Over 5,000 people attended the two-day Okanagan Fest of Ale at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.                                Dale Boyd/Western News

Over 5,000 people attended the two-day Okanagan Fest of Ale at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre. Dale Boyd/Western News

Cheers to Fest of Ale

Breweries and cideries from around the Okanagan celebrate awards

The weather didn’t dampen the spirits of craft beer and cider enthusiasts who flowed into Penticton over the weekend for the 22nd Annual Okanagan Fest of Ale.

Organizers of the event are calling this one of the most successful events to date with over 5,000 people attending.

“This is by far the largest collection of breweries and cideries that we’ve hosted and one of the best turnouts we’ve had,” said John Cruickshank, Okanagan Fest of Ale Society president. “We are fortunate to attract some of the best brewers to the event and patrons with a keen interest in craft beers and ciders. That combination had a really positive impact on the overall atmosphere at the event. The energy was great. Guests had a fabulous time enjoying the selection of beverages, culinary options and live entertainment.”

The difficult job of determining top honours for the awards fell upon a panel of nine industry experts including Joe Wiebe (Craft Beer Revolution), Mike Garson (Mike’s Craft Beer), Jan Zeschky (Brewed Awakening), Jason van Rassel (The Daily Beer), Jeremy Nemanishen (CraftBeerVancouver.ca), Rob Mangelsdorf (The Growler), Wade Dhooge (Cask & Barrel), Chelsea McDowell (BrewtifulBC.ca) and Rebecca Whyman, (Beernesday.com).

“They had a difficult job tasting and evaluating 121 different beers and ciders to determine the best entries in 12 different categories and then to agree on the overall Best in Show award. In addition, the People’s Choice Awards were voted for by attendees of the festival. These awards include Best Beer, Cider, and Food,” said says Warren Everton, Okanagan Fest of Ale judging chair.

Hand crafted awards created by local artisan Tim Tweed were distributed to the winners as listed below.

The awards were distributed as follows:

Best in Show, Judges’ Choice Award:

High Five Hazy IPA – Yellow Dog Brewing, Port Moody, B.C.

Best in Class, Judges’ Choice Awards:

Pilsner/Golden Lager Pixel Pils – Fuggles & Warlock, Richmond, B.C.

Pale Ale Dusk Pale Ale – Parkside Brewery, Port Moody, B.C.

Wheat Ale Summer Ale, Witbier – Steamworks Brewing, Burnaby, B.C.

Saison Sirens Chai Saison – Britannia Brewing, Richmond, B.C.

Amber/Dark Ale Brave Liver Scotch Ale – Mt. Begbie Brewing, Revelstoke, B.C.

IPA Street Legal IPA – Twin Sails Brewing, Port Moody, B.C.

Specialty IPA High Five Hazy IPA – Yellow Dog Brewing, Port Moody, B.C.

Dark Lager Dark Lager – Steel & Oak Brewing, New Westminster, B.C.

Stout/Porter Dry Irish Stout – Ravens Brewing, Abbotsford, B.C.

Sour Nectarous – Four Winds Brewing, Delta, B.C.

Cider Pippin’s Fate – Twisted Hills Craft Cider, Cawston, B.C.

Fruit Beer Park Life Passionfruit Ale – Bomber Brewing, Vancouver, B.C.

The People’s Choice Awards, voted for by guests at the event:

Best Beer Old Style Lager – Red Arrow Brewing, Duncan, B.C.

Best Cider Pears & Peaches – B.C. Tree Fruits Cider, Kelowna, B.C.

Best Food Brodo Kitchen, Penticton, B.C.

Craft themed events took place around town the week leading up to the event were also well received. A number of restaurants offered craft inspired menus throughout the week featuring local breweries and Joe Wiebe offer a seminar on the Thursday night before the main event.

“The support from local businesses was fantastic and we are looking to build on the success of Okanagan Beer Week™ for next year,” said Cruickshank.

Not only does the festival host a venue for beer enthusiasts, but it also generates money for local Penticton charities. In its 21-year history, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale Society has gifted over $577,600 in net proceeds back to the community. 2017 Charitable grant applications will be made available online only June 1 – June 30. For more information on the Okanagan Fest of Ale, visit www.FestOfAle.ca or follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.