On Saturday, I visited the inaugural Christmas Craft Beer Show at Save-On Food Memorial Arena in Victoria, B.C.
Many local craft beer fans were hesitant about the event, as nobody seemed sure who was organizing the event and details about what was involved were very hazy at initial announcement.
Well, I’m pleased to report that the event was fantastically organized, possibly even better so than the tenured GCBF. They had full mobile ticket and credit card support, which is way more convenient. The bathroom situation was a thousand times better. There were 44 breweries and cideries in attendance, each serving 2 or more beers each, and several had one-off casks for the event.
Some of the beers weren’t really Christmas beers, but several places were serving high ABV stouts, porters, and barley wines that were perfect for the season. I’d like to have seen more casks on, but this was only the first year, so hopefully next year will be more focused.
It’s hard to pick a favourite beer from the show, but I have to say that Longwood kind of blew my mind with their cask, which was an absinthe-infused cask of their Stoutnik Russian imperial stout. Maybe not for everyone, but I loved it!
Runners up were the Boris and Krampus from Strange Fellows, the Con Leche milk stout and How About That imperial IPA from Twin Sails, the Dark Side Russian imperial stout from Fuggles & Warlock, the Creme Brulee vanilla stout from Saltspring Island Ales, and the Depth Charge barrel-aged Scotch ale from Lighthouse.
Hopefully they do this again next year!