Don’t worry and beer happy at the Edmonton Craft Beer Festival. The selection of over 500 beers from over 100 breweries will have your head spinning, but don’t forget to taste test the variety of ciders, spirits and food from local eateries, too.
“There’s a ton of new breweries and craft distilleries that weren’t around the last time we did a festival,” says Bill Robinson, president of Alberta Beer Festivals. “Over 20 craft breweries have opened up during the pandemic, so there is a lot for people to come and see, and there’s a whole bunch of old favourites that we haven’t seen in a while that we’re really looking forward to seeing as well.”
The schedule is packed with entertainment to enjoy between beer sampling. Catch performances from an array of local talent on the Sherlock Holmes Music Stage or take part in the socially distanced Rock Paper Scissors competition. Don’t forget to pack a pen and some paper because you’re going to want to take notes during the Hoppy Pass Brew Master and Cooking with Beer seminars. You’ll hear all about the behind-the-scenes action at local breweries while also learning about beer and food pairings.
The Edmonton Craft Beer Festival also supports a local charity each year, and this year’s fundraising endeavour is extra cool. This year, Edmonton Craft Beer Festival is going to Freeze a Fireman to raise money for MS. Wes Bauman will sit in an ice bath for three hours and attempt to set a new Guinness World Record.
“We met Wes through our ice company, because if you have a beer festival, you need a lot of ice, and they asked, ‘Do you guys think you’d like to work with Wes and the MS people?’ The ice company provided all the ice for his previous attempts at this and the more we looked into it and the more I heard Wes talk about it and how passionate he was — it just seemed like a natural fit,” says Robinson.
There is lots of fun to be had at the Edmonton Craft Beer Festival, but there are still restrictions in place such as a reduced capacity and mandated masks when not sitting at a table. Robinson and the team at Alberta Beer Festivals want the festival to be as enjoyable as possible which is why Alberta Beer Festivals added a second day this year.
“We hope people will come out and enjoy it but also feel safe doing it because it’s a chance to build community and support local beer,” says Robinson. “Remember, superheroes wear masks and it’s not often you get to be a superhero. So, put on your mask, support local and reveal your secret identity only when you’re at a table.”
Edmonton Craft Beer Festival is on October 22 and October 23 at the Edmonton Expo Centre. General admission is $19.99 and VIP advance tickets are also available.