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.

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.

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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

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

Whistler Village Beer Festival (Industry Event) – Whistler BC


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On Friday September 12th, 2014 the Whistler Village Beer Festival held and Industry Event in the Whistler Olympic Park which was the Festival Grounds.  The event ran from 6pm – 8pm and was targeted to the beer and hospitality industry.  Being a blogger and a Beer Buddy (Beer Buddy’s were media and industry members) for the event I was able to attend this closed event.  Many but not all of the breweries involved in the main event on Saturday were present and all were more than happy to talk at length about their beer, breweries and their direction!

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The idea of this event was to meet the breweries and make connections be it the local Whistler hospitality industry or the media.  The group of people present was quite small as would be expected but it made for a very intimate event.  It may have been short and sweet but I was able to catch up with many breweries, brewmasters and brewery reps that I had not seen in quite some time and also meet new ones and make new connections.  Overall the event was a success as the people that attended this small intimate event were able to taste samples and chat at length without holding up lines that were present at the actual event.

Check here for full sized photos.

I hope you enjoyed this little inside look into the closed industry event.  It was a lot of fun to attend.