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Whistler Beer Festival 2019 (A Sneak Peak)

Banner Whistler beer festival

There’s never a bad time for beer aficionados to visit Whistler. But there is one weekend of the year when the village transforms into a true beer-drinkers’ heaven. For a few days, the Whistler Beer Festival takes over the village. With craft breweries from far and wide, the Whistler Beer Festival gives locals and visitors the chance to sample the best beer from the whole of BC. 

And as everyone knows, craft beer is very popular out here, so you can expect some true quality brews. All the while surrounded by the incredible mountain scenery of Whistler and the endless outdoor adventure opportunities on offer here.

Whistler Beer Festival 2019 is coming up fast and we can’t wait. So while we’re getting excited, we thought we’d share what we love about the beer festival. Read on to fnd out about all the beer-related events, how to buy tickets, how to plan, and a sneak peek at some of the tasty beers on tap.

What to Expect for Whistler Beer Festival 2019?

The Whistler Beer Festival was founded in 2013 by Gibbons – the original local pub and nightlife company in Whistler who run infamous venues like Longhorns Saloon and Tapleys Pub. Since then, it’s transformed into a highlight of the Whistler events calendar, and one of the best events of the fall season. Here’s what to expect

 Whistler Beer Festival – The Main Event

The centrepiece of the Whistler Beer Festival is the two-day, open-air beer tasting festival. Held in the beautiful Olympic Plaza in the heart of Whistler village, the festival showcases over 70 breweries and 140 delicious brews from 12-5pm on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th September.

The festival takes over the plaza, with each brewery given a spot and the chance to pour their two favourite beers of the year. Festival-goers can trade their beer tokens for samples of as many beers as they can handle. And the brewery that gives away the most beers wins the Best in Fest prize, and a spot on tap at a legendary Whistler venue. So you’re really doing them a favour by throwing back as many tasters as you can stomach!

Breweries at Whistler Beer Festival 2019

Breweries come from far and wide to take part in Whistler Beer Festival. The local breweries will be out in force – Whistler Brewing Company, Coast Mountain Brewing, A-Frame Brewing and Backcountry Brewing are sure to make an appearance. . But there are breweries from further afield too – Tofino Brewing Company, Fernie Brewing Co, Field House Brewing Co, Electric Bicycle, and Bomber Brewing are just a few of the breweries heading to Whistler Beer Festival this year. 

And plenty to keep you entertained… 

mobile axe throwing trailer

Always a hit at the Whistler Beer festival – the FAT Trailer!

Along with the countless beer tents, there’s plenty to keep you occupied at the Beer Festival. There’s live music from local bands who know how to get the party started. There’s tasty local food trucks and snacks (absolutely vital if you’re planning to last the whole 5 hours). And we’ll be there, with our trusty Forged Axe Throwing trailer, letting you sample BC’s best new sport along with it’s best beer. Come and throw some axes for free and get a taste for why we love axe throwing so much!

If you want to keep the party going after the festival closes, never fear. The official after-party is – where else – at Longhorn’s Saloon on the Saturday and Sunday. It’s guaranteed to be a great (if hazy) night!

Special Events at Whistler Beer Festival

In addition to the main event, there’s a whole week of beer-themed festivities in Whistler before the festival. Last year there were two stand-out events that we loved and would recommend grabbing tickets to if you can:

  • Craft Cultures

A new addition for 2018, this event at the gorgeous Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre brought together craft-beer infused dishes from a Red Seal chef with some of the best beers to be featured at the festival. Topped up with live music and entertainment, in a beautiful setting, this is the fancy side of the Whistler Beer Festival, and we love it

  • Master Crafters

A staple of the beer festival for a few years now, Master Crafters strips away the bright shiny branding and gets breweries to compete purely on taste alone. With a different theme every year, breweries go head to head as attendees blind taste their brews and decide on their favourite. Last year fruit-infused beers were on the menu, and previous years have seen sours and IPAs take centre stage. Keep an eye out for the announcement of this year’s theme and grab your tickets quick.

A word about the weather…

Fair warning: the Whistler Beer Festival takes place in September. Which means…well it could mean pretty much anything in Whistler. Some years it’s 25°C+ and gloriously sunny. Other years, not so much. But a bit of rain doesn’t stop Whistler having fun, and it shouldn’t stop you either. Fall is a fantastic time to visit Whistler, and the Whistler Beer Festival is one of the highlights of the season.

In 2018 we donned our rain boots and waterproof jackets and embraced the showers after a long hot summer. We danced, we drank, we threw axes, and we had a ball. Our pro tip? Just come prepared with wet weather gear and you’re guaranteed a good time, whatever the weather.

What Were our Favourite Brews From Last Year? 

It's league night stop by to check out the competition

With over 70 breweries each showing off their two favourites brews of the season, it can be very hard to choose favourites at the Whistler Beer Festival. Naturally, we’re a little biased towards our local breweries, but there were incredible beers on offer from all across BC and even a few from further afield.

