My first Beerfest

beerfest-lineupI’ve never been a big beer-drinker. When I grew my drinking legs it was with the help of cider — strong English cider — and gradually expanded to hard liquor based cocktails. I completely skipped beer and wine.

In the last few years, though, I started tasting beers that Mike bought and sometimes even drinking a bottle. At my birthday this year, I drank beer all evening and never really felt a buzz. So when friends of ours suggested getting tickets to Beerfest I was apathetic. I said I’d go but was very “meh” about it.

I didn’t give it a lot of thought after that but tickets were purchased and yesterday, Beerfest was upon us. We had agreed to walk ┬áthere — it’s held not too far from where we live — but yesterday was HOT so I was pretty cranky by the time we got there.

Luckily one of our friends snagged the front of the line so we joined him when we arrived. Once through security, there was a plan but after the first couple of glasses, I knew I wasn’t going to be keeping up quite the same pace…

It didn’t matter, by the end of the evening I was very drunk.

The beers are served in 4 oz taster portions. I had 14. Mike had more.

The 14 I had were:

  • Blueberry Ale from Vancouver Island Brewery — it was good enough as an ale but I couldn’t taste even a hint of blueberry.
  • Farmhand Ale from Driftwood Brewery — perfectly serviceable pale ale.
  • Cherry Red Stout from Crannog Ales — this was one of my favourite beers of the night and the first one that made me think maybe there was more to dark beers.
  • Spring Fever Gruit Ale from Salt Spring Island Ales — definitely different; without hops, it tasted unfinished and kind of medicinal. I debated tossing it but finished it.
  • Blackberry Wheat FestivAle from Townsite Brewing — tasty, rich, but no berry flavour again (starting to think fruit is difficult to represent in beer)
  • Mandarin Orange Amber Ale from Dead Frog Brewery — more fruit, this time there was a hint in the aftertaste.
  • Mocha Porter from Noble Pig Brewery — beautiful dark brew, very rich, flavourful and smooth. This one convinced me, I do like dark beers, I do! and I will drink them, Sam-I-Am! After this we paused for food (Smoken Bones Brisket on a bun)
  • Berried Alive (Framboise) from Longwood Brewpub — now THIS is what fruity beer should taste like.
  • Ephemer Apple from Unibroue — strange fusion, tasting of apple juice and beer; the apple taste was not fermented, it was fresh. (Turns out it was apple wort in the mix)
  • City that Never Sleeps from Gigantic — a dark, smooth Saison beer. By this point, strong was good.
  • Fourway Fruit Ale from Howe Sound Brewing — very light and fruity, like a perfect sharp cider with a hint of beer.
  • Cherry Chocolate Stout from Moon Under Water Brewery — good dark beer, but no cherry flavour.
  • Whiskey Jack Ale from Whistler Brewing — meh. Good as a beer but not game-changing.
  • Berried Alive (Framboise) from Longwood Brewpub — figured I would end on an up note with my fave beer of the night.
After we were done, we wandered down to Smoken Bones for more meat before we bused home. My top three picks were the Berried Alive, the Mocha Stout and the Cherry Red Stout — I’d order any of them off a menu.


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