A beer fest is a beer fest is a beer fest…

Or so I thought… After four consecutive weekends of beerfesting (yeah it’s a word), I thought I knew the recipe: get a bunch of breweries together, play some music, give people tiny glasses, and call it a day. But as I said, “or so I thought.”

For four years, I had heard rumblings of this fantastic party up in Kamloops, BC called “Brewloops” and had wondered what it was all about. Finally, this year, the stars aligned. My schedule opened up, and the BC Ale Trail, in collaboration with Tourism Kamloops sent me north to check it out.

Photo: Mike Ansley

All I can say is WOW!

What a time! Brewloops takes everything you want in a beer festival and turns it up to 11! Picture this: 30 breweries, 12 live bands, a whole lineup of awesome food trucks, a Ferris Wheel, mini-golf, bumper cars and get this – Twelve. Ounce. Pours. Not those measly four ounces all the other fests hand out. All this in one epic venue for two whole days!

As I made my rounds, it became very clear that this was THE BC beer festival to be at. Breweries make their way from all over BC to take part, and all their staff was so pumped to be there. From Prince Rupert to Victoria, and everywhere in between, you really get a taste of what is pouring all over BC. I can honestly say I haven’t had that much fun at a beer festival.

Kamloops biking
Photo: Mike Ansley

Kamloops had always been a city I passed through on my way to somewhere further out. Man-o-man, I had no idea what I was missing.

While waiting for the festival to start, I had my share of activities to explore. Starting with a beautiful cross-country mountain bike ride in the Lac Du Bois Grasslands, to a chilly, but fruitful, fly fishing trip with Maricle Fly Fishing on Jacko Lake. I really got to see why the locals are so pumped about Kamloops.

If getting outdoors isn’t your thing, there’s always the local Ale Trail, with four (soon to be five) breweries, to explore. The best part of smaller cities like Kamloops is that you don’t have to travel far between the breweries.

Photo: Mike Ansley

Iron Road Brewing

The furthest out (five minutes) but so worth the trip. Top-notch beer, a menu that will knock your socks off, and a tasting room that throws you deep into their brand. I think it’s safe to say that these guys know what they’re doing. I can’t wait to check up on them again to see what’s next!

Photo: Mike Ansley

Alchemy Brewing Company

These “new guys on the block” are doing some interesting things with beer. The real stand out of this place is the house-smoked meats. The meat just melts in your mouth while punching you in the face with flavour. Did I mention they have some of the coolest wall art I’ve seen in a brewery?

Noble Pig Brewhouse

This spot is clearly a staple in Kamloops. Early on a Saturday I almost had to wait to find a seat at the bar. After one round of sampling, I had to help myself to a second flight because the first one was so tasty. When I come back, I could see myself anchored in a corner and put in a good session here.

Photo: Mike Ansley

Red Collar Brewing 

This place is my favourite room to hang out in in the area. Over and above the wide range of well crafted and delicious beer, the room is adorned with character. From the TV Terrarium to the friendly bar staff, and dog-friendly patio, I didn’t want to leave.

Brewloops Festival
Photo by Mike Ansley

Long story short, 

Kamloops, Brewloops, after only one weekend, you tug at my heartstrings. I can’t wait to come back and see what else you have in store.

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