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‘Crushable’ beer will fill glasses at Nanaimo Craft Beer Week

Series of events to be held Sept. 20-24
Marie Hopwood and Matt Carter, Nanaimo Craft Beer Society president and director, respectively, are raising a glass with the return of Nanaimo Craft Beer Week after a two-year hiatus. The events begins this Tuesday, Sept. 20, and continue through Saturday, Sept. 24. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)

A craft brew celebration returns to Nanaimo after a COVID-19 hiatus and the president of a local beer aficionado and advocacy group is encouraging participation from all genders.

Nanaimo Craft Beer Week begins Tuesday, Sept. 20 and ends Saturday, Sept. 24, with events throughout the city. One event, the Ninkasi Speakeasy at Vancouver Island University 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, is a paid admission beer tasting for, and inspired by women, but Marie Hopwood, Nanaimo Craft Beer Society president, hopes women attend other events as well.

“I’m super biased, but for one thing, craft beer is delicious,” said Hopwood. “For women who think they don’t like beer, quite often it’s because as you were growing up … people thought of beer as just being the mass-produced pilsners and lagers that you can get, I’m not trying to slam things like Bud or Coors, but that’s what you thought beer tasted like. That’s not what you’re going to find here. The beers that we have are crushable, they are different from anything you’ve ever had in the past.”

Special beer available during the week, according to Hopwood, will include an Oktoberfest beer from Cliffside Brewing Co., available at the Downtown Get Down on Saturday, Sept. 24, at White Sails Brewing and Cliffside Brewing in downtown Nanaimo. The ‘Simply Pink’ beer from Longwood Brewery will be available at Ninkasi Speakeasy, Hopwood said.

“That was actually brewed for International Women’s Day,” said Hopwood. “It’s no longer available in the brewery, I was able to get the last flat of it. So that will be at the speakeasy … it’s an IPA, but it was generously flavored with hibiscus blossoms and so it’s bright pink and it’s tart, and incredibly refreshing and crushable. It’s one of the ones I really hope makes their standard rounds now because it’s phenomenal.”

The paid admission Raise Your Glass to the Past event takes place at VIU on Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m., and will include a beer inspired by an ancient Chinese recipe.

“One of the beers we’ll have there is called ‘Jiahu Are You,’ that’s our neolithic Chinese beer and it ends up tasting like a dry cherry sour and it’s magenta,” said Hopwood. “It’s super unique.”

Other events include the paid admission Brewed Right Here home-brewed beer event at German Cultural Centre on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 1 p.m. and the Tap Secret Craft Fare Tap Takeover, at Craft Fare in downtown Nanaimo from 2-9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21. It features some special, top-secret beer, according to Hopwood.

With numerous breweries in Nanaimo, the craft beer scene is booming, she said, which bodes well for suds lovers.

“In the past, maybe you had access to Phillips Blue Buck in restaurants or in pubs,” said Hopwood. “But now you can go into restaurants and pubs, and some of our local liquor stores, and there are so many craft beer offerings. It’s really stunning and so the things you can have access to have changed dramatically even in the last five years.”

Nanaimo Craft Beer Week will feature free and paid events. For more information, including a schedule or to reserve a ticket, go to

RELATED: VIU research project digs up ancient beer recipes

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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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