Did you know that Alberta has some great beer fests? In fact the Alberta Beerfest Association has six events it puts on throughout the year and they range from small events to very large events, so there is something there for everyone.
The smaller events that happen usually have a lot of local Albertian breweries, cideries and even a couple distilleries, yes you can get hard alcohol at these events, but don’t ask for wine as that is reserved for another event that happens in Alberta.
Now before we get into all these events if you have never been to a beer fest here is a little information of what to expect.
The Alberta Beer Festivals has been around for almost a decade, they started off with one beer festival in Calgary and it was a small area at the BMO center, word of mouth and with the influx of amazing beers and spirits not only coming into Alberta but with the surge of breweries in Alberta in the last three years the Alberta beer fests has grown and expanded greatly to help accommodate all the booze out there!
As I said earlier there are a variety of events they hold the Calgary and Edmonton ones are the biggest events if you are looking to find a wide range of beer and spirits from all over the world. Banff, and Jasper are smaller ones where you can find more local beers and spirits and if you want a very small event with mostly local beer and a spattering of spirits the machines in Edmonton and Calgary will be the ones you want to check out.
When you go to these events you can talk to the vendors find out about the breweries and taste their beers for the exchange of some tokens you have to purchase at the events on top of the admission you have to buy. Each sample you get is only 4 ozs. due to the regulations, but if you play your cards right and you do some research you can find that there are quite a few beer samples that are in the 8-10% ABV range which can be very dangerous if you start with that early in your beer fest touring!
A lot of vendors are very approachable and very helpful in helping you decide what kind of sample to taste, it also helps you
The smaller events like the Banff Beer Fest or The Mashing in Edmonton and Calgary, are nice to see what a lot of our Alberta Breweries are, even can be great for a getaway for a night or two as some of the beer fests have packages to stay in hotels while you are learning more about our wonderful Alberta Breweries we have!
There are other beer fests as well though not as popular as the Alberta Beer Fest line ups they have but you also have the International Beer fest that is held in Edmonton in March which has adapted more to the Alberta Beer Fest style showcasing some local breweries but also bringing in quite a few International breweries and spirits to the event.
All of these events are very affordable and If you bring a few friends with you it can be quite entertaining as it can get you out of your comfort zone and get you to try beverages or breweries and distilleries you have never tried or heard of before.
Don’t worry there is also food vendors there as well, and these vendors usually bring some really good food to have so you might spend some time at their stations too.Just remember to pace yourself and have a bite to eat in between trying 30 samples, as well if you are trying to remember what beer was what and what you really like, take a photo of it on your phone they usually have the list there, that way it will keep you from turning to your beer loving friend and going “I tried this beer at the beer fest, I can't remember what it was called or who it was, but it tasted like it had some fruit in it” that is 100’s of beers out there in the world of Craft beer and it’d be hard to find again.
Please check out the Alberta Beer Fests page for the list of beer fests they have, and the International Beer Fest in Edmonton I’m sure there will be an event that you would enjoy to go to and maybe I’ll see you there!