|You gotta love Emilyhay's enthusiasm at Cameron's|
Brewing's 20 Anniversary Party on September 16 as
she dressed up as a VERY tall pint of Cameron's beer!
With the move, my hometown homeboys, Nickel Brook Brewing, were no longer a stone's throw away. Instead of being five minutes down the road and around the corner from me, they are now 15 to 20 minutes down the highway. Not far away, I grant you, but I'm used to them being around the corner from me.
Normally, this would drive a craft beer lovin' Nickel Brook loyalist like myself to the point of despair, anxiety and quite possibly reckless damage to private property. I would likely cradle a Headstock IPA to my chest and heave great tears of sadness... wail anguished cries... howl at the Moon... bite the head off Ozzy Osbourne on stage at a concert. You know, the usual stuff people who've lost their shit do... things that could land you in court but may not, depending on whether or not you're caught. Well, that's what I hear, anyway. Obviously, I'm far too busy with my many church groups to know the crazy, sinful stuff that goes on out there. (Was that thunder?)
What was I to do in Oakville? Well, as it turns out just a stone's throw away from Donny's Bar and Grill's new locale, is yet another of Canada's finest (and most heavily awarded) craft breweries, Cameron's Brewing. Hmmm, clearly it was time to check the Convenience Factor, I decided, because heaven forbid I ever be inconvenienced even slightly. That's for other people, not me. Nickel Brook had spoiled me.
So I plugged my new address and the brewery's address on Invicta Drive into Google Maps to suss out the almighty Convenience Factor. Hmmm, it seems Cameron's is 1.9 kilometres (1.2 miles) away and all of a three-minute drive - or a one-minute flight if some day, I mutate and grow wings. (It could happen - you don't know.) Yes, this would suffice nicely as it is actually closer to me than Nickel Brook was by a couple of minutes.
So within a day of being here (okay, fine, the same day I landed), I was down there to stock up on their fine products, notably their 12 Mile India Pale Lager. I don't drink many lagers any more, opting for various members of the ale family, instead (okay, fine, 95% of them are IPAs). But man, I truly love that 12 Mile India Pale Lager.
Earlier in the month, I had also noticed on Twitter that their 20th Anniversary Party was being held there on September 16th. So I quickly slapped my $20 on the counter and said, "Deal me in!" Quickly realizing the nice lady at the counter had no visible playing cards, I added, "... for the big party!" (It's always good to forewarn your new local brewery know that perhaps your deck is missing a few cards as well. It's a courtesy thing.)
Within a day of buying my ticket, I was messaged by an old Toronto buddy, Craig (aka Foggy) saying that he was going and would I be there? Foggy lives at the western edge of Mississauga now and is nearly as close to Cameron's as me. (Nearly but not quite. I'm still the King of Cameron's Brewing Proximity.) And yes, they're my new hometown homeys so I'd be there.
Sweetening the pot for both of us was guest appearances at the birthday bash by Steam Whistle Brewing (Toronto), Wellington Brewing (Guelph) and... ohhh yasss, Beau's All Natural Brewing (Vankleek Hills). Now that's what you'd call the Fab Four. (I'll let them fight it out to see who's stuck being Ringo.)
Since drinking would be involved, I cabbed it there, likely being the shortest, lamest fare that poor cabbie had all day. But to our mutual benefit, that kept the cabbie-passenger chit-chat to a minimum. ("Beautiful day, eh? I wonder how long we'll... oh look, we're here!") Yes, I suppose I could have walked there but it seems counter-productive engaging in physical fitness on your way to drink beer. Besides, I have some pretty sweet abs already, nicely located under a protective layer of beer gut. Not to mention, I get winded walking the trash to the curb.
|The good thing about seeing Noah and Jasmine|
from Steam Whistle at the Cameron's Birthday
Bash? You just KNOW they're gonna bring that
unfiltered Pilsner with them! And they did! Yes!
