Craft Beer Tourist Group Hike #1 – July 16th, 2017
Can you think of a better way to spend a day, than to meet up with 30+ like-minded people who share your love for hiking and craft beer so you can enjoy an afternoon navigating a scenic trail and then converging on a local brewery to chat the day away while sipping on the latest IPA release? Me neither!
On July 2nd, 2017 I had an idea to invite my local Instagram followers to join me for a true BC Ale Trail experience hiking around Buntzen Lake, followed by a little brewery hopping in Port Moody’s Brewer’s Row, located a short distance from the trail. I pumped it up through Instagram and Facebook and by the day of the hike there were over 30 people signed up to attend. In the days leading up to the event, I got in contact with the four breweries that make up Brewer’s Row (Twin Sails, Yellow Dog, Parkside and Moody Ales) and asked if they would be interested in donating a prize to be awarded to some lucky hikers. All four of them thought it was a fantastic idea and generously contributed a prize. As the hike was a free event, I asked everyone to come with some canned goods or a cash donation for the Langley Food Bank for a chance to win some beer swag.
The morning of the hike arrived and for the first time in what seemed like a month, it was raining. I was worried that this would discourage people from attending. I had set the hike meetup time for 8:30am on a Sunday morning too which, given the location, might have been a bit early. I was starting to second guess how many people were going to show up. When we arrived and already saw a few faces, I breathed a sigh of relief. Then a few more showed up and once the crowd had fully formed there were nearly 40 of us! Donations were made, Craft Beer Tourist name tags were on and we were ready to hit the trails.
Buntzen Lake Loop Trail is 8kms long and is listed as “Easy” with a total elevation gain of only 110 metres. It follows the edge of the lake in and out of the trees. With many levels of ability among the group we all set off at our own pace and over time began to spread out. Just over half way around the trail there is a beach that we had all agreed to regroup at and enjoy a trail beer or two. It was the perfect spot to get a great group shot and spend some time meeting everyone. Once our last hiker caught up with the group, we finished the second leg and met back up at our first spot where I gave away the prizes which consisted of a growler and fill at each of the four breweries. Along the way I had encouraged everyone to take pictures of their trail beers and share them on social media using the hashtag #hikeforbccraft. It was actually a great opportunity for me to show my wife that I’m not the only one that takes pictures of all my beers before I drink them!
It was now time to converge on Brewer’s Row. We didn’t have a plan of attack from there. Everyone was on their own to visit the breweries at their own pace. We spent the next couple hours sipping on delicious craft beer and getting to know our new friends as we eventually hit each of the breweries. With everyone wearing their nametags it was easy to spot those that attended the hike.
It was such an amazing day enjoying nature and socializing with so many new friends. I knew immediately that I would definitely be doing this again.
A couple of days later I went to The Langley Food Bank and dropped off 3 big boxes of food and $150 in cash thanks to the generosity of the people who donated that day. The community that surrounds the craft beer industry is a very caring and charitable group of people and I am proud to be a part of it.