From Stone Brewing in Escondido California comes their “Xocoveza” an Imperial Stout inspired by Mexican Hot Chocolate. The beer pours a deep black colour with a brown head. The aroma consists of milk chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla, coffee, spices and some sweetness. The flavour is of milk chocolate, toffee, coffee, cinnamon, roasted malts, spices and some sweetness. The alcohol content comes in at 8.1% with an IBU of 50. This is my first every chance to try this beer and I really liked it. I had once smelled it as a bottle jumped out of my car and smashed on the ground. That was a sad day indeed!
Commercial Description: There’s nothing like making a beer so beloved that people feel compelled to campaign for its return. So, in the spirit of the holiday season, we are very pleased to give our fans the number one item on their wish lists. As illustrated by the avalanche of social media requests, that is Stone Xocoveza, an insanely delicious take on Mexican hot chocolate brewed with cocoa, coffee, pasilla peppers, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. First brewed in 2014 with San Diego homebrewer Chris Banker after his recipe won our annual homebrew competition, this imperial stout is layered with smooth roastiness, semisweet chocolate and a touch of spice. Thanks entirely to you, this creamy, mocha stout has gone from initially being a one-time offering to a yearly tradition. Happy holidays from all of us to all of you…and feel free to continue enjoying it long into the spring and summer, as this gem will age beautifully and is definitely not exclusive to the winter season!
Bomber Brewing in Vancouver has re-released their collaboration with Stone Brewing this year in tall cans called the “Blood From A Stone Red Rye IPA”. The beer pours a deep reddish copper colour with a tan head. The aroma consists of rye and caramel, with mango fruits and floral hops. The flavour is of rye and rye spice, caramel, earth, mild citrus, maybe mango, mild resin and bitterness. The alcohol content comes in at 6.8% and an IBU of 50. Much like last time this was released in 2014 in Bombers this stuff is quite tasty.
Commercial Description: By using American yeast and hops, along with Canadian rye and malted barley, we have created a smooth and spicy IPA with creamy body and clean, dry finish. Calypso and Ella hops add tropical notes to the rye and malt aromas in this rich Red Rye IPA.
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.
Yes that is me
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!
Parallel 49 Brewing – Longhorn Saloon, Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub, Garibaldi Lift Co
Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks – Tapley’s Pub, Merlins Bar & Grill, Amsterdam Pub
Whistler Brewing Co – FireRock Lounge, Dusty’s Bar & Grill
Topics of Discussion:
1 Upcoming and recent events attended
2 Latest breweries frequented
3 Beer from across Canada
Audio Only Version
Establishments and breweries mentioned in this podcast include, R&B Brewing, Central City Brewers & Distillers, Howe Sound Brewing, Big River Brewpub, Red Truck Beer, Doan’s Craft Brewing Company, Dageraad, Elizabeth Station, Moody Ales, 33 Acres, bomber brewing, stone brewing, tru du diable, dieu du ciel, unibrue, trois pistoles, great lakes brewery, half pints brewing, fort gary brewing, lake of the woods brewing, toolshed, west coast liquor, kerrisdale, laurelwood public house and brewery, mill street brewery, leavenworth, great Canadian beer festival, vcbw, vancouver craft beer week, great okanagan beer festival, moylan’s brewery, beerthirst, london pub, 12 kings pub, hoyne, fernie brewing, phillips brewing, parallel 49 brewing, yellow dog brewing, powell street craft brewery, bridge brewing, farimont hotsprings, east kootenay beer festival
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
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!