This year’s Victoria Beer Week promises a balanced mix of beer-ducation, exploration, and plenty of chances to eat, drink, and be merry.
Running from March 1st to 9th, VBW 2019 features over 20 events that will showcase more than 40 BC craft breweries, hosted at various venues throughout Victoria.
Kick off with Lift Off!
The nine-day beer festival kicks off, as always, with Lift Off! on Friday, March 1st. Hosted in the Victoria Public Market, attendees will be the first to taste some of BC’s newest brews. Here is a complete list of the beers being launch by some of BC’s best craft breweries:
- 4 Mile Brewing Centurion Double IPA
- Axe & Barrel Brewhouse Ride the Bock
- Four Winds Brewing Melange
- Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks White Mage
- Howl Brewing Brunswick Mum
- Petrichor rose saison
- LoveShack Libations Super Summer Sipper
- Mount Arrowsmith Brewing The SPRUT
- Red Arrow Brewing Wild Crafted Elderflower Sour
- Small Block Brewing Spitfire Wee Heavy
- Swans Brewery Cherry Jade Rice Lager
- Torchlight Brewing Sakura Cherry Blossom Gose
- Twa Dogs Brewery Hazy Mist
- White Sails Brewing Streetnames Saison
- Wolf Brewing Irish Red Ale
Stay in (beer) school
This year’s VBW also brings with it an expansion in the Beer School curriculum. Presented in collaboration with CAMRA Victoria, none of the events held during the festival will be dedicated to learning more about beer, brewing, flavours, and food in an effort to educate craft beer lovers of all levels, while satiating them too.
Beer School starts on Saturday, March 2nd with the Cellar Dwellers event. Hosted at Category 12 Brewing from 2:00pm to 4:00pm, attendees will get a class in cellaring from C12’s very own Certified Cicerone®, Jeff Kendrew. Learn about which beers are best left to age, how to age them properly in a cellar, and what the aging process does to the beer. This event is a perfect segue into Saturday evening’s event, held at Victoria Public Market from 7:30pm to 10:30pm, called All About the Wood. Great for any beer geek (or adventurous newbie), attendees will get the chance to taste various wood-aged beers, from sours to Brett-conditioned beers, to wild ales, barleywines, and imperial stouts.
Studious Sunday & Beer•B•Que!
Sunday features a serious learning day, starting with the annual VBW Homebrewing Workshop, held at Moon Under Water Brewpub this year from 11:00am to 5:00pm (already sold out).
Then walk a few blocks over to Île Sauvage Brewing for an Introduction to the Cicerone® Program, a four-level certification program designed for craft beer industry professionals. Hosted by Vancouver Island’s only Advanced Cicerone® (and just 1 of 11 in the country), Stephane Turcotte, this event will be a great introduction to the entire certification program. It will also serve as a helpful preparatory couple of hours for attendees interested in writing Level 1 of the certification program to earn the title of Certified Beer Server.
Sunday, March 3rd also features the Jones Beer-B-Que, one of VBW’s brand new events. Jones Bar-B-Que’s parking lot is hosting this family-friendly outdoor event from 12:00pm to 3:00pm.
Spicing up the work week with beer, food, and fun
Monday evening offers two of VBW’s fan-favourite events. Pizzeria Prima Strada will be hosting two seatings (at 5:30pm and at 8:00pm) of Beer, Pizza, and Gelato. If you can’t get your hands on tickets to either seating, don’t fret! Instead, head down to Northern Quarter to prove your beer knowledge by taking on Thirsty Writer, Joe Wiebe, and editor of The Growler, Rob Mangelsdorf, during the Ultimate Craft Beer Quiz (from 7:00pm to 10:00pm).
A crash-course in food pairings
Tuesday, March 5th, is all about beer and food, with a brand new educational event and another fan-favourite making up the evening’s schedule. From 5:30pm to 7:30pm, the Food & Beer Pairing event will be hosted at Île Sauvage Brewing by Stephane Turcotte, co-founder and brewmaster, and fellow Advanced Cicerone®, Bobby Wood, who will be coming across the border from Seattle to co-host this event. At 7:30pm, the Taco Tuesday event begins at Victoria Public Market, featuring tasty tacos and paired beers to complete the food-focused evening.
