Vancouver getting new fest ‘to bring the community together and celebrate beer’

The inaugural Vancouver Brewers Festival happens this month.

The Vancouver Brewers Festival will take place at the end of April. View Apart/iStock/Getty Images

Vancouver’s independent beer makers are doing their own thing, again.

The inaugural Vancouver Brewers Festival will be an event by brewers for brewers, and the community says organizer Aaron Jonckheere.

“We get together sometimes,” says Jonkheere, who’s a co-owner of East Vancouver’s Strange Fellows. “We’re a community and like each other’s company.”

“So we hatched an idea: why don’t we do something that we run that’s for ourselves?”

Jonkheere adds while there are other beer events out there, and they generally like them, Vancouver’s independent craft brewers aren’t the force behind any of them anymore.

“If we have our own thing we can control what it looks like,” he says.

The first Vancouver Brewers Festival will be simple, with the majority of the city’s independent beer companies holding events. They’ll mostly be one-night, in-house gatherings, like a farm-to-table night at Callister (winner of the first-ever Canada Beer Cup) or a night of live music at Container.

Jonkheere’s Strange Fellows will even be doing an arts event with their creative director Christine Moulson explaining how to do block cuts (which makes sense if you know their labels). More events are expected to be added to the calendar over the coming weeks.

None of the events are a big tasting party like the Vancouver Craft Beer Week event, it’s more about bringing the community together.

“It’s not a way to make money, it’s to bring the community together and celebrate beer,” Jonckheere says.

While the first year is going to be fairly basic, he hopes it’ll grow to include restaurants and other events, but right now they’re focused on getting the festival going.

“It’s a really challenging time for craft beer for a number of reasons, especially for Vancouver-based breweries,” he says. “A lot are inwardly focused and just surviving this time.”

The first Vancouver Brewers Festival will be happening at 25 brewery locations across the city from April 21 to 30.

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