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Fest Of Ale pocket guide: must-have and off-menu brews

We’ve been saying that the 2017 iteration of the Okanagan Fest Of Ale, BC’s second-longest-running beer event, is looking particularly compelling. But now that we’re in the final week countdown, we thought we’d run one last check on what we can expect when we visit Penicton’s Trade & Convention Centre this Friday & Saturday, April 7th & 8th.

We weren’t surprised to find that there are over 65 breweries and cideries represented, with over 175 beverages on hand to sample. After all, when a festival has been running for over 20 years and is as respected as Fest Of Ale, you’re going to have no problem attracing participation. (“Easier said than done”, I can hear the organizers saying.) But what struck me about this year’s plan is how interested I am to get my lips around some of these brews (sorry for the visual).

What’s on the menu
(and what’s coming that’s not)

The Fest Of Ale Society and planning team has done a great job of modernizing OKFOA in recent years, and one of the ways you can tell is their adoption of technology in managing the aforementioned list of 175+ drinks. Beer fans attending this year’s Fest will be able to plan their strategy and track their progress using the popular Untappd app. Untappd is probably the most well-adopted online service that beer geeks use to rate what they drink and share their discoveries, and we predict that it will be well-used. OKFOA is already making good use of it to manage the tap list on their website. View the list on Untappd >>

And what a taplist it is. Here at WB we always avoid playing favourites, but I can’t help but notice some of the outstanding items on the menu. Beer drinkers that are fortunate enough to get away to Penticton might want to start planning ahead because some of these are “off the menu” and coming in under the radar, or just might tap out fast.

The Beer Shortlist

  • Bad Tattoo (Penticton): secret cask
  • Banff Ave Brewing (Banff, AB): Head Smashed IPA
  • Beau’s All Natural Brewing (Vankleek Hill, ON)
    Canada’s best-know farm brewery brings

    • Triceratops Gruit Tripel
    • Lug Tread Kölsch
  • BNA Brewing: their popular Earl Pale Ale 
  • Bomber Brewing (Yeast Van): bringing The Bandit Kolsh
  • Cannery (Penticton):
    • Hop Chowdah New England IPA [winner: best name. Chowdaire. Chowdaire. IT’S CHOWDAH!]
    • Also debuting another secret new release
  • Coronado Brewing (from San Diego, the IPA capital of the West Coast)
    • Guava Islander IPA
    • Stingray Imperial/Double IPA
  • Crannóg Ales (Sorrento): bringing a Specialty Cask: Rory Is Gingery Molasses Caramel Ale 
  • CrossRoads Brewing (Prince George): BC’s newest brewery brings 3 brews
  • Dead Frog Brewery (Aldergrove): sneaking in a milkshake IPA
  • Detonate Brewing (Summerland): one of South Okanagan’s newest breweries brings Call the Hops IPA
  • Double Mountain (Hood River, OR): from one of Oregon’s very best, you’ll taste
    • Vaporizer Dry Hopped Pale Ale
    • Gypsy Stumper IPA 
  • Fernie Brewing: a different secret cask both Friday and Saturday
  • Firehall Brewery (Oliver): South Okanagan’s southernmost brewery sneaks inTable #2 Sparkling Ale
  • Foamers’ Folly (Pitt Meadows): FarmArm Saison
  • Glutenberg Craft Brewery (Montréal, QC): gluten-free Blonde & IPA
  • Highway 97 Brewery: Penticton’s newest brewery brings a Smoked Chocolate Porter and an ESB
  • Howe Sound Brewing (Squamish) sneaking in a Jam Session Raspberry Cream Ale
  • Kettle River (Kelowna): Speciality Cask:Cinnamon Bun White Stout
  • Lighthouse Brewing (Victoria): bringing these off-menu specials:
    • Canada 150 Heritage Ale Image result for maple leaf
    • Citur Shore Session Ale
  • Longwood Brewery (Nanaimo): Beetnik Nitro Stout
  • Marten Brewing (Vernon): from their Barrel Series, a Black Pearl Stout
  • Mt. Begbie: (Revelstoke) Confederation 150 Maple Cream Ale  Image result for maple leaf
  • Parkside Brewery (Port Moody): “Unsmoked” Porter
  • Persephone Brewing (Gibsons): yet another farm brewery (important!) brings Goddess Golden Ale and others 
  • R&B Brewing (East Van): Mt. Pleasant Lavender Saison
  • Steamworks (Burnaby): Steamworks Summer Ale
  • Steel & Oak (New West): Parquet Wood Fermented Lager
  • Strange Fellows (Yeast Van): Popinjay Sour
  • Tin Whistle: Penticton’s first brewery brings
    • two kinds of peach ale, plus
    • a different cask both Friday and Saturday: Jamaican Red Head, Chocolate Chilli Bee
  • Torchlight Brewing: Nelson’s other brewery comes with three of their always-experimental beers
  • Twin Sails (Port Moody) brings their Dat Juice and 2 others

The above shortlist got long fast. Note that doesn’t even include mega-popular beer fest staples from Four Winds, Fuggles & Warlock, Yellow Dog and all the rest that I’ve left out (no hate mail please).

Cider Specials

While you’re there, look for these special Okanagan ciders:

  • Summerland Heritage, in addition to their landmark Tuesday’s Original, is bringing Woodlanded Hop Cider & Scrumpy
  • Dominion Cider is bringing some of their Ginger Cider (Made With Dickie’s Ginger)
  • Naramata Cider Company is bringing cranberry and pear, plus a “Cider Makers Special”: Gin Botanical Apple Cider
  • BC Tree Fruits is releasing Pears & Peaches 
  • Twisted Hills: 3 menu items plusCalville Blanc

Look who’s heading to Penticton

View the full list on Untappd >>

Okanagan Fest Of Ale

Friday & Saturday, April 7th & 8th, 2017
Penticton Trade & Convention Centre
273 Power Street, Penticton BC

Single Day Admission: $29 per person
Weekend Pass: $47 per person
(Ticket prices includes tax & basic service charges)
Ticket & Accommodation Packages: Starting at $99/couple



Dave Smith

Editor of What's Brewing Magazine and Beer Me BC. Past contributor to Northwest Brewing News, The Publican/Quarterly Pour and BC Ale Trail. Became a craft beer evangelist in 1999, a CAMRA BC member in 2005, and an accredited member of the BC Association of Travel Writers in the 2010s. Along with wife Ivana, Dave travels Cascadia as half of the beer duo BeerSeekers.

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