1. This is going to be an awesome beer fest
2. It should be renamed the Great British Columbia and UnTapped Beer Fest. True, it would be very hard to change the name at this point, but an overwhelming percentage of breweries are from BC. If you ignore the UnTapped portfolio, Unibroue, Mill Street, Muskoka, Big Rock and Steam Whistle the rest are BC breweries. I think this is great for BC Breweries to gain exposure. It does also highlight a few points. First, there are enough quality BC Breweries to fill a stadium. Second, the craft brew scene in Canada has grown so big that there are many other beer festivals across Canada. Breweries east of the rockies might not feel the need to market their beers in BC as demand in their own provinces is growing. Selling beer in BC is a very competitive market. The downside of this is that we don't get to taste Paddock Wood beers this year. I have found their beers to the some of the best at GCBF.
3. Local Victoria breweries didn't bring a lot of variety this year. Many of the local offerings are recent beers and an unmodified cask of a notable seasonal. There are some exceptions to this. Lighthouse has one new brew and two casks (if they work out). Moon has a new collaboration. Spinnakers has two wacky new brews. Category 12 does have a core brand with a new yeast added, which should be interesting.
4. Where is Crannog? Enough said!
5. Where are Three Ranges? Nelson Brewing? Brassneck? Red Collar? Noble Pig?
6. No American Breweries. See rather obvious but worth noting.
Now for my suggestions for something new to drink.
1. Loghouse Brewery. I plan to stand in line for all of those.
2. Ditto for Bad Tattoo.
3. All of Cumberland and Gladstone
4. Coal Harbour Baltic Porter. I love a good Baltic porter.
5. Dageraad De Witte Sour. mmmmm sours mmmmm
6. Doans American Rye Stout. Sounds unique.
7. Fuggles and Warlock have a multi hop West Coast Common.
8. Granville Island brewed a gose? Sounds good to me.
9. Longwood. A cask of a spontaneously fermented and 18 month cellared sour? This I gotta try.
10. Lighthouse used Discovery coffee to brew a lager; this should be tasty. Plus a few possible casks
11. Four Mile. Mainly because I don't want to buy a bottle so see if their beers have improved.
12. Spinnakers will have the first fresh hopped beer of the year. And a sour cask.
There are a few more I plan to try, but I'm not letting you know. Just in case there is not enough to go around