Farmhouse Fest 2019 Preview & Top Picks

So thanks to the insane cost of ferries and travel, getting over to the mainland doesn’t happen as often as one would hope. What that usually means is an event has to be insanely good to make it worthwhile.

Farmhouse Fest is definitely in that category, and in a couple of days, it will remind us all why, but it makes sense to look at what to expect this year.

Farmhouse fest on a wooden sign, laying on the grass next to a lamppost
The signs show how amazing Farmhouse Fest can be.

No Tokens

If you’re going, that means you’ve got tickets, and that also means you’re already aware of one of the biggest changes: Token free pours. Some people refer to this as all-inclusive, or unlimited, but unfortunately those terms tend also to be associated with over-consumption, which should be avoided at all cost. With the move away from tokens, prices did go up, but, it still works out to an amazing deal. So the only small disks you’ll want to worry about is a handful of Tums.

No Beer List (at least not printed)

Another big change this year, and you’ll want to take note of this, is that there won’t be any maps or beer lists handed out, as the event is trying to move to a zero-waste status. This means you will either have to bring your own wishlist, use the list on the website at http://www.farmhousefest.com/2019/pouring/, or their list on Untappd at https://untappd.com/user/FarmhouseFest/lists/553227. The list on Untappd may be the easiest way to get your check-ins done, but the website will tell you where a beer is pouring.

Food

With all the amazing beers being poured, the only logical choice is for some amazing food alongside it. This year, there will be the following food vendors on site:

Or, if want, you can bring your own food on site, just make sure there is no garbage, or that you bring your garbage back out, as there won’t be anywhere to dispose of it.

Beers

As it stands, there are 192 listed beers over on Untappd, so there will be something for everyone, but what stands out?

Locally, there are a few options that are on the must try list.

  • Temporal Artisan Ales
    • Tranquility 5.3%
      A blend of three beers aged for an average of 13 months in wine barrels. The beer was conditioned on locally-grown whole blueberries for two months following blending. Tranquility was bottled straight from the fruiting barrel without added sugar for bottle conditioning, which means it intentionally has almost no carbonation.
    • Imaginary Path 5%
      Unblended white wine barrel aged beer with Nelson Terpenes.
  • Boombox Brewing
    • Orange Botanical 5.8%
      A blend of oak barrel aged beer conditioned on gin botanical infused orange zest, coriander, and sea salt. This beer was conceived as our beverage of choice to consume in a farmer’s field for a certain festival or backyard patio on a hot summer day. Blended with our friends from Farmhouse Fest.
  • Field House Brewing
    • L’Acadie Sour 9%
      This wood aged sour ale was brewed in September 2017 and put into barrels with a sour culture and wild yeast. It was racked out of the barrels and onto L’Acadie grape must from Whispering Horse winery September 2018, then aged on the fruit for 4 months followed by a month of bottle conditioning.
  • Dageraad Brewing
    • Cultural Exchange 7.1%
      Dry-hopped, mixed-culture fermented farmhouse ale.
  • Four Winds Brewing
    • Bosque 6.5%
      Tart farmhouse ale that was aged in a foeder on Spanish cedar and then blended with a tequila barrel aged saison, finished on Granny Smith pumice.
  • House of Funk Brewing
    • Lauma 5.8%
      Brewed with pilsner malt, wheat malt, and raw wheat, Lauma was fermented in stainless with a 50/50 blend of Westmalle and La Chouffe yeast then transferred to foeder onto our house brettanomyces culture. After 3 months of conditioning in oak, Lauma was then dry hopped with El Dorado and Mandarina Bavaria hops.
  • Luppolo Brewing
    • Forage 8%
      Spontaneously fermented blend of 49% fresh pressed apple juice and 51% beer wort, barrel aged.
    • Cinque Sensi
      Blended barrel aged mixed fermentation sour, collaboration with Coalesce, Temporal, Brassneck, and Juice Bar.
  • Parallel 49 Brewing
    • Flatlander 7.6%
      Flatlander is a mixed-culture sour saison, aged in French Oak wine barrels for seven months and spiced with lemon peel and black pepper. This crisp, tart, and rustic saison has bright citrus notes accompanied by spicy, peppery phenols, light earthy funk, oaky tannins, and a fruity nose of pear, stone fruit, and white wine.
    • Troika 7.2%
      Troika is a complex blend of sour reds aged in port, red wine, and chardonnay barrels for up to eleven months, with hints of dried figs and vanilla beans to round out the acidity. Fruity aromas of sweet plums and red currants are complemented by notes of raisins, prunes, caramel and spicy oak tannins, along with a soft Brett funk and lingering tart, dry finish.
  • Powell Brewing
    • Black Lime Sour Farmhouse
      description tba
  • Steel & Oak Brewing
    • 999
      Some people celebrate 1000… not us! Our 999th batch was brewed using 100% Bohemian Floor Malted Pilsner malt and a generous late hop addition of Saaz, Mittelfrüh and Nelson Sauvin hops. For a little excitement, we added a strain of Brettanomyces from a 40-year-old bottle of Hochschule Berliner Weisse (harvested by our friends at Escarpment Labs) at bottling and then left them to slowly condition.
  • Strange Fellows Brewing
    • Savage Saison
      Complex and bright, this farmhouse beer was brewed with spelt and rye, and aged with a multi-culture from a venerable Flemish lambic brewery. Redolent of tropical fruit and ripe pineapple with an underlying minerality and dry finish. Official 2019 Farmhouse Fest collaboration beer.
  • Twin Sails Brewing
    • Devilwood 6.7%
      Inspired by the cocktails of The Keefer Bar, we brewed a wild ale into second use bourbon barrels. Osmanthus flowers were then cold steeped in the beer briefly before packaging. Notes of black tea, bourbon, lemon, and apricot all combine to create a complex yet refreshing take on cocktail creativity.
  • Wild Ambition Brewing
    • Imaginal Phase 5%
      With a seasonally appropriate warm and rustic rye flavour, this is our ode to traditional belgian style farmhouse brewing. Based on a classic saison, our twist is that we dose the beer with brettanomyces yeast strains on bottling day. This beer then undergoes a metamorphosis with the new yeast protecting the existing hop flavours while it adds its own wild and rustic expression over time. We kettle-hopped generously with Styrian Goldings and lightly dry-hopped with a carefully selected blend of Czech Saaz, German Tettnanger, and New Zealand Motueka.

