beer column

my notes from yesterday's beer column
on cbc radio one's on the coast with stephen quinn:
If the fresh-hopped beer season in September is the best time of the year for a craft beer lover, then right now must be the second best time of year for Vancouver craft beer lovers.  The end of May and beginning of June is a special beer season here in Vancouver. It's Vancouver Craft Beer Week!
Vancouver Craft Beer Week is a nine day extravaganza of local and neighbourly craft beers, which begins Friday, May 30 and carries on until Saturday, June 7th. And there are events for everyone! Some events, like Hoppapalooza, sell out in minutes - this year it took just five minutes for all of the tickets for the Alibi Room's annual ode to hops to be sold - other events take a couple of days to sell out. And fortunately, some events are larger and haven't sold out yet - so if you haven't gotten tickets yet, fear not! There is still time. But don't delay! Tickets for the signature and feature events are available through the website at There are 9 Signature and 12 Feature ticketed events and there will also be all sorts of beer pairing dinners, drink specials and other non-ticketed events cropping up all over town during Craft Beer Week.

This year is the fifth annual VCBW.  There is a different theme each year. This year's theme is hip hop and the tag line is "It's a Rap". The opening night party will be hosted by Prevail of Swollen Members and will be held at Gossip Night Club. $49 gets you not just in the door, but also entertained, libated and if you go dressed in your hip hop best, there will also be door prizes. 22 breweries are supplying the libations, including new breweries Steel and Oak, and White Rock Beach.
Last year the VCBW charity beer raised $3,500 for Mark Brand's A Better Life Foundation. This year the Music Heals Foundation will be the recipient of proceeds from the sale of the collaboration brew, named PrevAle. The Music Heals charitable foundation raises awareness of the healing powers of music and fundraises for music therapy and related services across Canada. Their mission is to unite music therapy-related charitable initiatives, and increase patient accessibility to music therapy in children's hospitals, seniors' homes, palliative care facilities, burn units, AIDS and HIV care at at-risk youth programs.

PrevAle was brewed at Central City Brewers' new location in Surrey. It is a double California Common-style ale. Gary Lohin of Central City and Matt Phillips of Phillips dreamt up the recipe at the inaugural Victoria Beer Week in March. They brewed it on March 28th with a little help from all the other brewers in the Province. We can expect a balanced full-bodied beer, rich in flavour. On sale at government and private liquor stores starting May 16, as well as on draft at participating VCBW venues.
Hoppapalooza, PDX Brewer's Delight, Rare Brews & BBQ, Craft Beer Bingo, and Hyper Local at Merchant's are already sold out.  But there are still tickets available for all of the other events.  Some high-lights are:
If you fancy a night out in Richmond, the Pumphouse's 35th anniversary party on Saturday May 31st promises to be a good time. $10 gets you in the door and a shuttle to the skytrain station, or an address in Richmond. 30+ US Craft Breweries will be on tap for $3 a glass.
If you missed out on Hoppapalooza tickets, never fear! There is a second IPA centric event on Sunday June 1st: The 5th Element will be held at Fan Club and it is a contest between 10 of BC's premier breweries to determine whose IPA is the best one on the market in a blind taste-test.
In da Pourhouse is a beer pairing dinner at Pourhouse on Tuesday June 3. $75 gets you a four course meal paired with beers from Driftwood, 33 Acres, Whistler Brewhouse and Dageraad Brewing.
For the cider lovers out there, this year's VCBW features a cider event. Called Cider Rules, it will be held at the August Jack on Thursday, June 5th, and feature ciders from Anthem, Reverend Nat and Finn River paired with appies.
And the week closes out as always with the VCBW beer festival on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. The list of participants is enormous! Over 70 breweries are committed to participate. These festivals are an excellent way to introduce a newbie to the joys of craft beer, and for the already converted to taste beers that aren't always available locally.

There is another beer event in town from May 30 to June - EAT! Vancouver at BC Place Stadium.
EAT! Vancovuer is also an annual event, and while not beer-centred, it does offer a beer, wine and spirits tasting section. I go every year. There's always something new to try... and buy. The food is delicious and who doesn't love a free sample or twelve? And of course there's the beer and wine and spirits. Tickets are available from their website,  More than 40,000 visitors are expected to attend over the three-day festival.  Tickets are $17 for adults ($14 online), $15 for seniors ($14 online), and $9 for youth aged 13-16. Children 12 and under are free.

Beer exhibitors confirmed at the Sips area so far include Alexander Keith’s, Beverage Concepts Int’l, Mill Street Brewery, Singha Beer, Vancouver Island Brewing, Parallel 49 Brewing Company and Yukon Brewery.

Beer Picks:
Of course I think everyone should buy some of the VCBW PrevAle!
And because it is Spring, go find some sunny seasonal beers like Storm's Lightning Wit, available at the brewery for growler fills and 33 Acres of Sunshine, available at the tasting room and for growler fills


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