Whistler Village Beer Festival 2015 (Saturday Festival) – Whistler BC


Last September I attended what turned out to be one of my favourite beer festivals in BC in the Whistler Village Beer Festival.  The weather was beautiful and the beer was amazing!  Here is last years official festival video.

Last year was such a success that this year Gibbons Events Co decided to make the Main Festival happen over two days with many satellite events that ran over 5 days.  The main Festivals took place on September 19th and 20th 2015.

While last year had epic weather this year we did not get so lucky!  But hey this is BC and we all own rain jackets so a little rain didn’t stop an epic party!  I was only able to attend the Saturday Main Event which was lucky for me as the rain was not quite as bad.  The festival was held at the Whistler Olympic Park in the Whistler Village once again.  The event started for average attendees at 1pm (opened at 12 for gatecrashers) and ran until 5pm (last call at 4:45).  I got into the grounds before the festival opened to the public and gate crashers and was to take lots of photos of the booths as they set up.

This year the Resort Municipality of Whistler gave the green light to increase the festival grounds by 40% to increase the amount of breweries to around 80.  This is impressive as 2013’s event was half the size of 2014!

Breweries involved included the following (Ordered by booth Number)

Muskoka Brewing, Steam Whistle Pilsner, Steamworks Brewin, Persephone Brewing, Big Rock Brewery, Off The Rail Brewing, Moody Ales, Russell Brewing, Red Truck Beer Company, Glutenberg, Bomber Brewing, Phillips Brewing, Howe Sound Brewing, R&B Brewing, Steel & Oak Brewing, Postmark Brewing, Lighthouse Brewing, Shacksbury, Lagunitas, Deschutes Brewing, Sierra Nevada Brewing, Double Mountain Brewing, Scuttlebut, Stone Brewing, New Belgium Brewing, Ninkasi Brewing, Strongbow, Maui Brewing, North Coast Brewing, Crabbie’s Ginger Beer, Czechvar, High Mountain Brewhouse, Yaletown Brewing, Big Ridge Brewing, Bowen Island Brewing, Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks, Parallel 49 Brewing, Fernie Brewing, Prohibition Brewing, Rider Cider Company, Whistler Brewing, LoneTree Cider, Stanley Park Brewing, Old Yale Brewing, Hoyne Brewing, Goose Island, Okanagan Springs, Unibroue, Tofino Brewing, Black Kettle Brewing, Central City Brewers & Distillers, Scandal Brewing, Cannery Brewing, Yellow Dog, Dead Frog Brewery, Strange Fellows Brewing, Deep Cove Brewers & Distillers, Doan’s Craft Brewing, Mt Begbie Brewing, Beverage Concepts, Pilsner Urquell, Spinnakers, Coal Harbour, Main Street Brewing, BC Tree Fruits Cider, Four Winds Brewing, Off the Rail Brewing, Granville Island Brewing, Hearthstone Brewing, Mission Springs Brewing.

Last years attendance came in around 3,500 for the festival and this year even with bad weather beat that with around 3,000 people on Saturday and 1,300 on Sunday with a total over the five day of around 5000 people (numbers from here).  Craft Beer fans are tough (and own rain gear) and we don’t stop for rain.  I could only imagine how big Sundays numbers would have been on a sunny day.

 

Like at all festivals I attend I took photos of many of the samples I drank while enjoying the event.

Even with awful weather this year everyone in attendance had a great time!  I still think this is one of the best festivals I have attended (even this year) as even though there are tons of people there are little to no lines and everyone is just having a great time!  The only issue was a lack of washrooms probably made worse with all the rain.

I am excited to see what Gibbons Events has in store for us next September!

This years top three breweries as voted by Festival Goers won 1 year tap or bottle contracts at multiple pubs in Whistler Village which is a very lucrative prize!

First Place
Parallel 49 Brewing – Longhorn Saloon, Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub, Garibaldi Lift Co

Second Place
Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks – Tapley’s Pub, Merlins Bar & Grill, Amsterdam Pub

Third Place
Whistler Brewing Co – FireRock Lounge, Dusty’s Bar & Grill

Full sized photos here
Whistler Village Beer Festival

 

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Great Canadian Beer Festival 2015 – Victoria BC – September 12th


After missing last years Great Canadian Beer Festival it looked like a good time to reacquaint myself with the largest Beer Festival on Vancouver Island (and one of the largest in BC).   Like every year the festival was a two day event with a Friday that ran from 3pm-8pm and the Saturday Noon-5pm and was held at the Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.  Much like last time I was not able to make it out to the Friday event and only the Saturday because of work and bad/late planning on my part.  Tickets ran at $40 per day and you got a pamphlet with all of the breweries and beers available and a beer glass.  Beer tokens came in at a fairly average BC price of $1.5 which got you a 4oz pour of beer.

