong – 16 Beers

1    Steamworks Brewery – Steamworks Blitzen
2    Townsite Brewing Company – Biere D’Hiver
3    Howe Sound Brewing – Wooly Bugger Barley Wine

Specialty – 29 Beers

1    Granville Island Brewing – Lost In The Barrels
2    Moon Under Water Brewery – Year 2
3    Parallel 49 Brewing Company – Salty Scot

Smoke/Wood – 16 Beers

1    Central City Brewers and Distillers – Thor’s Hammer Barrel Aged
2    Parallel 49 Brewing Company – Braggot
3    Brassneck Brewery – Inerita II

Dan Small Homebrew Award

1    Matt Anderson – Anderson Estate IPA – Fresh Hopped
2    Grayson Barke – Harvest Rye IPA
3    Brad Johnson – Squashmonster

Best of Show

Yellow Dog Brewing Company – Shake A Paw Smoked Brown Porter

Once all of the awards were announced the cask festival ramped back up.  It was now time to see if you could sample some of the winning beers.  Once again it was a very successful event with amazing people and amazing beer!  I look forward to what might come next year as even more breweries are opening up and the industry is only getting better at making beer!  I would like to congratulate all the winners this year!  Every single one of you deserved the award for making a great tasty and enjoyable product!  Here is to another year of sticking it to the flavourless garbage that macro breweries make.

This year I helped with the setup of the beer awards between 11-4pm.  It was great to be able to help in a small way to make this event go off so well.  I thought I would share some of the photos from the setup.

Full sized photos can be found here

East Van Brew Crawl (YVRBeerTweetup) – Vancouver


On April 6th 2013 the Guys from YVRBeerTweetup threw their first ever Brewery Crawl in East Vancouver.  The cost was very low at around $13 and the ticket availability was just as low at around 30 tickets.  The group was split in two and each group headed to the 4 breweries in a different order.  The breweries involved included Storm Brewing, Powell Street Craft Brewery, Parallel 49 and Coal Harbour Brewing.  Everyone met up at the tasting room for Parallel 49 and sampled a few brews while waiting for everyone to arrive.

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The group I was part of (Team Awesome) headed to Storm Brewing first.  The Brewmaster James is a very busy guy as he is a staff of One at the brewery and as such does not usually do tours.  I was stoked to be heading to this brewery first.  I am a huge fan of his beer especially his sours.  A very interesting point about Storm Brewing is that everything used in the brewery is second hand and re-purposed.  For example the mash tun was used for making yogurt originally.  James’s past growing up on farms has made him handy enough to do all the alterations and welding to his brewing equipment.  We were treated to samples of his “Scottish Highland Cream Ale“, ” Hurricane IPA” and the “Imperial Sour Flanders Red“.  One more interesting note is that James may be the first person making sours in BC but it was all by accident.  His beer turned out different than he expected and in turn turned all of this other beer sour as well.  To me this was a very happy accident as the Imperial Sour Flanders Red was my fist experience with sour beer and still the standard I hold all others to!

Once done at Storm Brewing we thanked James for his hospitality and headed by foot to our next destination Powell Street Craft Brewing.  Once there we met up with the brewmaster David and his wife Nicole that works the tasting room.  This is by far the newest brewery on the circuit for the day opening its doors in December 2012.  They may be young but they are making amazing beer and already starting to expand from the sound of it with a new fermentor on the way!  I hope this means they will be able to keep up with demand a little better now.  We were all very lucky on this day to be able to try their brand new “Belgian Witbier with Ginger And Cardamom” that had just been released that day!  We also sampled their “Old Jalopy Pale Ale“, “Hopdemonium IPA” and their “Dive Bomb Porter“.  All of these beer are top notch buy my personal favorite and most often filled growler is the Old Jalopy Pale Ale.  David went though his brewing process at the brewery (the very small nano brewery!).  All of their bombers are filled off of a filler that fills only 2 bottles at a time from kegs.  To see a more in depth look at the Powell Street Brewery check out this link Banner Hanging.

The next stop on the tour was Parallel 49 Brewing the second youngest brewery on the tour but now by far the largest!  parallel 49 has been around since spring 2012 but has been expanding like mad since then.  One of the owners of the brewery also owns the restaurant St Augustine’s on Commercial Drive.  We were lucky enough to have a tour of the brewery from Graham the brewmaster.  This is my second time receiving a tour of the brewery by him although it looks nothing like it did back then (See here).  They have tons of new tanks and a new unit in a building across the alley with a barrel aging room, large cooler and packaging area!  Parallel 49 makes some amazing year round brews but really excels in their crazy interpretations of different styles of beer with their seasonals!  We even go to try one of these unreleased seasonals right from the tank before they have perfected it (lets hope it stays close to that as it was amazing)!  Everyone on the tour was in awe of the scale of this craft brewery especially due to its age!  Come on its only been selling beer for just under a year!  Graham has not slowed down on his ideas either and has even done a collaboration beer with Gigantic Brewing Company out of Portland Oregon.  If this brewery is to expand any more it will have to take over units in one of its two buildings it is getting so cramped.  We were free to try any of their beer that they had on tap in the tasting room and most of us did just that.

Last but certainly not least we headed to Coal Harbour Brewing Company which happens to be across the street from Parallel 49. The Head Brewer Ethan Allured was good enough to show us around the brewery and tell us all about their operation and how everything worked.  We got a look at their new canning line that they are quite proud of and for good reason as it is pretty impressive.  I think this would be the second largest brewery on the tour but someone could correct me on this point.  Coal Harbour brews both Lagers and Ales but their main production is craft lager without any adjuncts (think rice and corn such as Molson and Bud).  Everyone on the tour was able to sample both their “311 Helles Lager” and their “Smoke & Mirrors – Imperial Smoked Ale”.  Coal Harbour even hooked everyone on the tour up with a nice little gift of some beverages!  THANKS!

Once the tours were done everyone headed back to Parallel 49’s tasting room as it was nice and large.  The group had more samples or purchased sleeves of their favorite brew all while discussing all the fun they had just had!  I would like to thank the breweries Storm, Powell Street, Parallel 49 and Coal Harbour as well as YVRBeerTweetup‘s Jonathan (@JonnyBeers) and Nick (@VancityBeerGuy) for making this amazing event happen.  I look forward to what you have in store next.

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Storm Brewing
(604) 255-9119
310 Commercial Drive
Vancouver BC, V5L 3V6

Powell Street Craft Brewery
(604)558-2537
1830 powell Street
Vancouver BC, V5I 1H9

Parallel 49 Brewing
(604)558-BREW
1950 Triumph Street
Vancouver BC, V5K 1K5

Coal Harbour Brewing Company
(604)215-7471
1967 Triumph Street
Vancouver BC

YVRBeerTweetUp
http://yvrbeertweetup.wordpress.com/
http://yvrbeertweetup.com/