Full disclosure: I am a huge fan of Beyond the Pale. I love their beer and I love visiting their beer store & trying delicious new samples or chatting with the staff. Everyone is nice and pleasant and I am genuinely happy to support these wonderful, beer-loving and making folks.
I immediately knew that I had to attend their tap takeover at the Wellington Gastropub. The opportunity to drink special “one off” beer, including two collaboration brews with the Gastopub, and a number of cask offerings was more than enough incentive. Tickets were extremely affordable – $10 plus a small Eventbrite fee – for an etched tasting glass (mine stayed behind at the Gastropub) plus one or two samples, depending on the size. I spent the entire afternoon drinking “half” samples which honestly seemed to be closer to 2/3 samples. Further drinks were available at $2/half sample or $4/full sample… snacks ranged from $2 to $6, depending on what was ordered.
My afternoon was spent with the Ottawa chapter of the Barley’s Angels, an international organization devoted to encouraging education and interest in beer and advancing the female craft beer consumer. I will go into more details in a later post, but there is a Facebook group which is an excellent networking tool for female craft beer drinkers in the Ottawa region.
I fluctuate between regularly purchasing Pink Fuzz, Rye Guy & ISG (Imperial Super Guy) at the Beyond the Pale brewery/shop. I keep missing Hop on Your Face and I’m not the kind of person who regularly purchases (or drinks) stouts or porters. The benefit of the tap takeover is that I had the opportunity to try my favourite beers – but cask conditioned. I prefer, whenever possible, to drink from the cask as I love how it changes the mouthfeel of the beer and reduces the carbonation.
The beer was, as always, fantastic. One of the highlights was the I Pine for You Brown Ale, a collaboration with the Gastropub. I was disappointed to see that it was sold out by the mid to late afternoon point. Some of the Barley’s Angels were raving over the stouts – one on cask was chocolate while the other was coffee – and while they were delicious I did not discern a huge difference between the two. The ISG cask offering, with the citra hop, was probably my favourite beer of the day and despite its high alcohol rating I had two half samples. And enjoyed every sip.
The principals of Beyond the Pale were also in the crowd, socializing with attendees and discussing (while drinking) their beer. Rumours of future collaborations were shared and I do hope that they come to fruition as my interest was definitely piqued… and yes, I am being deliberately vague. I also took advantage of the opportunity to socialize with the organizers of the National Capital Beer Week (and owners of Turtle Island Brewing Co.) and look forward to seeing (and drinking) the fruits of their labour in the next few months. Turtle Island Brewing Co. will officially launch in June while the National Capital Beer Week festival happens in August.
The Gastropub went above and beyond with their food offerings, serving up three small dishes of fries, chicken taquitos and shrimp. The fries, priced at $2, were garnished with lots of green onion and a cheesy-beery sauce and were served hot and fresh. The hands down favourite, however, was the chicken taquito option with a little bit of spicy heat and chicken bursting with flavour. Is the Gastropub considering a food truck? If so, these taquitos need to be a regular menu item.
By the end of the day I had tried everything on cask, sampled the brews with which I was unfamiliar (Hop on Your Face, I’m looking at you!) and had a few snacks. I caught up with a friend from high school, a fellow sommelier grad, some of my favourite Ottawa Foodie Challenge competitors and spent some quality time with the Barley’s Angels. It was also a great way to prepare for the upcoming week of beer events known as “Ontario Craft Beer Week“…