(Unfortunately, I accidentally scheduled this post for the wrong date so it did not show up last week as intended. I’m taking advantage of the wifi at Sherwood Mountain Brewing to ensure this post goes out today!)
Vancouver Craft Beer Week 2016 has come to an end and it was quite a ride. This was the first year that I’ve actually participated and I’ll tell you it took a lot out of me! I wanted to share with you a few of my highlights from 2016 in the hopes of encouraging you to attend more events in 2017.
In the past I’ll admit that I wondered about the prices for some events as I couldn’t immediately see value prior to attending any events. This year I was able to experience that by and large the prices were actually quite reasonable for what was being offered to attendees at VCBW events.
In most cases, ticket prices to events were around $30 – $50. For many of the events your ticket also included 8 – 10 drinks, usually around 4 – 5oz of beer (or about 2 pints). Many pubs around town will charge between $6 and $8 for a pint so it basically means that 1/3 to half of your ticket cost is for your drinks. In some of the more expensive events food or canapés were included as well, further increasing the value for money.
Overall, I felt that the value for money was very much worth the cost and that even if you can only attend an event or two, you’re likely to find that the value is most certainly there.
Over 9 days, there were quite a few events on offer, and while some of these involved drinking at a venue where there were tokens given out or tokens purchased for more beer, there was still plenty of variety amongst the different beers that were offered, the breweries that were represented at the individual events, and the theme for each event. There were also a few opportunities such as the Belgian Beer Showcase and VCBW Fest that provided patrons with the opportunity to try beer from out-of-town breweries that may not be easy for them to traditionally come by.
For me, the ability to expose ourselves to more options and different styles is a great way to learn and to discover new beers, maybe finding something exciting and tasty that we may enjoy.
Meeting new breweries
I feel particularly privileged to be able to meet the great people behind some of the new, up-and-coming breweries, and even some that haven’t yet opened. At VCBW Fest I was able to meet with Aman and Paul from Hathi Brewing in Abbotsford which was great to finally put faces to names.
I also met Andrés and Nicolàs from Adina Brewing, still bringing things together and struggling through the various roadblocks setting up a new brewery can present, I look forward to being able to get to know them further.
Seeing the fun
The best part was seeing how much fun people were having overall. Often when I go to these events, I end up focussing on the breweries themselves, on the industry, and not on the people that actually enjoy the product being produced. It can still be a challenge for me to meet people as I can often be shy in these types of situations but this time I tried a little bit more to say hello to people, and to reach out to find out what they were enjoying about the festivals and events we were sharing. It was great to share these events with people who were just having a blast.
Looking Forward to Next Year
So for 2017 what do I hope to see? Well firstly even though I am a lover of BC craft, I hope there are more opportunities to try some non-BC beers – whether these are from the USA, Belgium, Germany, or even Alberta, I’d love to be able to expose people to some more breweries and styles.
I liked the collaboration fest and had a great time. Big Rock Urban did a fantastic job of hosting the event and I hope that they (or a similar venue) can be asked to host a similar event next year.
The strongman event was unique among all of the other events at VCBW this year and while I couldn’t attend I heard from many people that it was a riot and plenty of fun. Whether it is brought back in another form, whether it is repeated, or even if there is simply another unique event of the same ilk next year it doesn’t matter to me, provided that there is that there is at least one event that goes a little bit beyond drinking sample glasses at a pub like this one did. As fun as I had at those events, the uniqueness of the strongman event truly set it apart.
VCBW 2016 was very well organized and a great way to drive up enthusiasm and awareness of our local Vancouver and British Columbia breweries. It gave many of the smaller breweries in particular a way to showcase their skills and ability to create phenomenal beer and share it with a very willing audience. I trust that next year won’t be any different, and I hope you’ll join me there.