St. John's Brewfest expands with 60 new beers never poured in Newfoundland

The festival is adding a second night this year, with brews from as far away as Europe and the United States.

Billed as biggest craft beer festival in N.L., event will run over 2 nights in April

St. John's Brewfest takes place Friday, April 20 and Saturday, April 21 at three George Street bars in downtown St. John's. (St. John's Brewfest)

Organizers of Newfoundland and Labrador's biggest craft beer festival are hoping to build on the province's growing taste for original brews by expanding the event this year.

St. John's Brewfest is set to take place on Friday April 20 and Saturday, April 21 at three attached bars in downtown St. John's. The event launched in 2016, and after taking a year off returns this year with 40 per cent more breweries taking part.

The province's craft-beer culture has come a long way in the two years since the first Brewfest, something Steve Martin of NL Promotions said is clear with the fact that the Saturday night event is already sold out.

The first St. John's brewfest took place in 2016 at the Bella Vista. This year, organizers have moved the event downtown, added a second night and plan to offer 40 per cent more beers to taste. (St. John's Brewfest)

"As the industry has grown, the festival has grown with it," Martin said.

"All these microbreweries that are popping up everywhere just increases everyone's liking of craft beer, so we're able to do events like this."

This year at St. John's Brewfest, more than 100 different kinds of beer will be available, including 60 that have never before been poured in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Steve Martin of NL Promotions says St. John's Brewfest has expanded to keep up with the growing taste for new craft beers in the province. (Facebook/St. Johns Brewfest)

Martin said offering something new is key to attracting craft-beer aficionados, who thrive off sampling original brews that aren't available at the local liquor store.

"We have a brewery coming from Europe, we have some from the States and then the rest are from Alberta, Ontario, a great representation from the Maritime provinces and of course Newfoundland."

Food, music, mechanical bull

This year's event will fill Club One, the Sundance and George Street Beer Market and there will be live music performances throughout the day, along with food service — and even a mechanical bull.

Unlike the first festival in 2016 at the Bella Vista, this year's Brewfest won't focus on giving out awards or crowning 2018's top beers.

Martin said organizers ditched the awards because they wanted to keep patrons focused on trying and learning about new craft beer instead of filling out contest forms.

"We appreciate every brewery that takes part in the festival and it is impossible for everyone to try every beer. So the award portion just wasn't relevant anymore."