Last Saturday night, amidst the on-and-off-again torrential deluge, BC’s craft beer industry came together for this year’s much-anticipated instalment of the BC Beer Awards. Held at the Croatian Cultural Centre on The Drive for what may have been the last time (the organizers are looking for bigger digs for next year’s event), the evening was once again hosted by the CBC’s Stephen Quinn with the help of his fabulous On The Coast beer columnist, Rebecca Wyman.
Offering an excellent showcase of the seemingly endless supply of fantastic beer being made by our province’s craft brewers, the event was one-part tasting festival, one-part awards ceremony. And in between a rousing rendition of Stan Rogers’ iconic piece of Canadiana – Northwest Passage – by the night’s illustrious and ever-engaging host, a historic win in the ‘Best in Show’ category, and the usual mix of upsets and surprises, the event lived up to its billing as the top event in our City’s annual craft beer calendar.
The night’s big winner was undoubtedly Burnaby’s Steamworks Brewing Company, who took home five awards, including two gold medals and the night’s biggest prize, the ‘Best in Show’ award for its recently released Flagship IPA (a gorgeous North East IPA crafted by Steamworks’ seasoned brewer, Julia Hanlon, that was sure to be a hit even before the massive win on Saturday night). The ‘Best in Show’ win was also pretty historic, representing the first time that a female brewer has taken home our provincial beer industry’s top prize (the night’s loudest cheer undoubtedly came when Quinn pointed this fact out to the audience).
Personal fave Dageraad Brewing did exceptionally well on the night, picking up five awards, including another gold for their incredible Blonde, and Iain Hill’s exceptional skills in crafting the latest rendition of his legendary Oud Bruin were recognized as Strange Fellows Brewing Co. picked up a gold for their Raynard. Abbotsford’s Field House Brewing Co. (who, like Dageraad, documented their journey to opening in Scout’s Brewer’s Blog) deservedly took home the Richards Buell Sutton LLP ‘Rookie of the Year Award’ for BC’s best new brewery (I had the pleasure of presenting the award to their ever-affable owner, Josh Vanderheide). Other notable mentions include the CBC ‘People’s Choice Award’ win by Boombox Brewing Company (one of Callister Brewing Co.’s new associate brewers) for their amazing Lacto North East IPA ‘Pablo Esco Gnar’, and Brassneck’s win in the Timber ‘Brewers Challenge’ for their always delicious ‘Old Money’ Mild. A full list of the night’s winners can be found here.
photos by Allison Page.