Fest-Of-Ale 2017 – Penticton


April has come again and one of my favourite beer festivals has come and passed.  This was the 22 annual Fest-Of-Ale in Penticton.  This years festival was held on April 7-8th 2017 (Friday and Saturday).  This festival is held at the Penticton Trade and Concention Centre and is comprised of a large indoor area and a small outdoor section.  Both areas have live music as well as food options.

This festival continues to grow every year.  This year had an extra 15 breweries bringing it up to 65 and and a total of 6 bringing it up to 71 cider and beer producers.

This year the list included:

4 Mile Brewing Co.
Bad Tattoo Brewing Co
Banff Ave Brewing Co.
Barley Mill Brew Pub
BC Brew Co. and Distilling  – New
BC Tree Fruits Cider
Beau’s All Natural Brewing
BNA Brewing Co
Bomber Brewing
Boundary Brewing Company  – New
Bridge Brewing
Britannia Brewing  – New
Cannery Brewing Co.
Canuck Empire Brewing
Category 12 Brewing
Coal Harbour Brewing
Coronado Brewing Company
Crannog Ales
CrossRoads Brewing  – New
Dead Frog
Detonate Brewing
Doan’s Craft Brewing Company  – New
Dominion Cider Co
Dogwood Brewing – New
Double Mountain
Fernie Brewing Co.
Field House Brewing Co.  New
Firehall Brewery
Foamers’ Folly Brewing Co.  New
Four Winds Brewing
Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks  – New
Glutenberg
Hearthstone Brewery
Highway 97 Brewing Company Ltd
Howe Sound Brewing
Howling Moon Craft Cider
Hoyne Brewing Co.
Kettle River Brewing Company  – New
Lighthouse Brewing Company
Longwood Brewery
Marten Brewing Co.
McClelland Premium Imports
Moody Ales
Moon Under Water
Mt Begbie Brewing Co.
Naramata Cider Co.  New
NOMAD Cider – New
Orchard Hill Estate Cidery Ltd.
Parallel 49 Brewing
Persephone Brewing Co.
Phillips Brewing & Malting Co
R&B Brewing Co
Ravens Brewing Company
Red Arrow Brewing Company  – New
Red Collar Brewing Co
Red Racer
Red Truck Beer Company
Spinnakers Brewpub
Steamworks Brewing
Steel & Oak Brewing Co.
Strange Fellows Brewing  – New
Summerland Heritage Cider Co.
The Parkside Brewery  – New
The Tin Whistle Brewery
Torchlight Brewing
Tree Brewing Co.
Twin Sails Brewing  – New
Twisted Hills Craft Cider
Victoria Caledonian Brewery  – New
Whistler Brewing
Yellow Dog Brewing

This year there were more than 175 craft beers being poured over the Friday and Saturday with over 5000 people in attendance.  Once again this was an amazing festival with great beer and lots of great people!  Here are some of the beer and food that I tried while at the fest.

This year I spent more time working on episodes of Pacific Beer Chat than I did taking photos for the blog.

Episode 12 Found us talking with Crannóg Ales out of Sorrento.   Website, Google Play Music, iTunes, Stitcher.

Episode 13 Part 1 found us talking with a selection of breweries as seen below.  Website, Google Play Music, iTunes, Stitcher.

Cannery Brewing, Detonate Brewing, Bomber Brewing, Steel & Oak Brewing, Untapped Craft Imports, BNA Brewing, Kettle River Brewing and Torchlight Brewing.

Episode 14 Part 2 found us talking with a selection of breweries as seen below.  Monday May 1, 2017

R&B Brewing, Crossroads Brewing, Tin Whistle Brewing, Marten Brewpub and Yellow Dog Brewing.

Like every year this was an amazing event.  There are a ton of people but you never have to wait in line long for a beer.  So many beer festivals get so crowded that you almost need two samples glasses to make it to the front of the line.  In the years that I have attended this has never been an issue.

This festival has become one of my absolute favorites every year.  Most of the best breweries come to this festival every year and the people really love that fact!  This year there were so many new beers to boot!  It may not have been requested but this year so many breweries brought out North East Style IPA’s the super cloudy and juicy beers.  These beers are all the rage right now and I am very happy that this is the case.

The first day of the festival I really explored the beers that the festival had to offer as I usually do.  This year though the weather was very bad on the way to Penticton and you could pick out the people like me that took the Coquihalla Highway and the Okanagan Connector as were were still stressed out and drank a bit to much because of it.  On Day 2 I was once again one of the as they put it Industry Expert judges for the best beers of the festival.  After Juding beer from 10am on Saturday I decided like normal that the second day of the festival was far more about the food than the beer.  Luckily for me the food was amazing!

