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Matter of Beer: September Sips and Back-to-School Bashes

Mathieu Poirier’s monthly beer column
The 29th annual Great Canadian Beer Festival returns Sept. 8-9. (Courtesy Victoria Beer Society)

For the most part, September gets a bad rap. It’s back to school, back to work, summer is ending as we shift into the fall, and overall, people see it as the end of something good. Instead of an ending, it should come as a new beginning. In September, beer festivals and events get their second wind, and this year is no different.

It’s impossible to talk about September beer festivals without the biggest one of all. Coming back for its 29th year, the Great Canadian Beer Festival is the perfect way to wrap up that always difficult first week back to life. Serving up more than 90 Canadian breweries, including 14 from Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia, you have two days to responsibly enjoy over 200 beers. This year, pricing has changed, and tickets start at only $25 per day or $45 per day with ten tokens to start you off, helping you avoid the lineups.

For those wanting to make a weekend of it, weekend passes with tokens are only $80, saving you $10 off the daily rate. Contrary to the past, tickets have been available at the door for the last few years, so if you’re a last-minute planner, you can easily fit it into your schedule.

If that weekend isn’t packed enough for you, add a day at Ribfest in Bullen Park in Esquimalt. Going from Sept. 8-10, You could fit in both days at GCBF and still go for ribs on Sunday. With no tickets to get in, entry by donation to the Esquimalt Fire Fighters’ Charitable Foundation, and beers from Vancouver Island Brewery, Lighthouse, Category 12, Driftwood, Howl, and Hoyne, it’s a perfect way to fill up the extra day.

Finally, after the following weekend off to recover, the festival of meat, beer, and music is back. Brewery and the Beast returns to Starlight Stadium on Sunday the 24th, from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m., with tickets still available as of mid-August. Featuring an amazing list of food vendors to pair with multiple beer and beverage options, this event has outdone itself every year with its variety of menu choices and creative all-inclusive experience. If you have never been, here’s your chance.

It may sound like a busy September, but how else will you take your mind off everything else?

READ MORE: Matter of Beer: Award-Winning Brews to Enjoy This Summer

The Great Canadian Beer Festival offers a chance to chat with and try beers from breweries across Canada. (Courtesy Victoria Beer Society)