The 26th annual Great Canadian Beer Festival runs Sept. 7 and 8. Photo contributed

Pass a pint: Great Canadian Beer Festival tickets on sale now

Over 200 brews and ciders will be featured at this year’s craft celebration

The summer heat has just started, but beer enthusiasts can already start planning for a frothy fall.

The Great Canadian Beer Fest returns for a 26th year Sept. 7 and 8 and tickets for the popular event are on sale. The two-day festival will feature beers from 64 breweries as well as cider from two cideries.

Festival chair Gerry Hieter says the trickiest part was picking which breweries to feature when there are so many great choices.

“We have 150 breweries in the province alone and almost 40 from the rest of Canada,” he says. “We had to do a lottery, because we got over 90 applications.”

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Besides a wide range of brews from B.C., attendees will also be able sample beers from Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and even the product of a new brewery in the Northwest Territories. Island breweries get an automatic in, Hieter says.

While Beerfest used to sell out 15 years ago, he says, other late summer events such as Rifflandia and Ribfest are prompting people to pick and choose what they attend.

“It’s probably for the better, because now the people coming are really enthusiastic about the beer craft.”

Beerfest organizers always invite people to dress up in costume and have fun with the entertainment provided. This year there will be a “Cirque du Beer” theme with circus performances by students from the Island Circus School.

Another new addition will be beer-infused ice cream from Parachute Ice Cream.

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People intending to take in Beerfest should plan ahead what they’d like to sample, Hieter says. “People should have a strategy; there’s gonna be over 200 beers.”

Attendees receive a beer tasting glass and a B.C. Transit bus pass upon entry to discourage drinking and driving. No special parking is available for the event.

The Festival runs Sept. 7 and 8 at Royal Athletic Park. For more information or to purchase tickets, you can head to gcbf.com/

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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