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Coastal Currents

Powell River’s Fall Craft Beer Festival

Festival goers mingling, chatting and laughing while sampling craft beer, cider and spirits made in BC.

Paddy Treavor

I must admit when I saw the call for articles related to Harvest Myths and Celebrations, I wanted to run for the hills screaming knowing Christmas decorations at Costco are not far off.

I am not too keen to look past this great summer we are having to focus on times bleaker and greyer. Thirst quenching beers on patios are my world right now and the thought of pumpkin-spiced beers and 4 PM sunsets makes me want to start looking for the razor blades.

The one bright spot for me during the six months of Wet Coast drudgery we know as Fall and Winter is the Powell River Craft Beer Festival and this year’s event, on November 3rd, marks the fifth anniversary of the event. I know I am biased, as Powell River is my adopted home town, but if you have not been to Powell River, or this festival, it is well worth it. The festival, which has grown and sold out every year, has developed a cult-like following. It is basically a weekend party with a solid craft beer festival thrown in for good measure. I love the fact that the brewers and their representatives have a blast and I have noted that many brewers are starting to show up even if their brewery is not participating just to hang out and soak up the small-town vibe.

The best way to describe it is an over-sized house party with outstanding BC beers, ciders and spirits. The atmosphere is unique as most of the locals know each other and therefore there is a comfortable familiarity and high level of mingling and socializing that you may not get at bigger, urban festivals. Powell River is a friendly place and locals go out of their way to make visitors feel welcome both at the festival and the brewery where most seem to end up at some point during the festival weekend.

This year’s event will be held in the 91-year-old Dwight Hall, which has been hosting great events since it opened in 1927.  The beautiful Tudor-style building, located in the Townsite, is just steps away from the Townsite Brewery tasting lounge and a few hotels which make getting to and from the festival easy.

Over the first four years of the festival, I have heard few complaints. The most frequent issue voiced is from people not being able to attend due to the event selling out in advance, which is very unusual for the wait-until-the-last-minute mentality that exists in Pow Town. The second complaint I have heard at the three different venues the event has been previously held at, was that the space was too hot and crowded.

Both of those problems should be addressed this year as Dwight Hall boasts a 5,000 square foot, wooden dance floor which should be more than enough floor space to accommodate the 400 patrons, 29 breweries, three cideries and three distilleries expected to be there. It is a large room, with a significant side room where people will be able to find a space to bend an elbow, without fear of knocking into someone else and 400 tickets is an increase of 100 from last year’s sold-out ticket count.

Do yourself a favour and get yourself to the is event. Tickets go on sale on-line Sept 1 and you can check out CAMRA Powell River’s website, and their Facebook page for more details. Tickets will be $25 for CAMRA members and $35 for non-members and includes your souvenir glass, and three drink tickets. Food will be available but details not yet available. Plans are in the works for a pop-up liquor store, a merchandize table and a significant portion of the proceeds go to local, Powell River non-profit groups and charities.   Last year approximately $4000 was donated by CAMRA Powell River back into the community.

Paddy Treavor
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Paddy Treavor

Paddy Treavor has been President of two different CAMRA BC branches. Self-described hophead, craft-beer advocate and wannabe reporter on the politics of the Vancouver/BC craft beer scene. Read more from Paddy on VanEast Beer Blog.

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