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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

East Kootenay Beer Festival (4th Annual) Coming soon – Fairmont Hot Springs Resort


Have you ever been to a hot springs before?  How does a beer fest held at a Hot Springs resort sound?  The East Kootenay Beer Festival is coming up on their 4th Annual event held at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort.

East Kootenay

The festival Proper is held on June 20th, 2015 between 4pm-8pm at the Fairmont Hot Springs ski resort.  There will be over 70 varieties of beer from 20+ breweries.  The brewery list to this point includes:

Banff Avenue Brewing
Big Rock Brewery
Bomber Brewing
Bravo Beer Company
Cannery Brewing
Cariboo Brewing
Fernie Brewing
Hoyne Brewing
Last Best Brewing
McClelland Imports
Moon Under Water
Mt. Begbie
Okanagan Springs
Pacific Western
Phillips Brewery
Wild Rose Brewery
Yukon Brewery

Plus more to come….

Tickets to the festival are $49 plus tax but can be purchased as part of a package with lodging.  For two tickets to the event plus two nights accommodation in the lodge it comes in at $336.  For a similar package that has your camp instead of staying in the lodge it is $160.

Here are a few photos from a post done by the e-know.ca online weekly from last years event.

I think the perfect day might just include spending the entire day relaxing in hot Springs and spending the evening enjoying a really cool beer festival.  What better way could you enjoy the last day of Spring?

Fairmont HS-157

Live Music during festival provided by Celtic band Cod Gone Wild (from Vernon, BC).

NEW this year – after party at the ski chalet, Live music by local band Valley Forged until 11pm.

If all of that is not enough there is even some festivities going on Friday June 19th including a long drive copetition at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort Airport between 4pm to 7pm with lots of prizes.  All proceeds from this go to the Columbia Valley Golf Trail Junior Tour.  After the long drive competiton there is a BBQ being held at the Mountainside Clubhouse with live music by Ted Alexander between 7pm and 11!

I will personally be doing the long drive in a very short span but I would recommend planning a holiday around heading up to the festival with possible stays elsewhere in the Kootenays or maybe Kamloops to both break up driving and make it that much more enjoyable.  Make it a part of an even greater holiday!  I hope to see a ton of familiar faces when I attend.

Fairmont Hot Springs Resort
5225 Fairmont Resort Road, Box 10
Fairmont Hot Springs, British Columbia

Check out the East Kootenay Beer Festival website here.

BC Beer Awards 2013 / Cask Festival – October 19th 2013


On October 19th, 2013 the BC Beer Awards 2013 / Cask Festival was held at the Croatian Cultural Centre in Vancouver BC.  The event was a partnership of BC Craft Beer Month, BC Beer Awards and Camra BC.  Like every year this event was hosted to celebrate all the amazing Craft Beer being produced in British Columbia.  This was the fourth annual event and was a big step up on last years event (very polished).    The Awards ran from 1 to 6 PM.

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I would like to thank the following people and groups.

First
Lundy of BC Craft Beer Month for letting me Volunteer at her booth
Secondly Sponsors
Camra BC, Beir Craft Bistro, BC Craft Beer Month, Hops Connect, Chrislan, Vancouver Brewery Tour
Media Partner
CBC
Charitable Beneficiaries
Greater Vancouver Food Bank, BCHF BC Hospitality Foundation, Get Home Safe BC Liquor Stores

I was not going to be able to go to the event this year but Lundy made it happen!  It was really fun to stand of the other side of the booth this year and see what it is like to be a volunteer.  Being on the other side of the booth I was able to connect with so many people and find out what they loved about the beer at the event.  I was also able to get recommendations on what beer to try when I was able to check out some samples.  At the Booth we sold Beautiful Brewers of BC Calendars as well as BC Craft Beer Month Shirts.  We also Poured the BC Craft Beer Month Collaboration Beer the “Spruce Tip Stout” a Brewery Creek District collaboration brewed by Main Street, 33 Acres, R&B, Red Truck and Brassneck Brewing.

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I was able to get a break from the booth before the awards to sample some beer and visit with all my great beer friends.  I tried samples from a few breweries including Central City, Bridge, Driftwood, Granville Island, Howe Sound, Persephone, Parallel 49, Tree Brewing, Yaletown.  I don’t think I could pick a favorite beer at the event but I can say I was super excited to sample Persephone Brewing Companies beer and was even more excited about it after tasting it!

The full list of breweries pouring at the event from what I understand are as follows:  33 Acres Brewing Company, Big Ridge, Big River, Big Surf, Bridge, Coal Harbour, Central City (Red Racer), Coal Harbour, Dead Frog, Deep Cove, Driftwood, Fernie, Four Winds, Granville Island Brewhouse Whistler, Howe Sound, Hoyne, Lighthouse, Longwood, Moon Under Water, Nelson Brewing Co, Old Yale,Persephone, Parallel 49, Powell Street, R&B, Red Truck, Steam Works, Tinwhistle, Townsite, Tree Brewing, Vancouver Island, Whistler and Yaletown Brewing.

