It’s the most wonderful time of year for craft beer lovers. It’s the hop-hoppiest season of all. Vancouver Craft Beer Week returns May 18-26 with 60+ participating breweries, 70+ venues throughout Vancouver, and 50+ events spread over 9 beer-sodden days.
Judging by the VCBW Spinal Tap-influenced video (above), participants can expect more “rock stars” than “fermentation geeks.” The festivities kick off with Mayor Gregor Robertson tapping the first cask of Cascadian Brown Ale at the opening party at the Yaletown Roundhouse Community Centre, May 18.
Tickets for the parties, pairings, tastings and showdowns are on sale now and tend to sell out fast. Find out more about the most exciting Vancouver Craft Beer Week 2012 events after the jump.
Vancouver’s craft beer scene has grown dramatically over the last few years. As Remy blogged in 2010, the biggest challenge of of Vancouver Craft Beer Week is the scope: “There’s so much beer flowing in so many different places that it can be a little overwhelming.”
One easy way to get a taste of all things craft beer is to attend the VCBW Opening Night “Overture,” May 18. Yes, you get to see Mayor Gregor Robertson tap the first cask of the year. No, he does not do a keg stand. The event does offer a showcase of VCBW in miniature, with with various stations demonstrating this 2012 signature events and two on-site food trucks helping you soak up the suds.
Other highlights include:
Saturday May 19: Island to Island Beer Pairing Dinner, Edible Canada at the Market, Granville Island
Edible Canada’s Chef Tom Lee will pair his new Canadian cuisine with ales from 5 of Vancouver Island’s top craft breweries including Driftwood, Hoyne, Phillips, Spinnakers and Swans.
Monday, May 21: Biercraft Belgian Showcase, BierCraft Cambie and BierCraft Commercial Drive
Sample over 50 Belgian and Belgian-style beers. International legends as Rochefort, St. Bernardus, and Delirium Tremens will be available alongside examples of Belgian styles created by both local and US craft breweries like Green Flash, Townsite, and Driftwood. Food is thematically-appropriate Belgian hors d’oeuvres and stouvre poutine.
Tuesday, May 22: Battle of the Bartender Beer Cocktail Competition, Clough Club and Lamplighter, Gastown
Vancouver’s top mixologists show off their prowess with beer cocktails.
Wednesday, May 23: Cicerone vs. Sommelier, The Irish Heather, Gastown
It’s a beer versus wine pairing showdown that combines the menus of Bitter Tasting Room, The Irish Heather Gastropub, Salt Tasting Room and Judas Goat together under one roof. Cicerone Adam Henderson (RainCity Brands) will compete against Sommelier Mike Mitchell (Salt, Bitter, Judas Goat, Irish Heather) over four courses.
Thursday, May 24: Sisters of the Tap, Ensemble Tap
Also known as “Women and Beer,” this event offers an evening of beer made or influenced by women, with five tasting courses by new festival participant Top Chef Canada champ Dale Mackay.
Friday, May 25 Saturday, May 26: VCBW Beer Festival, Salt Building, The Village on False Creek
An epic, constantly-expanding event featuring Canadian, American, and Belgian craft beer