Now in its 21st year, Okanagan Fest of Ale, in Penticton is one of the best Craft Beer Festivals on BC’s calendar. Promising a great selection of beers, ciders, bands and food, this two-day festival marks the start of spring. And is the perfect way to launch our new beers, bring back summer seasonals and check in with our brewing comrades.

With 55 Breweries, and an increasing number of Cideries, it’s a packed Convention Centre, both inside and out, and the hordes of beer enthusiasts have a lot of options to choose from.

Thursday night kicked off with Joe Wiebe’s “History of BC Craft Beer” presentation at Bad Tattoo Brewing Co. Accompanied with delicious pizza, a variety of beers, and this year’s Sloppy Joe Cask. A welcome introduction to the weekend to get you in the mood.

Friday afternoon day one of OFOA kicked off. This year we took our Slingshot Session IPA – a summer favourite, which launched back in April 2015. Our What the Huck – Huckleberry Wheat Ale, a year round favourite. And our new Old Barn Saison 650ml, which is a very aromatic flavourful, golden brew, with spicy, peppery and fruity notes.

We also brought two IPA based casks, one conditioned on top of organic raspberry preserve and the other on Seville orange and dried apricot. Which proved fan favourites for sure.

As ever, OFOA has a panel of judges who, after an undoubtedly late and fun night at Cannery Brewing’s after party on the Friday night, meet behind closed doors for the judging portion of the event Saturday morning. Some well-known and experienced judges were on the panel once again this year, and it sounds as though many a debate was had to come to the conclusion of who were the 2016 OFOA winners.

However, Fernie Brewing Co. was one of two breweries who came up trumps in two of the categories, with our Old Barn Saison winning best Belgian Golden Ale/ Saison, and our Slingshot Session IPA winning best IPA. A fantastic end to a fantastic festival.

Celebrations ensued Saturday night at Kettle Valley Pub’s “Murder’s Row Cask Event”, where 15 casks awaited sampling, one of which was FBC’s Saisons in the Abyss – Fernie Brewing Co.’s Old Barn Saison base, cask hopped with mosaic. Then conditioned on top of cantaloupe and Graham Crackers. Flavoursome, fruity and with a hint of sweetness from the Graham Crackers.

A great weekend was had and couple of days’ recovery was required. But thanks to Fest of Ale organizers and attendees, as well as Bad Tattoo Brewing Co., Cannery Brewing and Kettle Valley for their fantastic hosting!

For a full list of this year’s winners, head here.

For pictures from the Festival, head here.