The Whistler Village Beer Festival is an annual event at the resort town of Whistler. It features seven days of craft beer celebrations in September.
In 2020 the festival was going to take place from September 14th until the 20th with the main events happening on the 19th and 20th. Everything, however, was cancelled due to COVID-19. The festival also isn’t happening in 2021. It will be back, however, in September of 2022.
WVBF Beer Festival
The Whistler Village Beer Festival (WVBF) has been running since 2013. It’s hosted by Gibbons which was Whistler’s first pub and now present owner of multiple drinking establishments.
Places in the Gibbons group today include Buffalo Bills, the FireRock Lounge, Garfinkel’s, Longhorn Saloon, Stonesedge and Tapley’s Pub, all in Whistler. They also own Norman Rudy’s in Squamish and the Deep Cove Brewery and Distillery in North Vancouver.
Festival Dates & Location
In 2020 the Whistler Village Beer Festival Main Events were scheduled to happen on the Saturday and Sunday of September 19th and 20th. Because of the coronavirus pandemic and government restrictions on major events, however, the festival was cancelled. It’s not happening in 2021. It is though in September of 2022.
In years when there isn’t a pandemic, the Main Event involves multiple breweries setting up booths on the weekend in the Whistler Olympic Plaza and offering crowds of people samples of their brews. Other activities over the course of the 7-day festival include themed events at various area pubs.
Festival Main Weekend Event
The Main Events at the Whistler Village Beer Festival usually take place on the Saturday and Sunday from noon until 5 pm in Whistler’s outdoor Olympic Plaza.
At the Main Events dozens of craft breweries set up all around the plaza and participants go from stall to stall exchanging tokens for their choices of over a hundred different beers and ciders.
Attendees get an official WVBF sampling mug, there’s live music and up to 3000 people attend on years with good weather.
At the Whistler Village Beer Festival on the Saturday and Sunday there are a small number of vendors selling food including vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, and four or so different bands perform each day.
At the Whistler Village Beer Festival five dozen different breweries participate with over 100 beers and ciders on offer. Some of the breweries are from the Whistler and Sea to Sky area, many are from Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, most are from somewhere in British Columbia and a small number are from out of province.
Participating breweries most years include Bomber Brewing, Bowen Island, Central City, Deep Cove, Granville Island, Howe Sound, Stanley Park, Steamworks, Powell, Postmark, Okanagan Spring, Moody Ales, Parallel 49, Salt Spring Island Ales, the Whistler Brewing Company and about 3 dozen or so others.
At the event each year, in addition to people sampling all the different brews, there is judging of the products and people get to vote for their favourites.
A few years ago the first place winner was the brewery Fuggles & Warlock from Richmond. In second place was Backcountry Brewing from Squamish, and in third place was Field House Brewing from Abbotsford. The People’s Choice Award went to Okanagan Spring Brewery from Vernon.
A couple of years ago the first place winner was once again Fuggles & Warlock. Pemberton Brewing Co. got both second place and winner of the “People’s Choice” award, and Coast Mountain Brewing came in third. Expect the lineups at these vendor stalls to be extra long in 2021 (or 2022 if this year’s event gets cancelled).
For a more complete list of participating breweries most years click Festival Beers.
Live Music Lineup
Bands and DJs performing at the beer festival a couple of years ago are listed below. The 2022 lineup will likely be comparable (unless the event gets cancelled due to COVID-19 once again).
2018 Saturday Music
- Rad Pack
- DJ Stache
- The Hip Replacements
- JennaMae & The Groove Section – a Calgary singer and Whistler Rhythm & Blues band.
2018 Sunday Music
- DJ Angry Bear
- Red Eye Empire
- The Whiskey Dicks – a band of Celtic party rockers from the Yukon featuring Celtic-Gypsy fiddle licks, cello, trumpet, percussion and guitar.
- Red Chair – a 4-member rock band from Whistler.
Other Festival Info
Below are some additional tips and pieces of advice that are good to know!
- Cash, Visa and MasterCard are all accepted at the weekend Main Events. An ATM is also available on site.
- The Whistler Village Beer Festival is an adult only (19+) event. Children ages 18 and under are not permitted.
- Except for registered service animals, pets are not allowed.
- Re-entry to the weekend Main Events is not permitted so make sure you have everything with you when you arrive and don’t go somewhere else halfway through and plan to return.
- Smoking of tobacco products and e-cigarettes is permitted only in the designated smoking area.
- Shuttle bus service to and from the venue is available most years to and from both Squamish and downtown Vancouver. Last year the cost for a one-way trip from Vancouver was about $45. Click Beer Festival Travel for information.
To learn more about the festival, see the Whistler Village Beer Festival website.
To learn more about Lower Mainland beers, breweries and beer festivals, click Vancouver Breweries & Beer.