Wednesday, April 24th, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Recap: The Urban Craft Beer & Food Festival

While Sherbrooke Liquor Store has organized beer tastings in the past, The Urban Craft Beer & Food Festival was their first event to incorporate food trucks into the mix. Held last Friday at the Alberta Aviation Museum, the event was a fundraiser for the Urban Spirits Rotary Club, with proceeds supporting youth at risk in the Edmonton area. Admission tickets were $25 plus service fees, with sample tickets to be purchased separately on site, for $1 each.

The Urban Craft Beer & Food Festival

At the Aviation Museum

Mack and I arrived early to avoid the crowds, which paid off on the food end of things! Little Village, Bully and The Lingnan Express were on hand in the food truck “corral” outside. The Aviation Museum restricts the use of open flame in the building, which helped to rationalize the location of the trucks, but I think they should have been more prominent somehow – the trucks and their menus weren’t even included in the program.

The Urban Craft Beer & Food Festival

To the food trucks

It was also unfortunate that it had snowed earlier in the day, as it turned the dirt pad into mud. Tarps and wooden boards provided some separation, but it was less than ideal.

The Urban Craft Beer & Food Festival

Food truck corral

Still, the trucks soldiered on, and we picked up a great spread – it was one of the first times Mack and I have been able to do so, given we are usually otherwise occupied during What the Truck?! events. Bully seemed to be the only truck to truly pair beers with their food, as all five of their dishes incorporated a different beer being poured in the tasting room.

The Urban Craft Beer & Food Festival

Sliders from Little Village, mac and cheese from Bully, spring rolls and crack chicken from The Lingnan Express  (all for $20!)

After dinner, we perused the beer vendors. Although we appreciated that the event was a fundraiser, samples were priced at 2-3 tickets each. As a result, we ended up only sampling a few beers, partly due to the fact that it would have been quite costly otherwise (we wondered if the organizers might consider including 5 sample tickets with the price of admission to get people started).

The Urban Craft Beer & Food Festival

Mack queues up for Alley Kat

For my sake (as a non-beer drinker), we chose to try a few beers featuring fruit. My favourite of the bunch was Alley Kat’s Summer Squeeze Grapefruit Ale – it was even more fruity than their Aprikat, full of citrus flavour.

The Urban Craft Beer & Food Festival

What the Huck from Fernie Brewing, featuring a huckleberry finish

Mack also tried Alley Kat’s Udderly Vanilla Milk Stout, which tasted more like spiked coffee to me, but Mack enjoyed the combination of coffee and vanilla.

As were were principally there to support the food trucks, we didn’t regret our decision not to imbibe in more beer tastes. But if this event does take place next year, I’d recommend attendees budget in advance, knowing the price of sample tickets. Kudos to the organizers for involving food trucks though – hopefully more events do so as well!

  • SDot

    I appreciate what Sherbrooke was trying to do with this event, but I can’t describe it as anything but a disappointment. I would have expected to get more than simply admission for $25. The average beer sample was approximately 2-3 ounces and required two tickets, some samples ran up to 6 tickets. The first question, what are you getting for your money…the answer, not much. With the average beer bottle being 12 oz, they are virtually selling you beer at a cost of $8-12/bottle. Quite the money making racket if you can sell six packs for $48-72 at an event where the people paid $25 just to get the opportunity to do that. I realize there are insurance, security, overhead costs, etc., but this seemed outrageous to me and the small
    group of people I attended with.

    I am a beer lover and enjoying talking with brewers or reps about their products at beer festivals, I have probably attended about 50 around North America. The tables mostly seemed to be manned by Sherbrooke employees or volunteers who had questionable knowledge of the products. Virtually none of the product was offered on tap. It really seemed like the whole event was just volunteers who were
    manned with six packs and fold up tables.

    The food to me was a disappointment. Not for the quality of the food, but because up to 5 trucks had been advertised and only 3 were there. Little VIllage had run out of food by the time I was there at about 7:30.

    Overall, it felt like the event lacked energy or even a cohesive feel. The venue had a stage, why not have some local talent providing entertainment? The craft beer movement crawls along in Edmonton, but sorry to say this event is light years behind what has been going on in other cities for half a decade or more now.
    energy. The venue had a stage, why not use that stage to showcase some
    local music or talent to set a festive mood?