Monthly Newsletter

August Newsletter

In this Issue:

CAMRA Victoria Presidential Message
CAMRA Victoria visits Vancouver WA/Portland OR
CAMRA Victoria Members Event reviews
Vancouver Island Beer News
Upcoming CAMRA Victoria Events – Members Events
Upcoming Vancouver Island Beer Events – Everyone Welcome

If you would like to join our ranks, we’d love to have you. Individual memberships are only $25/year and joint/family memberships are $40/year.

CAMRA Member Events:
Stay tuned to Facebook and email as event news becomes available
A message from your CAMRA Victoria President
Two weeks until Beer Fest!  Hard to believe we are coming into September already but the silver lining to the end of the Summer season has always been the Great Canadian Beer Festival.  Even harder to believe is that the crew is celebrating their 25th festival this year, congrats!
With a few new South Island breweries slated to open over the next few months as well as some new beer focused dining/tasting room projects under way, Victoria continues to be a great place to live for us beer lovers.  Speaking of the consumer, the CAMRA BC chapters will be renewing their efforts in bringing more awareness to the issue of establishments displaying 1) accurate serving sizes 2) prices and 3) alcohol content on their beer menus / display boards.  We consider this a bare minimum for responsible consumption, safety, consumer transparency and enjoyment. Stay tuned for how to participate as we come up with a concise plan across all BC chapters.  If you are a licenced establishment and would like more information please contact us at ‘‘.
We wish the folks of CAMRA Vancouver well in their upcoming ‘Beer on the Beach: A Picnic Protest’ event this weekend. The protest aims to shine a light on the possibilities for municipalities to allow responsible and respectful public consumption in designated areas.  CAMRA Vancouver found this to be a hot topic when canvassing their members and craft beer consumers on what advocacy topics to focus on. Please visit the CAMRA Vancouver website for more information on this.
Please continue to enjoy your beverages of choice responsibly and to keep exploring this wonderful and expanding craft beer culture we have on Vancouver Island.
Hope to see you all at the Festival,
Greg Garner
CAMRA Victoria

CAMRA Victoria visits Vancouver WA/Portland OR

By: Sean Clark, Communications Director, CAMRA Victoria

When one thinks of craft beer on the US Pacific Northwest, cities such as Seattle and Portland are generally first on everyone’s mind, and with good reason. Seattle, the closest major US city to us, is a major tourist attraction with a growing collection of top notch craft breweries such as the famous Pike Brewing Company among others.

And Portland, well it speaks for itself. The self-proclaimed craft beer capital of North America, the city has more independent craft breweries than any other with names like Widmer, Bridgeport, Hair of the Dog and Hopworks Urban Brewery to name a few. Well, just across the Columbia River in Washington State is another city that’s seen a boom in craft beer over the last 5-6 years.

That city is Vancouver Washington, the original Vancouver…..

Seeing as one has to drive through this city on their way to Portland from up north, a stop here should be required. Our first taste of this city was in 2012, as part of a 2 week long road trip down to San Francisco to coincide with our wedding anniversary.. I was looking for a beer festival to attend in early August, and having missed the massive Oregon Brewers Festival by a couple weeks we stumbled across the first ever Vancouver Brewfest. 

Looking for a way to tap into the burgeoning craft beer market in the area, and wanting to have a festival that stayed local and allowed patrons the ability to enjoy the proceedings without the massive beer lines, founder Cody Gray started off small with about 2 dozen breweries at Esther Short Park in downtown Vancouver, steps from the Columbia River. The bulk of them were from southern Washington and the Portland region, with the odd one coming from further away.

My collection of shirts, glassware, programs and tokens from the past 6 years of the Vancouver Brewfest

I really enjoyed the festival and decided I wanted to go to it again, so we went down in 2013 and 2014. By 2015 I had inquired about volunteering, and was enthusiastically accepted despite not being a US citizen. Cody loved the fact that we tied coming to the festival with our anniversary, which usually fell within a couple days before or after it. Last year we went down in March to his spring edition as we had already planned on going to Alberta in the summer, but this year it was back in August for the sixth time.

Every year grew and grew, going from a small scale Friday/Saturday with about 2000-3000 patrons in 2012 to a full weekend with triple the attendance in the last couple years. The number of breweries attending also grew, reaching the 50-60 range and covering an even wider region. This year though the festival dropped back to just two days and the breweries scaled back to about 40, primarily because of softer Sunday attendance and conflicts with other festivals going on around Washington/Oregon that made some breweries unable to attend in Vancouver.

