Yes, on Saturday I had the opportunity to wake up early after the Oktoberfest night in Kitchener, stay in line in the rain to get onto the shuttle bus at Broadview to get to wait in line again for over an hour (in the pouring rain) at Brickworks just to get a taste of a few casks at the first session of Cask Days 2013. Was it worth it? Heck yes!
I got my tickets for the first sessions months ago when they were first available and paid $30 per ticket (so that’s $60 for 2 people). The tickets included entry, a booklet with the participating brews and a drinking glass jar (another one to add to our cupboard-busting collection).
Sample tokens were $2.50 and came in packs of 4 so you had to buy in multiples of $10. Not bad I thought since you get at least 5 oz (some were very generous with their pours) per token. I bought $40 worth because the tokens were also good for food (no special tokens or tickets required).
So far – $100 for 2 people.
The venue was Evergreen Brickworks and I think it is the best place for an event like this. Half of the space is covered so it was great for the day since it was raining. What I didn’t enjoy was the wait, but I guess when you have to process hundreds of people, it can get a little challenging. Also everyone arrived super early. I showed up 45 minutes before the doors opened to the first session and I was somewhere near the middle of the line when doors opened.
What I think I will do differently next year (if I go again) is get tickets to the Brewer’s Breakfast event since you get first entry. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make it this year since I was in Kitchener the night before enjoying the Oktoberfest celebrations there and didn’t get home until very late (no worries, the wife was the designated driver).
My favorite thing at each event is the beer booklet. And this one was nicely laid one and very helpful. Beers were organized by province/country and labelled with an ID. Since everything was in sequence, it made ordering beer very easy.
My goal was to try unique beers that I would not normally order a whole pint of so I had my fair share of spicy beers, a gummy bear beer, rhubarb beers and sours (I am really starting to love sours now).
If I remember correctly, I had the following:
- Redemption Hopspur
- Half Pints Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
- Half Pints Gloves off Scrapper
- Parallel 49 Passion Fruit
- Storm Imperial Flanders Red
- Dry Hopped ESB
- Amsterdam El Jaguar
- Bellwoods Donkey Venom
- Liberty Village Gummi Bear
- Magnotta Valencia Brown Ale
Doesn’t sound like a lot, but many were in the double digits and after a night of drinking and standing for over an hour in the rain, I was exhausted. Also, beers started to run out. In fact a girl that overhead me ordering the Flanders Red decided to also try it so I had to split the last bit with her. We both got almost 5 oz, but the fact was that beers were starting to run out and there was only one cask of each…at least that’s what we were told.
My favorite one was the Flanders Red so of course I voted for it as the best of the show. Donkey Venom was also amazing, but the Flanders Red won my vote.
There was a wide variety of food ranging from 1 token to 2 tokens. The wife and I hit up Bar Isabel and had their cold fried chicken and chorizo sausage. Both were good, but it would have been mind blowing if the chicken was hot…I know it was advertised as cold, but if the cold one was done so well, image how good the hot one would have been.
One thing I regret not trying are the pretzels and the meat sticks (forgot the actual name).
Aside from spending over an hour in the rain, it was a pretty fun event and spent about $100 for 2 people…OK we bought some clothes on top of this, but definitely didn’t need to.
The shuttle bus was a good idea, but there were so many people that maybe a third or a fourth shuttle bus would have been a good idea. There were only 2 that were picking people up at Broadview, but considering the volume of attendees, more would have been a good idea for an hour or two near the start of each session.
Enjoy a random collection of photos I managed to take.