BC Craft Beer Events You Don't Want To Miss!
There is no shortage of great craft beer in British Columbia. No small town seems complete without a local craft brewery to call their own and large brewing districts are popping up in major cities.
Sadly I have not been to all of the beer festivals and events in BC, but I have been to a considerable number and below are my favorites that you don’t want to miss.
Penticton’s Okanagan Fest of Ale
April 17 & 18 2020 (Suspended Indefinitely due to Covid-19)
The lakeside town of Penticton punches way above its weight class in craft beer. Penticton is home to only 33,761 people but hosts 6 breweries and the annual Okanagan Fest of Ales. The event has ballooned in size over 25 years and raised over $750,000 for local charities. The organizers do a great job making the event fun for the brewery staff, so actual brewers (not just the sales staff) come from all over the province pour are the event.
Fort Langley Beer + Food Festival
May 16 2020
For one day in May all of the hipsters from Vancouver load into shuttle buses and relive their favourite elementary school field trip with IPAs and food trucks.
Vancouver Craft Beer Week
June 5, 6, and 7 2020
Vancouver Craft Beer Week (or VCBW for the cool kids) is the biggest beer celebration in BC. Typically featuring over 300 breweries from across BC, Canada, Washington, and the World; you will need a weekend pass to even consider drinking one beer from each booth (normally each booth offers a few different drinks)
VCBW has moved from the PNE fairground to the Concord Community Park overlooking False Creek for 2020. It is now walking distance to the Main Street Science World Skytrain Station; Best of all they are doing away with drink tokens and all drinks are included with the gate ticket price.
Surrey’s Battle of the Brews
Every year the Surrey Fire Fighters and 102.7 the Peak team up and organize a beer festival to raise money for children’s charities. I honestly don’t understand how this event doesn’t immediately sell out, it checks all of the boxes.
- All you can eat and drink for one low ticket price
- Proceeds go to charity
- Amazingly convenient location; literally under the skytrain
- Marketing support from the Peak radio station
- Sexy fire fighters
Victoria’s Great Canadian Beer Festival
September 11th & 12th 2020
Is a craft beer festival or a Uvic back to school costume party? Why should we be forced to choose?
I don’t even know how long the Great Canadian Beer Festival has been operating but it certainly predates most beer festivals and breweries in BC. The organizers do a great job of making it a must-attend event for the breweries. You will almost certainly meet and talk to the brewers and ownership of brewers from across BC if they are not too hungover on the second day.
Whistler Beer Festival
September 14th to 20th; main event on September 19th and 20th
Pack your lululemon yoga pants, Arc’teryx jacket, rain poncho and head up the sea to sky because unsurprisingly Whistler hosts a kickass beer party that is historically guaranteed to pour with rain on Sunday.
The main trade-show style event is on Saturday/Sunday September 19th and 20 but the side events are what really set the Whistler Beer Festival apart from other beer festivals. Personally I really like the strange/rare/strong beers event normally hosted at Hunter Gather. Normally, Hunter Gather serves a dozen or so unique high strength beers from across British Columbia. Historically this no cover event gets super busy, so make sure to get there early or plan to go well after the dinner rush.
Book your accommodations and event tickets early
Late September 2020
Kamloop’s perfectly named Brewloops is unlike any other beer festival that I have ever been to (BC or anyway else). They sell 12 oz pours. In the past Brewloops has featured Ferris wheels, bumper cars (sorry no cup holders), firefighter games. The whole event ends with a late-night concert from touring and recording bands that can draw a crowd, such as the Dudes and the Zolas.
Harrison Hot Springs' Beer Fest
Late October 2020
Harrison Hot Springs doesn’t have a brewery to call their own but that does not stop them from hosting a weekend full of beer events. Typically the Harrison Hot Springs Beer Fest kicks off with a dozen brewery strong cask event with a full buffet on Friday.
The main festival style sampling event is Saturday afternoon and typically features about two dozen breweries. There is an Oktoberfest themed dinner/dance Saturday night.