Day 83

Yesterday, during Kevin Somerville’s Ingredients class, he announced that there was a special “colleges of Ontario” event the next day at Queen’s Park in Toronto, home of the provincial legislature. While a half dozen colleges with culinary programs would be providing the food, Niagara College, as the only college with both winemaking and beer-making courses, was supplying student-made booze.  Therefore Niagara was looking for a Brewmaster student to chat up the virtues of the program while pouring beer. There was a buzz of interest from our class. Then  Kevin added, “You’ll need to wear a suit and tie.”

The silence was deafening.

Steve Gill, manager of Niagara’s Wine and Viticulture course, shared this story with me: Steve is a veteran of many, many wine festivals, so when he went to last year’s Great American Beer Festival in Denver, he wore his usual wine festival outfit–a business suit and tie. As soon as he walked through the doors of GABF, he realized he was overdressed. Even after discarding his jacket and tie, he was still way overdressed by several orders of magnitude.

Typical beer geek’s bedroom closet:

  • brewery logo t-shirts: check
  • beer festival logo t-shirts: check
  • plain black t-shirts (for formal occasions): check
  • jeans with holes: check
  • jeans without holes (for formal occasions): check
  • suit jacket, tie, dress pants: whuh?

As I have mentioned previously, I am a bit older than my classmates. I wear a watch. I don’t have a Twitter account. I own a suit.

In the deafening silence mentioned above, I raised my hand.

Thus it was that I found myself at Queen’s Park today in suit and tie, pouring beer for the attorney general while telling him about Niagara’s Brewmaster program.

Downside: the room was crowded, hot and noisy.

Upside: Imagine culinary arts students from half a dozen colleges showing off. The munchies were fantastic! Smoked morsels of salmon and venison, roasted red pepper mashed potatoes, salted caramel in bitter chocolate. (And although I didn’t drink any, I was assured many times that the beer was great, too.)

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