They say that all it does is rain in Vancouver. This weekend certainly proved them wrong! As I sat under an apple tree drinking some of the best sour beers around I thought to myself… This is pretty damn hard to beat.
Where was I you ask with the sun and the apple trees and the beer? I was at the 2015 Farmhouse Fest at the UBC Gardens. The setting was ideal as we lounged around in an open field (not a concrete parking lot or a tin shed) and wandered between hay bails surrounded by the beautiful gardens. There was even a well placed sprinkler watering someone’s veggie patch which would shoot out the most glorious spray every few seconds as it came around. Glorious!
The beer did not disappoint, Many a pleased hipster could be seen sipping on little stemmed glasses enjoying the best saisons and sours that the region has to offer. While I may not be a beer snob in my own right (I am married to one though), I know what I like and for a good may years I have loved a sour. To my excitement, I have seen them go from relative obscurity to all the rage within the past few years. What this means is that instead of searching through booth after booth to find something with a little tang at a festival, this one was overflowing with sours.
Aside from the skinny shorts, beards and waffling on about overtones and yeast personalities, there were a few standouts for the day. These were my absolute favourites. I don’t have fancy tasting notes and I can’t speak to the histories or the full profiles of these beers but they were bloody good and both well worthy of another afternoon out in the sun with a couple of good friends, maybe some Vegetarian BBQ and some sunshine.
Strawberry Berliner Weisse from Strange Fellows Brewing
This was an amazing beer. I had it early on in the day but after a couple of heavier (and warmer) beers and something about the strawberry caught my eye. I have to admit that I find the Berliner Weisse to be completely hit or miss as a style of beer and a lot more miss than hit. This hit the spot. It was nice and cold and had the perfect pop to it to make it beyond refreshing. The strawberry is strong but beautiful and creates the perfect hit of summer in a glass. So much so that I spend the next hour or so trying to find something that stood up to it. It was then that I started to hear people talking about it around me. One by one twisted moustaches started sipping on the baby pink brew and I realized that it was spreading. By the time I went back, they were sold out. The pink wave had hit and I was at least glad that I got in early. A great beer that I can’t wait to get more of but have to work out how.
Super Secret White Kettle Sour with Brett from Yellow Dog Brewing
I am no stranger to Yellow Dog as they are right down the hill from my place in Port Moody and so my local go-to for a growler fill but I had never had their sour. This was something that I could easily cuddled up to for an afternoon. It is not too sour to get old quickly but has enough to be refreshing. Is it completely strange and different? No, but it is a solid sour and delicious.
By the end of the afternoon, my tongue was as little swollen, I was a little dehydrated, a little sunburned and had a great time. We are no strangers to the beer festival and all agreed that this was by far the best one that any of us had ever been to. Thank you to Odyssey Ales for the perfect Saturday Day Date!
Great venue, great beer and a fabulous example of what a little fermentation and experimentation can produce!