Capital Pint

CAPITAL PINT: Festival time — the beer scene in our city is sizzling

By Travis Persaud

Ottawa gets its first all-craft-beer festival come August.

It seems like every month a new brewery is opening its doors. Last month it was Big Rig (Senators’ defenceman Chris Phillips’ new restaurant), and Cassel Brewing (located just outside of Ottawa’s borders in Casselman) will open for business on July 14 . The family is growing. Let’s all hug.

If you’re not the touchy-feely type, though, then we have just the thing to help you express how happy you are. A festival! And not just any festival — the first annual National Capital Craft Beer Week, which takes place August 10 to 18. The week features a ton of beer events, culminating in a two-day festival on August 17 and 18.

We spoke with JP Fournier, the founder and president of this new festival, to find out just what we can expect.

What led you to start National Capital Craft Beer Week?
I set out to create Craft Beer Week and the festival after having discovered craft brewing myself two years ago and falling in love with craft beer and good pairings. Having seen the “awakenings” take place through the Ottawa Beer Tap Society that I created, I was determined to share the discovery with as many people as I could.

What makes this event different than any other beer-related event that happens in the city?
It is the first of its kind in Ottawa: an all-craft-beer festival that includes all nine regional craft breweries. For craft beer lovers, I think the excitement is even greater because of the growth that the craft beer industry in the region has had over the last year. Our craft brewery numbers have increased by over 100 percent, from four to nine, and the festival will give visitors a chance to sample the great selection of craft beer made and available right here in our National Capital Region.

What will visitors experience?
Joining our passionate group of brewers at the festival will be an equally passionate and talented group of regional food artisans. The food artisans we have on site have been selected not only for their food and its pairing with the beer that will be available, but also for their creativity. Many of the artisanal eateries joining us this year will also be providing some very cool entertainment and animation with the way they prepare and present their creations.

Special two-day passes are now on sale for the festival. But Fournier warns that they’re only available in limited quantities, so you must act fast! The two-day pass is $20, while single day passes sell for $15. They’re available online on their website, as well as at Beau’s All Natural Brewing, Big Rig Brewery, Broadhead Brewing Co., and Kichesippi Beer.