I'm going to say that as I get older, I don't really celebrate my birthday with quite as much passion. It isn't that I fear getting older or that I hate not being 20 anymore, it is just that I have moved past the need for blowing out a 24 of Brava Light and forgetting my own party. I have been planning something special that I hope will become a tradition, the aptly named Polkapolooza 2016. What is this odd looking celebration you ask? Come with me a moment as we open up and see how the Drunk Polkaroo does things.
Not one for half measures when it comes to things I am passionate about, Mrs. Polkaroo and I are going on a 3 day quest to seek out new beers, friends and stories. We have both booked time away from our day jobs to embark on a mini-odyssey of Craft Beer.
First up will be a little solo Polkarooing. On Tuesday March 15th, I am heading out to some old favourites like Grand River Brewing and Wellington Brewery, as well as a few places I haven't been. Stone Hammer, Royal City and Innocente. Hopefully a new growler or two and as many new beers as I can fit in the car.
On my actual birthday next Wednesday March 16th, we will engage in an ambitious travelogue of epic proportions. This is a big day trip. Up the 400 to cottage country and 5 breweries I can only get glimpses of down here in the Hammer. Barrie contains Flying Monkeys Brewing, Barnstormer Brewing and of course Redline Brewhouse. So looking forward to this one as a start. I've had quite a few of Flying Monkeys brews, but the other two have eluded my grasp thus far.
After we hit Barrie, we will head to Muskoka Brewing and Sawdust City. Again, I've had some of their beers as well, but they have so much more that never gets down to my neck of the woods.
We were planning on heading home after that long day of driving, but my mom and dad had a better idea. Why not stay overnight? A little outside this Polkaroo's budget for the week, but they didn't mean I should pay. Dad graciously booked and covered the cost of our room. I'm a damn lucky guy to have such wonderful parents.
We haven't figured out 100 % of our plans for the High Holy day of Beer, St. Patrick's Day. It used to be that I called it "Alcoholic Christmas", but since I'm moving to a different approach to how I consume beer, I think it's time for a change. So from now on I will consider this like a Craft beer Christmas and hopefully Hopsy, the Craft Beer Elf, will leave me some new beers for being such a good boy. I am sure we'll have some fun and we won't be all road weary doing it.
Friday brings me to one of my favourite cities in the world, Toronto. So many breweries that I am having a hard time deciding where we should go. No doubt that Amsterdam Brewing is our destination for lunch and I must go to Bellwoods Brewing and Left Field Brewery because everything I've read about them makes me feel like they have to be part of my pilgrimage. So there are a few spots left open on our travels to The Big Smoke and I am sure something will inspire me in the next week. The real nice thing about this day is that I can also stop in at old friends like Great Lakes Brewing, Cameron's, Black Oak, Nickel Brook and Collective Arts. I may or may not be trying to set a personal record for beer acquired and breweries visited in a single day. Whew. That is a little ambitious, but I will triumph in my search for new beer!
Finally, on Saturday evening, my quest for the perfect beer will culminate at a place I cannot believe I have never been to. BeerTown Public House. Seriously, if there is a place you think you would find someone named the Drunk Polkaroo, it's BeerTown. Just thinking about everything people have told me about this place is making my mind race with the possibilities. Not really sure what to expect, but if |I get to spend and evening with friends and family, you know it will be amazing. Luckily I have a cousin who lives relatively close by, so we don't even have to make it all the way back to Polkaroo Manor.
There you have it, my grand plan. Polkapolooza 2016 is a really big idea that I hope will become something I can grow every year. My biggest dream, after all the delicious craft beer, is that maybe I will get to meet some of the people I have come to think of as Beer friends. Maybe we can toss back a pint and talk about the crazy stuff we used to do and what we think this journey through amazing beer will take us next.
What a way to celebrate turning 43.