You know that iconic medal plaza in Whistler, British Columbia where Olympic athletes picked up their winning hardware back in 2010? With those gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains? Now that outdoor amphitheater is home to one of our favorite beer festivals, the Whistler Village Beer Festival. This year it goes down on Saturday and Sunday, September 19 and 20.
Five reasons we love this festival:
- Whistler. It’s close to Seattle, even closer to Vancouver, making this an attractive weekend getaway. Once you arrive, there’s no walking – everything is on foot so getting to the festival is a no brainer, and going out to eat and drink more beer afterwards is easy (see our previous post about this). No driving involved. The medal plaza park is gorgeous with views in every direction, perfect for a festival like this. What better location for a beer festival?
- B.C. beers. If you’ve been thinking about doing a British Columbia beer tour, get a preview with the many local breweries represented at this festival. Follow @WVBF on Twitter to see who’ll be pouring this year.
- Best in Fest. Not just a cute “best of” or “people’s choice” award, the WVBF Best in Fest awards actual draft contracts to the winning breweries. The three top winners get their beer on tap in choice Whistler bar locations – that’s big incentive for breweries to bring their heavy hitters to the fest.
- Outdoor adventure. Pre-festival, trailheads, the Peak 2 Peak Gondola and mountain bike chairlifts are just outside the door. Some ideas: take a hike, mountain bike one of the skills courses, shoot a round of golf or stroll around Lost Lake. There’s really no excuse for *not* working off that slight hangover in the morning before you start again that afternoon. Check out the Whistler website for more ideas.
- Five days of beer events. The beer festival runs for two days, but the beer events start on Wednesday turning this into a five-day bender. From educational seminars to food and beer pairing events to beer tastings, it seems like every beer bar in Whistler has something going on. (Tickets required for many.) Unofficially, every bar also seemed to have great stuff on tap, live music, special beer and food pairings and other fun stuff to lure festival-goers.
Some advice: get tickets in advance and book your room today. Tickets can be purchased individually for Saturday and Sunday, but it would appear that different breweries are pouring each day so we have to recommend the two-day Weekender Ticket. If you can still get your hands on the Early Bird Gate Crasher ticket, that gets you in a full hour early, ahead of the crowds and lines.
Disclaimer: in 2014, we were treated to the festival tickets, related events and hotel accommodations, but we would love this festival even if we paid full price for everything.