I recently took the opportunity to check out The Brewery Market and their Capital Mash Up at Parkdale Park. For those of you who are not familiar with The Brewery Market and their events, they focus on bringing beer to enthusiasts much in the same way a farmers market brings food to the masses. A place where brewer's can showcase their products, educate and interact with their consumers. It's a great environment in which to enjoy a few tasty beers.
As I said, the event was held at the Parkdale Park here in Ottawa and headlined 3 collaboration beers. An unholy alliance of 3 Ottawa craft brewers had joined forces with 3 Toronto craft brewers to create some unique and interesting brews. The beer garden itself was located right next to the Parkdale Farmer's Market thus keeping with The Brewery Markets overriding theme. I should also note that the kids splash pad and park was right next door, so Dad could slip off for a beer while mom and the kids enjoyed themselves. Or maybe mom slipped off, leaving Dad to handle the rugrats, either way, somebody got to sample a tasty beer. The event had no entry fee and beer tickets could be purchased once inside. Tickets were reasonably priced at $6 for a regular ticket and $4 for a collaboration ticket. The regular priced tickets got you a full beer, the colabs a half glass.
The collaborations featured were a Cranberry Saison from Cassel and Great Lakes, a Belgian Golden Ale from Beyond the Pale and Indie Ale House, and finally a Lemon Wheat Pale Ale from Broadhead and Amsterdam. I of course enjoyed all three and was quite impressed. The Cranberry Saison was a huge hit with my wife who actually drank an entire glass. This is a big deal...seriously, I love beer, hell I write about it, and she has an intense dislike for it...it's very hard on our relationship. All three selections were great. The Cranberry in the Saison was up front but well balanced. The Golden Ale was a BIG beer, full of flavor. The Lemon Wheat Pale Ale was well rounded and very sessionable.
Now, like any good beer garden there was of course some food, Hintonburger had brought their show on the road and were serving up very tasty burgers at fairly reasonable prices. Don't judge too harshly, anything more than free is just reasonable to me. The collaborations were of course a hit and went fairly quickly. Another member of the Ottawa Beer Club had arrived late and he missed out on the Saison...small tear...you snooze you lose in the craft beer game. Once all the colabs were gone, the three intrepid brewers soldiered on serving up many of their flagships as well as a few new brews. I had a chance to grab a Bell Hop Porter from Beyond the Pale. Great beer, light chocolate and hazelnut rounded out with some good hop bitterness. Yum. While I attempted to sample each and every beer, I of course took the time and opportunity to yak about beer with reps from each of the breweries. It was a great environment to talk beer. All three breweries had friendly and knowledgeable staff who really seemed to enjoy talking beer. I made sure I stole an opportunity to chat with the lads from Broadhead as I've been intrigued by some of their recent endeavors . I am seriously impressed at how far that group has come. That may sound pretentious but I'm serious. Their stuff was always good but they have recently really stepped up their game. These guys brew some seriously good beer and you can just tell by talking with them that they love it. I begged for a repeat of this winter's Fruit Cake Ale and I'm told they will oblige, when the snow falls.
Overall this was a huge win for The Brewery Market. I think they really nailed the atmosphere they were looking for and environment they are hoping to create. It was the perfect place for the breweries to generate some buzz and showcase some unique products, as well as demo their tried and true offerings. It gave seasoned craft beer veterans the chance to try something new and those new to the craft beer scene the opportunity to see not only some outside the box beers but the breweries flagships as well. Hell, this event was a great one for both long time fans and newbies alike. The Brewery Market is hosting two more events in Ottawa this year, one this summer on August 25th and another this fall on October 20th. If you missed out this July I would put the next events on your calendar.