I've been waiting for this event for a long time.
Believe it or not, this is my first big beer festival. Oh, sure, for a couple of years I helped out at the Ottawa Wine & Food Festival, pouring beer at my friend's microbrewery booth (and pouring lots of it into myself), and I did join this same friend, pouring a wicked pumpkin ale he made for Cask Days at BarVolo in Toronto in 2006.
But this is the first time that I've attended a big beer festival, one that has been all about beer and has been running for several daysand runs until August 18. And I'm thrilled to be part of the crowd that is not pouring drinks (one for you, one for me; one for me, one for you; one for me, one for me... ).
The first-ever National Capital Craft Beer Week (NCCBW) kicked off on Friday with a great opening celebration at D'Arcy McGee's on Sparks Street. The place was packed with beer lovers from all overnot just from our nation's capital. There were giveaways (I scored a couple of t-shirts, a pint glass, keychain bottle opener, and mini mug), food samplers, a live band, and most importantly, beer. Representing our city included the likes of Kichesippi Beer, HogsBack Brewing, and Big Rig.
Our beloved mayor, Jim Watson, officially welcomed the festival and tapped the inaugural cask, an IPA from Big Rig. Coming from this oak cask, the richness of the hops was incredible. I also sampled the HogsBack Vintage Lager that I reviewed last week.
If you couldn't make it to the opening, here's what you missed (and if you were there, these photos might jog your memory).
|D'Arcy McGee's general manager, Jeff O'Reilly, welcomes the crowd.|
|I'm pretty sure the mayor is saying "open," as in "I declare the National Capital Craft Beer Week open." Either that, or he's saying, "Oh, my God, there are a lot of drunk people already." Something like that.|
|NCCBW Founder and President, JP Fournier. Cosmo, from CHEZ 106. And a really, really hot woman.|
|Mayor Jim Watson taps the inaugural cask, from Big Rig Brewery. I should have stood back.|
|Darren Stevens, from HogsBack Brewing Co.|
|Pouring Kichesippi's Natural Blonde: a brunette.|
Tonight, I'm taking the beer celebrations to Big Rig. In celebration of Craft Beer Week, some Ottawa peeps and I are going to hoist some pints. If you're in Ottawa and want to join us, we'll be there from about 6 pm on.
For full details of this week's events, go to the NCCBW Web site. The event end in high style on Saturday, August 18. I hope to see you there.