GCBF2015-poster

This years festival has reverted back to Canadian only Breweries with the vast majority being from British Columbia.  I personally like to bring in American breweries because its a good way to compare our brews to some of the most renowned in the world (but that’s just me).  There were still a ton of breweries at the festival with a total of 62.

The breweries in attendance:

33 Acres, Bad Tattoo, Barkerville, Big Rock(AB, BC), Bomber, Brasseurs Sans Gluten, Bridge Brewing, Cannery Brewing, Canoe Brewpub, Category 12, Central City Brewers & Distillers, Coal Harbour, Cumberland, Dageraad, Dead Frog, Deep Cove, Dieu Du Ciel, Doan’s Craft Brewing Company, Driftwood, Fernie, Four Mile, Four Winds, Fuggles & Warlock, Gladstone, Granville Island, Howe Sound, Hoyne, Les Trois Mousquetaires, Le Trou De Diable, Lighthouse, Axe & Barrel, Longwood, Merridale Cider, Mill Street, Moody Ales, Muskoka, Okanagan Springs, Parallel 49, Persephone, Phillips, Postmark, Powell Street, R & B, Red Arrow, REd Truck, Russell, Salt Spring Island Ales, Sherwood Mountain, Spinnakers, Stanley Park, Steam Whistle, Steamworks, Steel & Oak, Strange Fellows, Swans Brewpub, Tofino, Townsite, Tree Brewing, Unibroue, Vancouver Island, Wheelhouse, Wolf, Yellow Dog, Yukon.

With a selection of breweries as far north of Victoria as a 2,490km drive and as far East as 4,805km away this festival did a good job of bringing Canadian breweries out to share their beer!  In previous years I kept a log of the beers that I was enjoying but this year I decided against it.  I did take many photos of the beer I was enjoying but not all of them as I would hold up the line while doing it.

Once again the costumes were out in full force as well as the entertainment.  There were lots of familiar faces all around but there were so many people I knew were there but missed. This event is planned and executed very well and is a ton of fun but I found that there might have been to many people.  Some of the breweries had lines that you would be lucky if they only took you 10-15 minutes to get a beer sample.  Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks beat this with a line so long that I didn’t even say hi to the guys at the booth it stretched so long!  I hear the Friday event was much less crowded but I did not get to check that night out.

Full sized photos found here

Overall I had an epic time and I look forward to what next year has to offer!

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!

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.

Great Okanagan Beer Festival (On Sale Now!) 2015 – Kelowna


Beer Festival

Today is the day that the inaugural Great Okanagan Beer Festival goes on sale!  The festival has events from May 7-9th in Kelowna with the Main Festival itself happening on May 9th.  May 6-8th and 10th have events at local establishments in Kelowna and Penticton highlighting different breweries from around BC and one Alberta brewery.   The main festival happens at the Waterfront Park and Concession Plaza right on the lake in downtown Kelowna on may 9th.

kelowna

I don’t think you could find a better location to hold a beer festival than on the shores of the Okanagan Lake.  The festival runs from 1:00pm to 5:00pm and features 35 breweries (and a few cider places) with nearly 100 beers.  The capacity for the event is 2500 people so it should be a blast!

Breweries that will be pouring include Barkerville Brewing, Big Rock Brewery, Bomber Brewing, Cannery Brewing, Coal harbour Brewing, Fernie Brewing, Four Winds Brewing, Howe Sound Brewing, Lighthouse Brewing, Mill Street Brewery, Moody Ales, Mt Begbie Brewing, Old Yale Brewing, Phillips Brewing, Red Racer, Red Truck Beer, Steam Whistle, Steamworks Brewing, Big Surf, Bowen Island Brewing, Deep Cove Brewers & Distillers, Parallel 49, Glutenberg, Okanagan Springs, Prohibition, Scanal Brewing, Wolf Brewing, Stanley Park, Worthy Brewing, Coronado Brewing, Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks.

This sounds like an amazing event and should promise some great weather to hang out at the beach with some amazing craft beer!  I recommend purchasing your tickets early as they will sell fast!

Click here to purchase tickets