So rather than let our biased opinions swap you, we’ll defer to the expertise of the 4,400+ visitors to last years’ Beer Festival. They voted with their tokens for their top three breweries, who all win a tap at a Whistler venue. In 2018, the overall winner was Fuggles and Warlock, from down the road in Richmond. 

And we’re proud to say that second and third place went to two local craft houses, with Pemberton Brewing Company stealing second place and Coast Mountain Brewing in third. And Coast Mountain even snuck in another win with the “Fruit Snack” sour wheat ale, which won the blind tasting test at the Master Crafters event. Maybe we aren’t that biased after all! 

What you need to know for Whistler Beer Festival 2019

Through extensive research (read “beer drinking”), we have discovered everything you need to know about the Whistler Beer Festival. And because we’re friendly folks here at Forged, we’re going to share all that hard-earned knowledge with you.

When is Whistler Beer Festival 2019? 

Two women in German attire, enjoying beer

Enjoy all things beer with the Whistler Beer Festival

Whistler Beer Festival 2019 will run from Tuesday 10th – Sunday 15th September. There’s special events during the week, and then the Main Event kicks off from 12 – 5pm on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th.

Where is the Whistler Beer Festival?

The main event is held in the Olympic Plaza in Whistler Village, the perfect spot to survey the panoramic mountain views while you taste your way through the best BC beer. 

Throughout the week, there are also events at infamous Whistler venues like Longhorns’ Saloon and the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre. The final venues for 2019 and yet to be announced, so stay tuned!

How much are Whistler Beer Festival tickets?

A General Admission Pass for 2019 costs $60. That gives you access to the festival for Saturday and Sunday, plus 10 beer tokens on Saturday, an official sampling mug, access to over 140 beers to taste, delicious local food and live music.

There’s also a limited number of All Access Passes for sale right now. For $80, you get full weekend access, 10 beer tokens each day, express entry, a free lunch both days, 50% off tickets to the legendary Master Crafters event and an official Whistler Beer Festival hat

How do I pay for more food and beer?

There will be an ATM on site, but we’d recommend bringing cash to save time and keep it simple. You can buy as many extra tokens as you’d like on site, plus there’ll be a range of food vendors offering tasty snacks and trendy merchandise from your favourite breweries.

Is there music at the Whistler Beer Festival? 

There sure is! With a killer location in Olympic Plaza, the Whistler Beer Festival is ideally located for singing and dancing while you swig on the local brews. Throughout the weekend, an eclectic mix of local bands will get the party going. Last year, local favourites Jenna Mae and the Groove Section, Red Chair and the Whiskey Dicks all brought good vibes and big crowds. The 2019 Line-Up is still to be announced, and is sure to be a lot of fun.

How do I get to Whistler Beer Festival? 

A large crowd at a beer festival

Feeling a little thirsty? Plan your trip to Whistler in September for the Whistler Beer and Wine Festival

If you’re coming from Vancouver, Whistler is roughly a 2-hour drive up the Sea to Sky Highway. But of course, this is a beer festival, so if you’re planning to sample a few tasty brews, we’d recommend leaving the car at home.

Luckily, Whistler Beer Festival have arranged a special deal with Ridebooker, who are running shuttles from Downtown Vancouver and Vancouver Airport for the festival. It’s just $58 each way, and you’ll be dropped in the heart of Whistler village, just a few minutes’ walk from the festival. 

They also have deals with accommodation partners, who will hook you up with sweet deals if you want to stay the night and experience the whole festival. 

What should I wear to Whistler Beer Festival?

September is a great time of year in Whistler, but we gotta admit the weather is anything but consistent. There could be brilliant sunshine or a fair amount of showers. So come prepared for anything. 

Throw your raincoat and sunscreen in a bag together, and bring a jumper in case it gets chilly. If it does rain, the festival can get a little muddy, so we’d recommend leaving your favourite shoes at home and wearing comfy trainers or boots instead.

What should I bring/not bring to the festival?

There are a few things you should be sure not to forget, including:

  • Two pieces of ID – the event is 19+ only, and all ID is checked
  • Cash (and credit card in case you buy more beers than you planned!)
  • Warm layers and raincoat (just in case)
  • Anything you need for the day – there’s no re-entry once you leave
  • Your dancing shoes!

And a few things it’s best to leave at home:

  • The kids (no minors are allowed in)
  • The dog (unless they’re a service dog, of course)
  • Any outside food or drink – it will be confiscated at the gate
  • Bikes – you can park them elsewhere in Whistler village though

Whistler Beer Festival: Beer + Mountain = Good Times

Bringing a beer festival to Whistler is a no-brainer – the people here appreciate a good beer, and they sure know how to party. So come and experience Whistler Beer Festival for yourself – and maybe stay a few extra days so you can really soak in everything that Whistler has to offer.