Perhaps this makes me a shitty beer nerd, but I don’t really love beer events.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the intent of most beer events is admirable. They typically opt to bring a selection of beer together that wouldn’t otherwise be available, they bring beer industry folks and beer fans together to discuss beer, and they generally serve to promote the craft beer scene.
All good things, undoubtedly.
The problem is that they’re virtually never a great beer-drinking experience. And while all the other things I listed above are great, I think we can all agree that the best part about beer is just fucking drinking it.
But at beer events, there’s a lot that gets in the way of the act of just fucking drinking it. First, there’s usually tokens, or tickets, or buttons, or fur trading, or some other strange in-between currency that you have to buy in order to get your beer.
This is virtually always irritating.
“You get tokens over there, then you can get beer over there, and then if you want to eat, that’s over there, oh and it’s cash only so you’ll need to take this shuttle bus to the ATM which is over there.”
Sigh. Can I just get a fucking beer?
Then there’s the whole “sample size” thing.
I know other beer people disagree with me on this one (specifically because I argued with some of them about it this week), but drinking beer from little glasses just irritates the hell out of me. I know the idea is that, at events like this, you’re supposed to sample a lot of different beers, thus the little glasses are more practical and responsible, but seriously? Fuck that.
When I drink beer, I want a pint of beer. It looks better, it tastes better, and, crucially, it means I can spend less time elbowing my way past other thirsty people in the queue for tokens/beer.
And again, I can appreciate the noble intent of beer events–Cass’s Golden Tap Awards are a great event to honour the province’s brewing scene, Cask Days and the events the barVolo boys organize are boosting the beer scene in Ontario to new levels–but frankly my favourite part of any beer event is leaving.
Not, mind you, in a “get me the fuck out of here,” sense because the scene is lame, but rather because at virtually all these events I attend, I typically find myself chatting with like-minded beer folks from around the industry and we usually reach a consensus at roughly the same time and agree that the time has come to get out of there and get a real fucking pint somewhere.
Obviously, the folks I end up bailing with would not have come together were it not for the event, but without a doubt, this–the leaving–is the best part of any beer event.
Earlier this week, for example, I happily ducked out of the (inarguably excellently organized and fun) Golden Tap Awards. The beers available were all great, virtually everyone involved with the local beer scene was there, and by all accounts the place was happening–but eventually I found myself with some other folks who just wanted to bail and go drink some beer somewhere else and as a result I found myself at the newly-crowned-Golden-Tap-award-winner-for-the-best-draught-selection-in-Ontario Bar Hop. And I was having an infinitely better time for a number of reasons.
Firstly, I was sitting. Oh fuck yeah I love sitting.
Secondly, I was with a interesting cross-section of other beer event refugees (some brewers, a writer, a contract brewer, a bar owner, a brewpub owner, etc), and third, and perhaps most importantly, a server was bringing me beautiful, full pints and required no chunk of wood or scrap of paper in order to do so.
So, while I love the beer events in this city and will continue to attend them whenever my newfound parenthood permits me to, I will also continue to look forward to what is always the best part of walking into such an event: walking out of it.