Barley Mowat 

Guide to Available VCBW Events

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If you’re like me, you woke up this morning and realized “oh shit! It’s VCBW today! I need to update my blog!” Admit it, we’ve all been there.

So, credit card clutched in a sweaty, shakey, DT-y hand, you open up the VCBW event website and take a look. Crap. There’s, like, a million events you can still get into. Which ones are fantastic ale-stravaganzas? Which are just you, stuck in a locked room with Graham With, sampling beers that “should probably be sour” for two hours with no escape? (side note to Chris B: can we make this a thing? We don’t even have to tell Graham. It’d be like a beer version of Lockdown.)

Fear not, lazy and/or incompetent beer geek, for I have hastily and last minute-ly gone through the site and offered up my opinions below. Read on, and purchase your tickets in the know that Chuck Hallett totally would have gone to these events if he wasn’t stuck in Minnesota all next week for work.

Lastly, folks, remember that most of these events are all-inclusive but the inclusiveness doesn’t usually include tips. Tip your servers, is what I’m saying.

It’s kind of likely paying for one less ingredient in your drink.

Gigantabiroomcobaltapalooza
Sunday May 31st @ 2pm @ The Cobalt
$65

Skip. Oh how the mighty have fallen. The once legendary Hopapolooza has been rendered down to this… thing. What was Nigel Springthorpe throwing a singular focus onto providing the best beer drinking selection and experience BC has ever known has been rendered down to a tap takeover at a metal bar.

Sure, there will be some tasty beers on tap, and some fun times to be had, but that name will put an off flavour in any beer geek’s mouth. There is simply no way this event will measure up to the ghosts of beer events past.

BierCraft Belgian Showcase
Monday June 1st @ 6:30PM @ BierCraft Cambie
$75

If you’d like a good intro to the Belgian classics, or just generally like good Belgian beer, go. If you’re an unrepentant hop head, well, then I don’t like you very much (and you should skip). There probably won’t be many beers on the menu at this event that you can’t simply waltz into BierCraft and order on any day of the week, but the pre-paid-ness of it all means you won’t experience sticker shock when looking at the bottle list. Get in there, order something you’ve never had, and then talk about it with your friends and the well trained staff.

Cicerone vs Sommelier
Tuesday June 2nd @ 6PM @ Legacy Liquor Store
$80

Go. Okay, fine, hosting this in the back of a liquor store is just a wee step down from The Fairmont ARC last year, but I still find the very concept of a beer vs wine pairing competition intriguing. Some of my best drunken orgies dinner parties revolved around similar themes, and the discussions you get into about why your favourites win are worth the price of admission alone.

Searching for “wine vs beer” images invariably shows you a bunch of guys holding beers posing with women holding wine. I hate the world.

Battle of the Bartenders: Beer Cocktail Competition V
Wednesday June 3rd @ 6PM @ The Blackbird
$20

Skip. If you like cheap and boozey then this might be for you, but if those are your two favourite things then you’re probably not reading my blog. Beer cocktails can be interesting but, in the end, I’d just rather have the beer.

Rose City Rampage
Wednesday June 3rd @ 5pm @ Portland Craft
$60

Go. I’m frankly shocked this isn’t sold out. If you can only go to one VCBW event, make it this one. By the time PC makes room for eight brewmasters and their entourages (and the no doubt additional eight BC brewmasters who will tag along), there’s gotta be room left for like 20 tickets to sell. If you’re ready to mingle with the elite of the beererati and up your beer geeking out game, this is a can’t miss.

Brothers in Hops
Thursday June 4th @ 6PM @ Butcher and Bullock
$60

Skip. You’re still too hungover from Rose City Rampage, and really this is just a lesser shadow of that event. Four brewmasters instead of eight. Hoppy beers instead of All The Beers. Stay in bed.

Although, one has to wonder why the dog is hungover, too.

Rookies and Legends
Friday June 5th @ 6PM @ 12 Kings
$49

Skip. It’s just 24 regular taps pouring 24 regular beers. No speeches. No chances to corner Alex Ganum and press him to send us more Sole Compositions. Nothing special. As much as I like 12 Kings and its laid back, un-intimidating, “is this a strip club?” atmosphere, this event just doesn’t make the grade. Save your entry free and go play some foosball another night. Several other nights, in fact.

VCBW Festival
Saturday June 6th and Sunday June 7th @ 1PM @ PNE Centre Grounds
$35

Skip. I don’t like beer festivals, and this one is no exception. Unless you’re just getting into craft beer in BC, this event probably isn’t worth your time. If you like geeking out about beer, talking to brewers, and comparing beard grooming tricks & hints, then skip this one. If you like drinking good beer with a few thousand of your closest friends under a blue sky, then go. Hmm, not sure I’m playing this one down as hard as I could.

Written by chuck

May 29th, 2015 at 10:16 am

Posted in Beer and You

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One Response to 'Guide to Available VCBW Events'

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  1. The Belgian Showcase was as good as ever, some high quality beers on tap and in bottles all included in the cost of the ticket with some solid food choices. I think I’ll repeat this annually for sure.

    I pretty much aligned with your assessments, don’t get me wrong all of these events would be fun to attend, are fairly well organized and priced fairly, but as a beer geek I was only really interested in the Belgian on and the Rose City Rampage which I couldn’t attend due to a conflict.

    The big fest is fun, but I’d like to see a VIP event or time allocated at a higher cost to get more intimate access and unique beers

    What’s still missing? A cask event, a few more specialty styled events, and quite frankly more satellite events/themed events.

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