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Eat & Drink

Highlights from the Session 99 Craft Beer Festival

Posted by Staff / June 25, 2012

Session 99 Craft Beer FestivalTiny food samples, unlimited beer, and long lineups in the hot sun are usually a recipe for disaster. Yet, the largely 30-something crowd at the Session 99 Craft Beer Festival were a jovial, well behaved group, content to savour local beers.

Session 99 Craft Beer FestOf the food samples, Cowbell's Grass Fed Beef Corn Dog was one of the most satisfying. It offered all the guilty pleasure of a corn dog, but with a lean yet rich tasting sausage hidden inside. Leslieville Cheese Market's grilled cheese sandwiches were another nostalgic twist featuring strong flavour that went perfectly with beer. Otherwise, the stinginess of the portion sizes was the most notable characteristic of the food at the Festival.

Session 99 Craft Beer FestOne food vendor offered their pasta so sparingly that plates piled up as they ran out of diners to serve, whereas another vendor ran out of burgers within the first hour of the evening session. The lobster on a chip was a tasty amuse-bouche, but hardly worth the longest line up of the event. When their single bite morsel was eaten, attendees had to be persistent in finding a trash can, which were limited in number, and difficult to find in the crowd.

With over 100 beers available, it was impossible to sample everything in a three hour session, especially during the 6-9pm slot when breweries started running dry on their more popular offerings. Given this limitation, here are some of the highlights from the festival:

Stone Hammer Dark Ale - a nutty and refreshing amber beer that goes down easy.

Mill St. Paradise IPA - hoppy, but not overpowering, with good citrus flavour.

Hogtown Brewers K├Âlsch - clean, refreshing, summery.

Lake of Bays Red Ale - a dark ale, bitter but smooth, and packed with flavour.

Flying Monkey Dirty Teats Milk Stout - a sweet porter with hints of chocolate.

Additional Photos:

Session 99 Craft Beer FestSession 99 Craft Beer FestSession 99 Craft Beer FestSession 99 Craft Beer FestSession 99 Craft Beer FestSession 99 Craft Beer FestSession 99 Craft Beer FestSession 99 Craft Beer FestWriting and photos by Denise Ing

Discussion

11 Comments

Jer / June 25, 2012 at 10:09 am
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I am confused, on their website it says that the $50 ticket was "all in" for food, drinks, etc. but I see on the pictures that there are prices on a few things like the "rock lobster" table as well as the pickle jar.

Denise, can you explain?
Michael / June 25, 2012 at 10:13 am
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Hi Jer,

The "all in" price included unlimited beer samples and I believe 2 samples of every food item available (way, way more than enough). On top of that you were able to pay an additional fee if you wanted extra food. For example, the Burger Bar stand was selling an entire burger for $5 if the sample size wasn't your thing.
Sean / June 25, 2012 at 10:23 am
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I went to the 1 to 4 PM session. The way that food and beer were moving, it doesn't surprise me that stuff ran out. A few breweries and their beers really impressed me. Sawdust City, Spearhead, and Hogtown were really making themselves available to patrons who had questions about the beer. Definitely disappointed that Muskoka didn't brew something for the festival, and only brought Mad Tom on tap.
Benedict / June 25, 2012 at 10:23 am
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"Beerfest for the bearded rest"
Cyril Sneer / June 25, 2012 at 10:44 am
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I keep saying I want to check out one of these beer fests - I really need to get off my ass and do it.
Jer replying to a comment from Michael / June 25, 2012 at 10:45 am
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Thanks for explaining that. While I agree 2 food items from each vendor was probably enough, you would think that they should explain that on their website (unless I am missing it) so that people know what to expect going in. Otherwise, it isn't "one ticket, one price, all in"
Teena / June 25, 2012 at 11:00 am
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I was at the afternoon session and had gotten my ticket a couple months earlier. This was my third year going.

I wasn't crazy about splitting it into sessions. At 4pm, the security guys started herding everyone out. I'd rather pay a ticket price and then buy as many sample tickets as I want and be able to stay as long as I want like the first two years.

It sounded like beer and food were included in the ticket price. The beer ... yes. The food ... not really. The food card we were given allowed us two samples from each vendor ... but the vendors were counting one sample as two. If you wanted any more, you had to pay for it. Plus the line-ups, especially for the burger samples, were crazy.

I had lined up for a burger sample and gave up after about 15 minutes because the line wasn't moving. I went to the bathroom, got another beer sample, wandered around a bit and noticed the line-up STILL hadn't moved. Good thing we ate before we went.

I agree that the pasta sample was tiny. There were tons of sample plates on the table because no one was bothering so the food was cold :(
dado@ 3M Window Film / June 25, 2012 at 11:01 am
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"Flying monkey dirty teats stout" ... here's hoping it tastes better than it sounds.
rhudder (@itslunchtimeca) / June 25, 2012 at 11:26 am
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Teena,

I actually like the concept of two different times. My taste buds get burnt out with all the hops and after a number of beers between the alcohol and the bitter, I am not tasting much.

I really like this format but wish that maybe there was a 2 session for one price to get to try some of the one offs in the second session. It would allow me to give myself a rest between sessions and maybe I would pace the drinking better...

Also, there always seems to be less people earlier on...
Teena replying to a comment from rhudder (@itslunchtimeca) / June 25, 2012 at 12:10 pm
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I felt like I was always watching the time to make sure I sampled everything I wanted before time ran out ... kinda made it a bit too pressured.
Cara / June 26, 2012 at 10:41 pm
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I went to the afternoon session and although it was my first time, I would DEFINITELY go again! There was enough food to quench a belly of beer but not fill you up. The beer samples were great. I appreciated the 'all-in' concept. At the rate my friends and I were sampling beers, we would've burned through all our tickets in an hour. 'All in' is the way to go! I agree with the Muskoka comment. The nature of the event is to bring out beers we don't normally have access to and those are the ones I wanted to try. All in all, well done and great fun!

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