I didn't see Foggy at first but I did see Bill Coleman, president and co-owner of the brewery. Now Bill knows me from working at the Beer Store just up the hill from his brewery and he greeted me as he always does. "Hey, it's Social Media Guy! Glad you made it!" Now, truth to tell, I have no idea if Bill knows my actual name but frankly, who cares? I think Social Media Guy is a solid handle. I'll happily go by that. Beats the hell out of "Hey, it's I Saw You Passed Out In A Ditch Guy!" (No, he's never seen me passed out in a ditch. As for who has, that's between me and the Halton Police. Those records are sealed, dammit.)
We had a quick chat before I moved along, as I knew he had many people to talk with at the event, including Oakville Mayor Rob Burton and Oakville MPP Kevin Flynn... not to mention dozens and dozens of Cameron's fans. Also, I seemingly have a prior obligation to be Social Media Guy (and I was) so there is that. It's a heavy and onerous burden to shoulder but... yeah, just shitting you. I drink copious amounts of beer and post about it. It's totally a fun, engaging and socially-productive hobby, not some awful addiction. Even my doctor - let's call him Doctor Nick - said so. (Disclaimer: Some sentences in this column may contain trace amounts of fiction. Other sentences are outright fiction.)
|I asked Foggy to pose with the hops growing on the|
back of Cameron's property and as you can see, he
couldn't have been happier to oblige. Apparently,
asking Foggy to stop drinking long enough to take
one picture is a flogging crime in some countries...
When Foggy's lady friend, Denise, showed, we made the rounds of the booths. Well, actually, Foggy and I had already made the rounds so let's call Denise's arrival Round Two (okay, Round Four). Now Denise is a Coors Light drinker so were we able to find beers to her liking? Much to my surprise, yes, we were - several, even. We'll get to those in a minute.
But there was a surprise visitor for me on this, the most noble of days. Unbeknownst to me, my coworker Adrian, aka Squeegee, was also there with a posse of his young buddies. I was walking around innocently (your definition of that word may vary) being Social Media Guy when I heard someone call out, "Hey, Donny!" My first thought was, of course, "Please don't be the Halton Police..." (What? I grew up in Oakville - it's a natural response.) I've seen co-workers in hundreds of social settings before but I honestly had no idea he'd be there. Given his age, I probably should have texted him about it first because he's usually (by that, I mean always) glued to his phone. He's the only guy I know with five GBs of data on his phone and he blows past it halfway through the month. My plan is three GBs a month and don't even think I've come close to using to using 1.5 of it any month. Squeegee's phone must have some GB-swallowing porn app that I
Okay, time to talk beer because that's what I'm supposed to do here. When we entered, all of us were given a 12-ounce (355 ml) plastic cup with a ticket for the bigger glass plus three more tickets for 4-ounce samplers. Also the funky sunglasses that you see Squeegee proudly wearing. Obviously, Foggy and I snapped up more 12-ounce tickets to have a proper size beer once those four tickets were used. You can't accurately review a beer on a sample and well, I am lauded far and wide for my accuracy (said no one ever.)
I'm gonna start with Steam Whistle so I can address an ongoing matter. The downside to the Internet is it brings out all the trolls and frankly, it's kinda lame to read craft beer snobs constantly shit on the brewery because it makes just one beer. Here's what I think about that: 1) They have built their reputation doing precisely that... so shut your stupid pie-hole and 2) It's an outstanding example of a Canadian-made Czech-style pilsner... which brings us right back full-circle to shut your stupid pie-hole. Since two-cents no longer exists in Canada, that's my nickle's worth on that subject. Nice talk. Thanks for coming out.
Okay, I love seeing Steam Whistle at these event because they always do one thing... really, really well. They bring their unfiltered version of the beer along for the ride, as well as the regular version.
|Nick from Wellington brought both their|
outstanding Upside IPA and the Prickly
When Poked Pear Saison which was a
collaboration brew with Cameron's gang.
I'll be reviewing that Upside IPA soon.
