October blooms, the weekend ends and another Beau's Oktoberfest is in the history books. I'm going to assume anyone reading this blog is familiar with Beau's or at least hasn't been living in a box for the last 10 years. Local Ottawa Brewery (not really, actually located in Vankleek Hill about an hour outside of Ottawa) that brews great beer, throws an awesome Oktoberfest bash. Good. Now we're all up to speed.
As mentioned above, Beau's throws a pretty good party. This year, as in past years, a fairly impressive array of beers was put before the masses. Everything from old standbys like Lug Tread and Night Marzen to new and interesting brews like Boghopper, a Dunkelhopfenweis (fairly certain this is not a style. Still great) and Kremlock, a tasty Polish brew from their Pro-Am series. All told they had 14 different Beau's beers to choose from. I myself thought the And Boom Gose the Dynamite was a stand out. I love the salty nature of this beer. Coupled with subtle notes of coriander and a crisp mouth feel makes this beer tops for me.
More about the beer situation. This year, Beau's did away with their Cask Days tent and went with a slightly different take on guest beers. They put out what they called their "Craft Haus." This showcased over 50 beers from all over Canada and the US. There was anything and everything at this tent. Most samples were 4 oz and cost 1 token. I myself partook of the Hunahpu's from Cigar City in Florida (2 tokens for a 4 oz) and almost had my taste buds blown out the back of my head. Seriously. Try this beer if you get the chance. It's Fucking crazy. Now, the Craft Haus was great but as with the cask tent in previous years the line ups got pretty long and somewhat tedious. I mean, what did I expect? The festival is lousy with crafties (craft beer lovers. TM.) It was inevitable.
Aside from the tremendous amounts of incredible craft beer what else does Beau's Oktoberfest offer you may ask? Of course you're not asking, this is a craft beer blog. I needed a segue, lay off. It's the Oktoberfest School of Bock. These sessions do not get nearly enough play. And if you're at Oktoberfest next year, you have to check them out. The School of Bock is fantastic, it's a series of tasting sessions they run throughout the day that centred around - wait for it - craft beer. They run the gambit from structured cheese pairings to listening to all the brewers talk shit at each other about the beers they brewed this year. If you're a crafty (mentioned above) you'll love this. This year I did 2 sessions. The cheese pairing and Do you know how to Drink?. Each session cost $10 and includes 4 5oz samples. If you the run the numbers it's pretty good value. Beers are $5 bucks out a the tents for 12 oz so you get a little under two beers worth and entertainment to boot. The cheese pairing session is always a hit. Andrew Laliberte is the resident cheese ninja and knows more about cheese then any sane person should. He takes you through some great stuff. Even if the pairing doesn't always work, he's happy to talk about what you didn't like as much as what you did. The Do you know how to drink session wasn't really as advertised. It starred 4 incredible brewers, Ben Love and Van Havig from Gigantic, Anders Kissmeyer from Kissmeyer Beer as well as Beau's own Mat O'hare. This session really just degenerated into a bunch of brewers chatting about how to make beer and what processes they like to use. For others this might have been disappointing. To me it was like Christmas. The chance to get to fire questions at brewmasters of that caliber is a rare treat. Actually accessibility to these guys was awesome. We got to catch up with all these brewers outside of the session forum later and really got down to the nitty gritty of the craft beer industry, but I digress. The Do you know how to drink? session really had nothing to do with how to drink beer, so, maybe it wasn't for everyone.
As the night wore on we sampled more beer and generally enjoyed ourselves. One great thing about Beau's Oktoberfest, as with many fests, is that people are happy to chat with complete strangers. We talked with people from far and wide. Some were there for the great craft beer, some for the bands and others just because it's a huge social event. I myself am not one for loud mostly incoherent music so I can't really comment on the bands that played. I realize I am dating myself with the last comment but hey, I'm trying to be honest. Overall this was another successful year. Drank liters of great beer, learned a thing or two and got to jaw with some pretty cool beer people. What more can a crafty ask for?