If I remember correctly on Saturday around 3pm all of the judges made their way to the Main Stage for the awards ceremony.  Here are the winners from this years festival.

The Awards were distributed as follows:
Best in Show, Judges’ Choice Award:
High Five Hazy IPA – Yellow Dog Brewing, Port Moody, BC

Best in Class, Judges’ Choice Awards:
Pilsner/Golden Lager Pixel Pils – Fuggles & Warlock, Richmond, BC
Pale Ale Dusk Pale Ale – Parkside Brewery, Port Moody, BC
Wheat Ale Summer Ale, Witbier – Steamworks Brewing, Burnaby, BC
Saison Sirens Chai Saison – Britannia Brewing, Richmond, BC
Amber/Dark Ale Brave Liver Scotch Ale – Mt. Begbie Brewing, Revelstoke, BC
IPA Street Legal IPA – Twin Sails Brewing, Port Moody, BC
Specialty IPA High Five Hazy IPA – Yellow Dog Brewing, Port Moody, BC
Dark Lager Dark Lager – Steel & Oak Brewing, New Westminster, BC
Stout/Porter Dry Irish Stout – Ravens Brewing, Abbotsford, BC
Sour Nectarous – Four Winds Brewing, Delta, BC
Cider Pippin’s Fate – Twisted Hills Craft Cider, Cawston, BC
Fruit Beer Park Life Passionfruit Ale – Bomber Brewing, Vancouver, BC

The People’s Choice Awards, voted for by guests at the event:
Best Beer Old Style Lager – Red Arrow Brewing, Duncan, BC
Best Cider Pears & Peaches – BC Tree Fruits Cider, Kelowna, BC
Best Food Brodo Kitchen, Penticton, BC

When it comes right down to it if you can only make it to one beer festival in British Columbia in a year then the Okagnagan Fest-Of-Ale is that one festival.  They also have an amazing pop up liquor store to boot!

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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.

Fest-Of-Ale Day 2 2015 – Penticton


Day two of the Okanagan Fest-Of-Ale April 11th 2015 brought much less drinking for me.  After being a beer judge for the festival between 10am and around 2pm and judging between 40 and 50 beer (small samples luckily) I was more looking for food and people watching.  Day two of the festival ran from 12 noon to 6pm.

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I think it will be obvious beer wasn’t my first thought with my photo choices as there are more food and people photos than beer.

Luckily for me Kim of DogLeg Marketing was on her photo taking game so I have lots of photos of hers to share (all following photos are Kims).  Once finished judging we had about an hour to grab food and mingle which I spent both finding food and finding my friends.  At 3pm we were to be on stage while they announced the winners of the best beers in all categories.

Best of Each Category:

Ale: Rum Runner Red Ale, Persephone Brewing (Gibsons, B.C.)
Belgian: White Bark Witbier, Driftwood Brewery (Victoria, B.C.)
Cider: Kingston’s Twist, Twisted Hills Craft Cider (Cawston, B.C.)
Fruit Beer: Berried Alive, Longwood Brew Pub (Nanaimo, B.C.)
Hefeweizen: Hey Day Hefeweizen, Granville Island Brewing (Vancouver, B.C.)
IPA: Right Kind of Crazy Double IPA, Powell Street Craft Brewery (Vancouver, B.C.)
Lager/Pilsner: 1516 Bavarian Lager, Okanagan Spring Brewery (Vernon, B.C.)
Other: Super GLongwood Brew Pub (Nanaimo, B.C.)
Pale Ale: Coast Trail Pale Ale, Canuck Empire Brewing (Aldergrove, B.C.)
Stout/Porter: Smoke and Mirrors Imperial Ale, Coal Harbour Brewing (Vancouver, B.C.)

Best Of Show:

Smoke and Mirrors Imperial Ale
, Coal Harbour Brewing (Vancouver, B.C.)

After the awards were given out we all dispersed back into the crowd.  I met up with some friends again for a few samples and some more food.  Day two of the festival has a much younger audience than day one from the looks of things.  Just like last year costumes were everywhere you looked.  There were Pokemon to Batman all around.  I really wish I had taken more photos so I could show some of the costumes that I saw.