Around 3pm the awards started at the main stage.  The presenter was Stephen Quinn of CBC radio.  He was a great host and added so great bits of info on beer styles for the less knowledgeable and made a few good jokes.  Well lets waste no more time and let you know who won all the awards this year!

Session Lager – 13 entries
1st Place – Big Surf – Big Surf Lager – Wolfgang Hoess
2nd Place – High Mountian Brewing Company – Lifty Lager – Derrick Franche
3rd Place – Coal Harbour Brewing Co – 311 Helles Lager- Ethan Allured

Pilsner – 13 entries
1st Place – Central City Brewers and Distillers – Red Racer Pilsner – The Central City Brew Crew
2nd Place – Tree Brewing Co. – Kelowna Pilsner – Dave Gokiert
3rd Place – Parallel 49 Brewing Company – Crane Kick – Graham With
Special Mention – 4 Winds Brewing Company – Pilsner – Brent Mills

Special Lager – 8 entries
1st Place – Vancouver Island Brewery – Hermannator Ice Bock – Ralf Pittroff
2nd Place – Dead Frog Brewery – The Session Vienna Lager – Tony Dewald
3rd Place – Tree Brewing Co. – Captivator Doppelbock – Dave Gokiert

Session Ale – 26 entries
1st Place – The Nelson Brewing Co – Wild Honey Organic Ale – Mike Kelly
2nd Place – Phillips Brewing Co – Slipstream Ale
3rd Place – Parallel 49 Brewing Company – Red Eye – Graham With

English Ale – 14 entries
1st Place – The Nelson Brewing Co- Hop Good Organic Session IPA – Mike Kelly
2nd Place – Central City Brewers and Distillers – Red Racer ESB – The Central City Brew Crew
3rd Place – Powell Street Craft Brewery – Old Jalopy Pale Ale – David Bowkett
Special Mention – Okanagan Spring – Pale Ale

American Ale – 28 entries
1st Place – Parallel 49 Brewing Company – Gypsy Tears – Graham With
2nd Place – Old Yale Brewing Co. – Old Yale Pale Ale – Larry Caza
3rd Place – Central City Brewers and Distillers – Red Racer Pale Ale – The Central City Brew Crew

Wheat Beer – 18 entries
1st Place – Deep Cove Brewers and Distillers – Quick Wit Wheat Ale – Kevin Emms
2nd Place – Moon Under Water Brewery – The Victorious Weizenbock – Clay Potter
3rd Place – Howe Sound Brewing – King Heffy Imperial Heffeweizen – Paul Wilson & Franco Corno

Fruit Beer – 18 entries
1st Place – Central City Brewers and Distillers – Red Racer Raspberry Wheat Ale – The Central City Brew Crew
2nd Place – Parallel 49 Brewing Company – Seed Spitter – Graham With
3rd Place – Fernie Brewing Company – Fernie What the Huck – Gord Demaniuk/Paul Graham

Vegetable / Spice Beer – 20 entries
1st Place – Central City Brewers and Distillers – Red Racer Pumkin Ale – The Central City Brew Crew
2nd Place – Steamworks Brewing Company – Steamworks Espresso Stout – Caolan Vaughn & Takeshi Guenette
3rd Place – R&B Brewing Company – Birra Fresca Cucumber Mint I.P.A. – Todd Graham

Special Beer – 25 entries
1st Place – Howe Sound Brewing – Wee Beastie Oak Aged Scotch Ale – Paul Wilson & Franco Corno
2nd Place – Parallel 49 Brewing Company – From East Van With Love – Graham With
3rd Place – Coal Harbour Brewing Co – Smoke & Mirrors Smoked Imperial Ale – Ethan Allured

Scottish / Irish – 7 entries
1st Place – Lighthouse Brewing Company – Race Rocks Amber – Dean Mcleod
2nd Place – Tree Brewing Co. – Groove Session Ale – Dave Gokiert
3rd Place – Fernie Brewing Company – Fernie Big Caboose Red Ale – Gord Demaniuk/Paul Graham

Brown / Porter – 23 entries
1st Place – Phillips Brewing Co – Chocolate Porter
2nd Place – Townsite Brewing – PowTown Porter- Cedric Dauchot
3rd Place – Parallel 49 Brewing Company – Old Boy – Graham With
Special Mention – Hoyne Brewing Company – Dark Matter – Sean Hoyne (no trophy)

Stout – 14 entries
1st Place – Persephone Brewing Company – Stout-Off Stout – Anders McKinnon
2nd Place – Longwood Brewing – Stoutnik Russian Imperial Stout – Harley Smith
3rd Place – Old Yale Brewing Co. – Sasquatch Stout – Larry Caza

Belgian / Sour Beer – 15 entries
1st Place – Yaletown Brewing Company – Yaletown Oud Bruin – Yaletown Brewers
2nd Place – Granville Island Brewing – Thirsty Farmer Saison – Vern Lambourne
3rd Place – Four Winds Brewing Company – Wild Flower Saison – Brent Mills

