Joe Wiebe, one of the directors of Victoria Beer Week, speaks to the crowd at an event last year at the Victoria Public Market. The nine-day festival kicks off for 2019 back at the market on March 1. (Christian Tisdale Photography)

Cheers to Beer Week back in Victoria

The nine-day festival kicks off March 1 at Victoria’s Public Market

Victoria Beer Week brings more than 40 craft breweries from all over the province at various venues throughout the city, along with more than 20 different events starting March 1.

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Lift Off – where some of B.C.’s best breweries premier 15 new beers at the Victoria Public Market – launches the nine-day event.

“People these days, especially in the craft beer world, really love to try whatever is new and special and unique,” said Joe Wiebe, co-founder of Victoria Beer Week.

Whether you’re wanting to taste the newest brews or learn how to make your own, VBW has you covered — even offering ‘beer school’ classes throughout the nine days.

Classes range in topics from ‘Cellar Dwellers,’ learning how and which beers to age similarly to wine and how to manage your beer cellar.

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“That’s kind of one for the high end beer geek, but we have really introductory classes as well,” said Wiebe, mentioning the introduction to the Cicerone Program and the beer and food pairing courses.

Attendees can drink their hops and eat them too with a special hops cooking class.

“We’ve asked food vendors at Victoria’s Public Market to prepare dishes using hops in there food somehow,” said Wiebe. “So we’ll have hoppy beers coming up along with these unique dishes made with hops.”

The “week” ends with the a big cask night on March 9.

“Cask conditioned beers are really when breweries get to explore their creativity and make unique special beers,” said Wiebe, adding those beers are only available then and there for one time only. “I’m sure that’ll be a sell out before too long.”

According to Wiebe one of the main appeals of the festival is they’re serving craft beer from all over B.C..

“It’s Victoria Beer Week but the idea is to celebrate the craft beer culture here as opposed to just the breweries that are here, but of course all the local breweries are big participants in it as well.”

The Victoria Beer Society will be expanding their repertoire of events this year, taking over the Great Canadian Beer Festival happening later on this year along with smaller scale pop-up events throughout the summer.

While Wiebe has been familiarizing himself with the craft beer scene in Victoria since 2013, he said his favourite beer comes from Hoyne Brewing Co. called Helios.

“I probably drink that at least once a week, if not more — I shouldn’t say too often.”

According to Wiebe the event is expected to draw crowds upwards of around 2,000 beer loving folk and he can’t wait to crack a cold one with everyone there.

“The first night when we the crowd in … I always take a moment to look around and take a deep breath and just say finally, we made it. I’m looking forward to that moment when I can just look around and say cheers to somebody and enjoy a beer that’s awesome.”

For more information on Victoria Beer Week visit victoriabeerweek.com.


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