Saturday, I checked out the Beau's brewery Oktoberfest in Vankleek Hill. Since first hearing about this event, I've wanted to check it out, but for some reason it flew below the radar this year. On Thursday though, my buddy Karl came to the rescue, saying that we were gonna go.
After an hour drive to get to the Vankleek hill fairgrounds, we knew we had found the right place, since the the street (and I do mean the ONE street) was packed with cars. We didn't have to wait long for a parking spot, though. On our way to the gate, we spotted people sporting green hats (there's a name for them, the hats that is, but I have no idea what it is), and we kind of joked about how they were really getting into the spirit of things. Well, lo and behold, our admission included one of our very own funky green hats. Once in the fairgrounds, there were TONS of revelers. It wasn't overly crowded, which was nice, and it was easy to find our way around. The overall mood was...jovial, but not messy. This was at 4 in the afternoon, though.
Click on the pic for a better view of the crowds and the sea of "green hats".
Karl, with beer and sporting his hat!
We drank, we ate, we drank some more. We sat in on a talk called "A beer tour of Germany" hosted by Mirella Amato. Who knew we would get some education while sipping beer? Sitting next to us at the talk was one of the brewmasters for the Clocktower pub, who invited us to drop by some time for a sampling of their seasonals....NICE!
Amongst the multitude of local food vendors, we sampled the following:
Beef Brisket from The Branch.
Warm Choucroute Sandwich from Domus Cafe
Peameal Sandwich from the Royal Restaurant
Festivale chocolate Ice Cream Bar from Pascales's All Natural Ice Cream
There was an assortment of limited edition beers from Beau's that we tried (descriptions from the Beau's website):
- Opa’s Gose: An ancient German style of beer that predates the German Purity Act of 1516, this is a wheat beer brewed with coriander and sea salt. Expect to find a crisp, tart and refreshing wheat beer an interesting saltiness and clove and coriander highlights
- Late Night Sneaky Dunkel: Dark as night and at 6.3% alc/vol this beer will sneak up on you! A Bavarian style originating from the 16th century, but with roots dating back to 800BC, this is a dark wheat beer and in keeping with the modern Purity Law. Malt forward and lightly hopped with some yummy roastiness; aromas of banana and clove.
- Happy Pils: A bohemian pilsner, brewed with 25% local grains and wet hopped with local hops too! Crisp, refreshing and light, but with a malty backbone and a light, peppery spice from the local hops, this special wild oats selection was brewed by brewer Chris Maxfield.
- Night Marzen: Bready malt backbone complimented by a firm hop presence and high drinkability.
Hmmm, which beer was this one? Sneaky Dunkel? Night Marzin? It all gets a little blurry after awhile, but the beers were definitely tasty.
Luther Wright and the Wrongs. Catchy name, and for country music (I'm not usually down with country music), not too bad. This was later in the evening, when things started to get, um, messy. Not for me specifically, but I had fun watching the "messiness".
After a night's sleep, not enough water and a lingering cold, it was off to Britannia Park for the Madison race. I was paired up with my buddy Jeff from work. We're actually pretty even when it comes to cross (he beat me by a measly 4 seconds last week), which means we both suck, so that makes for a fair pairing, right? So what about the racing? It was a fun, twisty course (thanks in part to the course marking of the Tall Tree team), but I still struggled. I'm hoping that I can race myself into shape and pull off some sort of a decent result at some point in the series.
Jeff, looking pretty serious, checking out the course.
Post race, green everywhere.
Finally! I'm not the only one sporting a Bushtukah kit. Geoff giving the madison race two thumbs up.
Peter, a fellow "Bushtuker", but sans kit. Looking pretty suave nonetheless.