3 days for 3rd Beer Fest

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A glass has been raised to an extra day for this year’s Banff Craft Beer Festival.

The third annual festival is kind of like a field trip for adults, where craft breweries, eateries and distilleries will be ready and on tap for three days this weekend (Nov. 23-25) at Banff’s Historic Cave and Basin.

“It’s an Alberta showcase with over 40 breweries, distilleries and restaurants taking part this year,” said Bill Robinson, president of Alberta Beer Festivals (ABF).

Tonight and Friday (Nov. 23-24) the festival runs from 5-10 p.m. and Saturday (Nov. 25) it runs from 12-4 p.m. Tickets are sold out for the evening’s 5-10 p.m. portion.

Event shuttles will run to and from the historic site every 10 minutes from Banff’s Main Street outside the Banff Ave. brewpub and High Rollers, which are official after party hangouts.

The first and second beer fests were held over two days, but a decision to add a third in its third year was a salute to Bow Valley locals.

“So many people in the valley work on the weekends and it was tough for them to come in previous years,” said Robinson.

“We marketed around the valley to the service industry because we wanted them to be able to join in, too.

“If a manager or general manager comes to try the different beers, maybe they might add a couple on tap. It’s cool for these places to have local stuff when visitors come in and ask about local beer.”

The festival has seen maturity and growth since its inaugural year in 2015, adding double the vendors and needing additional space to hold all the vendors this year.

“All (the vendors) are planning on bringing something unique,” said Robinson. “That’s kind of the vibe we want to have and that’s the kind of people we want at the festival; they bring something unique and have a story to tell – the story behind the craft.

“The festival is giving you stuff you can’t get anywhere else; and there’s something special about Banff.”

Robinson reflected on the previous two beer fests and has seen the development of it as not just a “frat boys party with a kegger.”

“We’re pretty excited,” he said. “We were looking for a three or four year break out (for the festival), we had never done a winter one before … this third year, we’ve been able to iron out a lot of things.”

For tickets, go to www.myshowpass.com/2017-banff-craft-beer-festival.

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Rocky Mountain Outlook