By Mathieu Poirier
Being the fourth annual version of a nine-day festival with 10 venues, 16 events, dozens of breweries, and hundreds of beers, it just didn’t feel right to limit the preview of Victoria Beer Week (VBW) to what could fit in the print copy. Each event has its own draws and while the ones focussed on were likely the ones not to miss, it’s only fair to expand on all the events and let guests decide on their own.
Friday, March 3
Friday Night Casks Part 1 from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
The days with the easiest decisions are those when there is only one event. When it comes to VBW, Fridays are for casks. For the uninitiated, a cask of beer is a thing of beauty. Typically used for limited release beers, these real ales are brewed and conditioned in a small barrel called a firkin. Because of this, two casks of the same beer can actually be quite different from each other. In addition, no additional carbonation is added, so you can enjoy all the flavours involved without feeling overly full.
The opening night event, taking place at the Victoria Public Market, will feature more than 25 casks from around B.C., including cider and mead in case you already need a break from beer.
Tickets are $50 and include eight beverage samples, a food ticket, and a VBW sampler glass. Additional food tickets are $5 each, additional beverage tokens are $1.75.
Saturday, March 4
Brewmasters Brunch with the B.C. Craft Brewers Guild from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Combine a perfect way to recover from Friday’s Cask Night with a charity fundraiser, and add the chance to socialize with some of B.C.’s best brewers, and you have the Brewmasters Brunch.
Held at Swans Brewpub this year, a $30 ticket gets you four, four oz. samplers, brunch, and an overall fantastic event. As an added bonus, this event is less than a 15 minute walk over the bridge to the next event on the calendar, so why not join the crowd heading over and do both?
All About the Wood from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
This new event has to be the one that everybody is talking about. Between the theme of the event, the recently announced perfect fit of a venue, and the growth in wood-aged beers in recent years, this is high on the list of events that are a must attend.
Being held at a new venue for beer week, the Roundhouse at Bayview Place, this event will showcase wood-aged beers from 14 breweries, and the range of the beers being served is impressive. Expect everything from rich flavours drawn out of whisky barrels into malty, smooth beers, all the way to the opposite end of the spectrum, where tart and sour flavours from wine barrels are added to fruity and funky beers.
Thirty-five-dollars gets you in along with six drinks, and additional drinks are $1.75 each.
The Definitive Victoria Brewery Crawl. Trips start at 4 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.
The swankiest of events, this brewery crawl promises to give you a behind-the-scenes look at where some of the magic happens, and you get to look good doing it. Starting at Lighthouse Brewing, guests will hop on a limo bus to visit four breweries, sampling three beers at each location. Food will be served at the second stop, and once finished, guests will be dropped off downtown, conveniently just in time for the last event of the evening.
Organized by Brink Events, the brains behind local events like Diner en Blanc, The Fine Grain, and more, a good time is an inevitability.
Sixty-five-dollars gets you on the bus, so get dressed up and don’t miss it.