Farmhouse Fest: in the promoter’s words: a celebration of saisons, wild ales and all things funky. 15 local breweries from the Pacific Northwest, 9 imports and food-stuffs from sandwiches to funky sodas and popsicles rounded out the roster.
While the name, to a non-craft beer lover, may conjure up images of cows, roosters and life on the farm – it was anything but. “Farmhouse” in the sense referred to a style of beer and more importantly, a way of crafting from times gone by. Natural. Organic. From the earth. While there were hay bales and sunshine, it was Sours & Saisons that took the stage at this festival. The setting? UBC Farm of course! At one point I was enjoying a lovely Larraldea Wild Cider underneath a growing apple tree. It doesn’t get better than that…
I love the idea of a beer festival- tons of new-to-me beers, one-offs and a mix of people all thrown together in one place. What I’m not a super fan of however, is crowds. I’ve been to fests where it’s hard to move and impossible to find a spot to sit down and enjoy the beer. Aside from the fact I’m a Saison girl, this festival appealed to me because it was a) outside under the sky and b) promoted some stuff I find important like living organic and as natural as possible. Another way this festival stood out before I even tried a beer, was the glass. One usually gets a tasting glass at festivals to carry around (brilliant idea as a souvenir and a way to cut down on waste) and Farmhouse did away with the tiny shot-like glass and gave us a full size glass. A glass we can use again.
The festival day dawned hot as Hades but, thankfully, a slight breeze and some sprinklers placed around the farm made the heat somewhat tolerable. The heat wave Vancouver experienced this day was pretty unusual and my only wish was that there was more shade available. But my friends and I got creative and found or made or own shade to enjoy.
My first beer was chosen because it was directly across from the only food station, and I was ravenous. Category 12 Wild Ancient Grain Table Saison didn’t disappoint. It was a perfect balance of funk and a slight, ever so slight sweetness. This saison was perfectly paired with my rustic vegetarian sandwich (thanks Farmhouse for not forgetting us Veggies!).
Fellow Bird Shawna took advantage of some of the ‘special pours’ going on at designated times around the festival. These were huge hits and involved massive, twisty line ups for festival goers. Some of these beauties included:
– Four Winds– Edna, a Barrel Aged Crabapple and Cranberry Sour Saison
– 8 Wired– Rastafari Unchained, Pinot Noir Barrel Aged Stout
– Brekeriet– Cassis, Sour Ale with Black Currant (this one made Bird Shawna seriously pucker up)
Personally I’m not a sour fan (a concept some of the people I met couldn’t seem to wrap their head around, but to each his own I say) and was there for the saisons and ciders. Lucky for me, I had over 30 to choose from and had to pick wisely. Highlights for me included:
– Logsdon Seizoen and Seizoen Bretta
– The Commons Montueka Saison
– Copper & Theory Breakside Amuse
– Lighthouse Brewing Drumbeg – A barrel soured blackberry saison!
– Main Street Feet to the Fire Saison
– Moon Under Water– Tempus Corvi
While I don’t know what went on behind the scenes, I’m pretty confident the debut of Farmhouse Fest was a huge success. Dreamt up over beers at the Alibi Room by some of Vancouver’s most influential and outspoken beer personalities, this festival was a dream come true. My phone died and thus I can’t bedazzle our readers with pics but do check out Twitter and Instagram for pics from our fellow bloggers of the day!
Thank you to all who had a hand in making this special festival go so smoothly. I know I speak for many when I say “can’t wait for next year”.