If you were one of the curious many that attended the 1st annual Kawartha Craft Beer Festival last Saturday on June 20th, you probably have a wicked tan by now, and a festival glass sitting on a shelf in your home. You may also have had a few complaints regarding the festival. I spoke to a number of festival guests on what their initial thoughts on the day were.
“The lines are long, and the beers are small, said Sean T., a Peterborough native of twelve years, “but you can’t complain about a day in the sun discovering new beers in your area.” However, a few guests didn’t mind the long lines.
“I’m not sure what else we would be doing if we weren’t waiting in line, although they could have positioned the band so that we could watch while waiting,”argued Taylor, a visitor all the way from Oshawa who came to attend the event and swim in the Otonabee.
By the end of the day, I had talked to a few people, enjoyed some truly phenomenal craft beers, and had a lot of laughs in the sun. Eight brewers from all over southern Ontario attended, and shared their stuff with the people of Peterborough. The Publican House, who reside in the heart of downtown, where their product is widely enjoyed by the community, sponsored this event. Smithworks Brewing co. the co-sponsor of the event, is a family owned and operated microbrewery that are also close by in the region of Kawartha Lakes. Bobcaygeon Brewing, with a mission statement that promotes cottage country and relaxing among friends, also attended; it’s easy to love this hop forward beer.
If you ever find yourself at a cottage on Lake Scugog, be sure to pick up a growler from Old Flame Brewing, located in historic downtown Port Perry. Cobourg’s William Street was in attendance, as well as Church-key Brewing from Campbellford, which many of us have enjoyed while studying in the Trend at Traill College. Boshkung Brewing from Haliburton, and Manantler Craft Brewing from Bowmanville were also at the festival. Unfortunately, I did not get the pleasure of trying all of these amazing selections, but I did find a few that I rather like, and have enjoyed since.
Nobody can be too irked about the line-ups and portion sizes, as this was the first annual, and there are bound to be some bugs before the ultimate beer festival experience can be held in town. While speaking to a staff member of the Publican House, and complimenting the good turn out of the event, the bearded man behind the bar told me that they had an estimated turn out of approximately 1,500 people, and at the end of the day they had sold over 3,000 tickets. I said to him,“People love their beer.” It’s the simple truth. Plus, you couldn’t beat the price at $10 a ticket, which made for a generally inexpensive outing with family or friends.
How could I forget to mention the food? With a line up of local vendors such as Vintage Pizza, Rare Grill House, Ellie’s Taste of Texas, and La Hacienda, there was no excuse for a growling stomach on the beer fest grounds. The added value of the musical talent of Jan Shoute, Kate Suhr, Sean Conway, and Mayhemingways was the cherry on top. There was never a time during the day where you couldn’t sit down with some steaming pizza and listen to some live music while enjoying your new favorite beer.
In retrospect, the festival this year was a hit on many levels. I think this 1st annual event was a great start to what I know is going to be something the people of Peterborough look forward to. It will liven up the downtown core, support our local shops, and explore our scenic city tucked away at the edge of cottage country. I hope to see you all there next year enjoying some of what the Kawartha’s, Peterborough, and the rest of Ontario have to offer.