By Mathieu Poirier
Monday Magazine columnist
March is nearly upon us, and if you’re a fan of craft beer, that means you might already be planning for your favourite nine-day week.
If you’re not yet organized for the sixth annual Victoria Beer Week, there is still a bit of time. And this year there is so much more to enjoy and learn.
As someone who loves educating people about beer, the 2019 program hits all the marks. Alongside many returning events, the organizers have put together an amazing mix of education complementing the nights we know and love.
The Week kicks off March 1 with a great showcase of new beers at Lift-Off! being held once again at the Victoria Public Market. Breweries enjoy this event almost as much as the attendees, and have been crafting beers just for it, which means there are going to be some amazing options.
March 2 marks the start of this year’s expanded Beer School, presented in partnership with CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale). These events give the opportunity to not only enjoy amazing local products, but learn about the beers, the people behind them and what makes them so impressive. Starting with a perfect match, Category 12 and their sales manager Jeff Kendrew will host a class on cellaring beers as a leadup to All About the Wood, which takes place at the Market that evening.
Sunday evening offers a class on the Cicerone Certification Program led by Advanced Cicerone Stephane Turcotte, co-owner and brewer at Île Sauvage. Tuesday has a class on beer and food pairing at Île Sauvage shortly before Taco Tuesday back at the Market.
Wednesday provides a nice twist, with the focus on cocktails made with beer. Lure hosts both a class on beer cocktails and a competition showcasing some of Victoria’s best bartenders. Thursday is for the sour lovers, with a class at Île Sauvage followed with the Pucker Up! event at the Garrick’s Head Pub and The Churchill.
Friday night is all about the hops, with a class on cooking with hops followed by an evening of hoppy beers and food at the Public Market, and then Saturday wraps up the week with brunch at Spinnakers Pub, a class on “On” flavours in beer led by Vancouver Island Brewing’s Danny Seeton, and the must-attend event, Saturday Night Casks.
There’s so many more events, but overall it’s a nice mix of education, enjoyment and appreciation. Tickets for these events and more are available online at ticketrocket.co. You can find other VBW information at victoriabeerweek.com.