I’m finding myself ever more enchanted by the world of craft beer. Not only the ales themselves, but especially the craft brewing community and it’s amazing grasp of the internets. Beer is certainly not a new phenomena – it’s one of the oldest beverages humans have ever produced. Social media, however is a considerably newer human tool, but the two work together seamlessly. After spending this Sunday afternoon at the Cask Days event in Toronto, I started to see a perfect example of the way beer and food bring a community together, and the way that community is brought even closer via social media.
Even before I purchased my ticket, I felt like part of a community effort and couldn’t wait to get in on the excitement. All of the online resources were in place to create an informative and enjoyable event from the get-go: profiles on all the beers and breweries, how-to guides on tasting, and tips for being able to taste plenty of beers without getting too tipsy too soon. Remember – all this happened before I even purchased the tickets. With this information at my disposal, making the trip to Toronto seemed like a no-brainer. I think I actually said to Adam, “let me know whether you’re down to go, but I’m going without you if you’re not.” To me, this is was already a “Cannot Miss” event.
And it didn’t disappoint. The venue fit the event perfectly, from the availability of bike parking to the chalk art signs directing beer lovers to different areas. We took our bikes to the Evergreen Brickworks via the Don River Trail – ps, mid-October is prime-time for cycling this path as fall colours are in full force – and started tasting as soon as we arrived. I think I made the right choice for my pre-lunch brew – Black Oak Brewing‘s Artificial Crunchy Frog. I’m not going to try and pretend that the name isn’t why I chose this beer, an American Pale Ale with a bit of fruit and minty-freshness. Adam tried a Clock Tower Honey Pumpkin – another perfect pre-lunch choice, with its light body and pumpkin flavour with just a hint of spice. Giddy at this point, with our tasting tokens burning holes in our pockets, we decided on a Drunken Bunny Stout and a Lady Macbeth Scotch Ale, plus a couple of Cieli Cottage‘s master-shucked oysters… after which we realized it was definitely time to find some real lunch.
When it comes down to it, I think the reason I’ve been waxing poetic about this experience (aside from my obvious fondness for great craft beer and street-inspired food) has a lot to do with the manner in which the event was staged. Craft beer is, to a certain extent, geared at a younger, mobile audience, so a strong social media component was key to its success. Even before I purchased my tickets for the event, I was able to access the official hashtag for the weekend – #ONcask, a play on words that paid homage to the micro-brewing hub of Canada. While we were there, we followed our fellow attendees and breweries via Twitter and Instagram for suggestions of what to try next, and using the #CaskDays and #ONcask tags, provided our own instant micro-reviews. I joined in getting excited for the weekend, and even ended up with a few more online beer buddies as a result. Events like like this make me love the internet. Almost as much as I love craft beer.
Thrifting maven, aspiring locavore, mandolin minstrel, QueensU alumna. PR student by day, craft beer wench by night.