More signs of life north of the border – Whistler Village Beer Festival

I recently told you about the Whistler Village Beer Festival, which took place last weekend, and referred to it as the best beer fest Americans don’t know about. I was there to witness the festivities and, as expected, I had a blast. We now know which breweries won the coveted Best of the Fest awards (peoples choice) and secured lucrative contracts for beer sales in the village for the next year. (Pictured above, two guys keeping beer weird – Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks.)

While there, I visited one local pub in particular that reigns as the best craft beer destination at Whistler. Actually, it’s in the Upper Village, at the base of Blackcomb. At The Fitzsimmons Pub all of the taps are dedicated to a constantly rotating selection of local (British Columbia) beers – a tap lineup that is carefully and lovingly curated. To be honest, most watering holes in Whistler Village are dominated by Anheuser-Busch brands, with just a smattering of craft beer. Most bars have the typical “big brands” and then just a couple craft taps. I suppose that’s why winning Best of Fest is so valuable.  At “The Fitz” things are different because it’s all about craft beer all the time.


At the pub, I inquired about the best new local breweries, wondering what I should seek at the festival. I was told that there were too many to name but was quickly directed to two breweries in particular: Coast Mountain Brewing, a brand new brewery located in the nearby town of Function Junction, and Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks, which is located in Richmond, BC. I tried beers from both, at the pub and also at the festival. I was suitably impressed. Turns out, both of those breweries won Best of Fest awards. The folks at The Fitz know what they’re talking about.


My biggest takeaway from the Whistler Village Beer Festival this year was that the beer scene up in British Columbia has now gone certifiably nuts. The province is suddenly home to 113 breweries. Sure, Washington has over 300 breweries, but this is still significant progress for our friends to the north. The festival proved that many of BC’s breweries are making delicious, creative beers. Actually, damn-near every brewery had some form of uncommon, interesting concoction on tap at the fest.

By the way, the British Columbia Brewers Guild is about to launch an Ale Trail program. I’ll share more info about that next month when they launch.


Another big takeaway, the weather doesn’t really matter. Whistler is a place where people can handle whatever the weather may bring. We had a smattering of rain, but barely enough to wet the Gortex, which pretty much everyone had ready to go.

Below, a press release with information about the festival and the Best of the Fest winners.


September 20, 2016, WHISTLER, BC – The Whistler Village Beer Festival (WVBF) is officially wrapped for the fourth year of celebrating beer in the mountains and is proud to announce the top three winners of The Best in Fest competition.

With 54 Breweries and six Cider Mills in attendance, WVBF attendees had over 120 varieties of craft beer and cider to sample. Everyone was invited to cast their vote for the best brewery with the top three receiving contracts for draft lines and bottles in popular Whistler bars.

Third place went to Fuggles and Warlock who were pouring three brews at WVBF; The Last Strawberry Wit Beer, Expresso Milk Stout and Pineapple Destiny IPA. Fuggles and Warlock are celebrating their second win at WVBF and said “Despite the rain, it was awesome to see such an enthusiastic crowd enjoying beers both days. We are honored to have won two years in a row and couldn’t be happier with all the positive feedback we got pouring our beers. Thank you Whistler!” Fuggles and Warlock’s award winning beer will be available on draft at the Firerock Lounge and in a bottle at Dustys Bar and BBQ.

Second place was taken home by Okanagan Springs, based out of Kelowna, B.C, their Big White IPA was a hit with the WVBF crowds and secured their second place spot. Their brews will be available on draft at Tapleys Pub and in a bottle at Merlin’s Bar and Grill.

First place went to hometown heroes, Coast Mountain Brewing. Pouring their Fire Steel Red and Woodnutt Brown Ale, their fresh take on craft brewing in Whistler proved to be a hit with the local crowd. Coast Mountain Brewing has secured a draft line at The Longhorn Saloon and the Dubh Linn Gate as well as a bottle at the Garibaldi Lift Co. When in Whistler you can also sample the beer straight from the source at the brewery located in Function Junction, Whistler.

The draft and bottle contracts will run for a full year, bringing craft beer to the masses in Whistler all year long!

About Whistler Village Beer Festival:

Whistler Village Beer Festival celebrates five days of beer-fueled fun with the main tasting event spanning two days, interesting seminars, unique cask nights, food pairing dinners and of course some great parties! For more information, please visit www.wvbf.ca

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One comment

  1. Just a heads up. Function Junction is not a different town but actually the area of Whistler Village where all of the warehouses are located. Basically is a little logistics hub for the village.

    I also agree it is a great festival and I was bummed I missed it this year. Last year I met Jaime Floyd of Ninkasi Brewing there!

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