This weekend was the fourth Annual Burlington Craft Beer Festival. Some of the best and brightest in craft brewing took over the Holiday Inn Friday and Saturday. After the summer edition of Beer Fest was cancelled without much notice, many craft fans took notice. So when it was announced that there would be a fourth festival, we had to see what was up.
First thing you should know is that Snapd took over the festival. “We’ve actually just acquired Burlington Beer Festival,” says Snapd Rep Bianca Del Bois. “We acquired it in September,” she adds. “So we weren’t a part of the summer festival but we plan to do one.”
So good news for craft fans, the chance to take in the best local brew and enjoy our beautiful waterfront is still on the horizon.
I attended Friday’s festivities. The festival took over the two conference rooms as well as the hallway in between. The staff from Alloro at the Holiday Inn prepped some tasty food in the adjoining hallway. Chef Matt Nishimura was showcasing one of Alloro’s Taste of Burlington features; a delicious steamed pork bao bun.
Don’t let the name Burlington Beer Festival fool you, it doesn’t start and end with beer. You’ll also wind a handful of wineries and cider houses sprinkled throughout the exhibitors. There’s something for everyone there, and the best part? No two brews are the same.
“There is no such as a perfect craft beer,” says Luke Knowles from Grand River Brewing. “Every small brewery makes their own beer and it’s what’s close to their heart.”
It seems like in the past five years, craft beer has really taken off. Part of it can probably be associated by the “deal” between the Beer Store and LCBO (Click here to read more on that). But it’s mostly about community Knowles says.
“We all work together,” he says. “It’s all friendly competition.” But Knowles adds that the biggest victory has been getting the shelf space in Beer Stores and LCBO’s. “There are now a minimum of 20% (Stock of Craft Beer) in Beer Stores and LCBO’s,” he adds.
Things are just being felt out by Snapd at the moment. It sounds like the future of Beer Fest as whole is still safe. Del Bois says that this first event was well thought out, put together weeks in advance. They brought back old favourites like Nickel Brook whose popularity has definitely skyrocketed in recent years. As well, they invited breweries like Four Fathers and New Zealand Winery Nobilio.
“Everyone has been really enthusiastic about joining,” says Del Bois of the exhibitors. She sounds optimistic of future plans to improve Beer Fest and make it more accessible for the new generation of craft beer fans.
Here’s hoping for another round of Burlington Beer Fest!
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