Pretty much every month is craft beer month in B.C., but if you had to pick one to make it official, October is a good bet. It’s hop harvest time. Obviously there’s the association with Oktoberfest, the greatest inebriation celebration on Earth. Closer to home, it’s the time of year when the patio furniture gets put away and it once again becomes acceptable to hunker down in your favourite dingy pub for days on end.
There are dozens of beer events of every description taking place all over the province as part of B.C. Craft Beer Month, so here are our picks for which ones are worth your time.
Harvest Haus, Oct. 5-14
Speaking of Oktoberfest, Vancouver’s biggest Bavarian beer bash returns with a new home next to Sole Food Street Farms at 88 Pacific Blvd. The new digs are 50 per cent bigger, so there’s so much room for activities! There’s beer pong, lip synch competitions and axe-throwing, which seems like a totally safe and normal activity to partake in while drinking heavily. HarvestHaus.com
North Shore Craft Beer Week, Oct. 6-13
The North Shore is becoming a pretty hot destination for cold beer these days. In addition to local favourites like Deep Cove, Bridge, Hearthstone, Green Leaf and Black Kettle, a pair of newbies – Beere Brewing Company and Streetcar Brewing – are set to open any minute now. Seems like a good time to launch a week-long craft beer festival, then. The North Shore, of course, was home to the first-ever modern microbrewery in Canada, the now defunct Horseshoe Bay Brewing, so it makes sense the craft beer scene is exploding.
There’s dozens of events going on all week long, but the one we have our eye on is the Endless Biking Beer Crawl on Saturday, Oct. 7. This guided beer tour will take you to six North Shore breweries where you can sample beers and collect stamps on the North Shore Ale Trail passport for a chance to win one of three prize packages. Full details at VancouversNorthShore.com/craftbeerweek.
30th Anniversary Hermannator Party, Oct. 17-18
For 30 years, the annual arrival of Vancouver Island Brewing’s Hermannator Ice Bock has been the clearest indication that winter is here. B.C.’s original seasonal beer celebrates a pretty significant milestone this year, so VI is throwing a pair of parties where they will be releasing a special wine-barrel-aged edition of the mighty 9.5% ABV beast. The party starts at Garrick’s Head Pub in Victoria on Oct. 17 before crossing the pond to Rogue Broadway in Vancouver on Oct. 18. Both parties kick off at 5pm. VIBrewing.com
B.C. Craft Brewers Conference, Oct. 19-20
The AGM and after party at the Vancouver Alpen Club on Oct. 19 are strictly industry-only, but the craft beer seminars all day on Oct. 20 at the Croatian Cultural Centre are open to the public. Some of B.C.’s top brewers will be leading classes on subjects like dry-hopping techniques and barrel-aging. BCCraftBeer.com
B.C. Beer Awards, Oct. 21
Probably the most fun beer event of the year, because this is the one beer fest where the brewers who make your favourite craft beers are on hand pouring and partaking. This year, the featured beer style is the Single Malt And Single Hop, also known as the SMASH. More than 60 B.C. breweries are taking part, each with their own version of the SMASH, which can be anything from a pilsner to a fresh-hopped wild ale. The Growler will be there, too, pouring our very first collab brew that we made with the super awesome folks at Faculty Brewing. Hopefully, you’ve already bought your tickets to the event, because if not, you’re out of luck: this one was sold out ages ago. BCBeerAwards.com
Queers and Beers: Beer and Cider edition, Oct. 22
Queers and Beers takes over the Cobalt with a crafty pre-Halloween soiree that’s spilling out into the back parking lot. In addition to great local craft beer, there will be cider from Left Field and Merridale, as well as DJs, food trucks and pinball. The night finishes up with Man Up’s Amateur Hour queer variety show and dance party. Tickets at Bpt.me/3096992
Harrison Beer Festival, Oct. 27-28
Harrison Hot Springs is all kinds of kitschy fun, and it’s fitting place for a beer festival, considering hop farming has historically been one of the biggest industries in the area. 20 breweries are taking part this year with a cask night to kick things off on the 27th before the main event on the 28th. The festivities wrap that evening with an Oktoberfest dance with polka music, bratwurst and pretzels. HarrisonBeerFest.com