Ska and beer go together like 'Lone Star Beer and Bob Wills' music,' a natural pairing. When we heard that there was a "party bus" going to Vankleek Hill, just between Ottawa and Montreal, with a visit to Beau's All Natural Brewery and show by New York ska ensemble The Slackers we could not resist this pairing. In case you are wondering someone has already come up with The Ska Brewing Company in Durango, Colorado, proving the point that ska and beer go hand in hand.
We have been part of the Beau's Army ever since discovering them at Montreal's Beer Fest, Le Mondial de la bière. And speaking of LeMondial have you saved the date? This year's Beer Fest runs from June 11 to June 15 under the theme of beer and fine cuisine. Beau’s is also on the list of this year’s attendees. On our first stop at the Beaus’ Beer Fest kiosque we were lucky enough to meet co-owner and founder Steve Beauchesne, who on top of introducing us to Canada's only organic brewery, sported a 2-Tone tattoo. Beauchesne told us that Beau's uses ingredients that were no longer used due to the Bavarian purity law of 1487 that limited beer making ingredients to water, barley and hops. In our books, any brewery that has made a kimchi beer and beers aged in ice cider, wine and whiskey barrels is an indication of some great ideas coming out of this brewery. Not sure if you consider this an endorsement but Stephen Harper chose Beau's as his collateral in a beer bet with Barak Obama on who would win the Olympic hockey games.
Correction: the beer on offer was @beausallnatural & @BigRockBrewery Grasshopper. MT @connect2canada #BeerDiplomacy http://t.co/ayuLDgmbdj
— Stephen Harper (@pmharper) March 11, 2014
At the brewery, we were happy to discover that the Beau’s tasting room offers free samples, $5 glasses of beer and tips going to local charities. Unsure if we were allowed to bring our beer on the brewery tour we pounded back a Kissmeyer: Nordic Pale Ale (5.6%). Mild in hops flavour, the Kissmeyer had a slightly bitter and refreshing citrus taste. After a quick tour of the Beau's beer making process we had just enough time for a glass of the Tom Green (yes that Tom Green - he's from Ottawa) Milk Stout (5%). Considering this is a stout beer it was surprisingly smooth and light with some mild coffee notes. Thankfully we were not cut off from Beau's because the Windsor Tavern featured their flagship Lug Tread Lagered Ale (5.2%). Considering the exotic beer flavours at Beau’s, the Lug Tread is a classic style beer with a great balance of malt and hops flavours. The Lug Tread is the kind of beer you want to drink when you think of a nice cold beer on a hot summer day. Lug Tread was the perfect pairing for skanking in a hot sweaty and crowded pub to the tunes of The Slackers. Considering the Lug Tread is available as a draft beer we think it might be one of the best classic style beers available on tap.
|Audio: Beau's Beer Maker Steve Beauchesne|
Steve Beauchesne’s band, Audio was one of the opening acts. Yes he makes amazing beer sings and plays guitar in a kick-ass punk band with some of his fellow brewers. Given all this not to mention The Slackers, Beau's beer, an obvious crowd of local beer aficionados, a bus load of people from Montreal and Ottawa we were having a serious Portlandia moment. We even ran into a local Montreal tattoo artist, in town for Mother's Day weekend, who said this experience had them thinking about opening a local shop. All this had us thinking that Vankleek Hill might be the next Capital of Canadian Cool. If you live in the Ottawa or Montreal area treat yourself with a trip to Beau's with a healthy mix of ska on your radio.
|The Slackers: Pre-Show Huddle|