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

 

Great Okanagan Beer Festival 2015 – Kelowna


Will drive for beer!  The only headline that could be in front of the Great Okanagan Beer Festival for me.  To be a little more exact will drive 780km round trip for beer.

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Logo taken from the official Great Okanagan Beer Festival website

I can admit I did not know what to expect from this beer festival.  It was the first annual event in a city that has not hosted a big beer festival like this to my knowledge.  Now I never doubted Gibbons Events would put on a great event as they hit it out of the park with the  Whistler Village Beer Festival but who would have guessed they would find a venue that could rival Whistler Village and its amazing peaks?  Waterfront Park & Concession Plaza in downtown Kelowna rivals many of the destination waterfronts  that I have visited on holiday.  Sometimes I wonder why we fly so far to take holidays when our own province is one of the most beautiful places on earth.  To boot it was around 25C for the entire festival.  The festival was held on May 9th 2015 from 1pm-5pm.

The breweries that poured at the festival included the following (Booth order not alphabetical):

1 Big Surf
2 Prohibition Brewing
3 Riders Cider
4 Cannery Brewing
5 Bad Tattoo Brewing
6 Firehall Brewery
7 Phillips Brewing
8 Lighthouse Brewing
9 Wolf Brewing Co
10 Mt. Begbie Brewing
11 Scandal Brewing
12 Glutenburg Beer
13 Steam Whistle Brewing
14 Erdinger, Steigl
15 Stone Brewing
15 New Belgian
16 Worthy Brewing
16 Coronado Brewing
17 Whistler Brewing
18 Bowen Island Brewing
19 Lonetree Cider
20 Howe Sound Brewing
21 Red Truck Beer Company
22 Moody Ales
23 Bomber Brewing
24 Four Winds Brewing
25 Steamworks Brewing
26 Coal harbor Brewing
27 Parallel 49 Brewing
28 Deep Cove Brewers & Distillers
29 Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks
30 Bridge Brewing Company
31 Central City Brewers & Distillers
32 Stanley Park Brewing
33 Okanagan Springs Brewing
34 Fernie Brewing
35 Barkerville Brewing
36 Old Yale Brewing
37 Big Rock Brewery (Alberta)
38 Mill Street Brewery
39 Waterloo Brewing Co

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With the brewery booths being located around a gorgeous lagoon and Okanagan Lake just over the hill from the beer venders you would not ask for a better place to sample beers from all over the province and some from around the world.  If you wanted an unimpeded view of the lake all you had to do was to head over to the plaza that had all of the food carts!

Like always I took a bunch of pictures of the beer that I was sampling although I did not remember to take photos of over half of my samples.  I know so many people in the industry and I made so many new friends at the festival so I was distracted more often than not.

On the beer side this beer festival held its own with all other beer fests in BC.  Where this festival really held its own though is its location.  This is the best location that I have ever been to for a beer festival in the province and really any beer fest I have been to!  I look forward to next years event and what they have to offer!

Full sized photos can be found here.

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

Whistler Village Beer Festival (Main Festival) – Whistler BC


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On Saturday September 13th, 2014 the Second Annual Whistler Village Beer Festival was held.  The festival was held at the Whistler Olympic Park in the Whistler Village.  The event started for average attendees at 1pm (opened at 12 for gatecrashers) and ran until 5pm (last call at 4:45).  The event cost $35 or $45 for gatecrashers and included a branded 4oz mug, 5 beer tokens and a $5 off-site food voucher.  extra tokens cost $1.5 with a maximum of 10 tokens purchased at a time.

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Breweries involved included the following

British Columbia
Red Racer (Central City Brewers & Distillers), Whistler Brewing Co, Dead Frog Brewery, Lighthouse Brewing, Deep Cove Brewers & Distillers, Parallel 49 Brewing, Driftwood Brewery, Old Yale Brewing, Granville Island Brewing, Canuck Empire, Howe Sound Brewing, Four Winds Brewing, Hoyne Brewing, Postmark Brewing, Mission Springs Brewing, Cariboo, Okanagan Springs, Scandal Brewing, Phillips Brewing, Mt Begbie Brewing, Powell Street Craft Brewery, Fernie Brewing, Vancouver Island Brewery, Prohibition Brewing, Big Surf Beer Co, Red Truck Beer, Bomber Brewing, Russell Brewing, Bowen Island Brewing, Stanley Park, Brewhouse Whislter, Steamworks Brewing

Canada
Unibroue, Glutenberg, LTM, Alexander Keith’s Hop Series, Big Rock Brewery, Creemore Springs Brewery, Mad & Noisy Brewing, Steam Whistle

America
Ninkasi Brewing, Shock Top, Sierra Nevada, Pyramid Breweries, Hub, Lakefront Brewery, Oskar Blues Brewery, Samuel Adams, Double Mountain, Scuttlebutt Brewing, Worthy Brewing, Brooklyn Brewery, Magic Hat, Deschutes Brewery, Gigantic Brewing, Lagunitas Brewing, Lost Coast Brewery

World
Watsteiner, Konig Ludwig Weissbier, Ankerbrau, Grolsch, Peroni, Pilsner Urquell, Brouwerij Vansteenberge

Importers
TruCraft Beverages, Bravo Beer Corp, Copper & Theory, Untapped, Beverage Concepts Int’l Network Agency

The second annual Whistler Village Beer Festival seemed to be a big success with over 3500 attendees.  People from the biggest craft beer aficionados to people that like Macro beer but wanted to try something new were in attendance.  Having this festival in the middle of this mountain paradise made for one of the looking craft beer festivals that I have ever attended.  This festival may be smaller than the Victoria event but I would say that it is giving it a run for its money!

