Thursday, July 10, 2014

Picaroons' Brewer's Bash

Last year, we headed out with a rig full of beer and a few empty kegs to return to the mainland. This year, I return with a toddler (it must have been some bash last year).

I haven't been to too many beer fests over the years (five or six, maybe), but last year's Brewer's Bash stands out as the best one. Why? Well I'll give you a few reasons:
  • It's twelve hours long, and you can come and go as you please.
  • It's only Canadian beer, and includes beer from every province and one territory.
  • Last year, there was something like 60 breweries and 300+ beers. This year, I counted 64 brewers, and most likely more offerings (don't know how many yet, as there's no pre-bash list this year). 
  • The breweries don't cheap out - in more than one way, but the one I want to emphasize is that they don't just serve their most mainstream / cheapest stuff. There was (and will be this year) some rarer and more expensive stuff to try out. 
  • Fredericton's got free WiFi downtown (why doesn't everywhere?!).
  • It's a great crowd, complete with interesting people - like the balding guy with the long hair, goatee, lab coat, and glittery ball that he kept rolling in one hand while drinking with the other all day. Don't believe me? Check the picture. 
  • Nearby eats. King Street Ale House, The Snooty Fox (which provided me with some kind of spring roll-like bacon cheeseburger fried things late that night - just the right thing), that sushi place kitty corner to Officer's Square... all good options. 
  • The price. $25 for eight samples, plus the musical entertainment later. Last year was a personal fave of mine, the Skydiggers, with Deep Dark Woods. This year, it's Zeus (another big fave of mine) with a couple of soulful backing acts, Cydni Cain and the Chronos Band, the latter of which sounds like one tight bunch with some serious groove. 
  • So much variety to imbibe, for everyone from the new-to-beer person to the beer snob/geek. 
  • It never felt crowded. Lineups were never that long - mind you, there are 50% more people there this year... but I think it should still end up comfortable. 

Don't have a ticket for this Saturday's Bash? don't despair. They are still looking for volunteers for four hours of work (leaving you up to eight hours of drinking). Check out their page for more.




Monday, July 7, 2014

Palomar Ale

Buying Mill Street's variety packs is kind of like gambling - I know there is a great chance of disappointment, but I can't help myself. I have never had a flawed Mill Street beer, but they definitely have a few brews that are weak - at least to me, anyway (I'm looking at you, Stock Ale). Don't hate me, it's just my own personal truth. That being said, they also have some good beer, too.

This one is in the middle. On paper, it sounds like an interesting beer - chipotle and lime, in an American red / amber ale.

Well, the chipotle does come through, and is light enough that it won't offend anyone. It's a little smokey, and has the slightest heat at the back of the throat. There's a little zip to it, too but I almost can't tell if it's from the lime or the hops, as there's no easy-to-differentiate lime flavour to it. I think it's there... lightly... but it's not strong, for sure.

What will the next seasonal variety pack hold? Well, I'm sure it'll have a few that are interesting-sounding, and at least a couple that are good, and probably a couple that aren't. The sixer's never a total bust, but it's never a total win, either.