expr:class='"loading" + data:blog.mobileClass'>

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Surfing the Vancouver Spring Brewfest

Quick road trips are good for the soul. Even better when beer is involved. That's why I accepted an invitation to the Vancouver Spring Brewfest last week. All-in-all, it was a pleasant experience, maybe a little less wonky than some similarly sized Portland festivals.

This is the fourth rendition of the Spring Brewfest. I attended the summer version of this event a few years ago, but had only a sketchy notion of an established spring event. It seems organizers have been diligently working to further develop Vancouver's craft beer culture.

The venue seemed odd...a postage stamp. Looking through some of the media coverage, I learned previous Spring Brewfests were held in a larger space at the Vancouver Landing. That space was unavailable this year due to construction.

That precipitated the move to the brick plaza at the southeast corner of Esther Short Park. The summer festival, which consumes more space and features things like live music, is held in the main park. But the city apparently doesn't allow events of any kind on the park grass until May. So the Spring fest wound up occupying a tight space.

I visited in the early afternoon. It wasn't particularly busy for the first hour. But things were getting a little cramped by the time I made my exit a couple of hours later. Even then, getting a beer was no problem. There were no deep lines such as you see at many Portland events, just wads of people in groups mucking up the paths to the beers.

This event is billed as a showcase of local beers, meads and ciders, and most of what they were pouring was local. But a fair number of beers were from outside the local area...Bend, Ashland, Seattle, Enterprise. That's mostly just an observation. Knowledgeable craft beer fans want to drink local beer. There was plenty of that here, as well as some stuff that wasn't quite as local.

Without a wing person to share tastes with, I didn't come close to sampling the entire beer list. Good thing, obviously. I did seek out hazy IPAs and my favorite from those I tasted was Heathen's 50 Shades Hazier, bursting with hops aroma and flavor. Grab a pint if you see this one. No glitter beers in sight, thankfully.

The same old rule apparently applies when it comes to enticing Portland fans outside the city for beer. They don't come. I would normally see a lot of industry-connected friends at an event like this one. I ran into one such person. This was a Vancouver/Clark County crowd, which organizers likely expected, even if they hoped a few brave souls would cross the Columbia. Not happening.

Honestly, it's great to see craft beer continuing to spread its wings on the other side of the Columbia. Well-attended events like this one are a nice example of that. Craft's trajectory may have seemed inevitable here, but there have been quite a few stops and starts over the years.

It appears Vancouver and Clark County is in a solid groove now. Beer quality is improving, breweries and taprooms are opening. The area is no longer starved for good beer. Stars aligning.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Keep it civil, please.