Fest-Of-Ale 2016 – Penticton


With April comes one of my favourite beer festivals in the province in the Fest-Of-Ale.  This was the 21 annual event in Penticton and was once again a great party!  This two day festival took place on April 8th and 9th a Friday and Saturday.  Once again the festival was able to have an indoor and outdoor section that included beer, food and live music.  The Penticton Trade and Convention Centre was again the host location of the festival.

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Every year the festival invites new breweries to the festival.  This year there was just over 50 breweries and cideries in attendance.

This years brewery and Cidery list includes the following:
4 Mile Brewing
Bad Tattoo Brewing
Banff Ave Brewing
Barley Mill Brew Pub
BC TRee Fruits
BRB Brewing
Big Rock Brewery
BNA Brewing
Bomber Brewing
Bridge Brewing
Cannery Brewing
Canuck Empire
Category 12 Brewing
Central City Brewers & Distillers
Coal Harbour Brewing
Crannog Ales
Dead Frog Brewery
Dominion Cider Co
Driftwood Brewery
Fernie Brewing
Firehall Brewery
Four Winds Brewing
Hearthstone Brewery
Highway 97 Brewery
Howe Sound Brewing
Howling Moon Craft Cider
Hoyne Brewing
Lighthouse Brewing
Longwood Brewery
Marten Brewing Company
McClelland Premium Imports
Moody Ales
Mt Begbie Brewing
Old Abbey Ales
Old Yale Brewing
Orchard Hill Estate Cidery
Parallel 49 Brewing
Persephone Breiwng
Phillips Brewing
Powell Street Craft Brewery
R&B Brewing
Ravens Brewing Company
Red Collar Brewing
Red Truck Beer
Russell Brewing
Spinnakers Brewpub
Steamworks Brewing
Steel & Oak Brewing
Tin Whistle Brewing
Torchlight Brewing
Tree Brewing
Twisted Hills Craft Cider
Vancouver Island Brewery
Wards Cider
Yellow Dog Brewing

On the Friday I was able to get into the festival early as I was part of the Media for the festival.  It is nice to get some photos before the place gets packed!

The Friday event ran from 4pm until 9pm and was a great mix of people.  The crowd that comes after work to drink is quite civilized.  Friday’s crowd seems to be more interested in getting to know the flavours and brands on hand at the festival.

Once again the fist day of the festival was a total blast.  The breweries involved were great and the people attending where all really excited to be there.  Like always I took the Friday easy as I was once again one of the Judges for the festival.

After our session of Judging on Saturday the judges all headed back into the festival for day two.  For the general public the festival ran from 12-6pm.  Like always day two for me is more about the food and the people than the beer as we have judged so many beers.  There were still lots of great beer that I sampled though especially some of the beers that we judged as winners.  With the second day being during the day the crowd seems to both be younger and less knowledgeable about craft beer.  Saturday is more rowdy and there are way more costumes.  Something that seems to be very popular at some beer festivals and even more at music festivals.

At 3pm all of the judges had to be up at the main stage that is located in the middle of the indoor portion of the festival.  This is where the awards where given out to the winning breweries and cideries.  Kim of DogLeg Marketing sent me these following photos of the winning breweries.  I could not take them as I was standing on the stage in behind the winners.

Here is the list of winning beers as chosen by the judging panel.

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

Here are some more photos from Kim of DogLeg Marketing.

Full sized photos

Once again the Fest-Of-Ale was a massive success in 2016.  If you can only make it to one beer festival in the province next year this is a great contender!  I forgot to take photos this year of the pop up liquor store but it was once again had an amazing selection of great beers.  I was able to pick up some from Torchlight Brewing that is usually only available in a small area in the Nelson area.

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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.

Fest-Of-Ale Beer Judging 2014 – Penticton


I was asked to be a judge for the Fest-Of-Ale and at first I was not sure if I should do it.  Not being a certified judge weighed on my mid a bit.  I felt unqualified or at least under qualified.   I decided though that there is no way to get experience without just jumping at an opportunity that you are given.  This blog has given me opportunities to do things that I would never have had a chance to do usually.  The judging took place on day two of the Okanagan Fest-Of-Ale on April 5th, 2014.  There was 42 Beer and 3 Ciders to be judged from 35 different Breweries and Cideries.  There were 9 Catagories including Lager/Pils (6), Pale Ale (4), Ale (4), IPA (13), Stout (5), Belgian (2), Wit (4), Fruit Beer (4) and Cider (3).  The following Head Shots are from Kim of DogLeg Marketing.  Meet the Judges.

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David Beardsell – Brewery Owner/Consultant

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Joe Wiebe – Author

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Alan Moen – NorthWest Brewing News

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Me

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Jim Martin – Metro Liquor (Senior Wine Consultant)

As with all Beer Judging competitions this one is done blind.  Beers are brought out in their categories with only numbers on them to differentiate them.  Here are a few examples of how the beer is laid out for the judges and what our scoring cards looked like.  This competition was overseen by Martin who is the owner of the upcoming Bad Tattoo Brewing and runs the Kettle Valley Station Pub both in Penticton.

There are many ways to judge beer from what I can gather talking to this group after the judging. From what I can gather it is best to take notes and sample all the beer and then go back and give your final scores.  I didn’t do it this way and I wish I did.  If there is a next time I can always do it differently.  Judging this competition you are allowed to discuss with the other judges on all points of the beer and if it actually fits into the category it is submitted as.  Saying that it was very quiet in the room from around 10am when we started to 3pm when we finished up.

Once all the samples had been judged our score cards were handed to Martin.  He then tallied up all the scores and were were given a sample of all the winning beers.  This is were the discussion on Best of Show began.  The best of show has to both be a very good beer and it also should be true to the style.  There was a long discussion comparing the merits of each beer.  When it came down to it though it was a fairly easy choice.

 

Group shots by Kim

Winners

Lager/Pilsner: Hoyner Pilsner – Hoyne Brewing Co., Victoria BC
Pale Ale: Red Truck Ale – Red Truck Beer Company, Vancouver BC
IPA: Four Winds White Rye IPA – Four Winds Brewing Co, Delta BC
Wit/Wheat: Robson Street Hefeweizen – Granville Island Brewery, Vancouver BC
Ales: Naramata Nut Brown Ale – Cannery Brewing, Penticton BC
Stout/Porter: Holy Smoke Stout – Firehall Brewery, Oliver BC
Belgian: Sunkissed Tea Saison – Deep Cove, North Vancouver BC
Fruit Beer: Stiegl Radler – McClelland Premium Imports, BC
Ciders: Red Roof Cider – Orchard Hill Estate Cidery, Oliver BC

Best of Show

IPA: Four Winds White Rye IPA – Four Winds Brewing Co, Delta BC

Four Winds Brewing doesn’t seem to slow down on the awards front these days.  Congratulations to all the winners.  You all deserved the awards and should be proud of the medals you received!

Here are some more photos from Kim

Full sized photos can be found here

We then dispersed into the hall for the remainder of the second day of the Okanagan Fest-Of-Ale.  After doing the judging for this event I would jump at the opportunity to do it again.  There was no doubt that the other judges had a better understanding of how the judging process worked and the flavour profiles of the ingredients in beer.  But then they are professionals that either work in the field or have been writing about beer for a lot longer than I have.