Being the fourth annual version of a nine day festival with 10 venues, 16 events, dozens of breweries, and hundreds of beers, it just didn’t feel right to limit the preview of Victoria Beer Week to what could fit in the print copy. Each event has its own draws and while the ones focussed on were likely the ones not to miss, it’s only fair to expand on all the events and let guests decide on their own.
Friday March 3rd
Friday Night Casks Part 1
7:30 PM – 11:00 PM
The days with the easiest decisions are those when there is only one event. When it comes to VBW, Fridays are for casks. For the uninitiated, a cask of beer is a thing of beauty. Typically used for limited release beers, these real ales are brewed and conditioned in a small barrel called a firkin. Because of this, two casks of the same beer can actually be quite different from each other. In addition, no additional carbonation is added, so you can enjoy all the flavours involved without feeling overly full.
The opening night event, taking place at the Victoria Public Market, will feature more than 25 casks from around BC, including cider and mead in case you already need a break from beer.
Tickets are $50 and include 8 beverage samples, a food ticket, and a VBW sampler glass. Additional food tickets are $5 each, additional beverage tokens are $1.75.
Saturday March 4th
Saturday is where decisions need to be made. The busiest day of the week, there are four events to choose from on this day, and all of them are bound to be busy and
Brewmasters Brunch with the BC Craft Brewers Guild
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Combine a perfect way to recover from Friday’s Cask Night with a charity fundraiser, and add the chance to socialize with some of BC’s best brewers, and you have the Brewmasters Brunch.
Held at Swans Brewpub this year, a $30 ticket gets you four 4 oz. samplers, brunch, and an overall fantastic event. As an added bonus, this event is less than a 15 minute walk over the bridge to the next event on the calendar, so why not join the crowd heading over and do both?
All About the Wood
1:00 PM – 6:00 PM
This new event has to be the one that everybody is talking about. Between the theme of the event, the recently announced perfect fit of a venue, and the growth in wood-aged beers in recent years, this is high on the list of events that are “Must Attend”.
Being held at a new venue for Victoria Beer Week, The Roundhouse at Bayview Place, this event will showcase wood-aged beers from 14 breweries, and the range of the beers being served is impressive. Expect everything from rich flavours drawn out of whisky barrels into malty, smooth beers, all the way to the opposite end of the spectrum, where tart and sour flavours from wine barrels are added to fruity and funky beers.
$35 gets you in along with six drinks, and additional drinks are $1.75 each.
The Definitive Victoria Brewery Crawl
Trips start at 4:00 PM, 4:30 PM, and 5:00 PM
The swankiest of events, this brewery crawl promises to give you a behind-the-scenes look at where some of the magic happens, and you get to look good doing it. Starting at Lighthouse Brewing, guests will hop on a limo bus to visit 4 breweries, sampling 3 beers at each location. Food will be served at the second stop, and once finished, guests will be dropped off downtown, conveniently just in time for the last event of the evening.
Organized by Brink Events, the brains behind local events like Diner en Blanc, The Fine Grain, and more, a good time is an inevitability.
$65 gets you on the bus, so get dressed up and don’t miss it.
Fishing for Beer
7:30 PM – 11:00 PM
Victoria Public Market hosts this returning event, where brine meets beer. Local vendors will be serving fresh fish and shellfish, while 11 breweries will be serving their best seafood-pairing beers.
For those interested, there is also the option of upgrading your ticket to enjoy one of the best parts of the evening, the crab boil. With the upgrade, you get everything the regular ticket has, plus a half-crab plate with sides.
The timing is perfect for those wanting to add to the evening after the Definitive Victoria Brewery Crawl, so make a day of it.
The $40 ticket includes 8 beverage samples and 2 food tickets, and the upgrade to the crab plate is an additional $20. The upgrades are limited though, so don’t wait too long.
Sunday March 5th
Sunday is for recovering from the hectic Saturday, so take some time to relax while learning about your favourite beverage.
Session 1: 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM, Session 2: 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Beer School involves Two two-hour sessions worth of knowledge imparted by some of the industry’s local experts, all in the relaxed atmosphere of Swans Brewpub. A great way to gain more knowledge about beer and the brewing industry, this has tended to be a popular way to spend Sunday afternoon.
The first session, Let’s Get Brewing, will have Danny Seeton, production manager from Vancouver Island Brewing speaking about the brewing process while Chris Lukie, Head Brewer at Swans Brewpub, walks people through a hands on demonstration. A great opportunity to see how your beer is made and the improvements in the processes.
In the afternoon, guests will get to travel back in time and learn about a dark time in the history of beer and brewing. Local beer historian Greg Evans will cover prohibition in BC and south of the border in the early 20th century, and give people a taste of what life was like in a time of temperance.
Each event is $20, or make a day of it and take in both for $30. Guests will receive a beer at each session, and there will be a special lunch option available from Swans.
11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
If you brew your own beer, or would like to, this is an event you can definitely gain something from. Held at Category 12 Brewing in Saanichton, this 6 hour event led by Head Brewer and Founder Michael Kuzyk with cooperation from BrewVic, Victoria’s homebrewing club, is one of the more popular events of the week, with previous versions selling out. This is also the least expensive event of the week at only $10, and includes lunch.
Take a few hours to learn from some of the best about how to take your batches to the next level.
Monday March 6th
A combination of two events that is bound to cause conflicts as to which one to attend, you can flip a coin as to whether you want to satisfy your hunger for knowledge, or just your hunger.
Beer, Pizza, More Beer
First Sitting: 5:30 PM, Second Sitting: 8:00 PM
What could be better than beer and pizza? How about a beer and pizza pairing event? Located at Pizzeria Prima Strada’s Fort Street location (note the change), this event will walk guests through a selection of four slices and samplers of beer, each planned paired together by one of BC’s amazing breweries.
