5 May 2016

KW gets Polk'd with a Tour on the Brew Donkey!

If you have been following along at home for any length of time, here or on my other outlets, you know I love to visit breweries. In a few short years I've gone from only buying 24's of the cheapest macro lager I could find to mixing in a few new craft beers to planning a days travel to hit as many breweries as possible. It's been fun and a journey I believe is just starting.
In this vein, when I was asked if I wanted to be part of the Media Launch for the new Brew Donkey KW tour, I jumped at the chance. Getting to visit the places where my beer comes from, not having to drive and making new friends are all things that appeal to me. Not only did I meet some interesting people, I was lucky enough to run into old friends and spend the day talking beer with everyone.
We started at the very cool Waterloo brew house Abe Erb with a bite and a brew. Brad, owner and man of many hats for Brew Donkey, greeted us warmly and laid out a bit of the plan for the day. I grabbed a Broke Spoke Double IPA from the bar before we left and it was the perfect opener for what was to come.

I haven't been on a school bus in a long time, but it seems to me that the seats are smaller. Perhaps I've put on a pound or two since grade 10, but I digress.We all eagerly boarded the bus and while we drove to our first destination, Brad filled us in on how he came to be the mind behind Brew Donkey. I won't spoil it for you, but it involves travel, beer and one of my favourite charities, The Donkey Sanctuary in Guelph. The story alone had me cracking up and when we pulled into St. Jacob's and Block Three Brewing, spirits were high.

 I've been here before and I love their take on Belgian style beers. The samples were flowing and we wandered around a bit before getting a tour of their brewing area. Lovely space and I must say I was taken with how busy they were on an early Sunday afternoon. I of course grabbed one of everything I hadn't tried before and we were off to our next destination, Innocente Brewing in Waterloo.
One thing I loved about the trips between breweries was that it wasn't just sitting on the bus and staring out the window. Brad was engaging and fun, filled with stories and making sure we were having a good time.
Arriving at Innocente, we were met with a sample of their Irish Red, a delicious brew and, to my surprise, Brewmaster/Owner Steve Innocente. He gave us a great tour of their facility and told the story of how he had come to be where he is today. I had a chance to chat with him before the tour started and thanked him for making his Charcoal Porter, which is one of the beers that kicked my pursuit of craft beer into high gear. He even took the time to take a photo with me and I will admit to being a little in awe of this innovative brewer!

Thank you good sir!
 After purchasing their new 1815 Rye Saison and a few treats for some pals, onward we went, with a tasty beef panini for lunch and more laughs. I really was having so much fun and the day was only half over. Next stop was the unique and new to me Together We're Bitter Cooperative Brewery in Kitchener. Their approach to community brewing and worker/owners was outlined by the very enthusiastic Head Brewer Culum. It was an infectious talk that had us laughing and seriously considering joining this merry band of brewers. Great place that was brimming with an energy that was hard to contain in those four walls. I picked up a couple of half growlers for later inspection, but was really taken with their Pullman Porter, a coffee forward brew that spoke to my soul.
I could have listened all day!
Going home happy!
So much coffee, I might be in love!
 Our last stop was the recently (Friday at 4 p.m.) opened Descendant's Brewing in Kitchener. It's going to be a real treat to watch this brewery grow into the space they have and you could feel the pride emanating from Lee and Robin as they filled us in on their amazing trip to where they are today. Their faces beamed with what I would call exhausted excitement. Most people would have been dead on their feet after all the hard work they have put in over the last months but they took time to speak to everyone and you could feel their joy at having finally opened their doors!
Hanging out with the guys from Brewvy!
Gotta get a photo with my favourite person!
It was finally time to board the bus for the last time to head back to Abe Erb and our normal lives. I will admit that I didn't want the day to end, who would after all the fun we had! The whole experience was first class and to be able to share it with Mrs. Polkaroo and all the craft beer lovers on board the Brew Donkey tour was amazing. If you are looking for an easy way to visit some of the great Craft Breweries in the KW and Guelph area, head on over to the Brew Donkey KW site and book today. I think it is the perfect way to spend a day, with a lunch and all your beer samples included. When you get back, you can keep the party going either at Abe Erb, Beertown Public House (just across the street) or head on home with the new craft beer you picked up and share it with your friends. It could be a precursor to a wonderful evening or a gift for anyone. Whatever the reason, I'm planning on joining one of the future tours with my friends and enjoying another round of brewing awesomeness!

 On a side note, Mrs. Polakroo and I could not pass up the chance to hit up Beertown Public House
for some appetizers and beer. I found 5 beers I'd never had before and enjoyed the whole atmosphere. More on this very interesting place another time, but suffice it to say it is a place high on my list to revisit, this time to take on the Mega Flight of all 30 taps called the Beermageddon
Paddletron 3000. Waterloo is going to Get Polk'd and I may have found my new home!

Raise your glass and your standards one beer at a time!

I'm Home!
What a flight! Bring on the Paddletron!
Mrs. Polkaroo approved the food!
Dessert in a bottle. Love a Lambic!


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