Vancouver Craft Beer Week is a glorious time of year where beer lovers and creators converge at different places around the city to nerd out about their favourite foamy beverage and indulge in a few cold ones with the community.
Each year, the week culminates in the Vancouver Craft Beer Week Tasting Festival held at the PNE grounds, where several local breweries from B.C. and beyond bring out their best for the public to taste and enjoy.
Students from KPU’s Brewing and Brewery Operations Program ran a booth at this year’s festival, and offered guests a chance to sample some of the beers made in the university’s brewery at the Langley campus.
“I was a microbiologist, so my background is in microbiology and that kind of led me towards the brewing industry,” says Justin Larter, who recently finished his first year in the program and will be returning in September. “I’d like to be a head-brewer for somebody established, somebody where I can support their products and then eventually I’d like to open up my own.”
Larter adds that he enjoys attending craft beer events because they give him a chance to try new and exciting recipes and meet other people working in the industry.
“It gets people involved and it gets your face out there and interacting with the public, and most of all, it’s just a lot of fun,” he says.
The KPU booth offered samples of the award-winning 50/50 Hefe hefeweizen beer, as well as a Lavender-infused brown ale which had been brewed by a cohort of Italian students who are currently visiting and participating in the program.
The weather fluctuated between calm, sunny stretches and short bouts of light rain, but spirits remained high throughout the day. Multiple stages were set up around the grounds for performances from various bands, DJs, and MCs, and a number of food trucks served snacks and meals.
There were a large number of local breweries present, including Surrey’s Central City Brewing—which makes Red Racer brand beer—New West’s Steel & Oak, Langley’s Trading Post and Dead Frog, Delta’s Four Winds brewery, Richmond’s Fuggles & Warlock, and Vancouver staples like Parallel 49, Brassneck, Steamworks, Bomber, Red Truck, and many, many more. The festival also hosted guests from other Canadian cities and provinces as well as some from outside the country like Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery, Colorado’s Left Hand Brewing, and even Cigar City Brewing Company from Florida.
In celebration of the festival’s 10-year anniversary, a few of the breweries decided to collaborate on special commemorative beers to be served in honour of the occasion.
Students at the KPU booth were also handing out information about the program for anyone curious about trying their hand at joining the professional brewing industry.
KPU student Jamie Verschoor, who had been working toward a business degree before switching into the Brewing and Brewery Operations program, says that the program offered her a chance to combine her interests of science and business.
“We do a lot of hands-on learning,” she says. “I didn’t have any experience brewing before I got into the program, and it wasn’t a problem at all and everyone was super friendly.”