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Craft beer celebration will last a whole week in Nanaimo

Nanaimo Craft Beer Society putting on events Feb. 15-23 for Nanaimo Craft Beer Week
Stu Setch, Nanaimo Craft Beer Society president, opens a bottle of El Presidente Spanish Imperial Stout, a beer that will only be available during Nanaimo Craft Beer Week, Feb. 15-23. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)

A strange new limited-edition brew, and much more, will be on tap for Nanaimo Craft Beer Week.

Nanaimo Craft Beer Society’s craft beer celebration runs from Saturday, Feb. 15 to Sunday, Feb. 23, with numerous events around town, including the unveiling of El Presidente Spanish Imperial Stout on Wednesday, Feb. 19. Stu Setch, society president, says the dark beer was brewed especially for, and will only be available during, Nanaimo Craft Beer Week.

Setch said the idea was conceived about a year and a half ago when he and Harley Smith, Longwood Brewery brew master, were en route to a beer festival at Powell River.

“We were in the van chatting and I said, ‘Harley, man, do you think we could do a collaboration beer? That’d be so cool,’ and he said, ‘Yeah, we’ll do that,’ and that was where it began,” reminisces Setch. “A year and a bit later, this is actually the official unveiling. No one has ever seen this before.”

RELATED: VIU research project digs up ancient beer recipes

Sean Enns, society director, said the beer’s name was inspired by its flavours. Chocolate, coffee and vanilla, along with the green, red and gold of the bottle, struck members as being very South American, he said.

Enns and Setch describe it as beautiful, with beer head so thick a bottle cap can rest atop it for about 10 seconds.

Events during the week-long celebration are ticketed or free. The free official kick-off event takes place all day Saturday, Feb. 15 at Cliffside Brewing. The Ale-archy in the U.K. event, taking place at Wolf Brewing Company, Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 5 p.m.; Casks in Hand at White Sails Brewing Friday, Feb. 21 at 5 p.m.; and It’s Getting Hop in Here at Craft Fare Saturday, Feb. 22 at 2 p.m. are also free.

Tickets for Barrel Bash 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19 at Axe & Grind, where the El Presidente stout will be unveiled, are $25, while Bruges Brothers Belgian beer event, 6:30 p.m Thursday, Feb. 20. at Lucky’s Liquor Store sees $20 tickets and Cider Sips by the Sea at Lighthouse Pub at 6:30 p.m, also Feb. 20, $55 tickets.

A Brewed Awakenings event at Nanaimo Museum Wednesday, Feb. 19 and Crafternoon at Longwood Brew Pub on Sunday, Feb. 23 are both sold out and Setch said the week will end with a free event at Longwood Brew Pub on Feb. 23 beginning at 4 p.m.

“All of the leftover cask beers, we’re going to sell them out that night and we’re calling it Night of the Living Dregs and that’s going to be basically an open event to the public,” said Setch. “Anyone who wasn’t able to get Crafternoon tickets, you’re welcome come in. There’s no charge for entry and you can try all of the cask beers that we didn’t go through that day.”

For more information, or to purchase tickets, go to

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Sidebar: Events

Over the Cliffside

Official Nanaimo Craft Beer Week 2020 launch party

Cliffside Brewing

Saturday, Feb. 15

All day - Free

Ale-archy in the UK

Thirsty Like the Wolf for UK-inspired Ales

Wolf Brewing

Tuesday, Feb. 18

5 p.m. - Free

Brewed Awakenings

Ancient ales and Nanaimo’s brewing history

Nanaimo Museum

Wednesday, Feb. 19

5 p.m. - Sold out

Barrel Bash

Axe throwing, arcade challenges, and barrel-aged beer

Axe & Grind

Wednesday, Feb. 19

7:30 p.m. - $25

Bruges Brothers

Discover Belgian beer with Cedric Dauchot and Joe Wiebe

Lucky’s Liquor Store

Thursday, Feb. 20

6:30 p.m. - $20

Cider Sips by the Sea

An evening of craft cider and gourmet small bites

Lighthouse Pub

Thursday, Feb. 20

6:30 p.m. - $55

Casks in Hand

Go Ahead, Cask Me Anything: Homegrown and guest cask beers

White Sails Brewing

Friday, Feb. 21

5 p.m. - Free

It’s Getting Hop in Here

IPA Tap Takeover and IPA-Inspired Food Menu

Craft Fare

Saturday, Feb. 22

2 p.m. - Free


A Day with 15+ of B.C.’s best breweries and creative appetizers

Longwood Brew Pub

Sunday, Feb. 23

12 p.m. - Sold Out

Night of the Living Dregs

Last chance for Crafternoon casks

Longwood Brew Pub

Sunday, Feb. 23

4 p.m. - Free

Karl Yu

About the Author: Karl Yu

After interning at Vancouver Metro free daily newspaper, I joined Black Press in 2010.
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