Northbank Beer Week began Thursday and will continue through Sunday. Yes, that’s four days, not a week. But as we all know, nothing is normal in 2020.
“Breweries have been bludgeoned by all this bad news all year, but they’ve survived,” said Michael Perozzo, organizer of the event and founder of Zzeppelin. “The good news is that you can still have a good time drinking beer with friends safely.”
Northbank Beer Week usually runs for 10 days with 10 events each day. But COVID-19 safety precautions prevent people from packing into breweries and taprooms, which are running on skeleton crews. Vancouver’s resourceful brewers had to get creative to pull together some beer-related virtual and in-person fun.
If it weren’t for the pandemic, Run the Haze, a key component of Beer Week, would be entering its third year with 20 breweries tapping 20 hazy IPAs. Trap Door re-imagined Run the Haze as a “festival in a can.” Ten esteemed hazy brewers from the Northwest created a special-recipe hazy IPA called Run the Haze.
If you order a four-pack of Run the Haze, which comes with a commemorative T-shirt, Trap Door will deliver anywhere in Clark County for free today. Trap Door will also livestream from its Facebook page today.
Run the Haze will be on tap at Trap Door. Breweries can offer seating up to 50 percent capacity if they serve food, so Trap Door worked out an arrangement with nearby Bleu Door Bakery.
Barlow’s Public House on Vancouver’s waterfront is throwing a four-day Oktoberfest. Owner Brian Rummer grew up in New Braunfels, Texas, home of a massive Oktoberfest celebration called Wurstfest. He’s hoping to bring some of that German-meets-Texas cheer to Vancouver.
Barlow’s is serving three German-inspired entrees, including chicken schnitzel, and bar taps will flow with German-style beer, including Fortside Brewing’s Fort Fest, a Oktoberfest-style maerzen, and Victor 23 Brewing’s Oktoberfest lager. On Saturday, Brothers Cascadia will stop by for a tap takeover and meet-the-brewer event.
Spilling from one tap will be the official beer of Northbank Beer Week, Brother Cascadia’s extra! extra! The official Beer Week beer is usually a collaboration, but this year, Brothers Cascadia Brewing brewed extra! extra! on its own.
“The idea behind this weekend is stop and look at the stuff we’ve been through, the craziness of the headlines of 2020. I wish it was really good news, but remember when we knew less about the virus? Looking back, things are better now,” said Jason Bos, brewer and owner of Brothers Cascadia.
Extra! extra! is a hazy IPA with unique hops: HBC 630 from Yakima Chief Hops and Mosaic Cryo Hops. According to Bos, extra! extra! is similar to Brothers Cascadia’s other hazies, like You Like ‘A Da Juice, a medium-bodied beer with a bit of balance and a tropical, fruity taste.
The festival ends on Sunday with a Pinewood Beer Can Derby Race at Ben’s Bottle Shop. To participate, pick up a kit from Ben’s Bottle Shop. Kits have everything necessary to build a beer-can car — pliers, axles, wheels, tape and glue. Turn in derby cars at Ben’s and then watch the races live from 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday on Facebook and Instagram.
“It’ll be fun,” Perozzo said. “There will be some silliness.”
Although truncated, Beer Week makes it clear that North Bank breweries haven’t let the pandemic keep them from creating new and interesting hazy IPAs to quench our collective thirst for something citrusy and bitter.