Late last night as I was getting ready to head to bed, my phone buzzed with a notification from the Facebooks and when I opened it, I found out that I had won tickets from Cameron's Brewing to the 1st ever Brew Fest in Toronto this Friday. To say I was excited would be an understatement. We couldn't really afford to get the tickets this month and I was resigned to just following my friends on social media as they experienced yet another event. But the fates have shone upon this Polkaroo and now I get to immerse myself in all that a beer festival entails.
The first time I went to an event was last month at the Burlington Beer Festival. It was a real hoot and even nicer than the beer was getting to finally meet some of the people I had met only online. There is something about Craft Beer that makes everyone a little friendlier, willing to help out and cross promote each other. Not only the breweries, but us, the humble bloggers, reviewers and travelers of this road have a love for great beer and want to share that with everyone.
I am certain that I will have fun. We can't really drink much, but for me that is okay. It is not just about the beer, but the culture that surrounds it that intrigues me. I want to meet the people that help create the great beer I try on a daily basis, maybe grab some new glasses or other branded items and hopefully meet even more of the people I have come to think of as friends.
It is a surprise to me how much I have come to look forward to seeing what beers some people are posting on Instagram at night when I get home. Their reviews help to shape what I search for, especially for those people who are not in my area. When I see a beer that someone I respect reviews well, I try to find a way to acquire that brew. I am always pleased when I can return the favour and turn someone onto a beer they haven't had yet or remind them of an old favourite.
I am by no means discounting real life experience by touting my online presence. I suffer from anxiety and depression and the struggle to push myself to get out of the house is one I refuse to lose. The whole interacting through social media has given me a boost in confidence and helped me to believe I will be able to go out and have new experiences, without suffering from some unknown disaster. I used to mask my problem with copious amounts of crappy macro beer. Now I try to understand and take my time with my beer to help me slow down and appreciate all the great flavours available from Craft Beer.
My advice to you is to find all your favourite Ontario Craft Brewer on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and give them a follow. Share your thoughts on their beer with them and you will be surprised at how often they respond. Play in their contests, most of the time it is as simple as liking a post and commenting on it. For this win, I just had to tell them my favourite beer that they make, on a post about the Brew fest.. It is the Dry Hopped Tripel by the way and it is delicious.
Before I forget, I just got tickets to Cask Night tonight at Collective Arts here in Hamilton. Only $20 and it is going to feature 6 breweries and some really unique and one off beers. You still have time to get some for yourself. Hope to see you there!
This is shaping up to be a great weekend.