Courtesy of Vancouver Island Ale Trail What’s your favourite colour of beer?

Qualicum Beach craft beer festival to showcase local brews, spirits

Event will feature 20 Vancouver Island breweries and distilleries

Owner, brewmaster, delivery man and sometime janitor Aaron Colyn isn’t out to convert you to the craft version of your favourite beer.

Instead, the man of many hats at Twin City Brewing just wants to share new and interesting flavours crafted from local ingredients.

He’ll be giving a presentation about the art of craft brewing at this year’s Qualicum Beach Craft Beer & Spirits Festival on Friday, June 28.

The event will see 20 Vancouver Island breweries and distilleries showcasing a range of products.

Not up on craft beer culture and trends? Fear not.

The most important thing for Colyn is that people feel welcomed into trying new things without the pretentious feeling that sometimes creeps into artisanal food and drink culture.

“We are often introducing people to craft beer for the first time. We just try to give them all the info that we think they’ll need… we don’t try to be too pompous or too snobby about it, we want people to learn about craft beer,” said Colyn.

READ MORE: B.C. breweries win big at 2018 World Beer Cup

“If you let people approach things with an open mind, and with enough information, and kind of an education while you’re introducing them to it, I think they’re a lot more open to it. Usually we can find something within craft beer that people will like.”

Colyn has plenty to say about the strength of the brewing community on Vancouver Island.

He was born and raised in Port Alberni, and believes in the importance of the relationships that local breweries form with their communities and with each other.

He counts himself lucky to be involved in such a tight-knit, friendly and collaborative industry.

“It’s such a collective of ideas, and collaborations and things like that. It’s also cool to be part of our Vancouver Island craft beer industry, because it’s very much a family. You build those relationships and you end up working together and exchanging ideas,” said Colyn.

Twin City Brewing will be showcasing their mango-guava sour, Escape Artist, a sour beer with a high alcohol by volume that drinks a bit more like a mixed cocktail than you would expect from a beer. They’ll also be pouring their Swedish Gymnast, a single-hopped blonde ale that Colyn describes as an easy drinker.

READ MORE: B.C. brewery creates bread beer from food waste

New to the festival this year are Lifted Beer, Land and Sea Brewing, Mount Arrowsmith Brewing, Tofino Distillery, and Small Block Brewery.

The annual event is put on by the Rotary Club of Qualicum Beach. Jim Bennett with the Rotary Club is expecting another successful night after last year’s event that brought almost 400 people to the Civic Centre.

“By all accounts, people enjoyed the event, the breweries were happy… For us it was our second year of running a beer festival. So we learned more along the way, in terms of what the patrons were looking for,” said Bennett.

The night also features live music. One-man-band Dave Hart will provide the tunes as the tasting is underway from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and local band Johnny Inappropriate will close the evening with their signature dance-floor sound featuring dance hits from the 70s right up to the present.

Tickets are $45, with the option to pay $60 for a VIP ticket that includes Aaron Colyn’s presentation and an advance tasting. Anyone interested can go to www.qualicumbeerfest.ca for more information and to purchase tickets.

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