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NegativeSleep | Jul 30, 201009:24 AM     1

This is sadly after-the-fact, but did anyone end up going to the Craft Beer Festival on July 29 at Hart House?

It was certainly a fun and well-organized event. It was quite crowded (about 600 people squeezed into the HH quad), but the lineups to the different brewer's stations were either short or nonexistent. Admission got you 8 tickets per person, and sample sizes ranged from small, 2 oz cups to generous, nearly half-pint portions. My fiancee and I tried 13 and had to give the remaining 3 tickets away to staff since we were feeling both bloated and a bit tipsy. The food (included in the ticket price) was excellent, especially the BBQ chicken and coleslaw (the pulled pork sandwiches were tasty, although somewhat one-note and devoid of smokey flavour).

The beers we tried were:
-Beau's Lug-Tread Lagered Ale
-Great Lakes Brewery Project X
-Dieu Du Ciel Maple Scotch Ale AND Hibiscus Wheat Beer
-Charlevoix Imperial Milk Stout
-Flying Monkeys Amber Ale AND Hoptical Illusion
-Hockley Valley Dark AND Black and Tan
-Nickel Brook Green Apple Pilsener AND Maple Porter
-Black Oak Summer Saison AND Nut Brown

Of those, the ones that stood out for us were the Hibiscus Wheat Beer (very refreshing and well balanced - the hibiscus wasn't just a frilly novelty), the Flying Monkeys Amber Ale, the Hockley Black and Tan (delightfully smokey), the Maple Porter (the maple is hardly subtle and hits you over the head, but my Philistine palate was left satisfied) and the Summer Saison (nice hit of coriander in this one).

We didn't have high expectations for the Green Apple Pilsener, and it ended up even worse than anticipated: imagine liquefied, carbonated Jolly Rancher with an added spoonful of diabetes. The Imperial Milk Stout was intriguing at first, but upon further sips started to seem somewhat sour and off-putting. Also, didn't care much for Beau's Lug-Tread, although maybe it was because it was the last one I tried and I was getting kind of sick of beer. In any case, it tasted excessively yeasty and astringent at the same time.

All in all a great event, devoid of drunken frat boys and scantily-clad "whooo" girls indiscriminately slugging insipid "cold ones", set in a gorgeous venue. Definitely bringing more friends next time so we can sample a bit of everything.

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