As for the imports, the choices become that much harder, as the selection seems never ending. That being said, a few options did stand out, and will definitely make it into my glass before the end of the event.

Holy Mountain, Floodland, Ale Apothecary and Garden Path seem to all have lists you can’t go wrong with, but there are a few even there that stood out right away.

  • Holy Mountain Brewing
    • Sacrament: Cabernet Sauvignon 8.5%
      Sacrament is a line of beers fermented and aged in oak on grapes. The 2 versions of 2019 Sacrament are Carménère and Cabernet Sauvignon. Both versions started as blends of multiple wheat-based beers that were fermented entirely in oak with house wild cultures. The blends were then transferred into oak barrels from JB Neufeld Winery – one on top of crushed Carménère grapes from Chukar Vineyards in Yakima WA, and the other on top of crushed Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from River Ridge Vineyards in Yakima, WA.
    • Arbogast Screams 6%
      Arbogast Screams is a blend of various oak aged, mixed culture beers that went through a secondary fermentation in former red wine barrels on top of a large amount of lingonberries. Conditioned with Brett.
    • Offertory 2019 6.4%
      Every year, we release multiple versions of a beer called Sacrament, which is aged on various Washington grown grape varietals. Once the Sacrament barrels are emptied, we keep the grape pomace in the barrels and immediately fill them with a finished blend for a quick 24hr contact time (similar to Rosé), and that beer becomes Offertory. The 2019 blend of Offertory is a blend of two separate mixed fermentation Saisons that were fermented and aged in oak. The blend was then transferred onto Cabernet and Carmenere grape pomace before being bottle conditioned with Brett.
  • Garden Path Fermentation
    • The Easygoing Drink 4.4%
      Lightly tart ale fermented in a foudre and finished in oak and stainless, keg-conditioned with honey.The Subtle Blend Raspberry Barrels 7%
      A blend of mature, barrel-aged beers refermented with Viva Farms raspberries and keg conditioned with honey.
  • Stillwell Brewing
    • Five 6.9%
      Five was brewed to celebrate the 5th anniversary of Stillwell on Barrington St. Fermented and aged in single 700L, first-use Pineau des Charentes puncheon with Nova Scotia honey for many, many months, Five is lightly tart, highly aromatic, vinous and delightful.
  • Bellwoods Brewing
    • Motley Cru 2019 8.5%
      An ode to natural wines, this anniversary release utilizes Cab Franc grapes from Rosewood Estates Winery that were lightly pressed in the making of their rosé, and several barrels of our spontaneous and wild ales. We fermented the eclectic blend on grape skins for 5 weeks, carefully aged it in oak for a year, before allowing it to condition naturally in the bottle.
  • Ale Apothecary
    • Tequila Raspberry La Tache 7.96%
      Bottled July 2017, brewed June of 2016. We aged this batch of La Tache in two tequila barrels with fresh raspberries for the entire duration and bottle-conditioned with agave nectar.
    • Hilario 11.07%
      Wild fermented ale aged in 2nd use wine barrels conditioned with fig juice.
  • Floodland Brewing
    • Firmament and Light 2018 6%
      A blend of mixed culture beer fermented and aged in oak and refermented on peaches. The 2018 harvest blend was created from a blend of aged mixed culture beers brewed with spelt and wheat. this blend was refermented on organic Red Haven peaches grown in Bridgeport, WA by Rick and Marilyn at Rama Farm. After refermentation it was again fermented in the bottle.
    • MMXVIII Viognier 7.6%
      Ale made from Washington barley, buckwheat, and hops, fermented in oak with our (Washington captured) wild culture. Native refermentation on grapes from Weathereye Vineyard, Washington State.
    • Honey Punch 2018 6.7%
      This beer was created using 2018 harvest Honey Punch pluots from Collins family orchards in Selah, WA. These tree ripened, late harvest pluots were referemented on a blend of mixed culture beer including a large portion of spelt beer fermented and aged in an oak tank.
  • Upright Brewing
    • Fantasia 2018 6%
      Fantasia has been brewed annually since 2008 using peaches from Baird Family Orchards. Each vintage features a layered nose that leads into a deep profile on the palate, with complex acidity achieved through extended aging. 2018 is the eighth vintage for Fantasia, our first barrel fermented fruit beer. We opted for two different peach varieties harvested late into summer and full of flavor.

Another nice touch is a set of palate refreshers, set to start pouring at 1:00 PM, to give the tums a break.

This really is one of the best events of the year in BC, and the pilgrimage from Vancouver Island and afar is a testament to that, so if you happen to spot me while you’re there, say hello, and we can trade favourites.

Cheers.