Southern Alberta Craft Beer, Mead, and Spirits

June 23rd, 2016 @ 1:44pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

There are some pretty silly laws in Canada, like how you can decide an election in Alberta by drawing a name from a hat, snowmen taller than 30 inches are illegal in Souris, PEI, and it’s illegal to waterski after sunset anywhere in the nation. Some of our oldest and kookiest laws are all about alcohol, with the prohibition-era dust collecting on many antiquated statutes.

In recent years, many of these have been reviewed and revised, leading (thank goodness) to a craft beer and craft distillery boom. In Alberta for example, the Minimum Brewery Production Law was removed in 2013, 80 years after the end of prohibition in the United States. This allowed small batch, craft breweries to start production, removing the previous minimum brewery capacity or 2,500 hectolitres or 2,100 barrels of beer that they would have had to produce before then.

Southern Alberta Craft Beer, Mead, and Spirits

From production restrictions and revenue taxation, things are looking up for producers in Alberta. With the prime prairie growing conditions for ingredients like hops, barley, wheat, and corn, you can not only eat farm-to-table, you can drink farm-to-glass. Here are a few places I discovered, within the last few months alone, that are taking advantage of the spirited sea change in Southern Alberta:

Hopped Mead is My New BFF

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Fallentimber Meadery

Fallentimber Meadery Fallentimber Meadery

“It costs us more to produce honey than to buy it, but our story kind of sucks without it,” Nathan Ryan told me as I toured the Ryan’s Honey, and now Fallentimber Meadery, headquarters in Water Valley. Back in 1969, Nathan’s father Blake started the family honey business and the Blake sons opened the doors to the meadery in the fall of 2010. They offer traditional sweet and dry meads, and varieties infused with cinnamon and Saskatoon berries. What drew me in was their craft beer style seasonal meads, with ginger, hops, or IPA-inspired.

They moved away from producing only wine-style meads and it’s paid off. I bought a bottle of the Hooped Mead and I finished the last drop when I was sitting on my sunny lakeside patio in Waterton the next day. Imagine a deliciously refreshing beer with a subtle honey sweetness, the tongue-pleasing taste of barely-bitter hops, and none of the bloat a barley beer gives you. The meadery grounds host events throughout the year, and the tasting room is filled with honey-themed decor along with beeswax products. It’s worth a visit from Calgary, about an hour and 15 minutes away at the top of the Cowboy Trail.

Calgary Craft That Cares

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Village Brewery in Calgary

Village Brewery in Calgary Village Brewery in Calgary
Village Brewery Partner, Jim Button

Back in October, Village Brewery in Calgary warmed our hearts (and filled our taster glasses) when John and I stopped in to chat with Jim Button, one of the brewery’s partners. “We’re a movement that happens to sell beer,” Jim said while we stood in a hallway surrounded by fan art – actual art pieces given to the brewery by artists as a ‘thank you’ for their support or by those who just love their beer. “It’s not about giving back to the community. It’s about giving the community an outlet so that it can do something for itself.”

On that trip we sampled approachable brews like their Blonde and Wit, and other fanciful concoctions like the Farmer Cuke, made from a local farmer’s yield. They produce about 2 seasonals a year and 5 uniques a year on top of their regular lineup. There’s a chai winter porter, and a tripel in the summer made with blueberries, blackberries, and Saskatoon berries. The events they support, through brewing unique beers to be sold at the event, have raised tens of thousands of dollars. They brew for Calgary and to support Calgarians. They’re a business as noble as the finest Bohemian Pilsner.

Distilling on the Cowboy Trail

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Eau Claire Distillery

Eau Claire Distillery Eau Claire Distillery

When you pop a bottle of Prickly Pear Equinox, the aroma will be so fruity, juicy and luscious you’ll want to splash some on your fingers and dab it behind your ears — it’s that dreamy. While I don’t recommend dousing yourself in alcohol, you’ll want to stop in to sample, tour, and shop Eau Claire Distillery in Turney Valley. Eau Claire produces three types of gin (Christmas, Rummy, and Parlour) made with all natural botanicals, the vodka is made with local grains, and the single malt whisky (coming soon) is made with Alberta rye.

While you’re there, be sure to check out some of the antiques that adorn the walls and shelves, they’re all salvaged from the original building next door that used to be a movie house. I didn’t do a tasting during my visit but I did pick up a bottle of their Porter’s Tonic Cardamom Orange Syrup. I added it to some bourbon at home and it spiced up my Old Fashioned with a effervescent citrus twist.

My travel companion Keira and me enjoying some mead in our Aspen Crossing caboose

If you’d like to bring me back a bottle or two after your visit to these recommended tasting rooms, luckily you can now transport liquor across provincial borders in Canada, a practice that was illegal from 1928 until 2015.

