drinks: canada cup of beer 2012

ah summer saturday.
the perfect day for some outdoor beer drinking.
and what better place to partake in said outdoor beer drinking than at an event called the canada cup of beer?

as a beer hound, i enjoy a solid beer festival.
but honestly, i actually wasn’t going to attend this one this year.
i’ve been to the canada cup of beer before and while i had always found it to be fun times, the locations always put me off.
they always seemed to be in pretty unfriendly transit locations like UBC.
this year was at swangard, which was a little better – walking distance from patterson station… but still, not ideal.
no one lives in burnaby.  all my friends are either downtown or coquitlam.  so its one of those “everyone has to travel to get there” locations.

but, our minds changed when both myself and moonbeam won tickets from the shore 104 radio station.
and then we came upon some other ticket comps as well.
so all in, we had tickets for all our friends and some to spare.  and how can you say no to that?

so we assembled a mighty team and headed out on probably the most picture perfect day weather-wise that we’ve had this summer to drink a lot of beer out of tiny cups.


the event itself is pretty well run, but really suffers from low attendance.
which is good news for patrons, because line ups at the booths are short or non existent… but i can’t imagine it does much for the sustainability of the event itself.

in all, i knew 22 people that attended.  and none of them paid for their tickets, as they came from some sort of media related comps.  but i think with an event like this, for a lot of the breweries, they’re not necessarily looking to make money per-say, its more a marketing opportunity to get their product out to their exact target demo.

in terms of marketing, this sort of event is a must-do for any craft brewer.
right now the market is absolutely flooded with craft breweries.  you can stand in the beer section for ages trying to decide, but at the end of the day, because most are big UNKNOWNS, they usually get passed over in favour for a more reliable option.
with the disappearance of single beer sales at bc liquor stores, most people are pretty unwilling to take a chance on a whole 6 pack if they know nothing about the brewery.  so sampling is really the best way to get your product out.

i would say this holds true 10-fold for fruit beers.
the fruit beer is so hot for this summer from the bc breweries.
without a doubt, this is the beer trend of 2012 summer.
howe sound’s 4-way fruit ale, granville island’s raspberry, dead frog’s mandarin, phillips’ blueberry, tin whistle’s peach, fernie’s huckleberry… and the list goes on.

but the thing is… fruit beers are either great or they’re fucking terrible.
and while you may get me to take a chance on a single big bottle of beer… its unlikely i’m going to buy a whole 6 pack of one i’ve never tried.
case in point; dead frog’s mandarin beer.  dead frog is hit or miss for me.  i’ve enjoyed some of their products and been really disappointed with others.  so while i was intrigued, i wasn’t willing to make a $13 gamble on it.
but on saturday, i tried it for free, liked it, and would probably buy a 6-pack of it now.

another example comes from unibroue.  i have had some really bad experiences with their beers.  i find them totally offensive to my palate and when people leave them at my house, they go straight down the sink.
about a month ago, i started to soften my stance, based on my friend’s strong endorsement of their Blanche de Chambly.
i tried it in a bar (again – didn’t have to commit to the 6-pack) and actually quite enjoyed it.
but the rest of their product line is still getting the stink eye from me.
on saturday, i decided to try their Éphémère Apple.  (see – fruit beers – told you!) and found it to be quite a delight.
so purely through the powers of sampling, i was sold back on a product i’d vehemently avoided and often trash talked.

the world of sampling also is a business maker for the up and coming breweries.
all of us agreed that the favourite beers of the day came courtesy of Parallel 49 brewery.
a company that not a single one of us had ever heard of before.  and we all left with business cards and promises to visit and drink much of their product.

their fruit offering is the seed spitter watermelon ale.  and i can admit, it left our group divided.
myself and the other ladies absolutely loved it.  the men were about 60/40 on it.  some really liked it and others thought it was gross.

their booth was also by far the most popular at the festival.  their secret; a great product, friendly staff and not charging.
they freely admitted they didn’t care about getting tokens for the beer, they just wanted people to try it.
and i don’t think there was a single person in attendance that didn’t try at least one of their beers.
this, is a marketing success, so kudos to them.

all in all, the day was pretty solid.
great weather & great people.  no lines, pretty much free beer… and real washrooms – no porta potties!
the only real downer on the organization was that you couldn’t smoke inside and they didn’t allow ins and outs.  so all along the outskirts, people were forced to power smoke in hopes of finishing before security came by.  which is just silly.  i don’t know why they wouldn’t have just made a little fenced smoking pen or allowed the smokers to leave and come back.  so stupid.
its the same as venues not allowing in and outs for concerts.  all you’ve done is pushed the smokers into the bathrooms.  which is kinda gross, as anyone that frequents the commodore ballroom knows.
because i can tell you that at an outdoor beer festival, people are going to smoke whether you allow them to or not.

anyways… fun times were had by all, i discovered some rad new beers and i got to work on my tan.
so i give the canada cup of beer a hells yes!


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mindo240
    Jul 16, 2012 @ 18:56:13

    Crap! I missed this. I didn’t even know. I totally would have went cause it’s right by my place. Looked like good times. Man, no smoking while drinking? No smoking when drinking beer make Homer go crazy.


  2. Moonbeam Bouvier
    Jul 16, 2012 @ 21:04:39

    I didn’t notice that I had pocket dialled a coworker at around 6:30pm on Saturday. I denied, of course, because the call didn’t show in my call log but I had proof when he played me the voicemail back in the office. It was nothing but me giggling and Chris yelling your husband’s name and then calling him names for about a minute and a half. Whoopsies…(it was actually quite hilarious)


  3. Trackback: drinks: summer of fruit beers « food, drinks & travel.

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