Beau’s brewery is more than just another beer brewing company – it is one that has amassed a cult following.
Every Fall, people from all over make their pilgrimage to Vankleek Hill, Ontario, the home of Beau’s brewery, for Oktoberfest.
Traditionally, Oktoberfest is held, well, in October. But given that the temperatures can be a little on the cooler side on Canada’s Eastern side at that time of year, the brewery instead hosts its festival in early September. Genius.
Last year’s event was hit by a tornado that cut celebrations short. Well, not entirely. The hardcore ale swillers took coverage in barns, where some of the musicians set to play – still did. Albeit acoustically.
Some of the more rough and tumble types did take to the stage once the torrential winds had blown through the small town. K-Man & The 45s and the Cancer Bats wouldn’t admit defeat. They came to rock, and rock they did.
Not even the power of wind could blew out this party. A year goes by, and another Oktoberfest rolls along – and a threat of a tropical storm again clouds over. On the bus ride from Montreal to Vankleek Hill, passengers reminisced about their experience last time around. “This is the place where our bus turned around last year” said one. Another mentioned how the driver on the bus they were on took an alternate route and arrived to the festival mid-storm.
Then a chant of “no tornado” briefly broke out. On arrival, fears of another apocalyptical storm where put to rest. Instead, an unseasonably hot weekend was had.
Two new Beau’s beers to try
Each year, the brewery offers new beers to the people. This year saw the additional of a London Fog beer that is brewed in conjunction with David’s Teas. As well as a Czech-style beer named Tmave. This impossible to pronounce beer is a delicious addition to the Beau’s roster.
London Fog is an Earl Grey Latte Ale at 5.3%. Brewed with an infusion of David’s Tea Organic Cream of Earl Grey tea blend. Adding rich vanilla and organic lactose (milk sugar) to create the creamy, comforting experience of an earl grey latte in a beer. This isn’t the first time Beau’s has used lactose in its brewing process. They’ve also produced a Tom Green milk stout in recent times.
Tmave, on the other hand, is a smooth dark Czech style larger at 5.4%. A silky mouthfeel with dark bread and rich chocolate flavours eases into a finish that is dry and clean
Both of the delicious delicacies disappeared rapidly. Kegs were drained, leaving the thirsty with seven already known Beau’s concoctions to choose from. And if that didn’t whet your pallet, there were more than sixty other beers and ciders to select from. A beer drinkers paradise.
Live music at the forefront
Two stages graced the festival. A larger main stage and smaller one named the Black Forest stage that catered more to punk rock and the ilk. There was also a half-pipe skateboard ramp for the extreme drinker.
The New Pornographers were the key attraction of the weekend, but the Black Forest stage was the more visited on the two. Bands such as The Readys, Pale Lips and The Peelers kept music-lovers entertained as they slugged back pint after pint of delicious beer!
The Penske File were also on hand, rolling again in a new van after their old one was stolen while on tour in Montreal. Lost Love were also a big draw. John Jacob Magistery was on hand early on Friday, to help kick off the festivities.
Saturday’s main stage had a seemingly endless stream of Polka music. Keg tossing, pint holding and other beer-fused games and competitions took place around the grounds, as well as an arcade of olde-timey games that largely involved throwing stuff at other stuff. Skateboarders pulled off tricks and sweet moves on the ramp, and in a mosh pit meets hockey contest where they tried to shove each other off of their boards. Gnarly.
As keg after keg fell empty. And day became night, an early last call hushed the rowdy as the time to settle down and head off home came way too soon. Oktoberfest was over for another year. The bus ride home was solemn, only interrupted by the sounds of the cheap dates throwing up out the bus windows. Coating its sides in a thick layer of sick. I feel for the poor bastards that had to clean the buses up.
In short, Beau’s Oktoberfest is wunderbar!