Attendees at the 2019 Great Canadian Beer Festival are assured of seeing some new beers and brands than in past years, as the event expands its reach across the country. Photo by Matt Schmitz/Great Canadian Beer Festival

MATHIEU POIRIER: Exciting changes in store for Great Canadian Beer Fest

Annual celebration of craft beer expands to include more breweries from around the country

Mathieu Poirier

Monday Magazine craft beer columnist

Victoria has seen many festivals come and go. Whether they’ve been a celebration for music, culture or more, many just haven’t stood the test of time.

So when something has grown and become a part of Victoria for almost 30 years, it deserves to be celebrated.

Monday Magazine craft beer columnist Mathieu Poirier

This Sept. 6-7 will mark the 27th Great Canadian Beer Festival, and it might be one of the most enticing versions in recent memory. Recently changing hands to fall under the stewardship of the Victoria Beer Society, guests can expect familiarity, with a few changes to improve the experience.

As Society co-founder, director and spokesperson Joe Wiebe put it, “It’s going to be the Great Canadian Beer Festival in a lot of the ways that people have come to like it in the past. It’s not going to be too different.”

So what will be different? One of the noticeable changes will be the list of breweries.

“It’s called the Great Canadian Beer Festival, so we really wanted to make sure we have a broad cross section of breweries from all across the country,” Wiebe said. Offering a Canada-wide selection of 100 or so breweries from as far away as Nova Scotia, the Yukon and everywhere in between, there should be a significant list of must trys for every beer lover.

Food and entertainment may not be the biggest star of the show, but make no mistake, they’re not going to be forgotten either. Guests can expect food from local favourites L’Authentique Poutine & Burgers, Deadbeetz, Taco Justice, Roast and more. As for music and atmosphere, Wiebe is looking forward to something a little more up to date: “We’re going to have a really good vibe at the park, with a sort of a DJ music setup; a little more modern approach to the entertainment.”

The ticket structure has also seen a welcome change. Full-weekend passes are being offered at a discount, and with the expanded selection of breweries, such a pass may be necessary to get to try a wider array this year.

Single-day tickets are available for $40, weekend passes are $70 and members of the Victoria Beer Society can get single day passes for $30. General public tickets are available through Ticket Rocket, while VBS members can purchase through the Society’s website.

As the event draws closer and over the next few years, more will come to light about the festival’s direction, but if some of the announced changes are any indication, 27 years seems like just a start for this September classic.

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editor@mondaymag.com

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