Vancouver Craft Beer Week is coming up May 10th until the 16th as the city celebrates local brews and the tradition of fine artisanal beer.
Consisting of signature festival events and independently organized satellite events in participating retail stores and restaurants, VCBW aims to attract the widest demographic possible in order to further grow the craft beer culture of the region.
I had the chance to visit the judging panel a few weeks ago where dozens tasted, sipped, and ranked craft beer in preparation for the BC Beer Week Awards. There I met Chris Bjerrisgaard (of TrueCask.com), @BCBrews, and @AndyTheBeerman who gave me a crash course in craft beer.
“Craft beer fans are a community,” Andy told me as he spoke about the passion many of them have. The typical craft beer fan can probably list off several food pairings for pretty much any beer type you throw their way. Chris said the beauty of beer is that you have your four main ingredients (barley, hops, yeast and water) and then you can add whatever you like to the mix — from berries to spices. With over 80 styles of beer out there, the possibilities for delicious combinations are near endless.
For a place that has only recently made its mark in the craft beer realm, Vancouver has increasingly become a destination for those looking for micro-brews and brew-pubs alike. However “beer geeks”, as they call themselves, have a keen interest in watching a wave of change pour over more local dining establishments.
During our conversation it was mentioned that some restaurants have pages upon pages in their wine menu while only offering two or three kinds of beer. Andy said if the roles were reversed, it’s like offering your customers only one type of wine — from a box — on your wine list. They gave kudos to restaurants such as Vij’s who have actually dedicated their entire beer menu to Storm Brewing. Praise also went out to the Alibi Room, and St Augustine’s.
The craft beer community aren’t snobs when it comes to beers, it’s more about them knowing this fantastic secret and wanting to share it with the world. The goal is to share this enthusiasm for craft beer while educating everyone from the casual drinker to those with the finest of palettes.
For more information check out CAMRA Vancouver (The Campaign for Real Ale), and the upcoming Vancouver Craft Beer Week site for announcements over the next few weeks. You can also follow @VCBW on Twitter for news and information.
Update April 19, 2010 Tickets for several VCBW events are now on sale. View the complete listing online.