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Food vendors at last year's festival. Photo by Colin Noden.

The Orléans Craft Beer Festival is worth a trip to the suburbs—06.07.18 to 06.09.18

By Colin Noden on June 1, 2018


The Orléans Craft Beer Festival is shaping up to be an iconic Canadian weekend event. On the surface you’ve got beer, good music, a place to bring friends and meet new ones, and food to keep the mood just right.

Cowbell Brewery at the 2017 festival. Photo by Colin Noden.

Festival founder Kevin Hurtubise is looking to make this a party that will be convenient for locals and showcase the craftsmanship that’s happening in Orléans and points east. His long-term planning is keeping an eye on that transit expansion. Orléans wants to invite Ottawa out to enjoy what’s here.

But it’s all the little details that will separate this from being just another suburban initiative and making it a destination event.

The winning mix must start with the beer. By focusing on local craft brewers, Kevin has tapped into energetic and inventive teams, just around the corner. Their positive energy and optimism is truly Canadian. Craft brewers, with a dedication to flavour and an ever-changing variety, make their breweries destination worthy. But the Orléans Craft Beer Festival has brought them all under one tent for you. There is something special happening around Orléans, and it’s time to taste it.

Beer always tastes better with friends and good music. This year’s festival has doubled the musicians and the stages. The focus is on local quality artists. The headline act on opening night is the Barstool Prophets who sold out at the Shenkman Centre last year. Expect a fun atmosphere as fans come to hear them.

Every day will offer a variety of music. There’s going to be rock, blues, country, alternative, and of course the workhorse cover band musicians. Because, after a beer, you just need to belt out the chorus line of your favorite song (or maybe that’s just me).

Visiting with friends is being made easier this year. There will be covered seating areas, and three beer serving sizes, with the largest being 14 oz. As Kevin said, “after you’ve found a favorite beer, we want you to be able to stay and enjoy the evening, listening to the music and visiting with friends.” And yes, there’s food. A variety of taste and style to compliment your beer of choice.

The Orléans Craft Beer Festival is designed to be more than just a tasting event. It’s the party you wish you could throw in your backyard.

But as I mentioned before, the degree of success is in the details. They’ve invited non-beer and non-local vendors who share the same passion for quality and community. Made sure you can visit with the vendors in comfort. Programmed the musician lineup to keep a fun and relaxed atmosphere going. Have techs to get the sound just right, so there’s minimal bleed into the event sections and neighborhood. Expanded tenting to keep everyone dry if there is a cloudburst. And provided space to get your ride back home. Getting all those little things right is what will make this an annual destination event.

Speaking of destinations, here’s a tip for a successful time at Orléans Craft Beer Festival: take time to record those tastings you have. Also, pin the addresses of your favourite breweries to your phone’s map. Then, if boredom hits this summer, you can pop over to the breweries, where there are tours, shops, and restaurants featuring locally sourced food.

The Orléans Craft Beer Festival runs June 7-9 at 255 Centrum Boulevard. Tickets are available online from $20. Only those 19+ will be admitted to the event.