Tickets are $30 for each sitting, so take your pizza and beer experience to the next level and don’t miss out.
Ultimate Craft Beer Quiz!
7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
CAMRA Victoria presents this beer quiz night, featuring none other than the Quiz Master himself, Benji Duke. Test your knowledge against noted local beer expert and author of Craft Beer Revolution, Thirsty Writer Joe Wiebe at Northern Quarter while enjoying beer from the excellent selection on site.
Attendees will also receive a discount on food ordered, with something special in the works from the kitchen.
Tickets for this event go for $15, and teams can include up to 6 people.
Tuesday March 7th
Another tough choice between brain and belly, Tuesday does allow some wiggle room to attend one event before the other, so feed your hunger with some tacos before you head down and feed your knowledge.
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
The intersection of Fort Street and Blanshard Street has quickly become a foodie’s paradise with some of the best tacquerias in town. If you love tacos, and you love beer (which is hopefully the case if you’ve made it this far through an article about beer events) then there is a new event just for you.
Tucked away down an alley is The Fort Common, the courtyard venue that plays host to Taco Tuesday, where a selection of four breweries will be available alongside some amazing tacos.
This $25 ticket includes three beer samples and three tacos.
Drink In The Story: BC’s Craft Beer Legends
7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
The beer industry is one where a lot of the people behind it would rather be brewing than talking and so they let the beers and breweries speak for themselves. This leads to gaps in information about some of the more influential individuals making BC craft beer what it is today.
Drink in the Story, which takes over a new venue this year at the Victoria Harbour Airport, aims to share some of that information, and puts the people behind the beer front and centre to tell you how they got where they are.
The evening will have three brewmasters, each of whom will take a turn telling you their story, all while you sample a beer of their choosing. The three individuals consist of Iain Hill, formerly of Yaletown Brewing and currently the force behind Strange Fellows Brewing, Gary Lohin, brewmaster at Central City Brewers and Distillers, and local legend Matt Phillips, obviously of Phillips Brewing and Malting.
Tickets are $25, and includes the three beers as well as snacks.
Wednesday March 8th
Not much to decide here, except what cheese goes best with what beer. Might not be easy though, so you’ll probably have to try them together a few times.
Beer, Cheese, More Beer
7:30 PM – 10:30 PM
Cheese! Likely one of the most popular events of the week, it also might be one of the best values. Fans of cheese can have their fill, while enjoying beers from 12 different breweries. The combinations of cheese and beer are mind boggling, but don’t let that distract you from getting your ticket soon. The event moved to the Victoria Public Market last year and sold out to capacity, so expect a similar result.
Tickets are $30 and include eight beer tokens as well as all the cheese and crackers you can eat.
Thursday March 9th
The choice here becomes a little sizzle, or a little sour. Both events happen in the downtown core, so if you have tickets to the early sitting of Cooking with Beer, you could easily make your way over to Pucker Up with relative ease and you’ll already have eaten.
Cooking with Beer
First Sitting: 6:00 PM, Second Sitting: 8:00 PM
Dan Hayes, aka The London Chef, will spend the evening showcasing a selection of recipes that not only go great with beer, but include beer as an ingredient. Held at the intimate London Chef kitchen on Fort Street, guests will have a three-course meal by the end of the night along with a sampling of the beers used in the recipes. Victoria Beer Week’s own Ryan Malcolm will also be there to facilitate the event, and if you know Ryan, that should guarantee that the evening is as entertaining as it is interesting.
Tickets are $50, and as a special treat, guest will get to take home a copy of the recipes as well as a Cooking with Beer Guide.
Pucker Up – A Sour Beer Showcase
7:30 PM – 10:30 PM
Love sour beers? Know someone who loves wine but says they can’t stand beer? Want to experience beer in a whole new light? This is the event for you. As much as sour beers seem relatively new, they’re historically about as old as beer itself, so take a trip through time and enjoy a selection of old styles and new techniques from 12 breweries.
Relocated to the Victoria Public Market this year, tickets are $30 and include 6 samples.
Friday March 10th
Friday Night Casks Part 2
7:30 PM – 11:00 PM
Another Friday night, so it’s just another cask night with the same beers available the first week, right? Wrong. While some of the breweries might be the same, they will all be bringing different beers from the first night, so no beer will be repeated.
Same details as the first time around, $50 to get into the Victoria Public Market, and a great way to spend a Friday night, or 2 Friday nights in a row.
Saturday March 11th
Lift Off! – A Craft Beer Launch Event
1:00 PM – 6:00 PM
After eight days of beer, who wouldn’t like something new? Well, Lift Off! is the place to be. Being held outside under tents at Centennial Square this year, this event promises to have something you’ve never tried, as all the beers being served have yet to be released before this event.
12 Breweries will be bringing fresh beers to keep you warm, and if you try one you just have to bring home, Spinnakers Spirit Merchants will have a pop-up shop on site where you can purchase it. $25 gets you in along with four samples. Expect this to be a full house if last year’s event is any indication, so don’t miss out on the wrap-up to Victoria Beer Week 2017.
A full slate of events for the beer lover in your life, so don’t delay as some events are likely to sell out. Tickets for are available at vicbeerweek.ticketrocket.co, or at their offices located at 101-804 Broughton Street. Discounted bundles are also available when purchasing multiple events, with details available online.
Use the hashtag #VBW2017 to keep up with what is happening during the week, and look for reviews of multiple events throughout the week at mondaymag.com
In addition, one of the best ways to experience the week is volunteering. All volunteers get numerous perks including an exclusive shirt, discounts on tickets, and access to the volunteer party on the last Saturday of the event. For more information, go to victoriabeerweek.com/volunteer