Capital Pint by Travis Persaud is published regularly at OttawaMagazine.com. Follow Travis on twitter @tpersaud.
It’s going to get a little steamy at this year’s Beau’s Oktoberfest (Friday, Oct. 4 and Saturday, Oct. 5).
The annual Bavarian-themed party in Vankleek Hill is one of the last moments in the year to enjoy the outdoors sans snow and ice covering every last inch of the ground. It’s become one of the must-do fall activities. And, as Creative Director Jordan Bamforth says, “We’ve stepped it up this year.”
Beau’s Oktoberfest: Friday Night is the Night!
The musical lineup alone is worth the trek out east. Internal brainstorming and some help from Spectrasonic’s Shawn Scallen landed Kathleen Edwards, The Sadies, Young Revival, and The Balconies — and that’s just the first night. (It’s also the only night with available room. Saturday is at capacity. Bamforth assures us there won’t be any “oops, we accidently forgot we had this skid of tickets” tickets for Saturday. Begging, screaming, and other theatrics won’t get you in, either. The moral of this story is: buy tickets for Friday night.)
But don’t be bummed out. “Friday is my pick for the festival,” Bamforth says. “You’ll have the first crack at trying all the beer and there will be more elbow room.”
Beau’s Oktoberfest: Surprise Beer Revealed
Oh right, the beer. Beau’s released the list of the nine beers they will be serving weeks ago, but have kept the last one a secret. Until now.
“It’s going to be a Dampfbier,” Bamforth says. “It’s a German steam beer. We try to do a lot of traditional and rare styles of beer for Oktoberfest — with a few exceptions — and this falls in line with that.”
The idea came from the students at Niagara College’s Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program who are interning at Beau’s. “They were tasked with coming up with a German style for the fest,” Bamforth says. “They designed it and brewed it under the guidance of our Brewmaster Matt O’Hara.”
Don’t be confused by the name, though. No steam was used in the creation of this beer. It undergoes a vigorous fermentation process, which can make it appear as if it’s steaming, hence its name.
“It will have a clove/bubble gum aroma, fruity flavour, a dry finish, and effervescent carbonation,” Bamforth says. “And we worked with a local organic hop producer. We harvested the hops fresh and wet-hopped the beer. It’s by no means a hop bomb, but there are some nice hop notes.”
Alongside the nine Beau’s offerings, Oktoberfest will once again feature a Cask Days area, with casks from more than 20 breweries.
Beau’s Oktoberfest: Charities and School
As you sip and savour the beer and Bavarian treats, enjoy the warm and fuzzies that come from knowing the whole rockin’ shindig supports a number of worthwhile charities: Canadian Canoe Foundation, United Way Ottawa, Vankleek Hill Agricultural Society, Rethink Breast Cancer, Just Food, and Kiva.
“And we’ll have the School of Bock,” Bamforth says. “Jamie Drummond, a sommelier with Good Food Revolution will be speaking. Anders Kissmyer will be talking about gypsy brewing. And Andrew Laliberté will bring in a cheese component.”
Visit beaus.ca/oktoberfest for ticket information — including the bus option that has pick-up and drop-off spots in Ottawa, Montreal, and Cornwall. They’ve thought of it all.