Vancouver’s craft beer scene has never been better—a dozen new breweries have opened in and around the city in the past three years alone and several more are planning to open in the near future. Numerous tap houses that feature multiple craft beers on draft can also be found throughout the city, and cask nights and beer festivals abound.
The best event on the city’s beer calendar is Vancouver Craft Beer Week, which will return for its fifth year Friday, May 30 to Saturday, June 7. The nine-day, beer-soaked festival features events in venues throughout Greater Vancouver, with something for everyone from those just getting interested in craft beer to hopheads, beer geeks and those who check off every beer they drink on an app on their phone (OK, I’ll admit all three of those descriptions apply to me…).
I am involved in a pre-VCBW event kicking everything off on Thursday, May 29: “The Business of Craft Beer,” presented by BCBusiness Magazine from 2-6pm at The Imperial, 319 Main Street. It features a keynote address by Jamie Floyd of Eugene, Oregon’s Ninkasi Brewing followed by two panel discussions that I will be moderating: “Opening a Brewery in BC” and “Marketing & Selling Craft Beer.” The event includes snacks and beer.
Vancouver Craft Beer Week kicks off properly on Friday, May 30 with an Opening Night Party at Gossip Night Club hosted by Prevail, the hip hop artist of Swollen Members fame. The evening will feature music and beer from 22 craft breweries, including some of BC’s newest: Main Street Brewing, Steel & Oak Brewing and White Rock Beach Beer.
The Belgian Showcase at BierCraft Cambie, one of my favourite events from previous years, returns on Monday, June 2 at 6pm. The evening includes food and a variety of Belgian-style beers from Belgian and North American brewers, including Powell River, BC’s own Townsite Brewing, which boasts its own Belgian brewmaster, Cédric Dauchot. I also hope to get a first taste from Burnaby’s Dageraad Brewery, which will feature Belgian-style beers exclusively.
Another great event each year is Cicerone vs. Sommelier, a food-pairing challenge that pits a beer expert against a wine expert over a five-course tasting menu—with guests in attendance clearly the winners! This year’s contest will be held at ARC Restaurant at the Fairmont Waterfront on Wednesday, June 4 at 6pm. Returning champion Cicerone Don Farion (who recently opened his own brewery, Bomber Brewing) goes head-to-head with House Wine’s Michaela Morris with food created by ARC’s Executive Chef Alessandro Vianello.
The week closes out with a two-day beer festival in the Olympic Village. More than 70 breweries from British Columbia and beyond will be showcased each day. Friday’s event runs from 4-9pm, and Saturday is 2-7pm.
There are many other events with a range of prices in a variety of locations to choose from. Check www.vancouvercraftbeerweek.com for details. See you there!
Breweries, Distilleries and Cideries in BC