IPA – India Pale Ale – 34 entries
1st Place – Driftwood Brewing Company – Fat Tug IPA – Jason Meyer & Kevin Hearsum
2nd Place – Driftwood Brewing Company – Sartori Harvest IPA – Jason Meyer & Kevin Hearsum
3rd Place – Moon Under Water Brewery – Tranquility IPA – Clay Potter
Special Mention – Hoyne Brewing Company – Devils Dream IPA – Sean Hoyne (no trophy)

Imperial IPA – 11 entries
1st Place – Central City Brewers and Distillers – Central City Imperial IPA – The Central City Brew Crew
2nd Place – Phillips Brewing Co – Amnesiac Double IPA
3rd Place – Parallel 49 Brewing Company – The Hopnitist – Graham With

Strong – 8 entries
1st Place – Central City Brewers and Distillers – Thor’s Hammer – The Central City Brew Crew
2nd Place – Parallel 49 Brewing Company – Vow of Silence – Graham With
3rd Place – Townsite Brewing – Biere d’Hiver – Cedric Dauchot

Best In Show
Vancouver Island Brewery – Hermannator Ice Bock – Ralf Pittroff

CBC People’s Choice Award
Powell Street Brewery – Whisky Porter

VanBrewers Dan Small Home Brew Award
1st Place – John Follinsbee
2nd Place – Tak Guenette
3rd Place – Adam Crandall

Because I took a ton of time taking photos during the awards I headed back to the the BC Craft Beer month booth and relieved the other crew for the rest of the show.  There were lots of people to serve and chat with and we ended up selling a bunch of Beautiful Brewers Of BC Calendars as well as a bunch of BC Craft Beer Month Shirts.  I could tell from everyone at the event that they had a ton of fun and enjoyed all the beer being served.  I look forward to next years event and look forward to which new breweries win next year!  I can’t wait until the next time I can Volunteer at a beer event in the future!  Hint Hint!

Full Sized Photos can be viewed here!

Great Canadian Beer Festival 2013 – Victoria BC – September 7th


Well its that time of year again!  The Great Canadian Beer Festival in Victoria has come on gone.  The festival ran on Friday September 6th between 3pm – 8pm and Saturday September 7th Noon to 6pm and was held at the Royal Athletic Park.  I was lucky enough to go this year but was only able to go to the Saturday event.

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The breweries involved came mostly from BC but also came from all over Canada and the Western United States.  The breweries that came included 33 Achres, Big Rock, Brasseurs Sans Gluten, Cannery, Canoe, Central City, Coal Harbour, Creemore Springs, Dead Frog, Deep Cove, Double Trouble, Driftwood, Elysian, Fernie, Four Winds, Gigantic, Granville Island, Green Flash, Hogsback, hopworks, Howe Sound, Hoyne, Lighthouse, Longwood, Merridale, Mill Street, Moon Under Water, Mt. Begbie, Muskoka, New Belgium, Nickel Brook, Ninkasi, Noble Pig, Okanagan Springs, Old Yale, Paddock Wood, Parallel 49, Phillips, Powell Street, Prince Albert, Prohibition, Russell, Salt Spring Island, Sound, Spinnakers, Stanley Park, Steam Whistle, Steamworks, Swans, Tin Whistle, Tofino, Townsite, Tree, Unibroue, Vancouver Island, Whistler, Wolf and Yukon.

One of the great things about this festival was that many of the booths were serving casks of their beer.  It is always great to try one off beer and standard beer hopped in a different way.  Due to the fact that I know way to many people now I did not get to try all that many beer.  I did however try some amazing beer as well as meet all kinds of new people and visit with lots of local beer friends.  My beer list was as follows:

33 Acres – 33 Acres of Sunshine
Driftwood – Old Cellar Dweller cask
– Crooked Coast altbier
Canoe – Galaxy ESB
– Summer honey wheat ale (Blackberry infused)
Granville Island – The Pumpkining cask
Howe Sound – Hopraiser IPA
– Megadestroyer Stout
Hoyne – Devils Wet Dream
Ninkasi – Maiden In the Shade Dble IPA
Old Yale Brewing – Chilliwack Blonde
Paddock Wood – Black Friars Porter
Phillips – Kaleidoscope Mosaic IPA cask
Salt Spring Island – Spring Fever Gruit Ale
Tin Whistle – Strawberry/rhubarb cask
Townsite – Westview wheat
– Blackberry FestivALE

My pick as favorite beer of the day was Driftwood Brewings Old Cellar Dweller cask although I did only have a small sampling of the beers.

This festival was just as much about the beer as it was for the people for me so here are all the photos that I took at the event!

Next year I plan on taking in both days and hopefully every brewery if not every beer.  One day will be for visiting and one day for sampling seriously.  The people that Put on the Great Canadian Beer Festival and volunteers did an amazing job and should be very proud.  I look forward to my next festival!

Larger versions of the photos can be seen on the blogs new flickr page!

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