Whistler Village Beer Festival: Doubling Down
Guest Co-Blogger: Phillipa Campbell
There is beer, and there is craft beer. And while the “regular” big-name brands are perfectly fine for a low-cost Canadian bush party, to really understand why people rave about beer the way they do wine or a fine meal, you have to dive into the world of independent breweries making their own unique and tasty products for the more discerning beer-drinker’s palate.
Photos Courtesy Whistler Village Beer Festival
And the easiest way to slide into that world is the second annual Whistler Village Beer Festival held September 11-14, 2014. Building on last year’s sold-out success the festival is essentially doubling in size for its second round and will have over 200 unique craft beers on hand to tempt the tastebuds of thousands of beer fans.
“Last year we had 34 breweries, this year we have 63,” says festival co-organizer Harrison Stoker. “We will be occupying twice as much space at Whistler Olympic Plaza and we’ll be selling twice as many tickets. Essentially we’re doubling down. The forecast is promising so expect good weather, good beer and lots of it.”
While the main tasting shindig will occur Saturday afternoon from 1-5 PM the Whistler Village Beer Festival actually runs Thursday to Sunday and also includes 31 other events hosted at various restaurants, bars and lounges throughout the Village. Everything from Chef’s Beer Dinners to Tap Takeovers to something called Barley and the Beast.
“Last year we had 6 offsite events,” Harrison says, “So 31 is a decent step up. So many people are amped on craft beer and lots of venues are getting involved. That is what we are the most excited about. It’s one thing to celebrate beer but we also want to grow the industry and the resort and help build up the craft beer phenomenon here in Whistler.”
To further this goal the Whistler Village Beer Festival operates differently than almost any other beer fest. Rather than award a blue ribbon or a trophy for the winningest beers of the festival, Whistler awards actual beer contracts and a chance for small, boutique breweries to have their product on tap in various Whistler establishments.
“Last year we had three venues involved where the winners of the festival got one year draft contracts,” Harrison says. “This year we have 11 venues signed on. It’s incredibly valuable for breweries because obviously Whistler is a place where a lot of beer gets consumed. We want to make this the most sought-after beer festival for exhibitors and breweries because that will bring in the best beers for the audience as well.”
And the proof will be found in the mugs of thousands of beer connoisseurs September 11-14, 2014 for the biggest beer festival Whistler has ever seen and a literal taste of the great years ahead.
Get all the info you need at Whistler.com and be sure to get a hotel room to because if last year’s fest is any indication, this is one of the biggest parties of the year.