It was still a great time, with live music on the park’s stage, great food from local restaurants and an eclectic collection of vendors selling everything from locally made salsas and hot sauces to a local homebrew shop showing off their supplies. There was a bear pong tournament as well as a brewers keg toss, so something for everyone. They also partner with a local brewery to brew a special festival beer that’s exclusive to the weekend, and do a people’s choice award for Top 3 Beers.

Cody and his team take care of the volunteers extremely well, with dedicated meal breaks where you are given 10 tokens to use towards any food item from the attendees. Also when your shift wraps up you get free admission on the day you’re not working, or if you do the first half you can attend the second half, and are also given the glass and usually 10 tokens for beer.

Some photos of the festival grounds from the last couple years of the Vancouver Brewfest

I highly recommend this festival to anyone thinking of heading down to the region, as it’s well run, busy but not crowded feeling, and affordable. The pricing varies per year and depending on if it’s the spring vs the summer one, but they offer a few different ticket packages. Usually available is a basic ticket with admission, glass, program and 5 tokens to the even bigger one that upps the token count to anywhere from 10-15. They also do a designated driver ticket that gets the patron unlimited sodas, bottled water and juices from the local Lions food tent. As I previously mentioned, volunteers get treated very good if you so choose to do so. They’ve also branched out in the last few years to include a Fresh Hop festival usually at the end of September/early October.

Ever since then we’ve become great friends, with him even coming up to GCBF two years ago. He enjoyed it so much that he’s coming again this year. He’s even graciously donating some swag for the CAMRA booth prize wheel at this year’s festival.

If you are interested in checking out this festival, go to for more info. I guarantee you’ll have a great time!


I also had the opportunity to check out a few breweries along the way. Not as many as in past years, but still enough. First day we arrived we checked out The Heavy Metal Brewing Company and Heathen Brewing in Vancouver. We had Groupons for both which got us great package deals. Heavy Metal included a flight of beers, a 32oz growler and fill, while Heathen included a flight of 7 beers and a 64oz growler without fill. Both were attendees of the this year’s Vancouver Brewfest.

Tasting flights at Heavy Metal and Heathen Brewing in Vancouver WA

We also popped into Portland and stopped at The LabrewtoryCascade Brewing Barrel House and the brand new Rouge Eastside Pub and Pilot Brewery. We had another Groupon for The Labrewtory which included a flight, a house-baked pretzel and a filled 32oz crowler of our choosing. We went to Cascade as Cayla wanted to try their sours, while the stop at the Rouge Pilot brewery was a chance to see what used to be Green Dragon Brewery which we visited on a trip a few years ago.

Pics from the three above mentioned breweries

On our way home we made a couple stops in Everett Washington, where I checked out another two breweries. Crucible Brewing Companyand Scuttlebutt Brewpub. Crucible was another brewery that does the crowlers, basically a 32oz can of beer that they fill in house right off the taps. It’s pretty cool, and a nice option to the traditional glass growler that most breweries do. I chose the brewpub over the actual brewery for Scuttlebutt as it was a Monday and most of the city’s breweries weren’t open.

Pics from the two above mentioned breweries

All told, another fun getaway to one of my favorite places to visit. I hope you get the opportunity to check out this festival and the great breweries they have to offer.

Wrap-Up Reviews on CAMRA Victoria Events:

August 20th – Annual CAMRA BBQ:

A huge thank you again to Paul McGroarty for hosting this year’s BBQ. Around a dozen or so members attended and I was told the proceedings went well, with good food and beer served. The highlight of the event though was the bottle of 2002 Barley Wine from Phillips Brewing & Malting that Paul himself shared with everyone. From what I had been told, it aged exceptionally well, just ask John Rowling!

John enjoying a sampling of a 2002 bottle of Phillips Barley Wine
I have been told that there was more pictures taken at the BBQ, but I was unable to get them in time for this newletter. I hope to have them for next month’s issue though.

August 23rd – Pretzel Necklace Making Night:

An enormous thank you as well to all of the members and exec that turned out this past Wednesday to help make pretzel necklaces for our booth at next month’s GCBF. The response and the production was unprecedented, with 450 necklaces made by the end of the evening. With a goal of roughly 800 for the festival, that was an awesome start! By the time this newsletter is sent, were standing at 600 now. We were unable to get a beer themed film to play, so we had Airplane! playing in the background. Thank you to Ray for letting us use Eagles Hall, serving as the bartender and providing the film. It was a fun night!

