Fest-Of-Ale 2017 – Penticton


April has come again and one of my favourite beer festivals has come and passed.  This was the 22 annual Fest-Of-Ale in Penticton.  This years festival was held on April 7-8th 2017 (Friday and Saturday).  This festival is held at the Penticton Trade and Concention Centre and is comprised of a large indoor area and a small outdoor section.  Both areas have live music as well as food options.

This festival continues to grow every year.  This year had an extra 15 breweries bringing it up to 65 and and a total of 6 bringing it up to 71 cider and beer producers.

This year the list included:

4 Mile Brewing Co.
Bad Tattoo Brewing Co
Banff Ave Brewing Co.
Barley Mill Brew Pub
BC Brew Co. and Distilling  – New
BC Tree Fruits Cider
Beau’s All Natural Brewing
BNA Brewing Co
Bomber Brewing
Boundary Brewing Company  – New
Bridge Brewing
Britannia Brewing  – New
Cannery Brewing Co.
Canuck Empire Brewing
Category 12 Brewing
Coal Harbour Brewing
Coronado Brewing Company
Crannog Ales
CrossRoads Brewing  – New
Dead Frog
Detonate Brewing
Doan’s Craft Brewing Company  – New
Dominion Cider Co
Dogwood Brewing – New
Double Mountain
Fernie Brewing Co.
Field House Brewing Co.  New
Firehall Brewery
Foamers’ Folly Brewing Co.  New
Four Winds Brewing
Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks  – New
Glutenberg
Hearthstone Brewery
Highway 97 Brewing Company Ltd
Howe Sound Brewing
Howling Moon Craft Cider
Hoyne Brewing Co.
Kettle River Brewing Company  – New
Lighthouse Brewing Company
Longwood Brewery
Marten Brewing Co.
McClelland Premium Imports
Moody Ales
Moon Under Water
Mt Begbie Brewing Co.
Naramata Cider Co.  New
NOMAD Cider – New
Orchard Hill Estate Cidery Ltd.
Parallel 49 Brewing
Persephone Brewing Co.
Phillips Brewing & Malting Co
R&B Brewing Co
Ravens Brewing Company
Red Arrow Brewing Company  – New
Red Collar Brewing Co
Red Racer
Red Truck Beer Company
Spinnakers Brewpub
Steamworks Brewing
Steel & Oak Brewing Co.
Strange Fellows Brewing  – New
Summerland Heritage Cider Co.
The Parkside Brewery  – New
The Tin Whistle Brewery
Torchlight Brewing
Tree Brewing Co.
Twin Sails Brewing  – New
Twisted Hills Craft Cider
Victoria Caledonian Brewery  – New
Whistler Brewing
Yellow Dog Brewing

This year there were more than 175 craft beers being poured over the Friday and Saturday with over 5000 people in attendance.  Once again this was an amazing festival with great beer and lots of great people!  Here are some of the beer and food that I tried while at the fest.

This year I spent more time working on episodes of Pacific Beer Chat than I did taking photos for the blog.

Episode 12 Found us talking with Crannóg Ales out of Sorrento.   Website, Google Play Music, iTunes, Stitcher.

Episode 13 Part 1 found us talking with a selection of breweries as seen below.  Website, Google Play Music, iTunes, Stitcher.

Cannery Brewing, Detonate Brewing, Bomber Brewing, Steel & Oak Brewing, Untapped Craft Imports, BNA Brewing, Kettle River Brewing and Torchlight Brewing.

Episode 14 Part 2 found us talking with a selection of breweries as seen below.  Monday May 1, 2017

R&B Brewing, Crossroads Brewing, Tin Whistle Brewing, Marten Brewpub and Yellow Dog Brewing.

Like every year this was an amazing event.  There are a ton of people but you never have to wait in line long for a beer.  So many beer festivals get so crowded that you almost need two samples glasses to make it to the front of the line.  In the years that I have attended this has never been an issue.

This festival has become one of my absolute favorites every year.  Most of the best breweries come to this festival every year and the people really love that fact!  This year there were so many new beers to boot!  It may not have been requested but this year so many breweries brought out North East Style IPA’s the super cloudy and juicy beers.  These beers are all the rage right now and I am very happy that this is the case.

The first day of the festival I really explored the beers that the festival had to offer as I usually do.  This year though the weather was very bad on the way to Penticton and you could pick out the people like me that took the Coquihalla Highway and the Okanagan Connector as were were still stressed out and drank a bit to much because of it.  On Day 2 I was once again one of the as they put it Industry Expert judges for the best beers of the festival.  After Juding beer from 10am on Saturday I decided like normal that the second day of the festival was far more about the food than the beer.  Luckily for me the food was amazing!

