It's almost the weekend (and a sort of long weekend at that) so what better thing to talk about than beer?
When we saw the Harrison Beer Festival advertised a few months ago, we mentioned that it would be fun to attend a local beer festival but didn’t really think much more about it until we won tickets to the Oktoberfest Dance event that was part of the festival (Thanks Tourism Harrison!). We definitely had a reason to go (and I wanted to wear my Dirndl again) so on October 25th we headed out to Harrison Hot Springs for a day of beer, beer and, oh yeah, beer! There was a Cask Night event the night before but we were unable to attend that so we were only there for the Beer Festival and Oktoberfest Dance on the Saturday. I was planning on only trying a few beers as I was on a weight loss program and had a weigh in on the following Monday…pfft…yeah right, so much for that idea of limiting my beer intake at a beer festival! How could I choose a few beers to try out of 23 breweries that were present (and offering multiple beers to try)? I have absolutely no regrets as some of the beers I tried have made it to my all time favorites list! I had to take photos so I could remember all the ones that I liked so I figured I may as well share this list in case there are readers out there looking for new beers to try. Here are the ones that left a lasting impression on me (in no specific order):
(note: I didn’t try every single beer that was being offered so I am sure there are plenty more that would have made my list. I seemed to be more intrigued by ones with unique flavors. You will notice that a lot of the beers on my list are fruit inspired, stouts and/or porters. Also, a lot of the beers that I liked, my friends were not into and vice versa so these may not necessarily be for you as we all have personal preferences)
Cannery Brewing (from Penticton, BC): Maple Stout and Blackberry Porter
These were just delicious!!! I wasn't going to even try the Maple Stout but someone else was raving about it so I gave it a try and I am glad I did!
More on Cannery Brewing
Scandal Brewing (from somewhere in BC): Envy Triple IPA
Okay so the rep for this brewery offered me the IPA and I responded that I am not a fan of IPA. She went on to say that, funny enough, IPA lovers do not like this beer and that I might like it. So I tried it and BAM! IT WAS AMAZING! Crazy thing is it is an 8% and it tasted like juice. Talk about dangerous! I went back for seconds (and thirds) a little bit later but they were out (and because I was so sad, one of the reps gave me a cool stein shaped bottle opener to cheer me up - it did). I guess it was a favorite one amongst the other festival goers! That rep sure did a great job of selling it. Can't wait to get my hands on more of this juice..err, I mean beer.
More on Scandal Brewing
Phillips Brewing Company (from Victoria, BC): Octofox IPA
Again, I mentioned that I was not a fan of IPA when I was at the Phillips booth and the rep said that I may change my mind with the Octofox. I did. Yum! And with a name like Octofox, it is perfect for the Fall. It also helped that the reps went to the same high school as me and we totally bonded over this fact. NDSS pride!!
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Stanley Park Brewery (from Delta, BC): Ice Breaker Winter Ale
I was more interested in trying beers from brewing companies that I wasn't familiar with. Beer from Stanley Park Brewery is well known in Vancouver but I have always wondered about the brewery itself as I have never seen it around Vancouver so I stopped by this booth to find out where it is. I was told that the beer is produced in Delta, in the industrial area of Annacis Island and that they do not have a tasting room. Since I had stopped at this booth, I figured I may as well try a beer and the rep completely sold me on the Winter Ale. She had me at "It tastes like black forest cake"! OH EM GEE! DID IT EVER?! Winter is coming and this delicacy is definitely going to help get me through the season!
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The Tin Whistle Brewing Company (from Penticton, BC): Peach Cream Ale and Killer Bee Porter
Well Penticton is known for their Peach Festival so it only makes sense that there is a peach inspired beer coming from this part of the province! Both beers pleased my palate!
More on The Tin Whistle Brewing Company
Old Yale Brewing Company (from Chilliwack, BC): Outta Wack Mango Wheat
This brewery has had plenty of award winning beers. This beer is not officially one of those award winning beers...but it is in my books!
More on Old Yale Brewing Company
Canuck Empire Brewing Company (from Aldergrove, BC): Pumpkin Patch Ale
Pumpkin beer is like the new Pumpkin Spice Latte. It's a craze and everybody is doing it. Some do it well, others not so much. One of my favorites is Parallel 49's Schadenfreude but then I tried this one and it became another favorite. Very different from Schadenfreude, this one actually tastes like pumpkin pie and I can't say I have every tasted a pumpkin beer that resembled pumpkin pie so well! Perfect for the fall! I am also very intrigued by their Stargazer Chamomile Wheat and I am looking forward to trying that one next summer.
More on Canuck Empire Brewing Company
Edit: Shortly after publishing this blog post, I learned that November is actually National Pomegranate Month. I had no idea there was a month to celebrate pomegranates but it worked out well that I posted this in November...now let's celebrate this amazing fruit!
'Tis my favorite time of year as far as fruit is concerned. Actually, I really dislike this time of year mainly due to the weather (I honestly believe that I have SAD and living in a city that is nicknamed Raincity doesn't help). BUT, this time each year, the moment that I see the first pomegranate of the season sitting on a market shelf, I turn into a giddy school girl and I stock up. There could be a torrential downpour outside but those amazing fruits always have a tendency to turn my frown upside down. I felt it only right to dedicate an entire blog post to the fabulous fruit that is the apple of my eye (pun intended).
Why am I so obsessed with this amazing, juicy, delicious fruit you ask? Besides the fact that it tastes like heaven, looks beautiful in a fruit bowl, has plenty of health benefits, and enhances my mood? I think it comes down to the fact that I had a pomegranate tree in my backyard when I was a wee lass growing up in Greece and just makes me extremely nostalgic for the Mediterranean. Also in Greece, and I believe many other countries and cultures, the pomegranate is a very symbolic fruit symbolizing fertility, abundance and good luck. Many families have pomegranate decorations throughout their home and it is a fruit that is used in various ceremonies. The fruit is also prominent in the ancient Greek myth of Persephone, goddess of the underworld which is associated to the aforementioned symbolism. That's it, my obsession purely comes down to nostalgia. And maybe the nostalgia it creates for a warmer climate makes me forget about the dreadful weather in Raincity. But lets not get carried away with over analyzing why I am obsessed with pomegranates and talk more about the fruit itself.
Now I know what you are all thinking: "How could you love a fruit that is such a pain in the butt to consume? So much effort to clean for such a little amount!"...well, my friends, this too is how I felt prior to last year. I would buy 5 pomegranates at a time and I just couldn't find the time (or patience) to de-seed them all before they would go bad...that is until I saw THIS, and it changed my life for the better (watching this may make you pomegranate obsessed as well. You have been warned):
And ever since this magic came into my life, I get a joy out of de-seeding and devouring this wonderful fruit! I de-seed a bunch of them at a time and keep a container of them in my fridge (or freezer if I don't think I will eat them in time) and then they are readily available for me to throw in my yogurt, my oatmeal, in a smoothie, a salad, or just to eat as is. When we were in India in February 2013, we participated in a cooking class where we made a vegetable biryani that had pomegranate seeds inside! That was delicious! How do you like to use pomegranates? Do you have any recipes that you use pomegranate in? And as I sit here and write about my favorite fruit, while, not surprisingly, devouring some delicious pomegranate seeds, I wonder do you have a fruit that you obsess over or am I just a special case?
I leave you with a gallery of various pomegranate inspired photos I have taken in the past few years....click on the photos for a description! Enjoy!