Vancouver Winter Brewfest kicks off 2nd year

Event begins Friday in Esther Short Park

By Sue Vorenberg, Columbian features reporter



Expect more brewers, more time for tasting and more beer-loving revelers when the second annual Vancouver Winter Brewfest kicks off today at 3 p.m.

If you go

• What: Vancouver Winter Brewfest.

• Where: Propstra Square, Esther Short Park, 301 W. Eighth St.

• When: 3 to 10 p.m. Friday; noon to 10 p.m. Saturday; noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.

• Cost: $25 at the gate, includes tax, a mug, 10 tokens and entry for all three days. Designated drivers admission is $5 and includes unlimited soda and coffee.

• Information: Check the event website.

The festival has expanded to three days and has grown from 26 breweries last year to 38 this year. It will also have an official festival beer made through a collaboration between Clark County brewers from Loowit, Mt. Tabor and McMenamins on the Columbia.

"We've got our Christmas music going and we're ready to rock and roll," said Brian Davis, who's company, Energy Events, runs the festival. "Come on down with the holiday spirit and expect to have fun."

The festival beer, called Wilbur's Longest Kilt, is a Scotch ale with smoky malt and hops and an alcohol content of 6.97 percent.

"We kicked the recipe around between us for three or four weeks before we decided on what to do," said Eric Surface, owner of Mt. Tabor Brewing. "It's cool working with other brewers. Some grains I'm familiar with, some they're familiar with. I think we used six or seven different grains in it."

The result is peaty, roasty and a little sweet, he added.

Mt. Tabor will also serve its winter seasonal honey ale called The Rocket Blonde, which is a lighter-colored beer with an alcohol content of 7.5 percent.

"We do dark beers all year round, so I wanted to switch it up a little this year," Surface said.

Each brewer at the festival will offer one beer, for a total of 39 varieties, including Wilbur's Longest Kilt, Davis said.

Clark County brewers at the event include the three who concocted the Scotch ale, along with Rail Side, West Highland, Laurelwood, Heathen and Dirty Hands brewing. Almost all of the brewers are from the Pacific Northwest.

"We also have a special promotion for Sunday for people who work in the food and beverage industry," Davis said. "If you show your work ID, food handler card or serving permit you get $3 off."

Last year, about 2,500 people turned up over the two-day festival. This year, Davis is expecting about 3,500 over the three days, he said.

Surface said he's looking forward to seeing people and talking more about his beers during the festivities.

"It's always fun to do a beerfest in the winter — so long as you've got the heaters going," Surface said.

The event will be held in heated tents in Propstra Square at Esther Short Park. There will also be five food vendors, four of them from Clark County.

"I'm looking forward to trying all the beers," Davis said. "It's going to be a great time."