On February 23rd East Van will be buzzing with coffee and beer enthusiasts when the annual Hopwired Festival returns to the Croatian Cultural Centre for a day of brewery and roaster collabs, panel discussions and more.
This year we asked Mike Willis, the festival’s founder, for some helpful advice on how best to hit it up. Here’s what we came up with together, under the (hop)wire:
WORT’S UP? | If you feel like getting some insider knowledge about the possibilities percolating in the sustainable coffee biz, then consider heading over to the Hall “A” Stage for The Future: Wort It’s Weight in Gold. This panel discussion slot includes a tasting and story-telling about sustainable coffee, plus some eye-opening intel on wort (the sugar-laded liquid extracted during the mashing part of the brewing process) shared by Monogram Coffee‘s Benjamin Put, who is visiting from Calgary. Bonus: round out your education by trying Monogram’s collaboration with fellow Albertans, O.T. Brewing (who will be making their first ever Vancouver appearance at the festival) — a one-off Natural Java Coffee Beer.
SOAK IT UP | Afraid that your coffee beer buzz while quickly turn into a splitting headache? Obviously all that beer and caffeine needs some really good, hearty food to soak it up properly. That is exactly what the DownLow Chicken Shack has been recruited for. For this event only they’ll be serving up a special recipe of coffee-rubbed ribs in collaboration with one-man Vancouver microroastery, Prototype Coffee.
NOT BEER | A coffee-less, non-beer collaboration at a coffee and beer festival? You bet! Squamish meets Kitsilano in this collab between West 4th Avenue’s o5 Rare Tea Bar and Northyards Cider Company. Together, they’ve created a one-off keg of semi-dry cider with cascara for Hopwired. Its inclusion in the festival lineup has us curious about how this quaff will hold its own among the double-digit lineup of beers. We’ll have to taste it to find out!
CANADIAN DEBUT | The cross-border collaboration between the Vancouver-based Temporal Artisan Ales and Bellingham, Washington’s Primer Coffee has been in the works for 10 months! This blended, barrel-aged and coffee-conditioned beer will be available in a super limited quantities, and will also announce the Canadian debut of Primer Coffee. That’s a lot of pressure riding on this bi-national beverage relationship!
GOOD NIGHT OUT | This year’s festival ‘welcome beer’ is actually a three-way collaboration between a brewery, a roaster and a good cause. In the name of ensuring some serious fun, Port Moody’s Twin Sails Brewing has whipped up a batch of their delicious and heavy-hitting “Death Blow” Coffee-Infused Barleywine in support of Good Night Out‘s Vancouver branch. If you’re not familiar with the organization, GNO is a group of Vancouverites dedicated to making the city’s night life safe for everyone through their peer-based audit system, surveys, public and industry workshops, and the efforts of their Entertainment District outreach street team. Check out their website for more information and to brief yourself on how to make your experience at Hopwired as pleasurable as possible.