109 breweries submitted 1,085 beers to be judged in 30 categories for the 9th annual BC Beer Awards.

Fifty-one of those breweries walked away winners. But only one can claim the bragging rights of brewing the best BC beer of 2018: Twin City Brewing Company. The relative newcomer from Port Alberni won Best in Show for Late Bloomer, a tart fruit beer brewed with hibiscus petals and strawberries. Open for less than two years and a brand new addition to the BC Ale Trail’s Vancouver Island Ale Trail – Part 2, which launched earlier this month, Twin City also took home two silvers for Dissimulator, a doppelbock, and Vanishing Act, a tart blonde ale.

Twin City Brewing
Twin City Brewing Co takes home Best in Show. Photo credit: Charles Zuckermann

Brewery of the Year was awarded to 33 Acres Brewing, which won two golds and a bronze. There’s a complicated mathematical formula used to determine the winning brewery, but it doesn’t take a math degree to know that 33 Acres has been making consistently great beer since their inception in 2013. You’ll find them on our Vancouver Ale Trail. 

33 Acres Brewing
Brewery of the Year, 33 Acres Brewing Co. Photo credit: Charles Zuckermann

Rookie of the Year went to Sooke Brewing Company, which took silvers for its German Pilsner, Belgian Blond and Vienna Lager, and a bronze for its Barleywine. And it won for best Tasting Room as well. Just 11 months old and already winning more hardware than one person can carry.

Judged just before the awards ceremony, by a panel of accredited and celebrity judges, the 2018 Brewers Challenge was awarded to Yellow Dog Brewing‘s Alpha Dog limited release Pale Ale. This year the BCBA challenged brewers to brew a beer with fresh hops.  It could be any style (which made judging that much more fun), it just had to be fresh hopped. Thirty breweries vied for the title. I was among the judges and I can tell you that the beers were all well made and choosing the winner wasn’t easy. In the end, Alpha Dog was the beer that best showcased fresh hops and singled itself out as the winner.

From 30 entries to 8 finalists – only one beer could win the Brewers Challenge

Legend Award

Back to the winning beers in a moment, it’s time to honour a living legend – Lundy Dale! Lundy was awarded the first-ever BCBA Legend Award, created to honour those who have gone above and beyond for beer over their lives. Everyone in the industry knows Lundy, but maybe you’re not aware of all she has done for us. Over the past 18 years, Lundy has tirelessly volunteered her time, including starting several volunteer organizations, dedicated herself to bringing women in beer together and brought us BC Craft Beer Month.  She was putting on beer events before most of us knew what craft beer was!  A Certified Cicerone, Lundy is also a beer writer, contributing to Taps Magazine and What’s Brewing.  Beer is truly Lundy’s passion and she is a most deserving recipient of this inaugural Legend Award.

Lundy Dale
Lundy Dale, recipient of the inaugural Legend Award. Photo credit: Charles Zuckermann

Individual Awards

It was a full house for New Westminster’s Steel & Oak Brewing Co, which showed its versatility by medalling in five very different beer categories.  The brewery won silvers for its Rye Lager and Outdoorsy pale ale, and three bronzes across the German beer, fruit beer and wild ale categories.

Steel & Oak’s full house – three bronzes and two silvers

Twin Sails Brewing from Port Moody swept the Hazy IPA category and added another silver for its Rum Barrel Aged Imperial Con Leche to bring its trophy haul to four. Sweeping a category is nothing new to Twin Sails, which did so last year in the Imperial IPA category.

It was a golden evening for Strange Fellows Brewing, which took first place in three categories, for Mistral, Jongleur and Little Red One.

Sooke Oceanside Brewing had a very good night, winning two golds and a bronze. Golden’s Whitetooth Brewing won a pair of golds. Howe Sound Brewing and Dead Frog Brewery each won a silver and two bronzes.

Howe Sound has been making award-winning beers since 1996

Field House Brewing on the Fraser Valley Ale Trail won Innovator of the Year, as well as Creative Industry Awards for Best Bottle Label and Best Website.

Barkerville Brewing, the predominantly woman-run brewery in Quesnel, took a silver for its 52 Foot Stout. Three Ranges Brewing from Valemount won gold for Tail Slap IPA. Both breweries are part of the newly-launched Northern BC Ale Trail.

