The Ultimate Guide to GCBF!!!

Out of all the articles telling you what to drink, where to go, when to eat, how to walk, and who to hug, this is probably the one with the most clickbait-y title out there, and as much as getting you to read this is the goal, part of drawing you in is to remind everyone about how much GCBF is just about going out there and having fun, but in your own way.

GCBF is the biggest beer festival in Canada with up to 8000 people going through those gates between Friday at 4 and Saturday at 5. The sheer volume of people coming through is amazing. Imagine the population of Hope showing up just to drink beer for 5 hours at a time. It takes over 350 volunteers to make that happen, and that doesn’t include the amount of work added by breweries, distributors, and more.

So with that in mind, I have a set of rules you should follow for this and future year’s Great Canadian Beer Festivals.

Super Flexible Rule #1:

Plan Your Beer List Ahead of Time! Or Don’t.

Do you know what kind of beer you like to drink? Do you want to make sure you get the really good stuff first? Do you care if a booth runs out of something before you get to it?

Well, if you do, a list could help. There are a bunch of people out there who have their recommendations, or you can look at the whole list here, and you can set up a priority list, with where the booths are located, and go through it methodically.

Or, you can relax. Will some beers run out? Sure. Will there be other beers to choose from? Of course. Are some of the people out there having the most fun just trying stuff randomly? You better believe it.

Super Flexible Rule #2:

Go With a Bunch of Friends. Or Don’t.

Beer is a social beverage, so it just makes sense to get a group of friends together and have a great time. But what if nobody else wants to go? Well, even though they really should join you, don’t let them stop you if you really want to go.

There will be about 4000 people there on a given day, and just like having 23 people in a room gives you a 50/50 chance of two people sharing a birthday, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll run into someone you know. So even if your friends have given it a hard pass (which they shouldn’t), feel good going it alone.

Super Flexible Rule #3:

You Have to Love Beer. Or Not.

So beer isn’t your cup of tea? Well, if you scroll down this list, you’ll find stuff that isn’t beer. With 11 different ciders from Merridale and Tod Creek, in addition to cider options from Central City and 33 Acres, you could fill an entire day with one of each cider and it would be a pretty darn good day.

To give you an idea of how friendly the event is to people who don’t love beer, or don’t even drink for that matter, consider the number of pregnant women that attend on an annual basis. It’s enough that some people actually make it a thing and dress up accordingly.

And finally,

The Only Actual Strict Rule:

Have Fun.

Here’s the deal. The complaints are out there, and we all hear them. Everyone has their nagging doubt about going to GCBF every year, but come 4:00 PM on Friday, or at 12:00 PM on Saturday, when John Rowling swings that bell in the air and those gates open, nobody remembers those reasons. It just becomes fun. 5 hours of fun, filled with good people, good beer, and good times.

Go, drink responsibly, appreciate the volunteers, industry folk, food trucks, entertainers, security, and other attendees, and make some more good memories, because that’s something we can all say we’ve gained from attending in previous years.

Tickets for both days are still available, but I can’t imagine for long. CLICK HERE for tickets, and make those good memories happen again this year.

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