Pics from the Pretzel Necklace Making party. Great turnout that night!
Vancouver Island Beer News

GCBF Brewery and Beer lineup finalized:

The full list of breweries and beers for the 25th Annual Great Canadian Beer Festival has been released, and it’s massive! 66 breweries and cideries, plus 8 more in The Drake Eatery Cask Tent will be serving nearly 260 different types and styles over the weekend. At least 30 of them will be cask beers, the ones in the Cask tent plus another roughly 20 spread out amongst the other breweries. Head over to for the full listings.

Overwhelming outpouring of CAMRA booth donations:

We’ve had an incredible amount of support from a great number of breweries and local businesses that have offered to donate swag towards out prize wheel at the GCBF, (a huge thank you to Lighthouse Brewery for letting us use their prize wheel this year!) The list continues to grow, but primarily the ones not attending this year will still be represented in some fashion. The list is too big, and growing, but some of the ones include:
– Foamers Folly
– Postmark
 ile Sauvage Brewing (the new one opening in Rock Bay)
– Off The Eaten Track
– The Pedaler

Make sure you stop by the CAMRA Victoria booth and try your luck on the wheel, and also don’t forget to buy your pretzel necklaces for only $2

Winterbrau 2017 tickets now available:

The 6th annual Winterbrau is happening Saturday, November 4th from 1pm-5pm at Canoe Brewpub. Expect over 15 local breweries serving a variety of winter styles of beer, with tickets going for $60 which includes your glass and all inclusive of beer and food. This event is highly sought and always sells out, so make sure to get your tickets!

More BC Brewery Awards:

Congratulations are in order to the following BC breweries for picking up hardware at this year’s World Beer Awards in London England. The following winners are:

– White Sails Brewing Snake Island CDA; Worlds and Canada’s Best Black IPA
– White Sails Brewing Mt. Benson IPA; Canada’s Best IPA
– Mt Begbie Brewing High Country Kolsch; World’s Best Kolsch
– Whistler Brewing Co. Black Tusk Ale; Canada’s Best Mild Ale
– Okanagan Springs Brewery Porter; Canada’s Best Strong Porter

Whistler Brewing also picked up an additional 3 silver metals, while Okanagan Springs snagged a gold and a bronze and Bad Tattoo picked up a bronze.

New Breweries nearing completion:

ile Sauvage Brewing in Rock Bay and Sooke Brewing Company in, where else, Sooke, both appear to be on pace to open this fall. According to their Facebook pages, progress seems to be going very well and it’ll only be a matter of time before we all can have a taste of what they’ll be offering. It’s a great time for independent craft beer in our fair city, and there are more on the way!

Alesmith Brewing Company making Canadian Entry:

Just before this newsletter went to completion I attended the Victoria launch of San Diego-based Alesmith Brewing Co., one of the most decorated craft breweries in North America. Being held at The Drake Eatery, and presented by Beerthirst, 12 of their beers were on tap during the evening, including some heavy hitters in the ABV and IBU areas. I had the opportunity to try their IPA, X Pale Ale, Nut Brown, Speedway Stout, Spezial Pils, Horny Devil and Grand Cru, and I could see why a great deal of their beers rate 100% on RateBeer. The IPA, Stout and Grand Cru were especially excellent, and I can’t wait to see their product on shelves around Victoria.

Our flight of beers, plus a 13oz glass of the IPA and some of their literature.
Upcoming CAMRA Victoria Events – Members Only

*****While we do have some ideas in the pipeline, nothing has been set in stone yet due to the insanity that is the GCBF coming up. Stay tuned to the Facebook page and emails once we have more info.*****
Upcoming Vancouver Island Beer Events – Everyone Welcome
September 1st:
5 Year Anniversary Party & Intro to Expansion Plans
Moon Under Water Brewpub

September 7th:
Little American Beer Festival Kickoff Party
The Drake Eatery

KPU Brewing Info Night
Moon Under Water Brewpub

September 8th:
Great Canadian Beer Festival
Royal Athletic Park

Esquimalt Ribfest
Bullen Park

September 9th:
Great Canadian Beer Festival
Royal Athletic Park

Esquimalt Ribfest
Bullen Park (also continues on September 10th)

Andina Brewing Company Tap Takeover
Smiths Pub

More information on these and other events can be found on our Facebook page and on the events calendar. Know of an event you think should be included? Then shoot us an email at

Until then, Cheers!

Have an event you’d like listed? Contact us.

Copyright © 2017 CAMRA BC – Victoria Branch, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in at our website.

Our mailing address is:

CAMRA BC – Victoria Branch

Box 30101 – Saanich Center Postal Outlet
3943 C Quadra St

VictoriaBritish Columbia V8X 1J5


Join the CAMRA Mailing List

Join the Facebook page