Beer and Board Fests Kickstart Autumn in Whistler

Beer and Board Fests Kickstart Autumn in Whistler

Guest Author: Vince Shuley

People love mountains. Especially in Whistler where the landscape provides a place to play, work, and acts as an amazing backdrop for incredible events throughout the year.

People also love craft beer; the hoppy, malty, colourful bubbles pouring in hundreds of varieties around British Columbia and the world.

So what’s not to love about a combination of the two?  Beer in the mountains! The Whistler Village Beer Festival, B.C.’s rapidly rising star of beer celebration, returns to Whistler September 16-20, 2015. (Editor’s Note: It’s baaack! Whistler Village Beer Festival is on September 16 – 18, 2016)

Boasting more than 200 beers from 80 breweries, what started as a single afternoon of tastings back in 2013 has now morphed into a five-day festival. The main event of the fest sees thousands of beer lovers gather for an outdoor tasting in Whistler Olympic Plaza, and the big news is this year the tasting event has spilled over onto Sunday as well. That gives more folks a chance to make it up to Whistler to drink beer from a four-ounce tiny mug, or for the beer aficionados, another chance to sample as many breweries as possible during a sud-soaked marathon weekend of tastings.

While Olympic Plaza is the epicentre of beer celebration, the satellite events of the Whistler Village Beer Festival are also making a sizable splash for 2015. On Friday (September 18, 2015) the Mountain Club Lounge at the Westin Resort & Spa becomes a sort of beer university with three different afternoon seminars: for the uninitiated, Craft Beer 101 gives the lowdown on the brewing process and what separates a lager from a pilsner and a stout from a porter. The History of Beer offers a look at brewing practices and trends throughout history right up to the present craft beer revolution. And for the aspiring home brewers and connoisseurs, The Vancouver Campaign for Real Ale Society (CAMRA)’s Hops 101 delves into the world of those little green flowers of the Humulus lupulus plant that give IPAs that hoppy kick. Rest assured, these are learning-by-tasting events with samples of beer included in the ticket price. Find details and dates for all the special events and seminars at

Whistler Longboard Festival

If you need a break from the beer and want a shot of adrenalin instead, head up to the Whistler Sliding Centre for the Landyachtz Longboard World Cup Downhill. The Sliding Centre access road transforms into a 1.6km-long race track with leather-clad riders drifting around 12 corners (including seven 180-degree hairpins) down more than 300m (1000 ft) of vertical on lower Blackcomb Mountain.

Friday (September 18, 2015) is Freeride Day, allowing all longboarders to tackle the road without the need for leather suits and International Downhill Federation (IDF) membership. Saturday (September 19) is Qualifying Day with racers doing timed runs for hopeful entry into the heats. Sunday (September 20) is Race Day, with groups of six skaters vying for the top spot in an elimination-style format, doing their best to stay upright and avoid the always-exciting collisions into the trackside hay bales.

The event is free for spectators and always fun to watch. Note there is no beer garden at the Longboard Fest this year (hit the beer fest for that) so grab your deck chairs and set up a picnic spot on one of the 12 exciting corners of the Sliding Centre road for one of Whistler’s most unique events. Autumn longboarding doesn’t get more exciting than this. Be warned though, those Landyachtz boards are as fun as they look but they’re definitely not the kind of things you want to hop onto after a day of Beer-Festing. Ride safe. More info.



With 80 breweries in town competing for the coveted “Best in Fest” award (and a host of one-year beer contracts at some of Whistler’s most popular venues) up for grabs many brewmasters will showcase their specialized talent at the cask nights. These smaller barrels of beer undergo a secondary fermentation adding unique flavours to already-flavourful beers. It’s a dream come true for beer nerds and brewers alike. The Best in Fest/ The Veteran Casks pits past winners of the Whistler and Okanagan beer festival against one another on Thursday (September 17, 2015) at the Firerock Lounge and Cask-Que C’est sees six of B.C.’s best breweries battle it out for the coveted Growler Trophy at The Brewhouse on Friday (September 18, 2015).

The only thing better than great beer is pairing it with great food, so the 2015 Whistler Village Beer Fest also hosts excellent “foodie” events. On Thursday, Whistler’s favourite Irish pub The Dubh Linn Gate plays host to the Deschutes Brewing Beer Dinner and south of the village in Creekside, Creekbread offering a Pie & Pint! night with attendees being greeted with four different pizza and beer pairings from Steamworks Brewing. Friday sees the Brewer’s Luncheon at the Grill & Vine (hosted by Whistler Brewing Co.) and for the first time in the festival’s history, a mountain top Salmon Bake & Beer by Canadian Wilderness Adventures. Participants will drive an ATV up to the Crystal Hut at 6,000 feet on Blackcomb Mountain and indulge in Ocean-Wise salmon and a slew of Whistler beers. The ride back down is chauffeured by experienced guides in a Rubicon Jeep. You can’t get more Canadian than that.

Be part of Whistler’s fastest growing festival this month and throw back a few delicious ales at the Whistler Village Beer Festival. No one likes to drive afterwards either, so be sure to arrange your lodging, taxi or transit and as always, please drink responsibly.



Get hotels, tickets and free beer (just kidding, that would be awesome though) at

Feet Banks

Feet Banks

Feet Banks moved to Whistler at age 12 so his parents could live the dream and ski as much as possible. He ended up living it too. After leaving home Feet did a few good stints in warmer climates and 4 years of writing school before returning to the mountains to make ski movies, hammer out a journalism career and avoid the 9-5 lifestyle as long as possible. He’s been a hay farmer, a hole digger, a magazine editor and has a jump named after him on Blackcomb Mountain, Feet’s Air. It’s tiny.