The Squamish Beer Festival was a spectacle now only visible in our rear view mirror. And while objects in the mirror are closer than they appear, I fear it’s getting further away with each passing day. But there is no melancholy here, the damned thing was far too fun to for sadness to seep in. Were you there? Were you not? Shall I tell you a bit about it? Indeed, I shall.
In a move initiated the year previous (a move that I hope becomes tradition) the night before the festival involved a dinner atop the majestic Sea to Sky Gondola. This time around it was a sit-down, seafood dinner with beer on tap from Squamish’s holy trinity: A-Frame Brewing Co., Backcountry Brewing and Howe Sound Brewing Company. Gods bless us, one and all.
Last year I foolishly forgot to ask MBW if she wanted to go, and I attended the event sans partner. While I am still a fool, I did learn from that lesson and stepped lively into the gondola cabin with MBW’s hand held firmly in my own. Additionally, we had the good fortune of friends with us and made new ones as well: fine drink and fun conversation dominated the night.
I have mentioned before (as I’m wont to do) that the views from the deck of the restaurant on top of the Chief are second to none. As you gaze in wonder, down to the Sound and the saw-toothed skyline that surrounds, you get a sense of grandeur coupled with a complete understanding as to why the region is known as the Sea to Sky. And while those three tiny words get used ad nauseam (by me and the masses in equal measure!) this view is the antidote to overuse and akin to mainlining liquid Gravol: there ain’t no nausea here!
The dinner was splendid, the beer was top shelf, and the company kept was of a quality often cloistered in hidden compartments above the top shelf, brought out only for special occasions. Such as this.
The Squamish Beer Festival took place in O’Siyam Pavilion Park, situated just left of centre of town, and the boundaries were expanded this year due to the darned thing selling out the summer previous. This move made for more room to mingle with like-minded folk, frolicking to and fro between beer and cider booths, like kids in an open-minded, open-market candy store. There were fifty five different vendors on hand to fill our tiny cups and dammit Janet, our cups ranneth over!
If you’ve read down to this part of the tale, your dogged determination tells me that you already know the truth of which I’m about to speak. But for those that just like reading prose (regardless of its content) and don’t know that the mountain they’re standing on is full of gold, let me say that British Columbia is a craft beer Mecca. There are so many great breweries doing so many amazing things with water, barley, yeast and hops that to NOT celebrate the creators is a crime against creation! Beer festivals are but one way of rubbing against the divine and the Squamish Fest is particularly powerful in that regard. Its sacred grounds are so gorgeous you get the feeling you’re part of something greater than comprehension will allow you to… you know… comprehend. It’s a notion, it’s in the air, it’s on your lips, it’s a gut feeling, it’s a good feeling. And that is all you really need to know.
I met and conversed with so many people that Saturday that, when the festival finally came to a close, I realized I hadn’t hit all the breweries on my list. Rather than bring me down, this fact lifted me up. As I said, BC is a Beer Mecca: you can’t do all your praying in one day. Indeed, it will take a lifetime of devotion and even then you may just break thru the foamy head of BC’s pint glass.
My sincere thanks goes out to all the organizers of the Squamish Beer Festival. While it takes next to nothing to make this diamond we live in shine, it takes untold amounts of toil and planning to pull off an event of this caliber. You did an amazing job and should rest on your laurels a bit. Sit back, crack a beer, and I’ll see you next year!
Here are some more fair to middlin’ pictures of the fairly FANTASTIC Festival…