We're a long way from Oktoberfest (Munich edition pictured), but there will be plenty of beer events in B.C. over the next several months. (Matthias Schrader/Associated Press)
Beer festival season is starting soon, and On The Coast beer columnist Rebecca Whyman says the number of options keep growing.
There's no official festival season, but Whyman says most take place between April and October — and as that time approaches, she has some "pro tips" for getting the most out of your festival experience.
Read the fine print on your ticket: "What is included in the price? How many tokens do you receive? Is there food included? If not, is there food available for purchase? Depending on how long the festival is, you may very well need to refuel or sop up some of your alcohol."
Consider bringing a pretzel necklace: "These are not just fashion statements! Their actual purpose is twofold: to provide a wee snack as you drink, and to offer a palate cleanser between different beers."
Drink water: "Hydrating as you go will keep you happy longer, and it does aid in slowing down your consumption to help keep you from overindulging. My preferred method of hydrating is to drink the rinse water that good festivals offer between samples."
Take some friends: "Not only are things more fun with friends, but you can also tag-team your way through trying more beers if you all agree to order different beers from each brewery and then share the samples."
Don't buy too many tokens, and don't throw them out: "Those tiny pours really add up and I see most people with lots of leftover tokens at the end. … If the tokens are the poker chip sort, you can likely use them again the next year at the festival, so hang on to them!"
But with festival season still a few weeks away, here are some beer picks in the meantime:
"A collaboration between Powell Brewing and Four Winds Brewing. It is a hybrid style where a traditional Belgian farmhouse ale meets an North American East Coast IPA. 6.8 percent, available in 650 ml bottles from the breweries and select private liquor stores."
Strange Fellows Goldilocks Belgian Golden Strong Ale
"Light and fruity with notes of coriander and orange peel. It is a strong beer — 8.5 percent — that goes down really smoothly. Available in 750 ml bottles at the brewery and select private liquor stores."
R&B's Shake Your Fruity
"This is a milkshake IPA: those overnight success, fruity-tasting beers brewed with lactose, which makes them thick and hazy. Even people who claim they don't like India Pale Ales like a milkshake IPA! This one is brewed with oats and apple puree as well, for ultimate smoothness. But what you'll taste is juicy orange and pineapple. 7.3 percent, available in 650 ml bottles at the brewery and select liquor stores."