How to Survive Brewery and the Beast in 2023

The all-you-can-eat, all-you-can-drink fest requires serious strategy: here's some valuable advice.

Picture this: it’s the 2022 heat wave. The air is thick with barbecue smoke. Shade is available, but competitive. You have four hours to make the most of the $174 ticket you bought several months ago—the event always sells out, and you knew that. Making the most of your money essentially means eating the most beef and drinking the most beer that you possibly can. It’s go time.

That was me, last year, at Brewery and the Beast. The event was easily the best thing that happened to me last summer (yes, that includes getting engaged—and don’t cringe, my partner would agree). Brewery and the Beast is an all-you-can-eat, all-you-can-drink fest that showcases some of Vancouver’s best restaurants: this year, there’s Savio Volpe, Published on Main, Anh and Chi, Boulevard, Homer Street Cafe, Two Rivers Meats, Torafuku, Wildlight, Il Caminetto, The Victor, Juke Fried Chicken, Paella Guys and more. This year, it’s all going down on Sunday, July 9 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

As mentioned above, the event always sells out: I recommend getting tickets as soon as possible. Another recommendation? Read this carefully crafted survival guide made from notes I took last year.

How to Survive Brewery and the Beast

1. Eat an extremely light breakfast

The event starts at noon on a Sunday in the summer, so the breakfast situation is tricky. I’d never tell you to skip a meal, but definitely make this morning’s breakfast light (and plant-based, if you can—you’ll get your fill of meat later, trust me). Coming to Brewery and the Beast after a heavy breakfast is, and I mean this seriously, extremely stupid.

Photo: Brewery and the Beast

2. Be as hands-free as possible

You know that cute summer outfit you want to wear? Check for pockets. You do not want to be worrying about holding your phone, wallet, keys or sunglass case at this event, which largely involves wandering around on the hot concrete holding a wooden board and four tiny skewers and two little plates and a beer. Hand-space is an extremely valuable thing to have, don’t waste it on your phone. This is the event that fanny packs were born for.

This is the board that Brewery and the Beast gives you on entry – it has a spot for your cup, but not a ton of real estate (and notably no edges).

3. Wear clothes you don’t mind getting messy

Also in the clothing department: when you are wandering around with your million skewers and bowls and beers, you’re inevitably going to drop a taco or two on yourself. Don’t wear anything too precious. Or too white.

Photo: Brewery and the Beast

4. Don’t eat bread or chips

Stay with me. Lots of the little stations will offer you a handful of chips or a side of bread to go along with whatever little bite you’re enjoying: don’t even consider it until you’re at least halfway through the event. (This tip is for getting the most meat for your money, so if you’re in it for the bread, ignore me).

Photo: Brewery and the Beast

5. Go to your favourite restaurant stations first

It can be tempting to just amble up to the first delicious thing you smell, but the all-you-can-eat only lasts until the food runs out: and at some tents, that happens quickly. Last year, both the Boulevard station and the Savio Volpe station completely ran out of food well before 4 p.m. (it’s not their fault they’re so popular). Strategize to visit your favourite spots right at opening so you don’t miss out.

Photo: Brewery and the Beast

6. Eat while standing in line

This is the best advice I can offer: if you see a giant line forming at one of the stations, hit up a few of the less-busy tents before getting in the queue. That way, you can eat while you’re standing in line, and not waste any precious time food-less. Last year, Two Rivers and C Prime both had insanely long lines—we’re talking 50+ feet.

Photo: Brewery and the Beast

7. Take breaks

You can’t (and shouldn’t) eat for four hours straight. At the 2022 event, I went hard for the first two hours, took a half hour break and then started it up again. Remember to spend some time in the shade and drink water—your future self will thank you.