Since 2016, the semi-annual Coquitlam Craft Beer Festival has brought great beer tasting events to the Tri-Cities. This Spring’s series, to be held on March 7th, will be back at the event’s long-time home: the Westwood Plateau Golf & Country Club. It’s an impressive building in which to hold a beer event; with its multiple floors and many rooms, there are all sorts of nooks and crannies in which you’ll find people tasting beer.
The Spring 2020 event will be presented in two sessions: an afternoon ‘Matinee’ from 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm, followed by an Evening session from 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm, with over 50 BC breweries, cideries and distilleries represented, pouring over 150 beverages.
This round’s matinee time seems to be an improvement over the past years’ noon start time. Also this round, food options have changed and ticket prices have dropped by $10, which is a bonus for attendees of this tokenless event.
To find out why these changes are happening and learn more about what to expect at this spring’s event, we connected with the Director of Events, Carolyn Ahrendt of West Coast Experiences, as well as the event’s craft beer community liaison, Paul Pyne of DrinkSmarter.
Q & A WITH CAROLYN AND ‘QUIRKY’ PAUL OF COQUITLAM CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL
Q: This is the 5th year of the Coquitlam Craft Beer Festival. Things have certainly evolved since Year One, with a number of innovations over the years. How is planning coming along for this spring’s event?
Paul: In the spirit of trying to evolve the event, it really meant going back to the basics. More about the beer and fundraising (for the event’s designated charity, the Ride To Conquer Cancer) than trying to overcomplicate it with more food, more vendors, more more more.
Less food vendors on the floor, while still providing food options, means more room for beer & beverage vendors. Also we’re being sure to have cider and the ever popular RTDs (ready-to-drink refreshment beverages) available for those who are “dragged” along to a beer event but don’t drink beer. We got you!
Q: The event returns to the Westwood Plateau Golf & Country Club on March 7th. What is the best way to get there? Have shuttle details been arranged?
Carolyn: The festival will be operating a free shuttle both to and from the venue for this event.
Shuttle pickup will be at the Lafarge Lake-Douglas Skytrain Station. The shuttle will be doing loops before and after the festival, so guests can jump on board when they are ready!
Guests will receive an email update the week before the festival with times and details. The website will also have details posted once they are confirmed. Uber, Greater Vancouver Designated Drivers, and taxis are other options for guests to use as well.
Q: The Matinee session, previously starting at noon, has been moved later to 2:00 pm. That seems like a great idea. How are vendors and ticket buyers responding to the more relaxed start time?
Carolyn: Matinee tickets are selling faster than previous sessions (with a 12pm start time), so it seems that the guests are pleased with the time shift. By moving the times closer together the vendors seem to be happy as it will be a shorter day for them as well.
Q: Ticket prices have dropped by $10 compared to last year, which is nice. Even better, your event is tokenless, so there’s no need to pay more for samples after entering. How many total products will people be able to sample?
A: The festival continues to offer a tokenless format, and on March 7th vendors will be showcasing over 150 different beverages!
The price drop offsets a change in our food program. Guests will now have the option to purchase eats from participating food trucks.
Q: One of the highlights of each session is the “quirky brews” cask corner. Beer geeks and novices alike get to try some unusual brews from eight BC breweries. Do you have any previews on what a few of them are bringing?
Paul & Carolyn: We have been excited at the enthusiasm of the brewery partners involved, wanting to be in the cask corner specifically.
Guests can see who is working their magic with the quirky brews by checking the cask brewery list, available on our website. Expect some fun things to be available (stay tuned for details).
Q: This year, food on site is provided by your food truck partners, where guests can purchase a full meal. Which trucks will be coming?
Carolyn: Food trucks will be parked at the front of the building for guests to purchase eats, with full meals ranging from $6 to $12. Participating vendors will include Taps & Tacos and Tornado Potato.
Once diners have their meal, they can relax in the designated seating area easily accessible just steps below the front lobby.
Q: Each session of CCBF is also a fundraiser. What is the charity that West Coast Experiences chooses to support?
A: The Coquitlam Craft Beer Festival continues to support Team Taylor with the Ride to Conquer Cancer benefiting the BC Cancer Foundation.
Q: What are you looking forward to most at this next event?
Paul: Returning back to Westwood Plateau. It’s such a beautiful venue in the Spring, with all the natural light in the multi-level, multi-room space. It really creates an ever-evolving atmosphere amongst each session.
Oh, and the beer. All. Of. The. Beer.
Carolyn: I agree with Paul. The Westwood Plateau offers an incredible guest experience, and our event team works very well with the venue staff to ensure the level of service is exceptional.
We’re also very excited to showcase more beverage companies than ever before at Westwood! By moving the food vendors outdoors, we have over a dozen additional tables available for breweries, cider houses and distilleries!
Coquitlam Craft Beer Festival
MARCH 7, 2020
2:00 PM – 4:30 PM OR 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
Westwood Plateau Golf & Country Club
3251 Plateau Blvd, Coquitlam, BC V3E 3B8