Admittedly, I'm a bit of a control freak. I like to know all the details of an event or restaurant or anything before I go so I can plan my day, meal, whatever accordingly. That being said I didn't know what to think of the beer festival portion of National Capital Craft Beer Week - the website listed a few new breweries that looked interesting and if you dived deep enough you could see that Master Cicerone Mirella Amato was on the speaking schedule with no specified time slot. The lack of information and abundance of broken links is why I didn't buy tickets in advance and thought I might only attend half a day.
You know what, though? It turns out you can't judge a festival by its website. There were lots of exciting new beers to sample and instead of staying for an evening I went for two days and stayed till last call.
Beyond the Pale had a great showing at the festival with a full line up of casks and draughts. I spoke with Shane a week after the festival and he said that the small Hintonburg brewery provided 20% of all the beer and with promotions like the Wheel of Cask, bunny costume and the Hop On Your Face cut out they needed it! Sawdust City from Gravenhurst was also a big favourite with their spiced (coffee, cinnamon and cayenne) Red Rocket Stout and Dawson's Kriek cask among others. Another favourite of mine was Broadhead's Bodacious Blueberry Ale, so crisp and full of blueberries - it was a celebration of summer. And Flying Monkeys, how dare you tempt me with Matador, a cedar aged imperial IPA, it just goes down too smooth.
I could go on listing a few other beer-y highlights, but this post could get a bit long winded. Cheers JP Fournier and all of the people behind NCCBW - job well done! My only suggestion is to make the online content as awesome as the festival and really get the National Capital excited for craft beer!
Below are a few images from the event. Please do not use these images without my permission.