If I remember correctly on Saturday around 3pm all of the judges made their way to the Main Stage for the awards ceremony.  Here are the winners from this years festival.

The Awards were distributed as follows:
Best in Show, Judges’ Choice Award:
High Five Hazy IPA – Yellow Dog Brewing, Port Moody, BC

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

When it comes right down to it if you can only make it to one beer festival in British Columbia in a year then the Okagnagan Fest-Of-Ale is that one festival.  They also have an amazing pop up liquor store to boot!

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Luppolo Brewing – Vancouver


Luppolo Brewing is finally open and Vancouver is one brewery richer!  Owned by two couples Ryan and Eleanor and Anique and Frederico they hope to bring us an Italian brewery atmosphere.

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When you walk in the front doors you are met with a very warm space. The lounge has lots of wood finishing and warm lighting that will make you want to stay for a beer or two.  The area behind the bar really has some personality with all of the triangle shapes making a mosaic as you get further down the wall.  I did not get a photo of what the flights look like but they used the triangle templates as the boards for the flights.  They launched with 7 really tasty beers including one fresh hopped option!  Unfortunately I was not able to stop in during their opening hours so the space is very empty but I am sure it looked great while full.

When you head to the back of the lounge near the washrooms you will find a half wall where you can look into the brewing space.  The brewery is a mish mash of brewing equipment.  They have both vertical and horizontal tanks and even a few barrels in the works currently.

Between the brewing space and the lounge you will find the cooler.  The cooler has serving tanks that feed right into the taps in the tasting lounge.

Once the lounge licence comes through they will have food options as can be seen from the make shift kitchen that is in the back.

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I have been able to get to know both of the couples that opened this brewery and I can say beyond the beer they are great people and will kill it now that they are open.  If you have not stopped in to the brewery yet then you really need stop in soon.

Luppolo Brewing
http://luppolobrewing.ca
1123 Venables Street
Vancouver, BC
info@luppolobrewing.ca
604-255-4997

 

Brews Brothers Collaboration Mixer Pack – Parallel 49 Brewing


Parallel 49 Brewing in East Vancouver has come up with a great new product to hit the market.  Welcome the “Brews Brothers Collaboration Mixer Pack”.

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This collaboration mixer pack includes 12 beer that have been made in Collaboration with 12 other breweries in BC.  Many of the breweries will be familiar but some may not be to the average Metro Vancouver beer drinker.  The pack includes collaborations with Townsite Brewing, Steel & Oak Brewing, Firehall Brewery, Bomber Brewing, Persephone Brewing, Storm Brewing, Rossland Brewing, Dageraad, Moon Under Water, Brassneck, Yellow Dog Brewing and Powell Street Craft Brewery.

As I write my reviews of these beer I will link back to this post.

Vancouver Brewery Tours – Nov 14th, 2014


For a while now I have been pondering checking out one of the tour companies that offer tours to Metro Vancouver’s breweries.  Luckily things fell into place on November 14th, 2014 and I was able to finally take a tour with Vancouver Brewery Tours.

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The tour picks up the guests at Waterfront Station and they ask you to arrive 15 minutes before the tour begins.  When I arrived I got a great surprise as the tour guide was Rachel who used to work at Bridge Brewing Company.  It was great catching up with her as it has been quite some time since I have seen her.  I was the last of the three guests on this tour to arrive so we headed out right away to the bus and got on the road.

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Vancouver Brewery Tours takes its guests on a tour of three different breweries.  These breweries usually show the different scale of craft breweries and the different styles and cultures as well. The breweries on the tour will always be in flux so that no tour should be exactly the same.

Our first destination was Main Street Brewing Company just off of Main Street in the Brewery Creek district.  Brewery Creek being the original brewing district in BC this is a great place to start any craft beer tour.

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Once inside the brewery the 4 of us headed passed the tasting room to get into the brewery proper and start the tour in earnest.  On the way through you pass though the growler filling room that also holds all of their merchandise.

One of the coolest pieces of information we were given was that not only was is the building that houses this brewery a historic building that housed a brewery way back but they could also cast a fishing rod out the back doors and catch salmon in the now subterranean Brewery Creek.  It is also cool to see all of the casks the brewery has for their in house cask program.  Rachel was very thorough in the description of how beer is brewed right down to what tank the brewing starts in (mash tun) right down to the fermentors and bright tanks.  Seeing as I know the process fairly well I spent more time poking around and taking photos.  Once we had finished the tour of the brewery we headed back to the tasting room to sample a paddle of their beers.  We sampled their Pilsner, Sessional IPA, Brown Ale and their new Belgian Bonsai IPA.  All are solid beer but my favourite by a landslide was the Belgian Bonsai.  Main Street Brewing started out contract brewing at Surrey’s Russell Brewing Company with their Pilsner way before they opened up this brewery.