Like all craft beer festivals the people at the festival were very friendly and loved to chat!  I had all kinds of great conversations while walking around and taking photos.  I had even better encounters when I was at breweries tents.  Here are some of my more candid photos taken with my phone.

 

If I could only pick one Beer Festival per year I would have to say that it would be hard not to pick this event!  Between the amazing selection of breweries almost all being craft beer to the great food and the event better location nestled in the mountain resort town of Whistler.  I would not hesitate to recommend this festival to any craft beer fan or anyone that is interested in expanding their palate.  With all of the extra events that happen around this festival I would recommend coming up on the Thursday and staying until Sunday.  It may be a pricy weekend but you will not regret it!

Fool sized photos can be seen here.

Whistler Village Beer Festival

Casks 4 A Cause – New Westminster BC


On June 14th, 2014 Frankie G’s Pub in Queensborough, New Westminster held a Cask 4 A Cause event.  The proceeds of the event went to BC Children’s Hospital.  Breweries Donated Casks, food was donated and lots of Silent Auction prizes were also donated.  The event started at 1pm and ran until 6pm and cost $25 plus the cost of extra tickets for tasting.

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The event took place in the parking lot of the pub with lots of tables set up and casks all around.  The weather was not great as it was raining and misting most of the day but we all know a little rain does not get in the way of supporting a cause and drinking craft beer.

The Breweries at the event included:

Red Truck Beer – India Session Ale
Dead Frog Brewery – Buckwheat Belgium Ale
Howe Sound Brewing – 5 Alive
Driftwood Brewery – Twenty Pounder Double IPA
Mission Springs Brewing – IPA (Fresh hopped with Nugget Hops)
Bomber Brewing – IPA (Dry hopped with Chinook and Cascade hops)
Steel and Oak Brewing – Smoked Hefeweizen
Townsite Brewing Westview Wheat
Bridge Brewing – Kentucky Bourbon Oak Pale Ale
Stanley Park Brewery – Summer Pale Ale
Moon Under Water – Raspberry Berliner Weiss
Fuggles and Warlock Craftworks – Red Rye Saison
Merridale Cider Co – Hip Hop Cider
Steamworks Brewing – Golden Ale
Parallel 49 Brewing – Wild Ride Ale
Whistler Brewing – Tropical Fruit Punch IPA
Scandal Brewing – Orange Bock
Big Ridge Brewing – CDA
Central City Brewers & Distillers – Prevale
Desert Hills Winery – Gerwarztraminer
Desert Hills Winery – Rose

As a volunteer for the event I showed up early at around 11:30am to help setup as much as I could.  If you know the Camra South Fraser Crew and many of the members of Camra Vancouver then you knew the people behind the scenes.

Once the setup was finished the doors opened and people started to trickle in.  Calvin Basran of Franie G’s Pub wanted there to be judges for the casks with trophies for the winners.  I was asked to be one of the judges with Kevin Wood of This Sandwich, That Beer and three certified beer judges.  The beers were spit up so that one group of three and the other group of two only sampled and judged half of the beer.  Once the top three beer from each group were determined we had all six beers poured so we could decide best of show.  We Deliberated and came up with the best beer of the day.

Once the judging was done the judges were free to enjoy the cask festival and mingle with all of the other guests and possibly try all the other beers that were not sampled by that particular judge.  There was even a DJ and a band entertaining the people.  As a good friend with Camra South Fraser Executives I also volunteered to pour at the cask festival.  Once I had a snack I started pouring and making new acquaintances.  As it approached 6pm everyone was asked to come towards the stage to hear the winners of the cask off.

Best Of Show
Driftwood Brewery – Twenty Pounder Double IPA

Peoples Choice
Moon Under Water – Raspberry Berliner Weiss

Honorable Mentions
2nd Place – Stanley Park Brewing – Pale Ale
3rd Place – Red Truck Beer – India Session Ale

Once the Cask event ended at 6pm everyone was invited to come inside the pub and enjoy a rocking after party with another live band.  The remaining cask beer was now served in 20 oz pints.  The after party was a ton of fun although I think I might have enjoyed myself a bit to much if you catch my drift.

I would like to thank Camra South Fraser and Frankie G’s Pub for inviting me out to take part in this amazing fundraiser.  I had a ton of fun and even left with a bunch of BC Lions Tickets and an autographed BC Lions hat from the Silent Auction!  The best part of the evening though was to find out that the fundraiser had managed to raise a rather large amount of money.  For a rainy day I was very pleased with the amount of money raised!

Full sized photos can be found here

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Frankie G’s Pub
305 Ewen Ave, New Westminster, BC V3M 5B4

(604) 515-1678