Digesting BC’s History: BC Bites and Beverages at The Royal BC Museum

Greg Evans, brewing historian, and Esquimalt municipal archivist. A display at The Royal BC Museum about the history of brewing in BC. Courtesy of The Royal BC Museum

Greg Evans, brewing historian, and Esquimalt municipal archivist. A display at The Royal BC Museum about the history of brewing in BC. Courtesy of The Royal BC Museum

The joy of food and drink is one of the few things that can transcend time. Whether it’s for pure sustenance or more of a social endeavor, topics surrounding what we ingest seem to be universally captivating. On Thursday April 26, The Royal British Columbia Museum will be starting a six part series that explores just that: BC Bites and Beverages invites guests to explore the history of our province’s food and drink through various presentations, talks and tastings. Janet Macdonald, manager of the museum’s Learning and Visitor Experience says “Going to a museum is possibly our closest way of achieving time travel” adding that through the interactive structure of BC Bites and Beverages, “guests are able to make meaning through history and see the museum as more of a social place of informal learning.” She continues by saying that “more so than anything, food and drink are relevant touchstones that everyone can relate to in our current time, and something that helps us connect to past ages.”


The first of the series explores the history of brewing in our province, with brewing historian and Esquimalt municipal archivist, Greg Evans. With the help of five local brewers, Evans will present an overview of brewing on Vancouver Island from 1858 to the present day. The five brewers include Vancouver Island Brewery, Driftwood Brewery, Hoyne Brewing Company and Phillips Brewery, and each will bring a style of beer they currently brew that was also brewed historically on Vancouver Island. “Beer is so intertwined with the history of BC and our immigrants,” says Evans. “It was not only an available and inexpensive drink that the working classes could afford, but it was also a big thirst quencher for people in the resource industries as well as a social and family drink, so I see why this would be the inaugural topic. Not to mention that we have a history of some very skilled pioneer brewers who make some wonderful beer that continues to be enjoyed today.”


Along with background and historical information, guests will be able to sample the beers along with food pairings provided by Truffles Catering. Both Evans and MacDonald agree that there is a huge trend in the return to local, small, artisanal brewing companies that make creative beers that are not only interesting on their own, but also go well with food. MacDonald adds that “not just for brewing, but for all food and drink, there seems to be a deep desire to go back to the land, which is something that people just used to do naturally. Concepts of local organic farming, 100 miles diets, and other old practices are very appealing to people now, and I think will be an interesting point of comparison through this event.”


Other topics explored through BC Bites and Beverages include a Remembrance Day themed presentation discussing war-time rationing and the creative recipes and cookbooks that rose from that, as well as a chocolate and candy themed evening around Valentine’s Day with special consideration for the integral part Rogers’ Chocolates has played in the history of BC’s capital city. Tickets are sold online or through The Royal BC Museum box office and are $35 for museum members or $40  for the public. If you’d like to attend all six of the series, you can purchase tickets for a discounted rate at $200 for members or $230 for the public.


The Royal BC Museum, 675 Belleville St Victoria, BC (250) 356-RBCM (7226) www.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca 


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