The Coquitlam Craft Beer Festival at the Hard Rock Casino is one of Metro Vancouver’s premier events featuring BC craft breweries and tasty appetizers.
Beer Festival at Westwood Plateau
The Coquitlam Craft Beer Festival is a great event that features over 50 breweries, dozens of different craft beers, delicious appetizers and lots of people.
The festival has been running for the past three or so years in both the spring and the fall. In recent years it has been held at the Westwood Plateau Golf Club. In 2019, however, it’s at its new casino venue.
Festival Dates and Prices
In 2019 the Coquitlam Craft Beer Festival’s spring event took place on March 9th. Its fall event happens on Saturday, September 28th.
On March 9th, 2019, there were two sessions. One was from 12:30 until 3:00 pm and the other was from 7:00 until 9:30 pm. General admission for the afternoon event last year was $55, or $199 for a pack of four tickets. Admission in the evening was $65 per person, or $229 for a group of four.
Last year the fall event was in November and cost $59 for the Friday evening and $49 for the Saturday afternoon. In 2019 it’s just a one-day event on Saturday, September 28th.
This year there are two sessions on the Saturday in September. One is from noon until 3:00 pm and the other is from 7:00 until 10:00 pm. The cost in 2019 is about $60 for the afternoon session and $70 for the one in the evening.
At the events people can enjoy a nearly unlimited selection of craft beers and food samples. No tokens or extra purchases are required, which makes this an especially appealing and enjoyable event.
Also at the event each year there’s a silent auction where participants can bid on a wide range of gifts and treats for yourself, all while supporting a charitable cause.
What Makes it Special?
A number of things make the Coquitlam Craft Beer Festival stand out as a “best place to be” for people who like craft beers and hanging out with their friends. Below is a list of some of the event’s usual features that for us really stand out.
- The admission price includes complimentary food and beverages. You don’t have to pay extra for each beer sample you try or every appetizer you want to taste. Unlike most Lower Mainland events of its kind, it’s all included!
- The venue is completely indoors so it’s warm and not weather dependent!
- The festival benefits a worthwhile charitable cause. At the event there’s a silent auction and raffle with 100% of the proceeds benefiting the Ride to Conquer Cancer. Tips at the coat check also benefit the charity (or at least they did last year).
- The cost is reasonable. There aren’t many places where you can wander around and sample virtually unlimited beer, cider and food samples!
- There’s plenty of free parking (just don’t forget to pre-arrange a designated driver)!
- The event offers a safe ride home program. Arrangements can be made in advance with Greater Vancouver Designated Drivers to get both you and your vehicle home afterwards. There is also a complimentary shuttle service to the Braid Skytrain Station at the end of each event. Complimentary transit tickets have also been available at the concierge desk on a first-come, first-served basis (although that may or may not be the case in 2019).
Over four dozen BC craft breweries participate in the Coquitlam Craft Beer Festival. Each brewery offers a selection of brews with over 120 different kinds in total to choose from. There are IPAs, cream ales, lagers, fruit-infused brews and all kinds of seasonal and award-winning ales.
The food at the festival is usually really good. When we went there were chicken wings from Wings Restaurant, noodles and poached prawns from the Hard Rock Casino, and deli meat samples, nachos and chili, and upside-down cheesecake. The selection will be similar in 2019, although it appears that all food will be offered by the Hard Rock Casino (and so not from a variety of different vendors).
Tips and Advice
Below are some suggestions to help you make the most out of your experience at the Coquitlam Craft Beer Festival.
TIP #1: Plan in advance how to get home. There is a complimentary shuttle service to the nearest SkyTrain station at the end, which is good to know.
TIP #2: Go with a good appetite as the food is delicious and there’s a fair bit of it. Be sure though not to drink on an empty stomach! Pace yourself!
TIP #3: Go with a group of friends. The more the merrier!
TIP #4: Bid generously at the silent auction. There are some great items up for sale and the proceeds benefit a very worthwhile cause.
TIP #5: Make a note of your favourite beers so you can remember them for the future. Also, chat with the people around you to learn what they recommend. With over a hundred beers to choose from, you want to make sure to sample and remember the best!
TIP #6: If you prefer wine to beer, then consider checking out the TriCity International Wine Festival which may be taking place at the same venue on a different weekend.
To buy tickets or for more information about the event, check out the Coquitlam Craft Beer Festival website.
For information about the area, click Coquitlam.
For a list of other Lower Mainland beer-related events, click Vancouver Breweries and Beers and scroll to the middle of the page.
For a list of other major events of various kinds at different times of the year, check out the following: