Category Archives: Winnipeg Beer Festival

Winnipeg Beer Festival

Winnipeg Craft Beer Festival

Hey Folks. I had hoped to be able to post this earlier but, I had a Ph.D course begin immediately after the festival,  and, we had some family matters that required our attention.

While this in but an excuse, it did truly prevent me from spending the time I wanted to be able to write about the beer festival.

I had the opportunity to attend the second annual Winnipeg Beer Festival at Fort Gibraltar last weekend. This festival highlights the local craft beer scene by providing an opportunity to local breweries to attend and bring beers they wish to put on display. Being completely focused on local breweries, it’s an opportunity for a patron to sample beers those breweries wish to highlight.

WPG Beer Fest - Fort Gibraltor

The venue for this event, Fort Gibraltor, is a wonderful environment made more so by the presence of voyageur staff and the voyageur games. The “nail-game” is a favorite, especially as people consume more beer and become less accurate at hitting the nail. It’s rather entertaining to watch and even more entertaining to attempt. Shockingly, the blacksmith was active and giving demonstrations even though it was ~30 degrees in the shade. Kudos to that guy for being awesome.

Besides the spectacular venue, while Flatlander’s provides an opportunity for patrons to explore a significant number of beers from all over the world, the laser focus on local is really what makes the Winnipeg Beer Festival special. With so many breweries producing, there was a lot to try. It made for an excellent evening, especially given how darn hot it was.

I’ve said before how I love sours and how I wish there were more. Well, this event was a dream come true. There were a number of sours from Half-Pints, Trans Canada, Kilter, One Great City and Brazen Hall. These complemented the excellent English Bitter from Stone Angel, the Rye IPA Callahan from Torque, and a fantastic redux of Juicii from Kilter. Winnipeg Brew Werks was there showing off their Pilsner and it was my first opportunity to give it a try. It was a solid German pilsner and I look forward to trying it again in a more focused setting.

Another aspect of the Winnipeg Beer Festival that cannot be overlooked is the all you can eat poutine bar. While the fries go quick, the poutine was excellent and made even more spectacular by the toppings provided. From bacon, to blue cheese, to pulled pork, there was a fantastic array of poutine related accouterments to really help replenish the salt lost from the heat.

On the food topic, Mr. Biltong, a South African jerky producer, was present with some really fantastic jerky. What makes it different from typical jerky is that it is air-dried, more like a prosciutto, rather than being cooked until dried out. It was really tasty and if you have a chance to try some, I’d pick some up.

WPG Beer Fest - Wide Crowd

The event this year differed slightly from last years where there were tokens and a “winner” at the end of the night. This year the competition aspect was removed and it allowed for patrons to focus on the beer and the poutine. Overall, I had an excellent time at this event and I really enjoyed seeing some new beers as well as some favorites. This event is becoming a nice local balance with Flatlander’s. With the new Prost! event coming this fall from the Manitoba Brewers’ Association I am really excited about the opportunities for local breweries to highlight what they’ve got to those that might not always buy it in the store.

 

 

Winnipeg Beer Festival

Winnipeg Craft Beer Festival

The first annual Winnipeg Beer Festival was held at Fort Gibraltor this past weekend. A combination of beer, food, and spirits together on the grounds of the beautiful Fort. The evening was beautiful and the company was fantastic. Overall, the event was well attended and a heck of a lot of fun.

I wrote about the event leading up to it and I wanted to write a follow-up for those who couldn’t make it.

The Winnipeg Beer Festival is an event that was put on in support of the KIDS initiative. Supporting youth in Kenya and providing a fun opportunity for folks to enjoy local beer, food, and some games and prizes. As I said, this is the first year for this event and I must say that it was overall a successful endeavor.

Many local brewers were in attendance. I’m disappointed that more couldn’t make it, but those who did attend were well received. The beers presented were standard fare for the breweries which was a bit disappointing. Often festivals like this are a chance to present new beers or offer up something unique. Being the first festival, breweries brought what they had available. I think in the future should this event continue, and I hope it does, breweries will see it as an opportunity to present fall/winter offerings and build some hype for beers to come.

The event was also a bit of a competition between the breweries. Patrons could vote, using bottle caps, for a beer that they felt was the best. While this provided an opportunity to narrow it down to a specific beer, it also disadvantaged breweries with fewer beers. While not commenting on what is better/worse, the styles were so varied it was apples to oranges to pears, having less beer available meant the vote for you wasn’t split quite as much. In the future voting on the beers at a brewery might be a better way to go rather then a specific beer.

Taking home the first every Gold for this event was PEG with their GT Gose. Little Brown Jug took silver for 1919 and Torque took bronze for Witty Belgian.

As this was the first year for this event, tickets were handed to limit beer consumed by patrons. Each patron was given 20 tickets for beer and 4 for liquor. While at first this might feel like it’s not enough, for many it proved to be too many. I think that given the event is four hours, 6-10pm, having it be in the same vein as Flatlanders would provide people an opportunity to enjoy beverages without feeling as if they must use all 20. Even though I don’t go to these events trying to drink as much as possible, I left feeling like I had wasted some tickets. I do think if this route is taken, limiting hard liquor would still be valuable.

WPG Beer Fest 10.JPG

Overall the evening was incredibly enjoyable. The community of beer drinkers is easy to chat with and while waiting in the lengthy lines it was nice to chat to pass the time. As more breweries open up locally, this event will grow and bring more options and more competition. I for one am excited about a completely local beer event and I really can’t wait to see what it’s like next year.

Thanks for following this blog and please subscribe and follow me on twitter. I am going to keep working at following the craft beer scene here in Manitoba and I might even expand it a bit to cover what’s happening with local spirits as well. With some of the new breweries on the cusp of opening, Surly bringing more beer to Manitoba, and lots of brewers to interview, it’s gonna be a good year.

-Beer Winnipeg