Newcomers

It wasn’t just the experienced breweries who took home trophies – the new breweries were showered with accolades as well.

The big winner among new breweries was Sundown Beer, one of the incubator breweries at Callister Brewing, which won a whopping three trophies right out of the gate – a gold for its Hefeweizen and a pair of silvers for Raspberry Fields and Blonde Ale.

Kamloops’ year old brewery, Iron Road Brewing, won gold for its Boomer Wild Ale, while Maple Ridge’s year-old Silver Valley Brewing took bronze for The Highway lager.

Sundown beers are available in cans at Callister Brewing

The awards ceremony at the Croatian Cultural Centre in Vancouver was hosted by the CBC’s Lien Yeung.  Lien was witty and charming and managed to enrapture a crowd usually more focused on drinking beer than listening to speechifying.  CBC also sponsored the People’s Choice award – won this year by new brewery, Brewhall Brewing.

After grabbing all their trophies, the breweries then turned their efforts to pouring beer at the festival part of the evening. More than 50 breweries and 9 cideries poured libations for the boisterous crowd. The festival offers the opportunity to taste beers from across the province in one easy location.  It also gave the winning breweries their first chance to show off those trophies! It was pointed out to me that tickets for this festival always sell out months before the event, and people are lining up outside before the doors open. Beer people, you really are my kind of people!

Vertically-challenged host, Lien Yeung, needed a stool to reach the podium but won the crowds over with her enthusiasm

As always it was an evening full of good beer, good friends and good times, emphasizing again that making beer is a damned fine way to earn a living, and drinking beer an even finer way to spend your time.

The BC Beer Awards tasting festival featured a DJ for music to drink by

Read on for the full list of winners of the 2018 BC Beer Awards.

Main Awards

International Lager
3 Bomber Brewing Bomber Pilsner
2 Steel & Oak Brewing Co. Rye Lager
1 Axe & Barrel Brewing Co. Langford Lager

 

Pale German Beer
3 Silver Valley Brewing Co The Highway: Lager
2 Coal Harbour Brewing Co. 311 Helles Lager
1 Brassneck Brewery Klutz

 

German Pils
3 LoveShack Libations Post Ride Pilsner
2 Sooke Brewing Co. German Pilsner
1 Four Winds Brewing Co. Hüftgold

 

Amber German Beer
3 Steel & Oak Brewing Co. Marzen
2 Sooke Brewing Co. Vienna Lager
1 Steamworks Brewing Co. Steamworks Winter Lager

 

Dark & Strong European Beer
3 Spinnakers Brewpub Black Lager
2 Twin City Brewing Company Dissimulator
1 Sooke Oceanside Brewery Bear Beach Baltic Porter

 

German Wheat Beer
3 Sooke Oceanside Brewery Wiffen Wizen
2 KPU Brewing 50/50 Hefe
1 Sundown Brewing Company Ltd Sundown Hefeweizen

 

UK Pale Ale
3 Howe Sound Brewing Baldwin and Cooper
2 Britannia Brewing Co. Adrift Blonde Ale
1 33 Acres Brewing Co. 33 Acres of Nirvana

 

UK Brown Ale
3 Britannia Brewing Co. Ashore Porter
2 East Vancouver Brewing Co. Humble Hive Brown Ale
1 Sooke Oceanside Brewery Renfrew Red Ale

 

UK Stout
3 Howe Sound Brewing Diamond Head
2 Barkerville Brewing Co. 52 Foot Stout
1 Luppolo Brewing Company Oatmeal Stout

 

Strong Ale
3 Sooke Brewing Co. Barleywine
2 Howe Sound Brewing Woolly Bugger
1 Fisher Peak Brewing Company Hellroaring Scottish

 

Fruit Beer
3 Steel & Oak Brewing Co. Quayside
2 Steamworks Brewing Co. Steamworks Frambozen
1 A-FRAME Brewing Company Emerald Lake Lime Sour

 

Specialty Fruit Beer
3 Dead Frog Brewery Blueberry Blast Kettle Sour
2 Sundown Brewing Company Ltd Raspberry Fields
1 Twin City Brewing Company Late Bloomer

 

