Brewfest aims to bring good cheer to beer fans

It's Vancouver's third such event this year

By Sue Vorenberg, Columbian features reporter

Published:

 

If You Go

What: Vancouver Winter Brewfest, Vancouver’s first winter beer festival.

Where: Esther Short Park, in the brick area by the clock tower at Sixth and Columbia streets.

When: 3-10 p.m. Dec. 7; noon to 10 p.m. Dec. 8.

Cost: $20 at the door, includes commemorative mug and 10 taste tokens. Preorders through the website are $15 for a commemorative mug and 12 taste tokens.

Information: Winter Brewfest.

In the past year, Vancouver has gone from a city with no beer festivals to one with three of them.

The first two were held in the summer, but the third, the recently announced Vancouver Winter Brewfest, is still upcoming and ready for thirsty participants, said organizer Brian Davis.

Davis, who also organizes the Vancouver USA Marathon, has been quietly planning the winter beer shindig since last year. He got the idea after visiting Portland's Holiday Ale Festival in Pioneer Courthouse Square, he said.

"The lines there were just too long, and then I got the idea that we needed a winter brewfest here as an alternative," Davis said.

The new festival, to be held in the brick area of Esther Short Park on Dec. 7-8, will feature at least 20 Northwest breweries, including some from Clark County.

It follows on the heels of the Who's Your Daddy beer festival, which was held on June 16 in Turtle Place, and the Vancouver Brewfest, held in Esther Short Park on Aug. 10-11.

"I hope it's a great brewfest," Cody Gray, lead organizer of the Vancouver Brewfest, said of the winter event. "We had considered doing a winter beer festival ourselves but we decided we really need to focus on our main one in the summer."

Davis has been in touch with Gray and Andy Stromberg, the other Vancouver Brewfest organizer, and said the groups are contemplating some joint deals for the two festivals next year.

"We're excited to bring this," Davis said. "It's great timing right now. Vancouver's just blowing up."

Each brewery at the winter festival will have one type of beer available for sampling, and most will be beers you can get regularly from their taprooms, Davis said.

"A lot of festivals, the brewers make something specific for the event and then you can't get it later," he said. "We wanted people to be able to sample and then get the beer again from the brewers later on."

Local participants include Loowit Brewing Company and Mt. Tabor Brewing. Davis said he's also in discussions with some of Clark County's other brewers.

"I think the idea of a winter brewfest and the big summer brewfest are perfect for what we're trying to do here in Vancouver," said Eric Surface, owner of Mt. Tabor Brewing. "It's a perfect opportunity for people to check out what's going on here."

Mt. Tabor and Loowit also participated in the summer Vancouver Brewfest.

Surface plans to have a winter-style beer available at the festival. He's also talking about a potential collaboration beer with brewers at Loowit and McMenamins on the Columbia.

"That's the plan at least," he said.

Some of the proceeds from the Winter Brewfest will go to support the Vancouver Farmer's Market, and some vendors from the market may participate and sell goods at the festival, Davis said.

The sampling area will be tented, with heat blowers to keep participants warm. Food will be available in a separate tent.

"We're expecting about 1,000 people each day," he said.

The festival is still looking for volunteers, who can sign up through the website at http://vancouverwinterbrewfest.com/.

Other brewers planning to participate include Widmer Brothers, Burnside Brewing, Ninkasi, 10 Barrel, Lompoc and Red Hook.

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