Raising a glass to Victoria Beer Week

The mix of indoor educational, tours and outdoor events make it easy to find something to attend

It was a sunny Sunday last winter, and Beer School was a real event in my calendar. Starting in 5000BC, moving to present day, our two class sessions tasted and told their way forward. We learned it was women who first brewed beer, that there was a Goddess of Fermentation. Ancient Egyptians paid their stone masons in beer. From Babylon to the caves of Germany, at the hands of nuns and Pharaohs, beer holds a fascinating history.

Victoria Beer Week is a nine-day series of events taking place around Greater Victoria from March 4 to 12. Swan’s Hotel & Brewpub hosted the Beer School event last year, where we tasted Saltspring Ales Gruit, a traditional open tank fermented Moon Under Water wheat beer, and three others. Swan’s Brewmaster Andrew even offered up an impromptu tour of their brewhouse. This year Beer School is back at Swan’s with a class on Beer Judging, and the history of brewing on Vancouver Island, $25 each or $40 for both. I highly recommend these.

History of origin and tradition run deep within our food system, and Victoria Beer Week events are doing a fantastic job of showcasing this. Learning where things come from and how that builds community today pulls together a fun and excited group of people. Beards not required.

This year opens with a cask night at the Victoria Public Market ($50), featuring beer, cider and mead. Brewers Brunch ($30, last year’s was awesome) is at Spinnakers March 5. Lift Off! A craft beer launch event in Market Square for unreleased beers ($28) is March 12. At Prima Strada, The Duke Saloon and The Drake Eatery host cheese, pizza, beer cocktail and BBQ events. Find details on all the events at victoriabeerweek.com.

The mix of indoor educational, tours and outdoor events make it easy to find something to attend that doesn’t overwhelm you if you’re not talking about hints of coriander and IBU counts yet. For the craft curious or proud beer snob, as cliché to write as all that plaid is to wear, they’ve really created events for everyone.

More than 50 craft breweries from around BC will be in town talking about our craft scene and why it rocks.

Buy tickets at victoriabeerweek.com. Use #VBW2016 if you go.

– Chantal Ireland

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