There’s no question BC is overloaded with beer festivals. There are just too many choices for what amount essentially to the same concept: sip beer out of four-ounce tasting glasses amongst a bunch of strangers, then get drunk. They’re the same, right?
Well, not really. Victoria Beer Week (March 4-12) offers a week’s worth of unique events designed to satisfy all the different angles that craft beer enthusiasts are coming from – from the seasoned veterans to casual drinkers to obsessed foodies. And while there are a few of the quintessential tasting events, they’re all unique enough to warrant buying a ticket (or three).
“Basically, we wanted to bring a lot more awareness about craft beer to Victoria, to introduce more people to it and satisfy the demand of people who are already into it here,” says festival organizer (and regular Growler contributor) Joe Wiebe.
This year, organizers have introduced new events alongside popular ones from past years. There’s a cruise, plenty of booze, and some educational components for those that are interested. Ultimately VBW is as low-key as a beer week can get, promoting the fine art of hanging out and drinking good beer.
Here’s a list of events you really ought to check out. Sold-out events haven’t been included.
Opening Weekend Cask Nights
Friday, March 4 and Saturday, March 5, 7:30-11pm
Victoria Public Market
$56 (per night)
VBW’s opening weekend events offer 28 unique cask beers from breweries all over the province. Each night has a completely different lineup of beers (though some breweries are participating both nights), which means, if you’re crazy, you could try 56 different beers in two nights. Tickets come with eight drink tickets, one food ticket and a VBW sampler glass.
Drink In The Story
Tuesday, March 8, 7-10pm
The Drake Eatery
Last year’s night of beer and storytelling was such a hit in 2015 that they’ve brought it back. And because it lands on International Women’s Day, the night will focus on female brewers, who’ll share their stories of inspiration, frustration and education in the male-dominated BC beer industry. Tickets come with three 10-ounce servings of beer and three paired food samples.
Pucker Up: A Sour Beer Showcase
Tuesday, March 8, 7pm
If storytelling ain’t your thing, there’s always VBW’s nerdiest event – the sour beer showcase. This year offers 12 unique sour beers from Driftwood, Four Winds, Fuggles & Warlock, Strange Fellows and more. Admission includes with six drink tickets.
Fishing For Beer
Friday, March 11, 7:30-10:30pm
Victoria Public Market
For it’s newest event, VBW has partnered with Cowichan Bay Seafood for a beer-pairing event, featuring13 BC breweries and fresh local fish and shellfish dishes. Tickets come with eight beer tokens, two food tickets and a VBW sampler glass. Crab boil plates (half a crab) are available for an extra $20.
Lift Off! A Craft Beer Launch Event
Saturday, March 12, 1-7pm
The Growler is co-presenting VBW’s largest (and only daytime) event of the week. Unlike most beer festivals, this one will feature only never-released beers. The 12 breweries involved had to create brand new recipes in order to participate. Tickets include four beer tickets and a VBW sampler glass.
• Visit VictoriaBeerWeek.com for a full schedule, as well as ticket and travel info.