Creative craft cocktails
Wednesday night offers another brand new event to this year’s VBW line-up, the Make Your Own Beer Cocktails class hosted by VBW’s very own bartender, Ryan Malcolm. Held at LURE Restaurant & Bar from 5:30pm to 6:30pm, this crash-course in creating beer cocktails is a precursor to the Beer Cocktails Competition. The competition, also held at LURE, will see six of Victoria’s best bartenders step up their creative game to create the best cocktail using craft beer and spirits from Vancouver Island. With official judging to determine the beer cocktail champion, based on both taste and presentation, this double-hitter is a sure way to get over hump day!
The Science of Sour
Thursday brings another opportunity for beer nerds and adventurous beer lovers to explore new horizons. Île Sauvage kicks off the evening with another educational event from 5:30pm to 7:00pm. Stephane Turcotte and Category 12’s PhD brewmaster, Michael Kuzyk, will be going over the Science of Sour, teaching attendees all about sour beers. After learning the theories behind the science, stay on the sour train and get some hands-on practical knowledge by heading over to Garrick’s Head and Churchill Pubs from 7:00pm to 9:00pm for Pucker Up. A list of 20+ beers, spread between the two bars, will feature some prime examples of tart tastings for your taste buds.
Hops – it’s what’s for dinner
Friday night brings another food-filled evening, this one with more of a hop-focused flavour. From 6:00pm to 7:00pm in the Victoria Public Market’s community kitchen, Chef Andrew Paumier (of Indecent Risotto food truck) will be teaching attendees the basics behind Cooking with Hops.
If you can’t boil water, but still want to Drink Your Hops and Eat ‘Em Too, then let the Public Market’s vendors scratch that itch with their very own hop-infused bites. This event will feature lots of hoppy beers and bites, hosted in the same venue from 7:30pm to 10:30pm.
Stacked Saturday: Brunch, Burgers, Beer School & Casks
Saturday, March 9th, is a jam-packed last day full of events to wrap up the 2019 edition of Victoria Beer Week.
VBW’s annual Brewmasters Brunch will be held at Spinnakers Brewpub from 11:00am to 1:00pm. A BC brewmaster will be hosting each table, with plenty of craft beer, good food, and great company to kick-start your day.
Beer School’s last class will be at The Number Creative from 2:00pm to 4:00pm, featuring Danny Seeton of Vancouver Island Brewing. Last year, Danny hosted an “Off” Flavours seminar, introducing attendees to some of beer’s undesired flavours that can be produced inadvertently through improper brewing, storage, or service processes. This year, Danny will host an “On” Flavours in Beer class, teaching attendees about beer styles, what they should taste like, and what to look for when trying to identify different craft beers.
Another new event this year is Big Wheel Burgers & Beer, hosted at Big Wheel’s Westside Village location from 3:00pm to 5:00pm. This event features a special menu, paired with beers from local craft breweries, and is a great excuse to check out the new Johnson Street Bridge, if you haven’t seen it yet.
Closing out the eventful day, Victoria Public Market will host the always-popular Saturday Night Casks event from 7:30pm to 10:30pm. 25+ unique cask-conditioned beers will be pouring throughout the course of the evening, with food from the Market’s vendors available as well.
Get ‘em while they’re here
This year’s event lineup has something for craft beer lovers of all kinds, from nervous novices to full-blown beer geeks. An expansion of the Beer School events also provide those interested with a great opportunity to learn more about their favourite beverage, their new-found hobby, or their dream career in this ever-evolving industry.
Featuring new events, old favourites, and a balanced mix of education, exploration, and enjoyment, check out what this year’s Victoria Beer Week has to offer! Tickets range from $10 to $50 and can be bought online (if still available) through local ticketing partner, Ticket Rocket.
And if you’re making the trip over to the Island for VBW (and somehow still have some time to fill), be sure to check out the rest of what Victoria’s Ale Trail has to offer. Cheers to another great beer-filled week, Victoria!