my notes from tuesday's beer column on cbc radio one's on the coast with gloria macarenko:
(and look, jan zeschky thinks you should go to all the fests too!)

We’re in the midst of beer festival season in BC!

There are several beer festivals coming up, and they’re conveniently being held on different dates so you can get to them all – like I intend to do!

It’s the Whistler beer festival this coming weekend – there are events like cask nights and tastings beginning Wednesday evening, leading up to the tasting festival on Saturday and Sunday.  There will be over 100 beers pouring from over 50 breweries, and several cideries as well.
A couple of the area’s not-yet-opened breweries will be pouring beers at the fest, namely Back Country Brewing from Squamish and Highway 97 from Penticton, so be sure to try those ones!

While you are in Whistler, you could take advantage of the opportunity to go check out the newly opened Coast Mountain Brewery in Function Junction.  They just opened on August 31st, so you’ll be among the first to try their beers.  They’ll also be pouring at the festival.

Blackbird pub will be celebrating the sour days of summer on September 22nd, with sour beers from Yellow Dog (Port Moody) - Super Secret Sour White, Fuggles & Warlock (Richmond) - Rei Boysenberry Kettle Sour, Parallel 49 (East Vancouver)- Gimlet Sour White, Phillips (Victoria)- 15th Anniversary Berlinerweisse, and Driftwood (Victoria)- Latus Sour .  Tickets are $30 and get you a sample of each of the sours.

Steamworks will be hosting an Oktoberfest party on September 24th from 2:00 until 11:00 p.m. in their Taproom located at 3845 William Street in Burnaby. 
Early-bird tickets are on sale now for $25 and will get you an Oktoberfest tee, stein and food at the event.

Fresh hopped beers will be coming out soon.  The hops have been picked and the beers are being brewed.  Beer nerds are rejoicing.  You’ve probably seen a few around humming “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” in giddy anticipation.  I know I’m counting the days until the first ones hit store shelves! 

If you want to try all of them at once, you should get yourself a ticket to the 2nd annual BC Hop fest on October 1st in Abbotsford.  More than 30 breweries will be bringing their fresh hopped beers to one location, and many of those are being brewed with hops from the farm itself.  The festival includes tours of the hop farm, a farmer’s market and a brewer’s panel.  Not just for hop-heads, the breweries in attendance will also be offering other beer selections for your tasting pleasure.  Tickets are available on the website, and if you need transportation from Vancouver, Vine & Hops has you covered. 
Just click on their logo to buy an all-in-one ticket.

And finally, if you haven’t already purchased your ticket for the BC Beer Awards and festival coming up on October 15th, you waited to long.  They're now sold out.  The annual event will be held at the Cultural Centre again this year, and Stephen Quinn will be reprising his role as host. 

And then there was the Great Canadian Beer Festival held this past weekend in Victoria.

I really love this festival!  It has been running since 1993 and has grown to its current size of 8,000 festival-goers over two days.  But it never feels like that many people.  Sure there are some line-ups, like the huge one at Fuggles & Warlock’s booth all weekend, but there’s always more time spent sipping and socializing than there is waiting in line.  There are also cask beers on offer and a few ciders.  You’ll find some breweries from across Canada, as well as all your favourites from BC, with the added bonus of discovering some new favourites. 

There are just so many beers at the festival and even though I had two days there, it still wasn’t enough time to try as many as I would have liked.  What I did get a chance to try though were some really wonderful beers!  Standouts for me were the Wag the Wolf Weissbier from Beau’s in Ontario – a spicy and fruity weissbier, hopped with new Zealand hops, that was dangerously drinkable for the 6.8% alcohol percentage.  Brasserie Dunham from Quebec’s Berliner Mango Weisse cask was brewed with mango puree and simply delicious.  Le Trou du Diable, also from Quebec, brought their Saison du Tracteur, which is a blonde ale with citrus and passionfruit flavours and aromas from the saison yeast.  And those three breweries joined Victoria’s Moon Under Water to do a four-way collaboration brew the day before the festival, which I hope will be available in Vancouver when it’s ready.  

Beer picks:

I’ve got a couple of newer releases from local breweries that I enjoyed at the Great Canadian Beer Festival last weekend as my beer picks:

Parallel 49 WobblyPop pale ale – it’s a pale ale.  Just a pale ale.  Nothing crazy going on here, just a good tasting pale ale that’s dry and clean, with fruity hops and biscuity malts.  5%.  Available in six packs of bottles and on tap at the brewery.

Powell Street’s peach sour – part of their kettle sour series, this tart refresher features a lot of northwest peaches.  It’s like they captured the end of summer and put it in a bottle.  Available in 650ml bottles and on tap at the brewery. 6.5%

Four Winds Passionfruit Berliner weisse – light bodied and effervescent, it is gently tart and very fruity! 3.5%.  Available at the tasting room and at some taps around the City.  If you’re going out to the tasting room in Delta, take your growler because you will want to fill it with this lovely wheat ale – and try the tacos too!


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