The BC Beer Awards took place last weekend and for the first time, Mrs. Sip and I were in attendance. In previous years, we’ve been out of town for the festivities, but this year, we were actually able to partake in the celebration of the BC craft beer industry.
Our evening started off well, as we partook in the free shuttle offered by tour company, Vine & Hops. That led us to a massive line-up to enter the hosting Croatian Cultural Centre. Although the line moved fairly well, there seemed to be some disorganization with ID and ticket checking.
For our first drink of the evening, Mrs. Sip and I stopped at the BC Ale Trail table, which had the neat gimmick of having folks spin a wheel and then get a sample from the region they landed on. Mrs. Sip hit Port Moody and got a product from Yellow Dog Brewing, while the Sip Advisor settled on the Sunshine Coast and received a Townsite Brewing taster.
Over the course of the event, Mrs. Sip and I sampled over 20 different beers and it seemed like we couldn’t select a bad beverage. My game plan for the awards was to concentrate on breweries I hadn’t yet experienced before. This included servings from Red Arrow, Twa Dogs, Andina, Luppolo, Lightheart, Gladstone, and White Sails breweries.
As for the awards, it was fun watching them get handed out and getting to cheer for beers or breweries you like. After a while, though, there was some award fatigue and I felt like I had already just heard the category being handed out, given how similar some of the classes are.
I was very impressed with the line-up of beers brought to the show by practically every company that attended. Some companies declined to be there, but almost every brewery in the province was represented at the event.
Early bird tickets to the celebration were $32, with additional tokens available at a cost of $1.25. Mrs. Sip commented that she would have paid $50 plus for the event to be all-inclusive and I whole-heartedly agree with her. On top of our four drink tickets with entry, we spent another $20 on additional tokens and that seemed to be the perfect amount of samples for us.
Following the awards, we had hoped to have dinner at the very popular St. Augustine’s Craft Brew House and Kitchen, but were told the wait would be “long”. Therefore, we continued to travel down Commercial Drive, winding up at Stateside Craft. I’ve wanted to visit this place for a while, given its mix of beer and skee ball. The restaurant actually had some BC beers on tap – mostly from East Van Brewing – to accentuate their south of the border lineup.
This weekend, we have plans to check out the Craft Beer Corn Maze in Abbotsford (weather permitting), so that should be interesting. As if I needed anymore help getting lost while drinking beer!