Two craft beer festivals have popped up in the heart of the Kootenay Rockies — and they’re both on this weekend.
Fresh beer and fresh Rocky Mountain air — that’s got to be more than enough to rally your dad for a Father’s Day road trip this weekend.
Hot spot, cool beer
The East Kootenay Beer Festival takes place in the tourism hot spot (quite literally) of the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort. Situated near Windermere Lake and surrounded by an abundance of ski areas, trails and golf courses, the resort is a year-round vacationers’ paradise.
Add to that BC’s largest natural hot springs a short shuttle away — featuring some of the most stunning views of the Kootenay Rockies — and it’s a no-brainer: start the car.
Now in its sixth year, the beer festival takes place at the resort, where you can enjoy sampling the newest of brews beside vintage ski chalets. It’s a popular event that caters largely to the local crowd and Calgary vacationers, and is growing in size every year.
Friday night kicks off with an outdoor beer garden, barbecue, DJ and lawn games. The next morning, you can choose to be lazy at poolside or do some Kootenay Rockies exploring before the main event kicks off at 4 p.m.
Upon entry, each attendee receives 25 tickets for samples upon entry. With 18 confirmed breweries and a few others expected to join the party, there’s expected to be more than 50 beers and ciders on offer.
Awards will be given to the top beer and cider of the day. There’s also live entertainment for both the main event and the ski chalet afterparty. What more do you need — other than your Bavarian outfit and pretzel necklace, of course?
Experience beer in Valemount
You can expect some small-town, mountain-vista similarities 518 kilometres to the north at the inaugural Valemount Craft Beer Experience. Valemount is located near the BC-Alberta border just west of Jasper National Park and Mount Robson, the tallest mountain in the Canadian Rockies.
Michael Lewis, owner/brewmaster of Three Ranges Brewing in Valemount, is the leading force behind the festival, a block party-style event at the Valemount Airport featuring seven BC breweries.
The festival committee aimed to draw people in from places like Prince George, Kamloops and Edmonton to see all that this corner of the Rockies has to offer.
“As a local craft brewer that has attended many festivals, I wanted to bring that kind of experience to our community,” Lewis says.
It seems to have gone to plan because the event is already sold out. The festival’s popularity means it will likely return next year.
Several local companies are providing discounts for activities over the course of the weekend, such as white-water rafting, horseback riding, heli-tours, jeep tours and more. The aim is to ensure every beer-drinking visitor sees more than the bottom of a plastic cup.
Lewis says, “As a military veteran, I wanted to host an event that would raise awareness of some of the issues facing modern veterans, and to raise funds for a foundation that helps veterans transition back in to their communities.”
Whether you can attend this time or not, keep these destination beer festivals on your calendar for 2018.