To plan your day trip from Calgary, check out visiting Travel Alberta’s website and follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Disclosure: Sponsored Post
This post is sponsored in partnership with Travel Alberta. Views are my own.

Summer at Fort Langley

June 21st, 2016 @ 8:30am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Take a trip back in time to our local 1827 Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading post at Fort Langley this summer. Watch live demonstrations throughout the day, stop for coffee or lunch at lelem’ at the fort café, pan for gold, visit the bunnies and goats, and be immersed in the heritage of this national historic site.


Summer at Fort Langley

Daily from July 2nd until September 5th, join in these activities:

  • 10:30am Introductory Tour – Join a short tour providing a synopsis of Fort Langley’s story.
  • 11:00am Blacksmith and Cooper – Watch sparks fly as our blacksmith bends steel, then watch as the cooper shapes barrel staves.
  • 12:30pm Feature Interpretive Program – Join in the excitement of an interactive presentation highlighting the stories of Fort Langley’s original inhabitants: the boat builders, fur traders, farmers and families.
  • 1:00pm Introductory Tour – Join a short tour providing a synopsis of Fort Langley’s story.
  • 1:30pm Blacksmith and Cooper – Watch sparks fly as our blacksmith bends steel, then watch as the cooper shapes barrel staves.
  • 2:00pm Historic Guns – What guns were used during the fur trade, and when were they used? Get all the answers at this demonstration. (Musket firing is weather dependent).
  • 2:30pm BB Musket Target Practice – It’s your turn: fire a bb-style musket and take home your souvenir target. Ten shots for $3.90.
  • 3:00pm Blacksmith and Cooper – Watch sparks fly as our blacksmith bends steel, then watch as the cooper shapes barrel staves.
  • 3:30pm Historic Gun Cleaning – Meet a costumed interpreter while they care for the historic weapons.
  • 4:00pm Farm and Garden Walk – Discover the types of plants Fort Langley has growing in the heritage garden and visit the farm animals. Learn about the history of the Hudson’s Bay Company farm.
  • 4:30pm Flag Lowering – Witness the lowering of the flag with a song.

Summer Camp at Fort Langley

Camp Voyageurs runs July 18 to July 22 and again August 8 to August 12, 2016, and gives youth the opportunity to experience what life was like living as a legendary Voyageur. They will learn skills to survive in the wild, participate in crafts, music and activities related to the French, Metis and First Nations cultures of the fur trade, and enjoy traditional bannock as a tasty treat.

Trades Camp runs from July 11 to July 15, 2016 and again from August 15 to August 19, 2016 and youth will have a hands-on experience with what life was like in a Hudson’s Bay Company fort in the 1800s. They will dress up as a Royal Engineer, fire an airsoft musket, learn how blacksmiths make tools, take part in making a barrel, and pan for gold.

Parents can register their children today online. The camps are open to ages 6 to 12 and cost $166 per child/per week or $146.50 with an annual pass. For more information, call 604-513-4777.

Canada Day at Fort Langley National Historic Site

On July 1, Fort Langley will celebrate Canada’s 149th Birthday at the site where British Columbia was born. Visitors can enjoy multicultural music, cake and a ceremony at noon, and family activities.

Follow Fort Langley National Historic Site on Twitter and Facebook for more information.

Vancouver Area Night Markets: Richmond, North Vancouver, Surrey

June 20th, 2016 @ 3:36pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Under colourful flags and strings of lanterns swaying in the warm summer air at twilight, fried fare, exotic delicacies, and cheap merchandise can be found at a number of local night markets. They’re as famous for their unique foods-on-sticks and entertainment as they are for their lively ambiance and people watching. Here is a list of Vancouver area night markets that you can look forward to this season:

Richmond Night Market
Photo credit: Clayton Perry on Flickr

International Summer Night Market Richmond

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Location: 12631 Vulcan Way, Richmond (behind Home Depot)
Dates/Hours: April 29 to September 11, 2016
Fridays and Saturdays 7:00pm to 12:00am; Sundays 7:00pm to 11:00pm
Admission & Details: Free admission. Market-goers can expect to taste dishes from around the globe with the multitude of food and beverage booths on display, as well as shop for unique knick knacks, exclusive local merchandise, and enjoy diverse entertainment every night.

Richmond Night Market

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Location: 8351 River Road, Richmond
Dates/Hours: May 12 to October 10, 2016
Fridays and Saturdays 7:00pm to 12:00am; Sundays & Holidays 7:00pm to 11:00pm
Admission & Details: $3.25, free for children 10 and under, free for seniors 60+. $20 Zoom Passes are available for up to 7 visits. The biggest night market in North America will be delivering big family fun with a dinosaur theme this year. The international food fair has over a hundred vendors with over five hundred food items from all over the world. Enjoy the new Magical Dino Park, live entertainment and more.

