B.C.’s craft beer industry is hopping.
And Parksville is hosting an event to celebrate the intoxicating new market.
Twenty-one beer vendors showcasing upwards of 80 different brews and ciders from around the province will take to Tigh-Na-Mara next month for the city’s much anticipated Uncorked Wine and Food Festival.
“There’s no other beer event like it in Parksville,” said Tigh-Na-Mara director of food and beverage Bryan Stokes. “It’s very unique.”
Parksville Untapped is set for Thursday, Feb. 19 kicking off four days of local beer, wine and culinary compliments.
Stokes said it’s an exciting time for craft breweries in the province, who are seeing a major popularity shift from big-name national brands to smaller, more intimate “mom and pop shops” like Phillips and Wolf Under Water.
“Craft breweries are about individuals with a real passion for beer,” he said, noting many of these small businesses are expanding exponentially as British Columbians are demanding more craft beer.
According to Agri-Food Canada, some nationally-brewed beers have seen a decline in sales while there has been a spike in local and regional favourites. Agri-Food Canada estimates 10 million Canadians drink beer and approximately 21.9 million hectoliters (one hectoliter equal two kegs, or 12 24-packs) are produced each year. This makes beer the number one alcoholic beverage in the country in terms of both production and consumption.
It’s safe to say Canadians love their beer.
Stokes said because small scale breweries “aren’t hooked on mass production” it enables them to offer a unique array of options — flavouring their beers with anything from cinnamon to citrus.
“It’s incredibly exciting,” he said. “I mean, just the variety of beers that are available now.”
Asked about his favourite, Stokes said, after much deliberation “Stanley Park amber ale … I’m a traditionalist and love simple ingredients.”
He said the great thing about events like Untapped is the ability to give craft breweries a stage to promote their products.
“Two years ago Moon Under Water came and there was this buzz about the brewery,” he explained. “It’s a great opportunity for breweries to get their name out there.”
Untapped will feature gastro-pub style food to compliment the various different beers and ciders on site. The menu is still under construction, but Stokes said the culinary aspect will be created by Tigh-Na-Mara and Beach Club chefs as well as many local food vendors.
As for entertainment, Comox Valley musician Luke Blu Guthrie is set to perform all night.
There are 400 tickets for the event at $55 each and Stokes said it usually sells out. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. All proceeds will go to Variety Children’s Charity.
Untapped is part of the seventh annual Parksville Uncorked Wine and Food Festival which takes place Feb. 19-22. On Friday, Feb. 20 the Swirl Gala will be hosted at the Beach Club Resort featuring a selection of more than 100 distinct labels from wineries across the province. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and tickets are $75.
On Saturday, Feb. 21 the Beach Club and Tigh-Na-Mara will set the stage for a food and wine imbibed evening offering specially prepared and paired dinners: the Beach Club partnered with Quails’ Gate Winery to offer a six-course dinner at $149 each and Tigh-Na-Mara partnered with See Ya Later Ranch to offer a five-course meal for $129 each.
On Sunday, Feb. 22 the festival ends with Bubbles and Brunch at both the Beach Club and Tigh-Na-Mara who will offer a la carte brunch.
For more information about Parksville Uncorked or for tickets visit www.parksvilleuncorked.com or call 1-800-760-2008.