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Craft Beer Takes Over Coquitlam

The Coquitlam Kinsmen are hosting their first annual International Craft Beer Festival this July long weekend

July 15, 2016

By Coquitlam Kinsmen

The Coquitlam Kinsmen are all about giving back to the community, and their first annual Coquitlam Kinsmen International Craft Beer Festival is no exception.

“We’re all about charity,” says Kinsmen member and Event Co-Producer Brent Shaw, “and so is this event.” Shaw and fellow Kinsman Jim Bagan are the masterminds behind the festival, which will take place July 30 and 31 over the B.C. Day long weekend. The organizers see it as their opportunity to bring some much-deserved recognition to the Tri-City region. “We’ve watched the craft beer business boom over the last five years,” explains Shaw. “But the Tri-City Area has remained largely neglected.”

The Lower Mainland subset, which consists of Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody is no stranger to craft beer. “There are some breweries out here producing really fantastic products,” says Bagan, who estimates that of the forty beer, cider and wine vendors confirmed about seventy-five percent are B.C.-based. The festival will also feature four headlining acts from around the province, plus food from Port Moody’s Brew Street Craft Kitchen, popular local food trucks and the Kinsmen themselves. As icing on the cake, the City of Coquitlam has sanctioned the festival as part of their 125th anniversary celebrations. “We’re doing it right, right out of the gate,” quips Bagan, who adds that the B.C. Liquor Board and RCMP were blown away by their extensive security plan, which can accommodate up to 8,500 guests per day.

Beer sample tickets—sold for $1.50 each—will reimburse participating breweries, while admission proceeds will directly benefit Como Lake Park, the Kinsmen’s latest endeavour. “It’s a $280,000 project, so we’re setting lofty goals.” Fellow Kinsman and severe car crash victim Mike Kennedy will also have a booth for his “One Dime at a Time” campaign, which has raised almost $30,000 for cystic fibrosis. “We want him to raise more money than he’s ever seen,” says Shaw, tearing up at the subject.

If anyone is capable of such ambitious goals, it’s the Kinsmen. The men’s and women’s club is the largest contributor to cystic fibrosis in Canada, while the Coquitlam branch has donated the city’s first fire truck, first jaws of life, and thousands of dollars worth of wheelchairs over the years. They also helped to build the children’s park at Coquitlam Centre, the park at Coquitlam Lake and the G.F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre—a transition facility that has assisted such high-profile para and quadriplegics as Rick Hansen and Robb Dunfield.

Located at the foothills of the Westwood Plateau Mountains, with Golden Ears and Lafarge Lake within sight, Shaw and Bagan believe that the Coquitlam Town Centre South Field makes the ultimate festival venue. “By next year the Evergreen Line extension will stop right at the entrance.” In the meantime, they have organized a number of safe transportation options, ranging from by donation rides with Red Nose and Safe Ride to free transit passes.

In order to get fundraising underway, the Kinsmen are hosting two growler filler events at Brew Street on June 29 and July 10. “They will be serving delicious food as two or three local brewmasters lead tastings,” explains Bagan, “and guests will—of course—go home with full growlers.”

Tickets for the growler nights and the Kinsmen International Craft Beer Festival are on sale now, with group options also available. Visit www.kinsmencraftbeerfest.com or contact Event Coordinator Sasha Tennant at (604) 323 3803.

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