Shipyards Night Market North Vancouver

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Location: Shipbuilders’ Square, Wallace Mews Rd, North Vancouver
Dates/Hours: May 6 to September 30, 2016
Fridays from 5:00pm to 10:00pm
Admission & Details: Free admission. Fresh food, locally made products, musicians, art and entertainment. On the Shipbuilders’ Stage there is live music until 10:00pm, showcasing talent from all over BC. You will find 100+ vendors selling fresh food, locally made products, a beer garden serving local craft beer and cider as well as Betty’s Vodka Iced Tea. You must me 19+ to enter the beer garden.

Surrey Night Market

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Location: Cloverdale Exhibition Grounds, 17726 62 Ave, Surrey
Dates/Hours: June 3 to August 14, 2016
Fridays and Saturdays 6:00pm to 11:00pm, Sundays 5:00pm to 10:00pm
Admission & Details: $2.00 for adults, $1 for children ages 3-10. Sample a wide variety of foods, services and goods, and enjoy performances by local entertainers, rides for kids, door prizes, free parking in designated areas.

All admission prices are as listed at time of publishing. All are subject to change.

Win a Theatre Under the Stars Summer of Love Staycation Prize Pack

June 20th, 2016 @ 3:03pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Tickets for the 75th season of Theatre Under the Stars (“TUTS”) are now on sale, presenting Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and West Side Story in Stanley Park’s picturesque Malkin Bowl.

On alternating evenings, audiences will be swept away by these classic love stories – one, a beloved fairytale brimming with magic and mystery, and the other an electrifying story of forbidden love in the unforgiving streets of 1950’s New York.

Image by Tim Matheson Photography. From left to right: Beast – Peter Monaghan, Belle – Jaime Piercy, Maria – Jennifer Gills, Tony – Matt Montgomery

“The summer of 2015 was our most successful on record: We welcomed more audiences out to the Malkin Bowl than at any point in our more than 75-year history,” says Naveen Kapahi, TUTS Board President. “We are therefore thrilled to announce the return of both of last season’s much-celebrated directors! Shel Piercy will follow-up his beloved Oliver! with the Disney classic, Beauty and the Beast; and Sarah Rodgers, who created 2015’s infectiously fun Hairspray, will direct West Side Story.”

Theatre Under the Stars 2016

Dates: July 6 to August 20, 2016. Performances alternate evenings.
Times: All shows at 8:00pm, except on Fireworks Nights, when shows begin at 7:00pm

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is an enchanting musical for the entire family, and the first Disney film ever to make the leap to stage. The ‘tale as old as time’ follows Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, a young prince transformed by a wicked spell. If the Beast can learn to be loved, the curse will end and he will be restored. But time is running out…

West Side Story is a dynamic reimagining of Romeo and Juliet in the turbulent streets of 1950’s New York. As turf war rages between two rival gangs, a pair of star-crossed lovers find themselves caught in the middle – and tragically wrenched between two worlds.

Book online or call 1-877-840-0457. Follow TUTS on Facebook and Twitter for more information.

Win a Theatre Under the Stars Summer of Love Staycation Prize Pack

Thanks to TUTS and some amazing partners, I have a romantic Summer of Love prize pack to give away — valued at over $700!


The fabulous prize package includes:

Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
  • Share, like, or comment on this Facebook post (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win a @Miss604 @TUTSVancouver prize w/ @thebutlercaters @AvedaInstCanada @TFlowerbox @panpacificvan http://bit.ly/TUTS604

I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 12:00pm on Monday, June 27, 2016. Prize is for the 2016 TUTS season. The stay at the Pan Pacific includes a harbour view guest room and is valid for a booking until July 4, 2017. Some restrictions may apply.

Update The winner is Joanne Maddess Hopwood (Facebook entry)!

The Jessies: Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards in Vancouver

June 20th, 2016 @ 11:53am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards (“The Jessies”) for excellence in Vancouver theatre this past season, will be presented on Monday, June 27, 2016 at the Commodore Ballroom. The nominees for the 34th Annual Jessies were announced a few weeks ago and the city is ready to celebrate the best of many diverse productions from the past year, in venues large and small.


The Jessies

The Arts Club Theatre Company had 11 productions selected and received a whopping total of 34 nominations. Their inventive production of Onegin was the runaway winner picking up 13 nominations; securing a nomination in each of the individual categories that include Meg Roe and Alessandro Juliani for their Outstanding Performances in Lead Roles.

