Whistler is a world class destination and I happen to be lucky enough to be able to get in my car, stop for a coffee along the way and be in Whistler Village 2 hours later.
Usually when I’m prepping for that drive, it’s cold outside, I’m bundled up in winter gear hoping for snow in the village while I’m trying to figure out how to make my snowboard fit in my mid-size car with two car seats.
Whistler is world renowned as a ski and snowboard mecca, but last week’s beer festival serves as a reminder that Whistler can be a blast year round.
This time as I loaded my car for the trip with just a couple small suitcases packed with shorts, t-shirts and a few cans of coconut water the sun was shining!
No messing with car seats this time either! With the kids at Grandma’s and the car seats out we could slide the seats back a few inches and enjoy the drive.
My wife Leanne and her camera equipment joined me for the weekend.
Good Morning Whistler!
Unfortunately, due to lack of childcare we had to miss the first two days of festival events. From the sounds of it we missed some great times including beer seminars led by Joe Wiebe and Ken Beattie as well as Friday night’s cask showdown highlighted by Deadfrog’s Jalapeno Buckwheat IPA that took the night’s title.
We weren’t about to miss the main event though! In fact we made sure we got there early to take advantage of the “Gate Crasher” tickets that give early access to the festival grounds starting at 12 noon instead of 1pm.
The festival was a lot quieter for the ‘Gate Crashing’ hour with only a couple hundred people milling about which made for non-existent lineups and the opportunity to take a few extra minutes to chat with the breweries and their reps. Once one o’clock rolled around the crowds steadily began to grow.
There was a great atmosphere as the crowd took in the sunshine, sampled new beers and danced along to the Bavarian band which gave the festival a slightly early Oktoberfest feel.
Like Whistler in general, it was an eclectic mix of 4000+ attendees including long time locals, daytrippers up from Vancouver, and international travelers. The one thing they had in common was an appreciation of craft beer which is a sure way to liven up any crowd. With the craft beer flowing, the vibe stayed positive throughout the main event and well into the evening.
(I imagine it would be hard not to stay positive with a beer in hand and a pretzel necklace around your neck! Getting in the spirit! – below)
Looking forward to next year…
With a little less than a year to go until the 2015 Whistler Village Beer Festival I’m already making plans to get the most out of the full four days next year.
First off I’m going to make sure I plan well in advance and free up my schedule. It’s clear that this festival is more than just the main event… seminars, cask showdowns, beer dinners and more.
Tip #1: Come WVBF 2015 when you’re ready to buy your tickets get adventurous and plan for some seminars, dinners and cask nights.
That brings us to Tip #2: Pace yourself at the main event. It starts early, ends at 5 and you have more events to get to after the big show.
Tip #3: Speaking of pacing yourself, take advantage of your in and out wrist band and grab a bite to eat mid event if you plan on staying for the duration.
There were a couple food trucks parked just outside the gates. I’d like to see the gates moved and include more of those food trucks within the actual festival grounds in future years, but, I don’t know the chances of that happening.
Tip #4: This one might come in handy year round. If you’re buying some beer for the fridge back at your hotel check out Nester’s Market.
The BC liquor store seemed to miss the memo that a craft beer festival was in town as they didn’t have any special displays set up and the beer selection was their standard (not without great craft beer, they just dropped the ball on stepping it up)
Nester’s on the other hand took full advantage of the situation. They had a makeshift store set up right near the entrance to the festival with a great selection of participating brewery’s beer. They even bought out the remaining stock of Stargazer Chamomile Wheat from Canuck Empire.
Tip #5: Don’t forget to pack the coconut water. That stuff is essential at any beer festival. One before bed and one when you wake up and your good to go even if you somehow forget to follow tip number 2.
So, why make Whistler Village Beer Festival part of your plans for 2015?
– Alright Whistler, we’ll see you in 2015! –