Harrison Hot Springs is a little bit of a drive from Vancouver. Probably a good two hours. If you haven’t been there before, it is worth the drive, and in particular if it’s warm. For the opening event of the 3rd annual Harrison Beer Festival, the Cask Night was certainly a good way to start this year’s event, in spite of the cold wind.
Particularly in the breweries department. Presenting their special casks were Old Yale, Cannery, Dead Frog, Four Winds, Red Truck, Yellow Dog, and Deep Cove. They set themselves up, but not without a little bit of drama when Old Yale tapped their first keg. A bit of spill-taming later, it was all under control and everyone was pouring.
Not too busy either
The atmosphere was more or less what I was led to expect: a pub night feel with tables and chairs, live music, and some games. We shared our table with a number of people over the night, and there were also some cats from the Bomber Brewing, out a bit early for the big day tomorrow.
The standout of the evening
The best thing about a cask is that it’s the brewer’s venue for experimentation with flavours and beer characteristics. Surprisingly though, my personal favrourite was Four Winds’ Juxtapose Brett IPA. It was only slightly tweaked, smooth and super fragrant. It usually has a stronger yeasty character, but for this cask that aspect was toned down just enough to make it my go to for the night.
Saturday sold out
Which is great for the organizers, but not so good for me. I was too slow on the uptake for this one, having found out about the festival a little late. A mate of mine went and said it was really busy, with loads of great beers on offer. The program alone listed 21 breweries coming from all over BC, with Mill Street Brewery from Toronto returning for the 2nd year in a row.
It’s a beer time of year
I guess the Harrison Beer Fest is also their version of Oktoberfest, but if does have a feel all it’s own. If they sold out this year I can’t imagine they’d change up much for next year. Though I would suggest slightly larger pieces of bratwurst, the beer was well worth the trip.