It’s any beer-geek’s dream, a 2,500 kilometre road trip around B.C. visiting as many craft beer hubs as possible.
That is the craft beer odyssey author Joe Wiebe set out on to create his best-selling book, Craft Beer Revolution: The Insider’s Guide to B.C. Breweries which he will be unveiling at a book-launch party in Penticton on July 3.
“It all started when I was doing a lot of travel writing and went to California wine country with a bunch of wine writers to write a story for the Vancouver Sun. They basically staged an intervention with me on the second night because all I did, I guess, was talk about beer while on this wine tasting tour. They said you need to do what we do, but write about beer,” said Wiebe. “That was a real turning point for me. I started calling myself the Thirsty Writer and found angles to get newspapers and magazines interested in beer stories. I was in the right place at the right time, the boom for craft brewing in B.C. really started taking off and I was riding that wave.”
Wiebe profiled 50 craft breweries in the province, and his book is filled with info for rookie beer -tasters on tours and best brews in B.C. that will make an experienced beer connoisseur salivate. Expecting another 10-12 breweries to open within the next year in B.C. is proof the industry is growing in leaps and bounds. Wiebe said there are lots of different factors behind this.
One is that Vancouver finally woke up to craft beer when the brews caught on with the foodie movement and people passing on the wine and grabbing a beer to pair with meals. Wiebe said he also has noticed more women have been opting for a cold beer and, coming out to beer events that use to be mainly dominated by men.
One of the interesting trends Wiebe has noticed is big-name brewers breaking out from their standards and trying out many of the different styles craft brewers are known for.
“That is kind of cool and I think really interesting. At the Canadian Brewing Awards in Victoria it was interesting to see some of the long standing brewers talking about that. They basically see it as a great thing. They are not challenged or scared by it either. They think it will bring more people over to craft brew when customers realize that there are all these different styles out there and take the next step of trying one of the crafts out,” he said.
The book launch on July 3 will be celebrated with a collabor-ale from Penticton-based Tin Whistle Brewing (which won best overall at the Penticton Fest-of-Ale for their Stag Apple Scotch Ale), Cannery Brewing and Oliver’s Firehall Brewery with a special cask called The 3-Brewers Plot, a limited edition Belgian Wit-style beer.
Patt Dyck, co-owner of Cannery Brewing said the book is important because the passion Wiebe has for craft beer will help spread the word.
“I think the message is good for us all because we all feel that we are little craft brew missionaries going to one beer drinker at a time. We are trying to get people to realize that beer is not that Molson Canadian or Labatt Blue that they have come to think of all their life,” said Dyck.
Wiebe will be at the Kettle Valley Station Pub on July 3 from 6 to 9 p.m. with his book Craft Beer Revolution; The Insider’s Guide to B.C. Breweries.
Hooked on Books will also be at the event selling copies for $19.95, which will include a pint of beer and some appetizers.