Victoria Beer Week 2019: A Look Back

Well, Victoria Beer Week 2019 has come and gone, and now that the physical hangover from the event is gone, it’s time for the emotional hangover of knowing we’ve got to wait another year before we get to do it all over again.

Being both lucky and crazy enough to attend 11 of the 21 events for the week, along with a brief rest in the middle to enjoy the reopening of Swans Brewpub was completely draining by the end, so it’s hard to imagine how the organizers felt, but one thing is for sure, they should be happy with what they achieved this year.

This year, it was easy to look at the week from three viewpoints. First off, there were the Beer-Focused Events, like Lift Off!, All About the Wood, Cask Night, etc. where the draw was the beer list above anything else. Then there were what could be considered the Fun Events, or the ones that were about socialising over a beer and having a great time, with a more approachable beer list that wasn’t just there to wow the beer geeks. Finally, there were the Education Events, which fell under the Beer School banner this year.

Driftwood Brewing brought the house down with their Old Barrel Dweller from 2012 at All About the Wood.

Favourite Beer-Focused Event: All About the Wood

To the person(s) who made the decision to move this event back to the weekend: Thank You! This was an amazing beer list, which could only really happen with the cooperation of the breweries. This wasn’t just some list of beers that could be found on a liquor store shelf, this was like stepping into a beer geek’s cellar and getting free reign to try a few.

The winning team at the Ultimate Craft Beer Quiz, consisting of (R-L) Ian Ibbotson, Bobby Wood, Myself, Stephane Turcotte, and Ed Kaye, joined on stage by Quiz Host, Benji Duke.

Favourite Fun Event: Ultimate Craft Beer Quiz

Benji Duke, King of the Quiz Night in Victoria, continued his reign with a tougher, even more in-depth quiz this year that had some of the city’s brightest beer nerds stumped. Northern Quarter is an amazing host, and their beer cellar list deserves all the praise it receives. Now, it helps being on the winning team when picking this as a favourite, but everyone seems to have left happy with what was a great time had by all.

Full house both upstairs and down at Ile Sauvage Brewing for the Science of Sours event, featuring Stephane Turcotte of Ile Sauvage and Michael Kuzyk of Category 12 Brewing.

Favourite Education Event: Beer and Food Pairing

Beer School was a resounding success. Most events were at or near capacity, and the content was fantastic, relevant, and insightful. Advanced Cicerones® Stephane Turcotte and Bobby Wood stole the show with their amazing class on Beer and Food Pairing on the Tuesday night though. The way the beers selected paired with the amazing food they brought in was a joy, and everyone from novices to trained chefs came away with an appreciation for how all of those flavours can work together that they won’t soon forget.

As much as this is a look back, it’s also a look forward. The team seems to have found a formula that worked this year, especially with taking on GCBF this year, the launch of the Victoria Beer Society, and the plan for more pop-up events. There seems to be a lot to look forward to for early March of next year, and everyone should be looking forward to what they have planned.

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