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Mathieu Poirier: Beer School a key element of Victoria Beer Week

Aficianados and novices alike can learn much about their favourite brews, March 6-14
Michael Kuzyk (right), owner/brewmaster at Category 12, speaks during a Beer School class on wild and sour beers, at Île Sauvage Brewery during Victoria Beer Week. Photo courtesy Victoria Beer Society

Some people enjoy craft beer simply because it tastes good, and want to leave it at that. For those who want to learn more about why they enjoy what they do, what makes their beer taste a certain way, or how that tasty beer was made in the first place, Victoria Beer Week’s Beer School has you covered.

Offering a variety of intimate classes that will delight your mind as much as your taste buds, this year’s selection looks at everything from the history of beer to why your beer and your morning cup don’t need to be kept apart, and so much more in between.

Monday craft beer columnist Mathieu Poirier

This year’s first Beer School event takes place on March 7 and is a tribute to local brewing historian Greg Evans. Greg was involved in a number of Victoria Beer Week events over the years and sadly passed in 2018. In his honour is the Greg Evans Memorial Beer Walk, a 90-minute walking tour hosted by Chris Adams of Ghostly Walks. There’s tours at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. that finish up at Swans Brewpub; you’ll receive a pint of beer and view beer memorabilia from Greg’s collection. Tickets are $25 or $20 for CAMRA members.

On a more energetic note, there’s an opportunity to learn about not one, but two of the world’s favourite brews. Beer + Coffee, being held at the Discovery Coffee Roastery on Rock Bay Avenue, will have Brittany Davies, education manager for Discovery Coffee, and Ryan Malcolm, executive director with the Victoria Beer Society, poring over the details of what goes into a great cup of coffee and how that impacts some of your favourite beers. A $15 ticket includes flights of four beers and four coffees, as well as a discount on Discovery Coffee beans and merchandise.

There are so many more opportunities to explore and enjoy the week’s Beer School events, so for more events, tickets and information, go to


In a combination of bad news/good news, Axe & Barrel Brewing unfortunately closed their doors in mid-February, after a number of years at their Langford location. We wish their brewer, Andrew Tessier, and those involved all the best going forward, and look forward to their future endeavours.

As for the related good news, V2V Black Hops Brewing, a veteran-owned, non-profit brewery supporting veteran’s charities, has taken over that space and will be expanding its offerings from the current two beers to a selection of eight, including something I’m told will be very new and exciting. Stay tuned!

Also by Mathieu Poirier:

Excitement builds for Victoria Beer Week

Looking back on the year in beer

Beers beat wines for pairing with food

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Graeme Hafey, founder of V2V Black Hops Brewing, talks about one of their beers at the Island Craft Beer and Spirits Festival. The veteran-owned brewery will be taking over the space vacated by Axe & Barrel Brewing. Photo by Mathieu Poirier