Archive for July 2014

Missing out on some firsts (and seconds)

July 7, 2014

I’m usually pretty good at planning. My Google Calendar pages are littered with colour-coded blocks representing meetings, events and reminders. Upcoming birthdays and anniversaries? Heck, I plan for solar eclipses. (If you’re a solar eclipse chaser, check out August 21, 2017.) Thinking ahead is just something that I do. Yet somehow when we planned a return trip to the West Coast of Canada this year, I didn’t check my calendar. Only after the (non-refundable) plane tickets had been purchased did I glance at the calendar and realize with a sinking heart that I’d managed to choose the very same part of July when there are some pretty significant beer events happening right here in my own backyard.

1. Because Beer Festival, Friday, July 11, Hamilton

This is a brand-new craft beer festival happening on the Hamilton waterfront, about a 20-minute drive from my house. The organizers seem pretty serious, in a light-hearted way, about developing a craft beer scene in Hamilton. They even added a homebrew beer competition as part of the festival that attracted over 300 entries. (There were so many entries that I got a call earlier this week asking if I could help out with the judging. Haven’t judged a beer competition before? No worries, I will take you behind the scenes in a future post.)

I’m very sorry to be missing this one a) because it’s brand new, b) because I’d like to watch the the homebrew awards being handed out, and c) because the organizers sound so darned nice. Over 30 breweries. Food trucks. Bands playing. Admission only $25 and includes a sampling mug and 4 sampling tickets (or $40 for both days gets you the mug and 10 sampling tickets). Each 4-oz sample only costs 1 ticket, and you can buy more tickets for a buck a pop. They’re encouraging visitors to bring a lawn chair, chill out and enjoy the music. How am I missing this one? I shake my fist at the uncaring gods of travel schedules.

2. 2nd Annual York Region Craft Beer Festival, Thursday, July 17, Richmond Hill

This one is a bit further afield, but I really wanted to give it a look-see this year since I missed the inaugural event last year. (We were on to the road to Boston.) It’s just one evening long (6 pm-11 p.m.) but admission is only $20 at the door, and most samples are $1. The nice thing about this one is that it’s a Rotary event, so all profits go towards charities. There’s a dozen breweries attending and several local restaurants involved as well — sounds like a good time for a good cause. Next year, I promise!

3. Burlington Beer Fest, Friday, July 18–Sunday, July 20, Burlington

Like the Because Festival, this is also a brand-new craft beer festival, and it’s also happening on the waterfront, in Burlington this time, only about 10 minutes from my house.

However, I started out not as excited by this one, since the impression I got from their website is that it’s a wee bit less about promoting craft beer and a wee bit more about making money. Admission is $35 per day + a $3 service charge — that does not get you a mug, but you do get 8 tickets. However, the website is less than forthcoming about how many tickets each sample will cost, and how much more tickets will cost. About thirty brewers and cideries will be taking part, but be aware that a few of those will be “crafty” brewers (i.e. macros in sheep’s clothing) — Alexander Keith’s (AB Inbev), Hop City (Moosehead), Granville Island (Molson Coors) and Creemore (also Molson Coors).

On the other hand, when I started to read about the other breweries involved, I got excited again — this would have been my first oppoortunity to taste brews from newcomers Side Launch, Underdog’s, Turtle Island, and Longslice.

So I’m missing all three festivals. I’m sad. Or at least I will be until I taste my first B.C. beer.



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