THE GUY NEXT DOOR: Chris Bjerrisgaard, Vancouver Craft Beer Week
It was only a couple of years ago that most Vancouverites thought a “growler” referred to some sort of cantankerous wildlife attacking the dumpster in your back alley. But thanks to the work of this month’s “Guy Next Door” and his cohorts, the city’s craft beer scene has gone from niche to Main Street while still retaining its credibility. May 30 marks the start of the fifth annual Vancouver Craft Beer Week, of which The Burrard Hotel is the official hotel sponsor. So we thought this would be the perfect time to chat with one of the founders of the event, Chris Bjerrisgaard, and get his picks on what to fill your glass with while you’re in Vancouver.
Where do you work and what do you do there?
Vancouver Craft Beer Week, Co-Founder & Marketing Director
How did you find yourself doing this?
Back in 2009, a rag-tag group of misfits decided it would be awesome to try and put together a beer week to support the emerging craft beer scene. In May 2010 we held the first VCBW and although much has changed over the years, the company is still going strong.
If we’re buying you a beer, what should we get you?
For a while I was really all about import products (esp. U.S. craft beers) as they had a bit of an edge when it came to innovation. Since then the scene has exploded and I’m really hyped on the products coming out of Central City Brewers + Distillers, Four Winds Brewing, Parallel 49 Brewing Company, and a whole slew of new breweries opening or in planning. Needless to say it’s exciting times in the B.C. beer scene! With that in mind, right now I’m drink a lot of Red Racer ISA because it’s easy on the liver, alongside whatever cool new large format offerings are out from P49 and Four Winds.
Morning-after? If you’re really slick you’ll opt for the night before. The best possible things you can do to fight the hangover are eating something and washing it down with some electrolyte beverage. In a pinch sports drinks help, but if you can avoid the sugar go with some Pedialyte or something along those lines. If you do this before bed you’ll avoid having as rough a feeling when the birds start singing. Wash – rinse – repeat when you wake up for best results.
Thing that you love about Vancouver?
There is no place like Vancouver on a sunny day. You can experience pretty much anything you want. You can go enjoy the outdoors, be it the mountains or the beach, or just sit on a patio and drink the heart out of an afternoon.
Thing that drives you crazy about Vancouver?
Depending on where you are in Vancouver the people can be a bit standoffish. I suppose it comes with the territory in a city that has so much money and a large wealth gap. People don’t want to trust each other, so when they find a clique they tend to stick to it. Maybe that’s why I love VCBW so much, it sure seems like all kinds of people can come together over love of great beer.
Someone’s visiting Vancouver for the first time and has just 24 hours. How would you suggest they spend them?
Depending on the time of year you’ll need to spend part of the day out and about – hike The Chief, go to Whistler, hit up Spanish Banks, or take a ride on the Seawall. Once the afternoon rolls around find yourself a spot for a drink and see where it takes you. If you’re like me it’ll probably take you to Gastown, Chinatown, or Main Street – but really it’s hard to go wrong here!
Backpack or wheelie suitcase?
Ahhh, I learned the answer to this question six years ago after I spent a couple weeks bumming around Northern Europe with a few buddies. You see, I had a backpack and they all had roller bags. Two weeks of partying, hungover train rides and short haul flights made me hate that backpack. I wished for nothing more than the ability to roll that heavy-ass thing behind me towards the next destination. Roller bag, clear winner, hands down.