Beerfest is that time of year when the Newfoundland Liquor Corporation decides, “Hey, let’s invite some folks from the professional world to sample some of our delicious beerz in hopes they’ll discover something new to love. Preferably a local brew thus fueling some money back into the economy.”
But what they really mean is, “Let’s slap a huge price on an annual boozefest and watch kids get shithoused.”
It all started with Spiritfest, an event meant to draw local businesses to sample various cocktails and spirits. I’ve attended three Spiritfests since 2007, which makes me a bit of an expert, frankly. A golden oldie. The first and second years were reasonable, lots of good fun to be had without huge line-ups and pushy crowds. But by 2009, Spiritfest had become “the must-attend event” of the year.
Enter Beerfest, a similar idea established just last year in 2009. The result was the same: last year’s event was relatively tame, a laid-back atmosphere with picnic tables and live entertainment. This year, however, the place was blocked, a separate bathroom was opened upstairs in the Conference Centre for the ladies, and everyone was dressed to the nines.
Here’s the deal: drinkers pay $50 for a ticket allowing three hours of unlimited beer sampling. They’re given a small guidebook which outlines all the different beers available, as well as a cab coupon and a voucher for some free beer to be picked up at the NLC. The book even has an adorable little section for note-keeping. My coworker insists she saw people scribbling on the pages.
I imagine their notes started out like, “Good, light, pale beer!” and ended with, “I’m gonna make out with that bartender.”
Honestly, after the first hour, I didn’t even really pay attention to what I was tasting and generally just hung around the Molson booth (I’m a hugely loyal Molson fan, ever since living with a rep meant dozens of free booze each week + VIP passes to concerts and special events).
I realize now, after flicking through my beloved guide, I missed several beers…like Moose Light. Not to mention some sort of chocolate stout, which I heard was terrible but I won’t believe it until I taste it.
Trusted beers from the big local breweries? My favourites are Black Horse and India. From the micro-breweries, anything by Quidi Vidi and YellowBelly win. YellowBelly’s pale ale is like sex in a bottle. Oh hell, I’m just going to do a post about Newfoundland beers later. The sheer devastation that Black Horse can wreak on even a grown man’s body deserves its own merit.
Anyway, great night with some great friends. I should have known placing five competitive drinkers in such an environment would lead to the eventual Beer Relay Race that took place in the last 30 minutes of the event. I’d like to tell you if I lost or won, but to be honest, I don’t really remember. I guess that’s the point.