Saturday, April 05, 2008

Okanagan Fest-of-Ale

Tannis and I hit the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale this afternoon. An odd date destination, perhaps, but we had a great time. I got to totally geek out on many of the incredible beers AND hang out with my best friend for a couple of hours sans kids (thanks Grandma Hiebert). We managed to score the last couple of available tickets (dearly bought, mind you) about 20 minutes after it opened, enjoyed the scene and went for a very nice lunch at Salty's later on.

Anyway, I thought I'd add a few notes on the standout beers. We already get enough of our local favourites, so these are skewed toward brews that are harder (or impossible) to get close to home:
  • I'm always keen to find Crannog Ales, especially their Backhand of God Stout, and it was great as usual. I love their philosophy, their brewing techniques and their vibe -- yes, I should have bought a shirt. The potato ale was surprisingly good, as well as an excellent Bogtrotter Brown Ale. Not sure if they had a bad batch or whatever, but the Beyond the Pale Ale was terrible -- odd, because I've enjoyed it in the past.
  • First Trax Brown Ale from Fernie Brewing, very smooth and tasty
  • Goat Wall Oat Stout from Winthrop Brewing just across the border in Washington (apparently an emerging mountain biking destination...hmmm...), very intense and delicious. This was probably my favourite beer at the fest-of-ale last year too.
  • Imperial Oatmeal Stout from another Washington brewery called Boundary Bay -- I didn't actually enjoy this one much, but it was a very gutsy beer, smoky and reminiscent of OKSprings Old English Porter with a nasty alcohol afterburn.
  • Sasquatch Stout from Old Yale Brewing in Chilliwack -- I really liked this one. Bold and black, with tons of flavour, but not overwhelming.
  • Mt. Begbie Brewing from Revelstoke had two strong offerings -- Attila the Honey and Tall Timber Ale, both excellent.


Claire Thompson said...

Hi Jeremy, I was just working on a blog post which includes some reflections on Stephen Downes' video post on homeschooling. I read your comments on the post and came here to check out your blog.

I was pleasantly surprised to see your post on the Fest-of-Ale! I live in Penticton and went there on Friday night--I haven't been since bk (before kids) and could not believe how packed the place was! I have to put in my vote for Mt. Begbie Brewing's Attilla the Honey . Cheers!

Andrew said...

Atilla the Honey was fantastic, agreed. It was a toss-up this year between Backhand of God and Russell Cream ale. Good brews, nice to try some stuff I'd never heard of.

Jeremy said...

Hi Claire -- we "met" online earlier in the year when I left some comments on your blog. Always neat to see an overlap between the virtual and real worlds.

I've been reading (and mostly agreeing with) Stephen's writing for at least five years...but I'm seriously mystified by his take on homeschooling. Even after seeing his first two rebuttals, I'm left shaking my head in confusion. He seems to have a huge blind spot there, and doesn't seem to be willing to really investigate with an open mind. And I'm not a fan of video for gleaning information -- as entertainment, fine, but talking heads...not so much. Same with podcasting, actually. Can't skim, can't copy, can't deep eliminates the best parts of learning with blogs.

Cool that you enjoyed the Fest-of-Ale this year too -- we went on Saturday to avoid the crowds, but I've heard it's quite a scene on Friday night (if you like boisterous crowds). We had a great time, but figured we probably wouldn't go every year. The $60 we spent could buy at lot of interesting craft brews for our own private tastings!

Jeremy said...

Andrew, I skipped Russell this year -- sounds like that was a mistake! My buddy Myron was saying the same thing as you about the cream ale. I just kinda gapped out, I guess, because I remember liking something from them last year too.

I'll admit that I tried Mt. Begbie's honey ale solely because of the cool name and label, which probably coloured my impression of the beer...but I thought it was great. Tannis preferred the Tall Timber, which we'll have to stock up on.