In addition, Good People, The Valley and Peter and the Starcatcher each received 4 with Colleen Wheeler nominated for her Outstanding Performance in a Lead Role in Good People and for her Supporting Role performance in Peter and the Starcatcher.

Bard on the Beach garnered 7 nominations – one for Love’s Labour’s Lost and 6 for The Comedy of Errors with Scott Bellis nominated for Outstanding Direction. Rumble Theatre’s powerful production of Cock received 3 nominations with Stephen Drover recognized for Outstanding Direction. Firehall Arts Centre & Haberdashery Theatre earned 3 nominations for The Motherfucker with the Hat, along with the Firehall Arts Centre securing one nomination each for Social Studies, Dead Metaphor and God and the Indian.

The Small Theatre Category was extremely prolific with a total of 21 theatre companies and 23 productions nominated! Munish Sharma was recognized for his performance in Pi Theatre’s production of The Invisible Hand that received a stellar 8 nominations followed by Babelle Theatre’s presentation of RIVULETS: 3 short plays about a flood earning 6 nominations that include Outstanding Production, Direction, Set, Lighting & Sound Design, and Significant Artistic Achievement. Upintheair Theatre’s production of The North Plan and Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre’s production of Empire of the Son secured a total of 5 nominations each and both for Outstanding Direction & Production.

Under the Theatre for Young Audiences category, Green Thumb Theatre had 2 productions nominated and a total of 6 nods – Caitlin McFarlane was nominated for her performance in The Invisible Girl and Olivia Hutt for her moving work in Still/Falling. Théâtre la Seizième secured a total of 4 nominations for Mathieu Mathématiques, with director, Giles Poulin-Denis nominated for Artistic Creation along with the talent of Drew Facey for Outstanding Design.

The Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards Board of Directors created a new award this year, it is the Vancouver Now Representation and Inclusion Award that will recognize excellence in the field of accessibility and inclusion. The nominees include: Gateway Theatre – Jovanni Sy, Playwrights Theatre Centre, Theatre Terrific, Donna Yamamoto and Heathers: The Musical.

Additional awards that will be presented at the Jessie ceremony include: the Patron of the Arts Award, the Mary Phillips Prize, the Ray Michal Prize for Emerging Director, the Sam Payne Award for the Most Promising Newcomer, the John Moffat & Larry Lillo Award, the Georgia Straight Critics Choice Innovation Award, and the GVPTA Career Achievement Award.

The 34th Annual Ceremony will again be held at the beautiful Commodore Ballroom, 868 Granville Street, on Monday, June 27th, doors open at 5:30pm, ceremony at 6:30pm. This year ceremony is being produced by Holding Space Productions who will bring their own special vision to the event.

The public can attend this awards show, which is always the most lively and spirited in the city. Tickets are $29.50 plus service charges, through Ticketmaster 1-855-985-5000 or online. Follow the Jessies on Facebook and Twitter for more award information.

Miss604 is the proud Social Media Sponsor of the Jessie Awards

Nanaimo Marine Festival & World Championship Bathtub Race

June 20th, 2016 @ 11:21am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

It’s a Nanaimo thing. World Championship Bathtub Racing is a high-thrills, adrenaline pumping sport that’s been a tradition on Vancouver Island since 1967. I had the chance to go out on the water with a bathtub racer earlier this spring to learn more about the sport, its history, and the community festival that has been built up around it. Read my full story for FestivalSeekers online and check out some photos from my day out at Departure Bay:

World Championship Bathtub Race

After getting tossed out of a bathtub on the waters off Nanaimo’s Departure Bay, all Jamie Garcia could say, with a giant smile splashed across his face, was, “Does that thing ever rip!”

“It’s all part of the race,” Marion Steward added as she turned our support boat around to go and pick him up. Stewart has been racing in the Nanaimo Marine Festival’s World Championship Bathtub Race for the past 12 years, which is where she met fellow competitor Garcia.

I got to tag along one morning as Garcia was testing out a new motor on his custom-built tub. It was an impressive 40 pounds of fibreglass, decorated chromed parts and sponsor logos – and it was now upside-down in the water.
» Read more…

World Championship Bathtub Racing

World Championship Bathtub Racing

World Championship Bathtub Racing

World Championship Bathtub Racing

World Championship Bathtub Racing

World Championship Bathtub Racing

Find out more about the Nanaimo Marine Festival & World Championship Bathtub Race happening Thursday, July 21 to Sunday, July 24, 2016 where you’ll find plenty of live entertainment, food, family fun, and more all surrounding the bathtub race.

Sign up for the FestivalSeekers newsletter and follow along on on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube for more BC event information.

Disclosure: Sponsored Post
This post is sponsored by FestivalSeekers as I am a member of the Seekers Media Influencer Network.