A day of hitting the freshies on the slopes, heading to the Gunbarrel Saloon and tasting the “freshies” at the beverage and food stations then getting your groove on with Victoria’s Towers and Trees was a smash hit for the vendors and 200 ticket holders alike.
It was still snowing at Apex Mountain Resort on Monday after another overnight snowfall of 25 centimetres (10 inches) when I asked General Manager James Shalman for his thoughts on the weekend. “It was a fantastic show, the brewers and those that attended said it was an awesome event and everyone will be back next year. The food at the Gunbarrel was great, the band Towers and Trees were fantastic and played to a full capacity dancing crowd,” he said. “The brewers had a great time and had as much fun pouring as everyone did tasting. The variety of the beers and ciders catered to the variety of the people attending. To top it all off Apex received 80 centimetres (31.5 inches) of light dry Okanagan powder leading up to the event and 30 centimetres (11 inches) over the Brewski weekend.”
On Apex’s facebook page, accolades such as this from Firehall Brewery were posted: “Awesome time everyone! Already looking forward to next year, especially if another powder-snow storm rolls in. Jelly legs today!”
Event planner Kim Lawton, DogLeg Marketing & Business Solutions was beaming, “In speaking with guests during and after the event, they loved the first annual Brewski! They really enjoyed trying a great selection of over 35 craft beer, spirits and ciders from 12 different and passionate craft beverage providers.”
She added, “The staff at the Gunbarrel Saloon hit it out of the park with amazing beer-paired, beer-inspired food. Brewers loved the event and had an amazing time talking about and pouring their beverages for guests. After the event, guests were treated to a high energy performance by Victoria band Towers and Trees. They kept the dance floor packed until the wee hours of the night. Brewski and the live entertainment, paired with unbelievable powder on the slopes made for a weekend in which great memories are made.” Check out her photographs on Cannery Brewing’s facebook page.
Personally, my husband and I hadn’t skied such great powder for years and even though my thighs were throbbing, we couldn’t resist hitting the slopes again when the lifts opened Sunday. Brewski offered an intimate venue in which I could catch up on news from all the participating vendors. Like the ski hill itself, the vibe in the room was extremely friendly and the congeniality overflowed into the after party with Towers and Trees. Our room in Apex Mountain Inn was cosy and well-appointed with a kitchenette to catch a quick breakfast before carving some more figure eights in that glorious powder. And it was a bonus to awake in the wee hours and witness Team Canada shut out Sweden for Olympic Gold in men’s hockey on the flat screen television.
Apex even held a Brewer’s Cup for the vendors but you’ll have to talk to them to learn all about it! Brewski will definitely be back so watch the events on Apex’s website early next season. What a great Christmas present Brewski tickets would be for those who like to embrace winter activities. Whether you’re a skier, boarder, skater, snowshoer, tuber or just like to breath in mountain air, Apex is an ideal family-friendly setting. Don’t be surprised if the lift operators serenade you on to the chair as they sing along with their favourite playlist!
You don’t have to wait until next year’s Brewski to capture an Après-Ski smash hit. There are still a few tickets left for Vertical and Vintages, March 8, which was the event that inspired the creation of Brewski. For Vertical and Vintages, 17 wineries from the Naramata Bench Wineries Association will be pouring complimented by tapas and chef specialties of the Gunbarrel’s gourmet kitchen. This time it’ll be Naramata’s own favourite party band Uncorked! providing live music and dancing after the tasting event.
For special events and any time you want to experience the mountain more fully, check out the accommodation packages at Apex Mountain Inn, 1-800-387-2739 or Apex Accommodations, 1-866-273-9737. At the resort, you’ll find a full rental shop, The Mountain Shop with quality equipment and gear, The Trading Post which is The General Store and Rural Agency Liquor Store as well as a variety of dining options. We enjoyed a mouth-watering, carbohydrate replacing bowl of chili and a bun for our lunch at The Edge Bistro. In addition to The Gunbarrel Saloon, there’s The Longshot Cafeteria and over in the Apex Mountain Inn, tantalizing aromas draw you to The Rock Oven Bar and Grill.
Here’s a few tidbits I learned at Brewski:
I caught up with Jeff Todd, brewmaster at Tin Whistle Brewing Co. of Penticton. He was pouring the award-winning Stag Apple Scotch Ale, which was out for the first time this year and it will also be at Okanagan Fest-of-Ale, April 4 and 5 in Penticton. At it, Tin Whistle will debut a White IPA. Jeff was excited to let me know about the successful Brewmasters’ Dinner in which Tin Whistle was involved in Kelowna at SMACK DAB. He told me next up there would be Cannery Brewing followed by Mt. Begbie Brewing, so watch its website to snap up tickets quickly.
At Rustic Roots Winery, Sara Harker was offering a premiere of Scrumpy Snow Cider, which will be bottled and available this spring. Taking a winemaker’s approach to cider has enabled her to use more of the apples from Harker’s Organics. Using a cryoextraction process with eating apples, which intensifies the sugar, acid and tannins, she could mimic cider apples and create an unfiltered unique product. I’ll be heading to the winery, select restaurants and private liquor stores to get my hands on more of it as a great summer sipper!
At Cannery Brewing, I snagged more of the limited edition Artisan Creations Series, Baltic Porter, which is a scrumptious winter selection. Along with pouring some of its classics, the team there were glowing with news about its second beer-paired dinner at Penticton’s BRODO Kitchen, March 8 as well as SMACKDAB Brewmasters Dinner in Kelowna.
At Maple Leaf Spirits, between pouring a popular cocktail with its Pear Liqueur and making up specialty coffee with Maple Liqueur and Canadian Kirsch, the family were excited to talk about the proposed new tasting room this spring on Naramata Road across from Red Rooster Winery and Ruby Blues Winery.
The big news at Tree Brewing was the exciting new facility, The Beer Institute, to be opened at the Delta Grand Okanagan. There Tree will operate a small brewery creating experimental small batches of craft beer, a library, educational facility, growler filling section and hop room where pints and food pairings will be served.
At Fairview Liquor Store in Penticton, I had just picked up some Prohibition Brewing Company of Kelowna’s Smuggler Scotch Ale, so I was pleased to also try their Lawless IPA and Bootlegger Ale.
It was also my first time to try the Summerland Heritage Cider and some of the products displayed by McClelland Imports such as the Stiegl Radler, a 50-50 split of lager and grapefruit juice. Stiegl lager, Erdinger and Früli completed the four of its 12 products on hand.
I enjoyed Revelstoke Mt. Begbie’s gold medal-winning High Country Kolsch and some of my favourites at Oliver’s Firehall Brewery and Left Field Cider from Mamette Lake, BC as well as its new Cidermaker’s Select. I caught up with the events planned at Penticton’s Barley Mill Pub. There was so much news and items to taste, I’ll be reviewing my notes for weeks to come!
I’ve always enjoyed my meals at The Gunbarrel Saloon and for this event, I especially loved the Fries & Aioli, Breaded Cod, Sliders, Cheese Cream Soup and all the charcuterie and cheese.
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