Saskatchewan beer culture came alive at Rotary Park this weekend as the YXE Beer Festival premiered in Saskatoon.
Thousands of beer lovers poured into the park to listen to music and try sample-sized drinks from 30 local and small breweries.
Event organizer Lindsay Ogresko said she got the idea after attending a similar festival in Ontario.
“I love trying new beer and I love trying new product,” she said, adding she wanted to spread that love and knowledge in Saskatoon. “I love knowing the knowledge of each product and being able to tell people there is different beer out there, there’s not just simple ones like Kokanee and Canadian.”
One local business on hand was Saskatoon’s own 9 Mile Legacy Brewing Company. The ‘nanobrewery’ makes batches of 120 litres and does their best to experiment with new flavours.
Owner Shawn Moen said the positive response was overwhelming and they were “totally crushed” Friday night after more than 2,000 people came through the gates.
He was pleasantly surprised to see beer knowledge spreading across the prairies.
“We’ve been delighted in our store to see Saskatchewan people coming in with the right terminology; talking about malt and hops and different beer styles,” he said. “The reality is in the last five or 10 years, we haven’t been exposed to the whole wide berth of beer styles, but people are totally keen.”
Ogresko said she would like to turn the festival into an annual event to keep promoting local breweries.
Part of the proceeds of this year’s event go towards cystic fibrosis research.