Every Beer Has A Story at Penticton Fest of Ale

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Every Beer Has A Story at Penticton Fest of Ale

By Roslyne Buchanan.

Last suds are washed away on another wildly successful Okanagan Fest of Ale. A record-breaking 75 BC-based craft brewers overflowed the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.

John Cruickshank, Okanagan Fest of Ale Society (OFOAS) President, noted that 19 breweries were new to the event and 8 craft cideries participated to pour more than 225 craft beers and ciders. Fabulous live entertainment and delicious food complemented the festivities. “We are always very fortunate to attract some of the best brewers and cideries to the event as well as guests with a keen interest in craft beers and ciders. Given that net proceeds from the event go to charity, everyone benefits.”

Crowd favourite at Joe Wiebe’s seminar, Rye’d with Everton Rye Pale Ale, Bad Tattoo Brewing, Penticton. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

The Okanagan Fest of Ale Society has gifted over nearly $700,000 in net proceeds back to the community since 1996. Charitable grant applications for 2019 will be available online June 1 to 30, 2019.

Fest of Ale provides an opportunity to explore what’s trending in craft beer and to revisit old favourites. Continuously enhancing the event, the OFOAS in recent years added the feature of a pop-up shop – this year presented by Clancy’s Liquor Store. What a bonus to find a special craft beer in the tastings and then be able to purchase it to take home.

Other onsite activities included gaming at the Cascades Casino satellite station; contest for best dressed hosted by Travel Penticton and 97.1 Sun FM; a fun photo booth by Flash and Frame Photography; and home brewing questions addressed by Trellis & Vine Crafthouse.

For those interested in joining a community of likeminded craft beer lovers, CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) South Okanagan was there to explain the benefits of membership and to sign up recruits. For more information on discounts at various outlets and CAMRA events, see www.camraso.ca.

Best Amber/Dark Ale: Smoke & Mirrors – Coal Harbour Brewing, Vancouver BC. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

Joe Wiebe, the Thirsty Writer

It’s exciting that Fest-of-Ale spills out into the community. I was invited to the Thursday adjacent event hosted by Bad Tattoo Brewing, “Every Beer Has A Story” with Joe Wiebe, the Thirsty Writer.

I first met Wiebe on a media tour when he was working on his BC craft beer masterpiece, Craft Beer Revolution: The Insider’s Guide to B.C. Breweries. Blown away by his wealth of knowledge, I snapped up his book as soon as it was published and have used it as a guideline in visiting breweries ever since. Wiebe is also co-founder of Victoria Beer Week and the BC Ale Trail.

Who wouldn’t want to spend an evening sipping samples of some of his favourite BC beers while he shared what he has learned? He highlighted six different beers as we tasted them, telling us about the style of beer, the brewery and the story of how they came to brew that selection. Included were Helios Dortmunder Golden Lager, Hoyne Brewing, Victoria; Cloud Data Hazy White IPA, Category 12 Brewing, Saanichton; 7800 Saison, Townsite Brewing, Powell River; Reynard Oud Bruin, Strange Fellows Brewing, Vancouver; 10º Dageraad Brewing, Burnaby; and Rye’d with Everton Rye Pale Ale, Bad Tattoo Brewing, Penticton.

My favourites in those samples were from Category 12 Brewing and Hoyne Brewing. The people’s choice from the room, though, was the Bad Tattoo Brewing selection, which admittedly was mighty fine. Getting the vote meant a lot to guest brewer Warren Everton who had created it in a special collaboration with Bad Tattoo.

This was the fifth year Wiebe presented at Bad Tattoo on the preceding Thursday – each time, different craft beer selections with a unique angle to the session.

Another regular adjacent event is Murders Row Cask Event at Kettle Valley Station Pub on the Saturday night after Fest-of-Ale closes. This year 17 special casks were featured along with live entertainment.

The Parkside Brewery, Port Moody BC, received two Judges’ Awards: Best Specialty IPA: Dreamboat Hazy IPA; and Best Wheat Ale: Dim Wit. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

Best of Show

Fest-of-Ale provides an unparalleled opportunity to learn about all of the different producers and the stories behind the selections being poured. Here, too, you can vote for your favourites through the People’s Choice and see how those choices stack up against the industry experts’ choices in the Judges’ Choice Awards.