Moving onto Beau's and the beautiful smile of server Marybeth, she had brought Lug Tread Lagered Ale, which I've enjoyed dozens upon dozens of times and a newbie, Cranberry Derby Berry-Infused Pale Ale. Okay, Foggy and I both enjoyed the hell out of this one. At 6.3%, this pale ale had some kick and was rife with very obvious cranberry on the nose. The brewers threw organic flaked oats into the mix, giving it a familiar breakfast tinge into the back-end while maintaining the berry's natural tartiness. Marybeth told me it would be part of the brewery's Fall Mix Four-Pack so you have that to look forward to as it'll be on LCBO shelves very soon. Try it, you'll like it.
Okay, the hosts had four specialty casks (as well as kegs of their core three and the 12 Mile IPL at another tent) at the event and I wanna talk about two of the casks.
|Thomas at the Cameron's Cask Tent offers up their|
Brett Golden Ale, made specially for the event. I did
like it but I want to have words with Brewmaster
Jason Britton over the Hoppy Birthday IPA there!
Which brings me to the damn tasty Hoppy Birthday IPA... and a wee bone of contention with my new brewery. I forgot to make note of the ABV for this but it was certainly over 6% and lovely grapefruit. But I'm standing here (in my Spider-Man underwear) wondering why my new hometown brewery doesn't have a regular IPA or Pale Ale.
|The horseshoe pitch, set up in the gully of their|
backyard was a popular attraction for the happy
drinking crowd on a beautiful sun-drenched day.
But Jason, I beg of you, I do need one or ideally both. I'm on my freaking knees here. (No, I'm not but he can't tell. Shhhh.) Nickel Brook has spoiled me rotten with their Headstock IPA and Naughty Neighbour APA. I can still get either of those at my Beer Store but I need my new hometown homeys to show me they can spoil me more by having an IPL, an APA and an IPA. What will it take? My first-born son? (Say no unless you want to quadruple your grocery bill.) A large amount of cash in an untraceable Swiss bank account? That's probably doable through illegal means so if you can turn a blind eye to that. I'll do whatever it takes. Legal, illegal, moral, immoral... I'll go there!
|I got some Going Going Back Back to Cali Cali IPA sometime in May,|
stopping into the Barrie brewery on the way home from Boys Weekend
in the Spring. How was the 6.1%, 81 IBU IPA? Hella hella tasty tasty.
And, of course, besides Hoppy Birthday, Cameron's has been linked to IPAs in the past so this isn't uncharted turf. Back in the Spring, Cameron's brewer Curtis Jeffrey ventured up to Barrie to create a collaborative IPA with his old college roomie, Redline Brewhouse's head brewer Seb MacIntosh. The resulting effort was a nod to the music of their youth called Going Going Back Back To Cali Cali IPA, a song penned by the late rapper Notorious B.I.G. That was a damn fine IPA, which, of course, is encoded in a brewer's DNA. So Jason, in the immortal words of Clint Eastwood, "Go ahead... Make my IPA..."
|A man and his van! Cameron's co-owner and president Bill Coleman|
poses beside the Camerons-Mobile, which can often be seen in the GTA.
Hmm, maybe it's Bill that I should be bribing to get an IPA going, eh?
Before we punch out here, let's look at the beer that macro drinkers Squeegee and Denise both ended up loving the most. That would be Cameron's own Captain's Log Lager. Both waxed poetic over the virtues of that crisp, fresh beer... although phone zombie Squeegee more likely texted it.
Okay, gang, that's it for today but more coming soon. Beer Bro Glenn dumped a pile of American goodies on me so I'll be looking at those. Co-worker Patchy has his girlfriend bring me back a pile of IPAs from the Canadian east coast so they're on deck. Beer Store daughter Sassy Cassy brought me a bunch of beer from two Thunder Bay breweries, as well as an IPA from South Africa so there's that. And high school sweetheart Christine is returning to here from California in a couple weeks and I still haven't written about the IPAs she smuggled me in June!!! (Yes, I'm that far behind - weird Summer.) So guys and dolls, that's it, that's all and I am outta here. Until next time, I remain...