Saturday 3 August 2013

Session Muskoka Craft Beer Festival, Bracebridge, ON

Gord and I attended the fifth annual Session Muskoka Craft Beer Festival today in Bracebridge.  The group behind this one also organizes the Session Toronto Craft Beer Festival, which we have attended all four years ... this is the first time we've come to the Muskoka one.

It was held in Annie Williams Park ... there was also a Lion Steak BBQ happening in the park.

Here's the entrance tent.  It was $25 ($30 at the door) for your sampling glass and five sample tickets (we'd gotten our tickets last month).  Additional sample tickets were $1.

We got there about 2pm and there a few people there already.

There's Kristian from Muskoka Brewery ... we always run into her at beer festivals and say hello.

The breweries and wineries were:

  • Muskoka Brewery - Bracebridge ON 
  • Lake of Bays Brewing Co. - Baysville ON
  • Mill St. Brewery - Toronto, ON
  • Spearhead Brewery - Toronto, ON
  • Highlander Brew Co. - South River, ON
  • Steam Whistle Brewing - Toronto, ON
  • Double Trouble Brewing Co. - Guelph, ON
  • Central City Brewing Co. - Surrey, BC
  • Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery - Barrie, ON
  • Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. - Vankleek Hill, ON
  • Tree Brewing - Kelowna, BC
  • Phillips Brewing Co. - Victoria, BC
  • Parallel 49 Brewing Co. - Vancouver, BC
  • Amsterdam Brewery - Toronto, ON
  • Sawdust City Brewing Co. - Gravenhurst, ON
  • Coyote’s Run - Niagara, ON
  • 40 Creek - Niagara, ON
  • Pommies - Caledon, ON 

My first sample was a lemon tea ale from Mill Street Brewery from Tammy ... I've had it before and like it.

I had a raspberry wheat beer from Amsterdam Brewery.  I've had this in the past (I have some at home in the fridge right now!) and this tasted like a watered down version ... not good :(

I had a cream ale from Muskoka Brewery ... I've had this one in the past and like it.

I also had some wine from Coyote's Run, which was good.

There were food vendors.  I got a beef taco from Brandywine Catering Co.

I also got a couple mini cupcakes from Sassy Lamb Cupcakes.  I got a Great Canadian Mancake and a Banana Colada ... the banana one was yummy!

Yes, that's bacon!

There was entertainment.  There was comedy in a tent at top of the hill.  We stayed for one comic for about five minutes ... he wasn't funny.  He just did a lot of swearing for shock value.

The tunes were excellent, though, and we spent most of the afternoon sitting on the hill listening to the bands.  The theme was "bearded bands" and they played bluesy/southern rock music.

Sean Cotton was first ...

Then Dan Walsh came on ...

Then Alfie Smith played ...

 At the end, all three jammed together and sounded fabulous!

As the afternoon went on, it got busier ... but it was never too busy or crowded.  There was a good vibe.

There was a competition among the brewers.  First they had to break three balloons without using their hands or feet.  Then they had to eat mystery food (they grabbed a container and had to eat whatever was in it).  Finally they had to eat a donut hanging from a string.

That narrowed it down.  Then they had to dig through bowls of cream and chocolate sauce to find bubble gum and blow a bubble.
Jed, the organizer, was judging
The winners!

The final competition ... the last two had to build a carrier for a beer, carry it to a spot, somersault over to a the beginning of a 50 foot hose and drink the beer through the hose, and guess what kind of beer it is.

The winner was from Beau's Brewery

The competition was fun to watch but went on too long ... it would have been better if the hose had been say ten feet instead.

There was a dunk tank ... there's Kristian from Muskoka Brewery.

At 7pm, when it was over, there were still lots of people.

Anyone who wanted to carry on headed to the Griffin Pub for a parking lot party (we went back to our hotel and ordered pizza and chilled).

This was a fun beer festival.  It had a different vibe than the Toronto ones, though it's organized by the same person.  This was a lot more relaxed and there was more green space with places to sit. I liked that.

There were fewer brewers than at the Toronto festivals.  It seemed that rather that having actual employees from the breweries manning the booths, they farmed it out to locals (who unfortunately didn't know much about the brewery they were representing).

There were families with small kids.  With over 1,000 beer drinkers, it could get dangerous having small kids running around.  To me, a beer festival is an adult event.


Kat said...

That looks like a great event. We usually go to Beer Fest at Fort York, but it's gotten kind of expensive. $25 is an awesome deal. The beef taco looks amazing and I agree, kids shouldn't be at the event.

Teena in Toronto said...

Kat: Toronto's Festival of Beer got too big for Fort York and moved to the Ex a couple years ago ...