Canadian Craft Tours managed the People’s Choice voting. Chaired by Warren Everton, the Judges’ Choice awards were selected by nine industry experts including Joe Wiebe, Jason van Rassel (Original Levity & Avenue Edmonton), Wade Dhooge (Cask & Barrel), Lundy Dale (Pink Pints & BC Craft Beer Month), Mike Garson (podcaster and blogger with Pacific Beer Chat), Dave Smith (What’s Brewing Magazine), Rob Mangelsdorf (The Growler), Michelle Gowling (Beer Educator), and Aaron Johnson (Cascadian Beer Podcast & BC Ale Trail).

Throughout Fest-of-Ale and in various locations, you’ll find live entertainment. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

Timber Child artisans hand-crafted the awards which were distributed as follows:

Judges’ Choice Award Winners

Best in Show: Would Crush – Twin Sails Brewing, Port Moody BC
Best in Class:
Best Amber/Dark Ale: Smoke & Mirrors – Coal Harbour Brewing, Vancouver BC
Best Cider: Broken Ladder Rosé – BC Tree Fruits Cider, Kelowna BC
Best Fruit Beer: Would Crush – Twin Sails Brewing, Port Moody BC
Best IPA: Loop Line IPA – Iron Road Brewing, Kamloops BC
Best Pale Ale: Squirrel Chaser Hazy Pale Ale – Yellow Dog Brewing, Port Moody BC
Best Pilsner/Lager/Kölsch: Nightwatch Coffee Lager – Lighthouse Brewing, Victoria BC
Best ESB: English Subtitles ESB – Kettle River Brewing Co, Kelowna BC
Best Sour: Tart Wild Ale with Pineapple & Guava – Luppolo Brewing, Vancouver BC
Best Specialty: Beermosa – Bad Tattoo Brewing, Penticton BC
Best Specialty IPA: Dreamboat Hazy IPA – The Parkside Brewery, Port Moody BC
Best Stout/Porter: Tennessee BBA Imperial Milk Stout – BNA Brewing, Kelowna, BC
Best Wheat Ale: Dim Wit – The Parkside Brewery, Port Moody BC

Cascades Casino People’s Choice Award Winners

Best Beer: What the Fog, Hazy IPA – Slackwater Brewing, Penticton BC
Best Cider: Broken Ladder Rosé – BC Tree Fruits Cider, Kelowna BC
Best Food: Surf Side California, Kelowna BC

Super Deluxe Creative/Westkey Graphics Best Label Design

Best Label Design Gold: Ghost Ship Hazy IPA – Lighthouse Brewing, Victoria BC
Best Label Design Silver: Lucky Pig Tangerine Ale – Red Racer Brewing, Surrey BC
Best Label Design Bronze: Sunblink Berry Sour – Cannery Brewing, Penticton BC

Mark your calendar to celebrate the 25th Anniversary, Okanagan Fest of Ale 2020, April 17 and 18. For details and tickets, see www.festofale.ca


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Roslyne Buchanan (aka Roz) Roslyne Buchanan is a regular freelance contributor to food, travel, wine, home and lifestyle magazines. Her work has appeared in Food & Wine Trails, WestJet Magazine, OpenRoad Driver, Savour, Niche, Destinations Travel Magazine, My Van City, and blog.hellobc.com. Based above BC’s Naramata Bench in Penticton, she enjoys spectacular views of forests, vineyards, lakes, and hills beyond and regular visits from wildlife. Enchanted by the food and beverage industry and all things culinary as well as recreational pursuits such as travel, golfing, skiing, hiking, tennis and snorkeling. For her it’s the perfect balance to pursue her passion for writing with integrity and joy to share firsthand experiences. Most of her adventures are shared with her husband, Mark and when they’re not out exploring, they are managed by two felines Baja and Floyd. Find her personal blog at www.rozsmallfry.com, follow her on twitter @RozDB and Instagram @roslynebuchanan

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