I’m writing my What’s Brewing column while driving from the Okanagan to Vancouver. In Manning Park, there is snow on the ground and in the mountains, and the electric energy of winter is just around the corner. Our ski hills will be opening soon, and nothing goes better after a day on the slopes than a big, rich craft beer drunk by a crackling fire.
If you’re looking for a reason to head to the Okanagan, the fourth annual Apex Brewski craft beer, spirits, and cider festival is coming up on February 18. This event, held at The Gunbarrel Saloon at Apex Mountain Resort, has become a signature event at the hill and always sells out well in advance! Over 20 BC breweries, cideries, and distilleries pour their favourite hand-crafted beverages and The Gunbarrel Saloon creates awesome appies to complement the beverages.
Hit the slopes during the day and then celebrate the Apex après-ski vibe at night. After Brewski, the fun moves to the dance floor for the Brewski after party, featuring live entertainment. Tickets are on sale via eventbrite.ca. Your Brewski ticket gives you a discount on lift passes, so grab some friends and make it a weekend to remember. Ask about Brewski accommodation rates when you book your weekend stay. CAMRA members, show your card at the door for two extra drink tokens.
Brewski Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.ca/
The 22nd annual Okanagan Fest of Ale will take place April 7 and 8 in Penticton. This festival features a great mix of new releases, seasonal favourites, cask ales and quality ciders from 50+ exceptional craft breweries, plus great entertainment and fabulous local food. Visit www.festofale.ca to get weekend passes, and check out the Sip & Stay ticket and accommodation packages.
Fest of Ale Tickets: http://festofale.ca/tickets/
Winter is still weeks away, officially, but winter ale season is upon us! At Cannery Brewing, where I am the director of marketing, it’s the season of stouts. Maple Stout, one of my personal faves, is back for the winter. Darkling Oatmeal Stout is our winter seasonal, and a new Breakfast Stout called Kindling launched in December. Skyler Punnett (www.skylerlukepunnett.com) illustrated and designed the Artisan Creations label to match the artistry of the beer, which is made with oats, chocolate, and Red Beard Coffee from Kamloops.
Tin Whistle Brewing is bringing back their winter favourite, Chocolate Cherry Porter, a delicious dark ale made with fresh cherries and cacao. And look for their Christmas gift three-packs at private liquor stores.
Also in Penticton, we’re excited about the opening of Highway 97 Brewery. After a slight delay, final touches are happening and brewing is underway!
I’m eager to check out the new Detonate Brewing in Summerland. They are just up the street from my house, so I regularly check out the brewery, which now has signage up and growlers in the window. Stay up to date at https://www.facebook.com/DetonateBrewing
In Oliver, Firehall Brewery is fueling the fire with all sorts of great events, jam nights and vinyl events in their Beer Shop & Social space. They also recently launched their new Beer Department beer club, which offers a great lineup of membership benefits.
In Kelowna, Tree Brewing recently launched its Raw Series No. 6 Red Lager. This unfiltered red lager is light in body with a balance of spice and malt notes, making it ideal for the holiday season. If you’re in Kelowna, visit The Tree Brewing Beer Institute for 24 days of 24 unique cask-conditioned beers. Also, check out Kelowna’s newest breweries—Kettle River Brewing and Boundary Brewing—and head north to Vernon’s Marten Brewing.
The Okanagan is not just about wineries and beaches. We offer a four-season playground where your adventures are hot and your craft beers are cold and delicious. Until next time, cheers!