July 12, 2013

Capital Mash-up:Ottawa's Brewery Market

In true Barley and Wort fashion we arrived just before they opened the gates for Ottawa's first brewery market of the year.  Held last Sunday (July 7) in Parkdale Park, the "Capital Mash-up" featured three Ottawa breweries and their collaboration beers with three Toronto breweries.

The breweries were paired up by the organizers and worked together to create three special beers that would be featured in both the Toronto and Ottawa brewery markets.

Cassel Brewery was paired with Great Lakes brewery.  Their beer, a Cranberry Saison had a slight cranberry nose and a pleasing tartness. I would have liked a bit more punch from the craberries but overall it was easy to drink. Personally, I wouldn't consider this a saison though I understand the shift from the traditional spicy to the tart by using cranberries.  I like my saisons to have the overall refreshing quality and I found this beer almost too weak to be truly refreshing.  It was a more typical fruit beer than a saison, in my opinion.

Broadhead Brewery were paired up with Amsterdam Brewery to produce a Lemon Wheat beer. Despite The colour was typical of a nice wheat beer and while I hoped for a stronger wheat taste, this beer had just enough of a balance to be truly refreshing.  

The last pairing was Beyond the Pale and Toronto newcomers, Indie Alehouse.  Their brew was the Golden Devil.  A golden ale ale it hosted a light malt profile and light citrus notes from the hops. Easy drinking and very flavourful beer.  

The brewery market was a success though there were a few hiccups.  First anyone who didn't know to come early found themselves missing out on the collaboration beers.  Tickets were a bit confusing with one colour and price for the collabs and one for the other beers that were on tap. Both patrons and staff in the booths had a frustrating time with them.  Many of the patrons did not realize that there would be more than one market in Ottawa.  There was some confusion about where the other Ottawa breweries were.  I overheard comments from a few people who were under the impression that the Toronto breweries were making an appearance.

On the positive side the food from Hintonburger was very good.  The beer overall was very good. Each brewery brought a few of their varieties for people to try.   Beyond the Pale even had a special beer and ice cream float.

The weather held out for the majority of the event and even when the rain did come down people shared umbrellas and space under the tents. Community spirit at its best.

The event was free to attend and the only cost was if you wanted to eat or drink.  For people on a budget it meant that they could plan to try the beer and still not break the bank.  The biggest plus though was that the event was family friendly.  There were swings and a playground for the children with tables nearby for the adults.

The market was definitely a success. The next one occurs August 25th. Organizers have said that there will be a theme but as of right now that and the breweries attending have not been announced. I like the idea of focusing on a few breweries at a time. However, using advertisements or other announcements would help reduce confusion and increase excitement for future markets. 

I am, of course looking forward to the next one as anything that puts Ottawa craft breweries and their beer in the spotlight is a winner for me.

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