Sunday, June 24, 2012

Session 99 - 2012 Edition

Went on a beer excursion yesterday and I feel like writing a little bit about it.  Sessions 99 is the little festival that marks the end of Ontario Craft Brewery (OCB) week.  There are two three hour sessions where you can taste a lot of different beers and have a few bites.  This year, you bought one ticket and it was one ticket to rule them all.  It bought you unlimited tastes of some 100 beers.  I didn`t count them, that is just what the ad said.

The crowd was varied, from hipsters to a few wanting to get a good buzz on to craft beer lovers.  There were a lot of one-offs and collaboration beers that we may never see again.  But what is really interesting is getting to talk to the brewers directly to understand where they are coming from and what they are up to.

Hogsback from Ottawa told me the sad story of an ale gone bad.  They had tried it earlier in the week and it wasn't tasting so good.  The whole thing had to be poured out.  They had one of the only tapped lagers at the show.  Fresh lager tastes better than I remember.  That was the first beer of the session.

I love sours and there was an Amsterdam called Maverick and Gose that I had for my second beer.  I remembered it for the rest of the session and it made it onto my favourite beer voting card.

A small break from beer and I was able to indulge another of my beverage passions - coffee.  There was a coffee van from Wandering Bean Coffee.  I talked to the owner for a bit and she and her husband are doing some interesting things.  At the show, there was a hopped lemonade that worked pretty well.  She has smoked her own coffee and that is something that I have been wanting to try.  Also, she is working on doing a Louisiana style cold coffee that is cold brewed with chicory.  That I have tried and loved.  A line up had formed and so she was done talking to the drunk (me) and on to serving other drunks.  It turns out that the Bean is based out in Buckhorn, which is on our way to visit my mother.  Means that there may be some side trips.

Now, back to beer.  I was happy to see different beers from Spearhead.  They are the guys that do the Hawaiian Pale Ale.  They brought a brown and a stout.  These guys may be slow at getting stuff done but it is okay when they can put out this quality of beer.  They got my vote for best brewer.

The brewers really stepped up their game.  I had a few surprising beers this year including two from Flying Monkeys; a grape ale and a peaty scotch ale. The grape worked and reminded me of KoolAid in a good way.  The scotch ale was getting a bad rap from some who had tried it and steered me away.  That, of course, drove me closer to it.  I am not much of a scotch drinker but you could taste the scotch on the beer. It was a little sweet but not burnt in the way that I had been led to believe by my conversations.

Black Oak hopes to have a saison in the store shortly.

The three regrets were: Watermelon Ale, Sour Cherry Collab from Amsterdam and Venskab from Beau`s.  Did not get to try but I will be able to get the Beau`s from their brewery in Ottawa.

This event has ironed out some of the kinks from last year and I am looking forward to next year.  Especially as craft beer continues to get stronger in Ontario.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry you missed out on our Watermelon Wheat ale! We'll be brewing more shortly and will be sure to have it at all of our remaining events this summer

    Mike (KBCo crew)