Participants say the debut of Ottawa’s craft beer festival proves it’s experiencing its own surge of interest in smaller, independent breweries.

National Capital Craft Beer Week is celebrating micro-breweries not owned by large corporations, with 60 of them participating this year.

“Ottawa right now is in a real renaissance for breweries,” said an employee of Toronto’s Mill Street Brewery. “For a first-time festival, I haven’t seen this type of participation from other brewers.”

"Beer has gone the way of the wine,” said Greg Haspect, who’s sold beer for almost ten years. “It’s not the traditional (way to just) get drunk, there are a lot more options out there.”

People lined up Friday night at Ottawa City Hall to sample a wide-ranging roster of beer on the festival’s second-last night.

"They are the best beers in Canada,” said Christopher Whelan. “It has some heart in it, it just tastes really good."

“It sits well in the mouth, it's smooth . . . but not much beer flavour which is important in a fruit beer," said Stephanie D’Souza after tasting a sample.

The co-owner of Ottawa’s Hogsback Brewery said beer is appealing more to women as tastes diversify.

“"These days beers are getting more flavourful,” said Paige Cutland. “The aftertaste is very pleasant."

National Capital Craft Beer Week ends Saturday at 10:30 p.m.

With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Stefanie Masotti