The crowd was a bit younger and it was a bit more vocal on day two but like always it seemed that everyone was having a great time!  I did have to laugh at one point when a guy sauntered up to Powell Street Craft Brewery’s tent saying the last beer was trash and to fill his with something better.  Just before taking a sip he said he only drinks bud.  I am not sure why he was even at the festival but he still seemed to be enjoying himself.  I ended up taking my leave of the festival early around 5pm to get ready for the cask event later in the evening.  I thoroughly enjoyed my second go around with the Fest-Of-Ale and look forward to being back in the future!

Here are my photos of Day 2 of the festival.

Fest-Of-Ale Beer Judging 2015 – Penticton


For a second year in a row I was honored with the invitation to be a judge again at the Fest-Of-Ale in Penticton.  Last year I had reservation about saying yes to the invite as I had never done any beer judging before but this year I jumped at the opportunity.  The judging again this year took part on Day Two of the festival on April 11th, 2015.  This year we had 10 Categories to judge from including Ale, Belgian Ale, Cider, Fruit Beer, Hefeweizen, IPA, Lager/Pilsner,  Other, Pale Ale and Stout/Porter.  This year there was a huge spike in the amount of entries into the judged competition.  I do not know if it was the extra 10+ breweries and cideries or what but last year only had 42 beer and 3 ciders while this year had a whopping 83 beer and cider to judge!  With so many beers to judge the panel of 8 judges was split up into two groups this year.  Each group sampled half of the beer that was to be judged.  Once all the beers had been sampled the groups came together and we all sampled the top two beers/ciders in each category.  The following Head Shots are from Kim of DogLeg Marketing.

Meet the Judges.

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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)

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Jan Zeschky – Beer writer with The Province

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Jason van Rassel – beer writer with The Calgary Herald

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Josh Oakes –  RateBeer.com

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Sunshine Kessler – LoveAndBarley.com

Like all other beer competitions this one was a blind tasting.  The only differentiation that we had between the beer was the number on the glass.  This year the Director of Judging was Warren Everton as Martin of Bad Tattoo Brewing had to pass the torch as he had beer in the competition.  This year we stepped away from the very official judging sheet as it seemed to take to much time overall.  This year we had very toned down score cards and we sampled all the beer in a category and chose our top two beer.  If we had a majority consensus of the top two we gave our results right away.  If not we discussed as a group to come up with our top two.  This seemed to actually work quite well and made the whole process move along at a pretty decent pace.  Once we brought the two groups together we re-sampled the top two beers from our group as well as the top two beers from the other group of judges and came up with out winners.  Only one category caused trouble for the judges and surprisingly it was not IPA but Fruit Beer.  We argued long and hard with a serious stale mate and it was very hard to come to a consensus winner.  To say this category was contentious is an understatement!  We did finally come to an agreement luckily and there were no punches thrown (totally kidding there but we did joke about it).  We started the judging at 10am and we ran to somewhere in the neighborhood of 2pm.

Once all the deliberation we were told the winners of each category and what beer we chose as best of show.  The best of show may come as a surprise to many to be sure and it may not be the most approachable beer of the bunch for the person new to craft beer.  What it was though was a standout in the crowd of beers that were judged.

Best of Each Category:

Ale: Rum Runner Red Ale, Persephone Brewing (Gibsons, B.C.)
Belgian: White Bark Witbier, Driftwood Brewery (Victoria, B.C.)
Cider: Kingston’s Twist, Twisted Hills Craft Cider (Cawston, B.C.)
Fruit Beer: Berried Alive, Longwood Brew Pub (Nanaimo, B.C.)
Hefeweizen: Hey Day Hefeweizen, Granville Island Brewing (Vancouver, B.C.)
IPA: Right Kind of Crazy Double IPA, Powell Street Craft Brewery (Vancouver, B.C.)
Lager/Pilsner: 1516 Bavarian Lager, Okanagan Spring Brewery (Vernon, B.C.)
Other: Super GLongwood Brew Pub (Nanaimo, B.C.)
Pale Ale: Coast Trail Pale Ale, Canuck Empire Brewing (Aldergrove, B.C.)
Stout/Porter: Smoke and Mirrors Imperial Ale, Coal Harbour Brewing (Vancouver, B.C.)

Best Of Show:

Smoke and Mirrors Imperial Ale
, Coal Harbour Brewing (Vancouver, B.C.)

Here are my fill sized photos.

After all the judging was done we had a few group shots taken by Kim of DogLeg Marketing..

Once all was done we were released into the festival although we had to be at the stage for 3pm for the announcement of the winners.  The following photos are taken again by Kim of DogLeg Marketing.