“There’s no such thing as a beer snob.”
This is assured to me by Harrison Stoker, who is co-producing the first ever Whistler Village Beer Festival set for Saturday September 14, 2013, in Whistler Olympic Plaza.
“Beer snobs? No, not in the same way there are wine snobs,” Harrison explains. “Certainly there are people with a beer 'cicerone' certification which is similar to a sommelier but we are not expecting any snobs, it will be more enthusiasts.”
And perhaps the odd afficionado, but one thing is certain, there will be plenty of beer. With 45 boutique and micro-breweries in attendance the Whistler Village Beer Festival promises to bring unique and exciting beer-fueled good times (and great tastes).
“The neat thing about BC,” Harrison explains, “is there has been a resurgence in the growth of hops here so this craft beer revolution is hot and heavy. BC and the Pacific Northwest can produce hops unlike anywhere else on this continent. Beers like India Pale Ale are a hot trend in beer because the hops we produce here are so tasty and smell so incredible. They add enormous flavor characteristics to the beers.”
For a truly local taste of the magic of hops The Whistler Brewing Company will be at the fest with their super-popular Lost Lake IPA, a naturally carbonated, unfiltered brew that's more fun than a bouncy castle for your tongue. "We'll also have some specialty beers and cask kegs," says Whistler Brewing manager Colin Pyne. "We do have a new Harvest Beer coming out this fall but it won't be ready until the beginning of October. Luckily, anytime is a good time to drink beer."
True that. And in perfect beer-drinking fashion, the format of the Whistler Village Beer Festival is nice and straightforward. “It’s really simple,” Stoker explains. “You show up, get a wristband, a novelty mug and some tokens. Each brewery will have a booth with 2-5 of their own brews. You just go around and meet people and use the tokens to try beers and have fun. We’ve got the whole covered area at Whistler Olympic Plaza as well as access to part of the great lawn so we can roll around and whatnot.”
For this inaugural year the festival (which Harrison is co-producing with Liam Peyton of Whistler-based Gibbons Hospitality Group) will also feature six evening events showcasing special casks and kegs, a meet and greet with brewmasters and events that pair beers with certain foods. “These extra-curricular events will be cool,” Harrison says. “We’ll see some interesting seasonals and unique experimental one-offs. Breweries are invited to bring up something special so we should see some beers that people may never see again."
$35 admission nets you five tokens, additional tokens will cost $1.25 and participants will also receive a $10 coupon redeemable at a number of local Whistler bars and restaurants. While the evening events occur from September 12-15, 2013 the big beer tasting fest at Whistler Olympic Plaza is a one-day affair – all the action takes place from 1-5:30 PM on Saturday September 14th. And unlike a wine event, Harrison assures there will be no snobby spittoons for spitting out the sampled products.
“Are you kidding? Spitoons? No way– beer drinkers swallow.”
For tickets and a complete list of breweries, events and accommodation deals hit up Whistler.com