Spice Beer
3 Mayne Island Brewing Company Beet Buck
2 Faculty Brewing 250 London Fog Ale
1 R&B Brewing Spruce Tip IPA

 

Smoke & Wood Aged Beer
3 Twa Dogs Brewery Parting Kiss Bourbon Barrel Ale
2 Twin Sails Brewing Rum Barrel Aged Imperial Con Leche
1 Ravens Brewing Clayburn Smoked Scotch Ale

 

European Sour
3 Coal Harbour Brewing Co. Sunrise Gose
2 Faculty Brewing 323 Sourweisse
1 Strange Fellows Brewing Little Red One

 

Specialty Beer
3 Main Street Brewing Skittlebrau
2 Bridge Brewing Company Semi-Formal – Brut Pale Ale
1 Whitetooth Brewing Company Ltd. Launch Pad Belgian-Inspired Rye Ale

 

North American Light Beer
3 Parallel 49 Brewing Jerkface 9000
2 Vancouver Island Brewing Islander Lager
1 Nelson Brewing Co. Hooligan

 

North American Blonde Ale
3 Ravens Brewing Golden Ale
2 Sundown Brewing Company Ltd Sundown Blonde
1 Bomber Brewing East Van Smash For Bash

 

North American Pale Ale
3 Yellow Dog Brewing Chase My Tail Pale Ale
2 Steel & Oak Brewing Co. Outdoorsy
1 Backcountry Brewing Suck It Trebek

 

North American Amber & Brown Ale
3 Monkey 9 Brewing Co. James Brown Ale
2 Category 12 Brewing Side Project Amber Lager
1 Steamworks Brewing Co. Steamworks Heroica Red Ale

 

North American Porter & Stout
3 Dead Frog Brewery 2018 Commander Imperial Stout
2 Gladstone Brewing Company Gladstone Brewing Porter
1 Whitetooth Brewing Company Ltd. Truth, Dare, Consequence Nordic Imperial Stout

 

North American IPA
3 Axe & Barrel Brewing Co. West Shore IPA
2 Mount Arrowsmith Brewing Company Jagged Face
1 Three Ranges Brewing Company Tail Slap IPA

 

Specialty IPA
3 Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks Magical Musicians & Musical Magicians
2 Dead Frog Brewery Obsidian Dagger IPA Noire
1 33 Acres Brewing Co. 33 Acres Of Echo

 

Hazy IPA
3 Twin Sails Brewing Single Whammy
2 Twin Sails Brewing Juice Plus
1 Twin Sails Brewing Orange Slices

 

Imperial IPA
3 Boombox Brewing Just the Hits
2 Coal Harbour Brewing Co. Spaghetti Western-Ish DIPA
1 Central City Brewers & Distillers Red Racer Imperial IPA

 

Belgian Ale
3 33 Acres Brewing Co. 33 Acres of Sunshine
2 Yellow Dog Brewing Take A Walk Witbier
1 Strange Fellows Brewing Jongleur

 

Saison
3 Russell Brewing Russell Belgian Saison
2 Twa Dogs Brewery Mistress of My Soul Saison
1 Granville Island Brewing West Coast Farmhouse Saison

 

Strong Belgian Ale
3 Dageraad Brewing Antwerpen
2 Sooke Brewing Co. Belgian Blond
1 Dageraad Brewing Brune

 

Wild Ale
3 Steel & Oak Brewing Co. Multi Malt
2 Luppolo Brewing Company New World Sour
1 Iron Road Brewing Boomer Wild Ale

 

Specialty Wild Ale
3 Parallel 49 Brewing Late Bloomer
2 Twin City Brewing Company Vanishing Act
1 Strange Fellows Brewing Mistral

 

Dan Small Homebrew Winner
Jeff Tichbourne – “Annie, I’m a Hawk”

Rookie of the Year
Sooke Brewing Company

Creative Industry Awards

Best Tap Handle
Luppolo Brewing

Best Can Design
Boombox Brewing – Holotape

Best Packaging – Boxes & Carriers
Old Yale Brewing – Craft Camper

Best Bottle Label
Field House Brewing – A Good Life

Best Website
Field House Brewing

Best Social Media
Electric Bicycle Brewing

Best Tasting Room
Sooke Brewing Company

Best Merchandise
Riot Brewing

Best Flight Paddle
Parkside Brewery

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