The 2013 British Columbia Beer Awards were held at the Croatian Cultural Centre in Vancouver on Saturday, October 19. In addition to presenting trophies in 17 categories, the event also featured a festival where attendees could sample beers by some of BC’s best breweries.
This was the fourth annual BC Beer Awards—the first two were held in conjunction with Vancouver Craft Beer Week, which is held at the end of May each year, and the past two have been key events of BC Craft Beer Month, celebrated annually here each October. The host was CBC Radio’s Stephen Quinn, who showed off his trademark wit as well as an obvious love for craft beer.
The Best of Show prize went to Vancouver Island Brewery (Victoria) for its Hermannator Ice Bock, which VIB has been releasing each winter for 26 years. The timing of this award couldn’t be better since this year’s version is scheduled to hit the shelves in the first week of November. The brewery is also hosting an open house tasting event for Hermannator on Saturday, Nov. 23rd from 1pm – 4pm.
The CBC People’s Choice Award, which was voted on by people in attendance at the festival, went to Powell Street Craft Brewery for its Whiskey Porter, a special cask-conditioned beer created by brewmaster David Bowkett just for the event. It was velvety smooth with big caramel/whisky notes—so good. Although Powell Street is not even a year old yet, it already won Beer of the Year for its Old Jalopy Pale Ale at the Canadian Brewing Awards, which were held in Victoria earlier this spring. (That beer took third place in the English Ale category at the BC Beer Awards.)
The biggest winners were Central City Brewing (Surrey) and Parallel 49 Brewing (Vancouver). Central City, which just opened a huge new $25 million brewery in Surrey, took five first-place awards, along with a second and third, while Parallel 49, which only opened in the spring of 2012, amassed eight awards in total: one first, three seconds and four thirds.
Other interesting results included Driftwood Brewery (Victoria) taking first and second place in the hotly contested IPA category for its Fat Tug IPA and Sartori Harvest IPA (respectively). It was also exciting to see two of B.C.’s newest breweries win first-place awards. Deep Cove Brewers and Distillers (North Vancouver) won in the Wheat Beer category for its Quick Wit Wheat, and Persephone Brewing (Gibsons) won first place for its Stout-Off Stout. Both of those breweries just opened in August. Also, the Dan Small Homebrew Award went to John Folinsbee.
It was a great event with beer lovers mingling freely with many of the province’s best brewers. Representatives from CAMRA BC (the Campaign For Real Ale) and VanBrewers, Vancouver’s homebrewing organization, were also on hand to provide information to those interested in getting more involved in the craft beer scene. It happened to be my birthday, so a personal highlight for me was when the entire crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to me.
The complete results of the 2013 B.C. Beer Awards are posted here.