Once we had finished up at Main Street Brewing we all hopped back into the bus to hit up destination number 2.  Our second brewery was Bomber Brewing located on Adanac street close to Commercial Drive.  The brewery is located in the second hub of brewing in East Vancouver lovingly nicknamed Yeast Van.  Unlike Main Street’s beginnings Bomber Brewing is a true Canadian story.  The owners of Bomber Brewing all played on a beer league hockey team of the same name.  The brewmaster was home brewing for the team when they came up with the idea to open up the brewery.

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We quickly headed into the brewery for our tour.  They had just finished a brew and were cleaning out the mashtun.  Rachel reinforced the brewing process with the other two guests on the tour.  She also pointed out the barrels that are aging beer.  Like many beer drinkers they did not realize that some beer is actually better aged especially on oak.  She went on to explain what styles of beer are great for aging such as imperial stouts, barleywines and sours.  We took a look at the packaging area including their small but efficient canning line.

Once done in the brewery we headed into the tasting room for some samples.  The samples included their Blonde Ale, I Braineater Pumpkin Ale, Extra Special Bitter (ESB) and their new collaboration ale with Stone Brewing in California called Blood From A Stone Red Rye IPA.  Much like the last brewery one of the beer on this tray was a home run and was by far my favourite.  The Blood From A Stone is excellent and I would never turn down a sample or pint of this beer!

Once done at Bomber it was time to leave the city of Vancouver and head over to Burnaby.  Burnaby is the home of the new production brewery for Steamworks Brewing Company.  This brewery is a great opportunity to show the scale differences in craft beer.  Steamworks is one of the largest craft breweries in BC currently.

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Heading into the brewery it is instantly obvious that Steamworks is nothing like Bomber Brewing or Main Street Brewing Company.  This brewery is bigger than both of those breweries put together!  It is massive.  Not only is it much lager but hey have a few more toys to play with also.  First they have a Hopvac (I think that was the name of it) and this is where they can add large volumes of hops in what they call dry hopping.  They also have a centrifuge which is a style of filter for beer that spins the beer at a high speed and retains the flavour where other filter methods can loose flavour.  Every part of this brewery is just bigger!

When we had finished in the brewery we headed out to the tasting room to have the last of our samples for the tour.  I did not write down the names of the samples at Steamworks but I think they were as follows:  Black IPA, Pale Ale, Blitzen and their Pilsner.  From memory I think that my favourite was the Black IPA.  While enjoying our beer I was able to snap a photo of the two other guests on the tour.

When we were done at the brewery we headed back out to the bus.  I had planted my car at Steamworks Brewing as I had to make it to a play fairly quickly after the tour but the bus takes everyone right back to Waterfront Station.  You can not ask for a better setup as you are able to take transit to the tour and not worry about how you are going to make it home.  While at Main Street Brewing Rachel took a group shot of us which was sent by email to the three of us.  Below is this photo.
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I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone that is into craft beer or wants to learn about it to check out one of these tours.   This tour is good for locals but even better for tourists and out of town guests.  So if you have people coming to town and want to show them a good time this would be a great option.  Check out their website for prices and possible tour dates.

http://vancouverbrewerytours.com/

604-318-2280

Full sized photos can be found here

Bomber Brewing and Stone Brewing Collaboration Beer


Unless you have had your head in the sand you know that Stone Brewing out of Escondido California is currently launching its beers in BC and Alberta.  One thing that was not made public though was that Stone Brewing would be doing a collaboration with local Vancouver brewery Bomber Brewing.

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I was lucky enough to get invited over to Bomber on October 21st, 2014 to take in the brew day.  Steve Gonzalez small batch manager from Stone Brewing brewed with Blair Calibaba head brewer at Bomber Brewing with help from the Bomber Brewing Crew.  The beer that they created is a Red Rye IPA and the beer looked amazing!  There was a truck load of malt in this brew especially with the added Rye.

Once the beer has fermented and is ready it will be available in both Bombers and on tap at the tasting room and select pubs.  I saw a sample of the label for this collaboration and it looks fantastic!  It brings together Stone Brewing and Bomber Brewing’s styles perfectly.  Keep your eyes peeled for the release date in the not to distant future. From what I understand the beer will be called “Blood From A Stone” but that could change.

On top of the brewing collaboration Bomber brought out their hockey sticks and net.  Bomber brewing was born out of a beer league hockey team and all.  It was time for a few Americans to take their very first shot at hockey.  It was quite humorous.

Find full sized photos here