Being a bit of a nerd addict smart person (!) I use a variety of platforms to learn about new releases, events or the latest cat videos. At any one time I can be found squinting at my phone reading a tweet, reloading Facebook or thinking of a new article key word search - all while watching a cat play with a box. The upside is that I get to see amazing new products and events; the down side is that I get to see amazing new products and events that aren't in Ottawa.
Missing out on new and exciting far away brews can be a little disappointing but what's worse is seeing a fantastic event and not being able to attend. Bar Volo, a Toronto bar specializing in craft beer, has been the cause of a lot of frustration with great tap takeovers from breweries like Dieu de Ciel or Beau's All Natural and fun theme nights like We Live For the Funk that featured experimental brews from countless Ontario breweries. I know Toronto isn't that far from Ottawa, it's just too expensive to make frequent beer visits.
Things are changing though; the craft beer culture in Ottawa is growing and along with more local craft beer to drink there are a lot of great beer events happening. Besides the usual festivals and charity parties there are expertly paired beer dinners hosted at top restaurants, brewer panels that let us beer fans into the secret world of owning a brewery and the occasional tap takeover.
Although they aren't frequent Ottawa has had tap takeovers before. Last summer during Ontario Craft Beer Week Brothers Beer Bistro hosted a tap takeover with Spearhead, Cameron's, Muskoka and Flying Monkeys showing off their hoppiest beers. The most recent takeover was held just over a week ago at The Wellington Gastropub with Beau's All Natural Brewing Company lugging in kegs of Lugtread, Bogwater, the Oktoberfest brews as well as several one off casks (including a Gastropub/Beau's collaboration) and a stash of rare bottles including the Greener Futures barrel aged series. To pair with the excellent selection of beer, the Gastropub offered a marbled rye grilled cheese with spicy ketchup, deep fried pork belly with spicy mayo and BYOV (bring your own vinyl) which made for some eclectic background music.
Those that attended were treated to a casual atmosphere where imbibers lingered at tables or moved from bar to casks starting up conversations with strangers as they drank. With the cold rain outside and so many bottles to try there was no where else I would have wanted to be. It was a perfect lazy Sunday day filled with craft beer, new friends and crisp vinyl tunes.