Our Top Picks from the VCBW Festival

This year’s Vancouver Craft Beer Week Festival was an absolute treat. Over 100 breweries and cideries were serving up some amazing craft beer and cider for two days at the PNE Fairgrounds. This is the third year that I’ve  been lucky enough to attend the Festival, and it seems to get better every year.

vcbw vancouver craft beer week festival pne fairgounds vanpours

Due to the sheer number of breweries at the Festival meant that nearly every style of beer was pouring. East Coast IPAs were everywhere, as seems to be the trend in 2017, but you didn’t have to look far to find a delicious Porter, Gose, or anything in-between.

hearthstone brewing vcbw vancouver craft beer week festival vanpours PNE

Sampling such a diverse lineup of craft beers in one afternoon is always interesting. With so many fantastic options, it’s difficult to narrow down my list to only a few favourites. Here’s my best shot…

Backcountry Brewing Widowmaker IPA

ABV 6.7% IBU 50

vcbw vancouver craft beer week backcountry brewing IPA squamish bc

I’ve been itching to make the trek to Squamish, BC to visit Backcountry’s tasting room, but haven’t had the chance. Needless to say, I was stoked to learn they were attending the VCBW Festival, and made sure that their tent was one of my first stops of the afternoon. The Widowmaker IPA did not disappoint. It boasts a creamy mouth-feel and light citrus taste. The Widowmaker has a solid hop flavour, but the bitterness is fairly mild which makes for a very balanced IPA. I can’t wait to have a full pint of this fresh from the source once I finally make it out to Squamish!

Side note: Backcountry Brewing’s branding is phenomenal. The team from Hired Guns Creative knocked it out of the park with the logo and can designs. Props!

Luppolo Brewing – Gose with Black Lime

ABV 4.4%

I haven’t dabbled in this beer style often, but after trying Luppolo’s delicious rendition it Gose without saying that I’m a fan. This beer is super refreshing and features a nice lime flavour that will keep you coming back for more. Definitely a summer session beer, so get it while its hot (the weather, not the beer).

33 Acres Brewing – 33 Acres of Cid3r

ABV 6.9%

33 acres brewing vcbw vancouver craft beer week cider

Every once and a while it’s nice to drink something other than craft beer. Yes, I really said that. There’s no shortage of options as BC has tons of tasty local ciders available. 33 Acres take on cider is probably the best I’ve had to date. It tastes so damn fresh, with a natural sweetness, it’s as if someone was fresh-pressing apple juice directly into my mouth. I’m sorry if that’s a weird visual for some of you. Also, it’s only slightly tart which allows the ripe apple flavors to take the spotlight. Sporting a dry finish, 33 Acres of Cid3r is a well-rounded option for anyone that enjoys a local craft beverage.

Side note: 33 Acres’ booth at the VCBW Festival was a sight to behold. Their team has worked hard to make their setup an extension of the tasting room – an all white, minimalist approach, with some tasteful pops of colour from some greenery, and of course, the beer and cider. Well done!

Foamers’ Folly Brewing – Double White IPA with Strawberry

ABV 9.0% IBU 90

Foamers' Folly Brewing vcbw vancouver craft beer week festival IPA

I couldn’t pass on this brew after reading the name…a double white IPA with strawberry?! That just sounds like an adventure for my taste buds. With 90 IBUs, there’s undoubtedly a solid bitterness here. The strawberry lightens the beer up a bit, making it a more approachable double IPA. It’s definitely an interesting take on the style. My recommendation – pick up a bomber and share with a friend!

That’s a wrap on this year’s Vancouver Craft Beer Week! Thanks to the VCBW crew for the hospitality at Forbidden Fruit and the VCBW Festival. I’m already looking forward to what’s in store for next year. Here’s a few more photos taken by the talented Luke Mikler during Day 1 of the festival. Enjoy!


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