Barley Mowat 

Going Up River

with one comment

I’m off this weekend to check out the Harrison Beer Festival, and just generally relax up at Harrison Hot Springs. Why would a downtown-obsessed geographical quasi-Luddite like me subject myself to nigh-2 hours of car travel that involves any or all of: rush hour, bridges, tolls and Surrey? Well, because the Harrison Tourism Board was nice enough to ask me to come, and I like free stuff.

Without the sign, it’s just garbage.
With the sign… it’s FREE garbage!

Okay, it’s a bit more complex than that. To be honest, we can snottily declare BC to be a craft beer Mecca all we want, what with our recent explosion of producers, bars and brewery-cum-art-projects like 33 Acres and Brassneck, but craft beer truly hasn’t caught on in this province until you can walk into a random truck stop outside Vernon and can get a pint of Fat Tug.

Sorry folks, can’t do anything about the whole “getting shit-canned for not liking NASCAR” thing, but at least you’ll have good beer

However, there are a few hints that the times, they are a-changing. First, there’s the Fraser Valley wing of CAMRA up there fighting the good fight by organizing cask days and generally putting pressure on pubs to care more about beer. Also there are craft beer focused venues cropping up in the high valley like Kingfishers Pub and The District Public House. Since I’m, like, 50% sure that these businesses aren’t fronts for the mob, we have to assume that SOMEONE out there is ordering, drinking and enjoying good beer.

Throw on to this growing pile of evidence the Harrison Beer Fest. 2013 will be this festival’s second year, meaning that enough folk showed up last time to make the organizers interested in doing it again. That this festival is happening at all is intriguing, but I’m really curious about exactly how craft beer is doing in the hinterlands, and that’s why I’m going (also, see above re: free stuff). Sure, the fact that the Harrison Tourism board recommended a pub with nothing craftier than OK Spring 1516 on tap as a craft beer “top choice” indicates they have some ways to go, but at least they’re trying.

If this cask & beer fest is worth a damn, Harrison Hot Springs could shoot to the top of the list of places for us craft beer nerds to take our indulgent significant other for a weekend getaway. They put up with our shit to a degree that makes me very grateful, so maybe a craft beer festival that is also right next to a resort spa might be the kinda of half-way point we can all agree on. Check back next week for my take on how it all looks.

Written by chuck

October 25th, 2013 at 11:42 am

Posted in Beer and You

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One Response to 'Going Up River'

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  1. I had a beer in Harrison last winter at the Old Settler Pub… Not a lot of craft going on. Considering it’s about the same distance as Bellingham, Harrison is facing some pretty stiff competition, but they have the huge advantage of not having any border guards standing in the way.

    Old Yale is a good brewery that brews a great stout. It’d be nice to see their beer more widely available in the Fraser Valley.

    Ben Coli

    25 Oct 13 at 12:07

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