Beer fans drink up Vancouver's third brewfest

Winter-themed festival rounds out trio of events highlighting local brewers

By Sue Vorenberg, Columbian features reporter

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Vickie Coontz and Sheryl Jolma have never missed an outdoor brewfest in Vancouver.

It helps, of course, that the city has only ever had three of them, and all three were held this year.

But still, they said they were thrilled to cap their trifecta at this weekend's Vancouver Winter Brewfest at Esther Short Park on Friday and Saturday.

"We went to Who's Your Daddy (in the spring) and the Vancouver Brewfest (in the summer) and this one really rounds out the season," Jolma said. "So we've been to all of them. We're pioneers."

The two kicked off their tasting with samples of Pelican Brewing Company's "Bad Santa" ale and Southern Oregon Brewing's "Old Humbug" ale, followed by a plan to try samples from the four Clark County brewers that participated in the festival.

"We had a great time at the other festivals," Coontz said. "This one seems like it will be a lot of fun, too."

Visitors to the festival were sheltered by a large heated tent with music, food and 25 brewers.

Greg Duplessie, from Ridgefield, said he was especially drawn by the winter theme of the weekend festival.

"Winter beer in the cold, rainy Northwest? It's the perfect time," Duplessie said. "Plus I love the local aspects of this. Mt. Tabor, Widmer (brewing), lots of local participation."

Duplessie went to the Who's Your Daddy festival in the spring, but missed the Vancouver Brewfest in the summer. Next year, though, he plans to try to make it to all three, he said.

"If I'm going to spend money, I want to spend it on local beer, I'm not going to give it to Anheuser-Busch," Duplessie said.

Robert Pennell, who came to the festival from Battle Ground, said the Winter Brewfest was his first Clark County beer festival, but it won't be his last.

"I came down because it seemed like a good way of supporting the local brewers here in Vancouver," Pennell said. "Having a festival here, it's a lot easier to get to. And it's great for local brewers like Mt. Tabor and Heathen (brewing)."

The organizers of Who's Your Daddy and the Vancouver Brewfest have said they plan to repeat those events in 2013, as does Brian Davis, who organized the Winter Brewfest.

"We've got a great staff and a good team," Davis said. "It looks like a good turnout this year and yeah, we plan to be back."

Sue Vorenberg: www.twitter.com/col_suevo; sue.vorenberg@columbian.com; 360-735-4457.