In addition to its beautiful scenery and laid-back, west coast vibe, Vancouver is increasingly becoming known for producing great local brews. This has given birth to Vancouver Craft Beer Week (VCBW), a constantly evolving and growing series of events celebrating all things beer, now in its seventh year and running May 27 until June 5. DARPAN got in touch with Leah Heneghan, VCBW co-founder and events director, to talk about the upcoming festivities.
What can people look forward to for the 2016 edition?
LH: Lots of great music – at our events and at the VCBW Festival (June 4 at the PNE Centre Grounds) as well. There are a few new events this year that should be really great: Feats of Strength (May 31, Cobalt) is set to be a hilarious time with a fantastic beer selection; Cider House Rules (June 2, Lamplighter) is new and filled with beer, cider and barbecue; and Canadian Brewing Awards meets BC Craft Brewers Guild (May 29, Central City Beatty) should be great as well. Having the awards in Vancouver is exciting enough, but to also have the first ever public-facing CBA event is pretty special!
Can you talk a bit about the musical acts? How did you pick them?
LH: The #willplayforbeer contest on CFOX was really a great way for up-and-coming acts from across the province to get their music out there – we’re hoping this will be an annual contest moving forward. As for the rest of the bands, well, we left that in the very capable hands of our friends at WetApe Productions to select the biggest and brightest from B.C. talent for the CFOX MainStage. We’re really happy about the results as well!
Are any new breweries coming onboard this year?
LH: So many. B.C. is a fantastic place for craft beer, and a ton of new breweries have opened up, with many more to come, so we have a bunch of new additions to the fold.
Have you heard any feedback about VCBW? What are people saying it?
LH: We get a lot of positivity from our attendees as we really do try to give people the best possible experience. It can’t all be sunshine and unicorns, though, and in all honesty we love all the feedback at VCBW. It really helps us to grow our festival and events, and to make positive changes so that everyone really enjoys taking part. We also travel around to other craft beer events to see what other people are doing and to make sure what we’re doing is to the best of our ability. Tough job, but someone has to do it!
How many visitors are you anticipating this year?
LH: The VCBW Festival at the PNE Fairgrounds will see up to 18,000 attendees this year, which is a far cry from our first one with 100 people at Heritage Hall.
What's your favourite kind of beer?
LH: Depends on the season, really, but at this very moment I’m absolutely loving the VCBW Collaboration Beer, Tu Meke. And I’m not just saying that because it’s brewed for Vancouver Craft Beer Week, but because it’s a truly delicious beer. With such fantastic collaborators as Steel & Oak and Strange Fellows we really couldn’t go wrong, but they really did outdo themselves on this one.