Vancouver Craft Beer week kicked off on Friday at Gossip Night Club, as hundreds of beer drinkers and twenty of the best craft breweries filled the club and drank, danced, and rapped all night long.
Gossip Night Club lies under the shadow of BC Place, next to the Edgewater Casino on the shores of False Creek. One of Vancouver’s biggest night clubs, it was the perfect location for the opening night. While the festivities started at around 5 in the evening, many decided to stay outside the venue for as long as they could to soak up the sun and enjoy the many food carts parked outside.
Upon entering, each attendee was given a single glass for the night, to be filled up at the many taps scattered about the night club floor, balconies, and lounges. This was the best part of the evening – being able to sample beers from so many different breweries, learning more about beers you already loved, and getting to discover tons of brand new brews.
Because of the sheer number of taps available, there was never a long line anywhere, though some more popular brews ran out quickly and needed to be switched to new kegs.
The beers were the centre of attention for most of the evening, but once the hundreds of patrons had made their way around the venue once or twice (or thrice) filling up their glasses, learning about the intricacies of beer brewing became a background activity to the attraction that defined the theme of the event – hip-hop.
MC’d by locals DJ Flipout and the Hip-Hop Karaoke All-Stars, the evening turned into a hip-hop karakoe party with appearances from big local names like Prevail from Swollen Members and Kyprios. But it was those who came up from the floor who impressed the crowd the most. Old men in oxford sweaters and young college alike took the stage and put on incredible performances of hip-hop classics. Sometimes the fun in karaoke is in its amateur quality, but that night it was almost intimidatingly professional.
But those in attendance didn’t seem to be lacking fun. The response to the performances was incredibly positive. Cell phones were out and recording, collaborators were jumping on and off stage, and at least one middle-aged businessman redefined the dance floor as the crowds started to gather.
But though the dance floor may have been the biggest floor, it wasn’t the only floor. Surrounding it on all sides were several lounge areas strewn about with people drinking and dancing. And because the booze was freely flowing (notwithstanding the entrance fee), finding friendly party-goers was a simple task.
The beer wasn’t the only thing people were getting to know – they were also getting acquainted with each other. Those in the venue were incredibly open to each other, and lounges were full of people sharing drinks and talking about what was going on inside and outside their glasses. Maybe it was all the beer, maybe it was the hip-hop, or maybe it was the sun, but the opening night of Craft Beer Week was a vibrant night of socializing for the city and a great way to kick off the festival.
The appreciation of Vancouver’s expanding craft brewery industry got off to a fantastic start, and there are events happening all week. The hip-hop theme will continue to be represented at several locations throughout the city all the way up to the closing festival days at Olympic Village.
Tickets are available at www.vancouvercraftbeerweek.com