Vancouver Mural Festival adds to the art of craft beer

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      Past attendees of Vancouver Craft Beer Week, a multiday celebration of locally made brews that culminates with a tasting festival featuring 100-plus breweries, may be familiar with the fete’s three pillars of music, food, and beer. But for its eighth annual iteration this year, the event is introducing a new component, thanks to a partnership with the Vancouver Mural Festival.

      “It’s great for us because we kind of get to add another layer to Craft Beer Week,” Leah Heneghan, VCBW events director, tells the Straight at the group’s new East Vancouver HQ. “We were music, food, beer, but partnering with the Vancouver Mural Festival, we become music, food, beer, and art.”

      Launched in 2016, the inaugural VMF saw over 40 murals installed in and around Mount Pleasant over the course of two weeks. Heneghan says she and VMF co-organizer Adrian Sinclair met before that bash, and, after speaking, felt that the two events were a “natural pairing”.

      As a result, craft-beer devotees can expect the local art community to be heavily integrated in the 2017 VCBW Festival, which wraps up a 10-day lineup at the PNE Fairgrounds on June 3 and 4. Guests will be able to enjoy over 300 varieties of beer and cider and take part in activities such as live mural-painting.

      “Anyone who’s an attendee will be able to pick up a paintbrush and contribute to a mural,” says Heneghan.

      Backdrops produced by local artists may also adorn the festival’s three stages. A special VCBW mural created by Vancouver-based designers NOMADICALTERNATIVES Productions will be on-site. The piece, which depicts the PNE Fairgrounds with two figures holding cans of this year’s VCBW collaboration brew (a hazy passion-fruit-and-guava-infused pale ale concocted by Yellow Dog, Moody Ales, Twin Sails, and Parkside) in the foreground, is currently on display at VCBW and VMF’s shared office at East Hastings Street and Campbell Avenue.

      On June 2, VCBW and VMF will also host a mixer at their communal studio to celebrate their new partnership while offering attendees a behind-the-scenes look at how the two events come together. DJs will spin beats in the evening, and local artists will be on-site painting, adding to murals already on the walls. Beer, of course, will be flowing.

      When VMF returns for its second time to Mount Pleasant from June 24 to August 12, VCBW will operate a 600-person-capacity beer garden in the neighbourhood. “It’ll be a mini beer festival in the middle of a large art festival,” says Heneghan.

      Marrying beer with public art may seem odd to some, but for Heneghan, it couldn’t be more fitting. “Beer is art,” she says. “And so many of the breweries around town are also galleries, so there’s always been this chemistry between the two.”

      Vancouver Craft Beer Week takes place from this Friday (May 26) to June 4 at various venues around the city. For more information, or to purchase tickets to an event, visit

      Follow Lucy Lau on Twitter @lucylau.