17 October 2017

Polkapolooza 2.1 - The Remix (Not feat. DJ Khaled)

Yes I do.
The world turns, days pass into weeks and the months fly by. 2017 has been an interesting year so far and despite my best intentions, this summer didn't turn out quite as I had planned. A promotion at work meant I couldn't take any time off until after Thanksgiving and thank the beer gods, that time is now! The second Polkaroo road trip of 2017 commences Wednesday and will continue for  4 days with stops at as many new to us Ontario Craft brewers as we can find. This should bring the skip back into my step and the bulge back to my depleted beer fridge. As always, the routes are planned using the awesome map from Ontario Beverage Network, an invaluable tool for any trip in pursuit of great craft brewery, distillery or cidery. So get ready my friends, Polkapolooza 2.1 - The Remix (Not Feat. DJ Khaled) gets under way tomorrow!
Look for the Fiesta filled with Polks this week!

Wednesday October 18th
  As the dawn breaks, we will head out on the road for a single day trip that should approach over 800 kilometres and take us as far north as I've ever been. Why do we do this route to start? Because our first stop has been so inviting and I couldn't pass up the chance to finally visit South River and Highlander Brewing Company. Ever since we met some of them at a beer festival and they were so fun and kind to us, we have been itching to check them out in person. At almost 350 kilometers, it is easily going to be the farthest we have gone for a beer and that alone makes for a great story. The drive through Ontario's north should give us some spectacular views and after we make our way to Highlander, we will turn our sights home, with several more stops along the way.
  Heading down the road another 100 klicks is one of my favourite Ontario brewers and one who's been hitting new heights this year with a rebrand and some seriously good new beers. Lake of Bays Brewing Company has long been part of my journey into better beer and I am especially excited for a pint at this one. The day will be turning to late afternoon but we have miles to go before we sleep still.
  Next up and only about an hour away is relative newcomer Boshkung Brewing. I have been wanting to make this type of trip for a while and it is exciting when I see so many new to me breweries "close" together and I can't pass up a chance to explore more of what small towns in Ontario's north have to offer. We will be stopping for some food along the way and supporting local when we do it. Lucky for us, only 10 minutes away is another craft brewer so we can get a few more treasures at Haliburton Highlands Brewing before turning our attention to the drive home.
  While we are focused mainly on those places we have never been, if time permits and the road is kind we will be popping in to say hello to some old friends along the way. Looking wistfully at my OBN map as the drive back to the homestead takes us past Muskoka Brewing, Sawdust City Brewing and the 3 giants of Barrie, Redline Brewhouse, Flying Monkey's Craft Brewers and of course, Barnstormer Brewing.
  Ambitious? Yes. Doable? Probably. Bringing a serious smile to my face to be able to even think about it? You know it.
  Heading home and pulling into the driveway close to midnight will leave us tired but happy and the next day will be a much closer to home journey with even more new breweries to cross off the list.

Thursday October 19th
  Say what you want about living in Hamilton, it leaves me close to so many great options for a quick craft beer road trip that I am always ready to explore or return to one I love. Day 2 of this Polkapolooza finds us headed to Toronto and at least a half dozen brewers that have eluded us so far this year. Up first is the highly anticipated Godspeed Brewery, with it's Asian inspired menu and a great place to lunch up before the jaunt across The Six (Mrs. Polk hates when I say that...hence it's inclusion here.).Rorschach Brewing will allow us to plumb the depths of our psyche with great beer and lead us to stop 3 just up the street, Radical Road Brewing. An invite always gets a positive response and it will be a nice time to take a break, have a pint and talk shop with some good folks. One that caught my eye as I scanned the OBN map was Saulter Street Brewing, a stop I will be happy to make to see what comes up in this neighbourhood next. Almost across the street, more like around the corner but you get the idea, is Eastbound Brewing Company and stop #5 within a very short distance as this city's beer scene continues to explode. As tempting as it will be to stop in at all our favourites, we will refrain and make our way to 2 more stops before heading home for the day. Kensington Brewing Company will be sixth on the list and we will be finally hitting Big Rock Brewing as we make our way back down the 401 home to the Hammer.

Friday October 20th
  Every Polkapolooza has an overnight trip built in and this time is no different, albeit the towns are smaller and the beer just as amazing. Another early start, this time with some luggage and a cooler or two in tow will begin the second last day of this rebooted road trip tradition. The smallest number of breweries visited because we really wanted to enjoy an evening at one of them, it will start off with a 200 km. trip west to Stone House Brewing, Huron's original craft brewer. The eyes then turn to the small but mighty Half Hours on Earth. While I visited here last year, Mrs. polk did not and I couldn't miss this opportunity to help her sample some of the finest in a province filled with great beer. We then head a little north and finally arrive at our destination of the night, Blyth, Ontario and the newly opened Cowbell Brewing. A big fan of their beer, their story and their commitment to being a responsible member of the community made this an easy choice for us to hang our hats and with a great recommendation from a friend, we found Queen's Bakery only a short walk from where the beer is made. Walking distance there and stumbling distance back as they say. This will be a fine way to end any trip but we still have the drive home and a few more gems to be uncovered.

Saturday October 21st

 For a lot of people, heading home from a vacation is a hard thing to do. For this family of craft beer lovers, the drive back to Hamilton is just another opportunity to visit a few more new to us breweries and bring home some treats for further "research". First up on the long way home is Shakespeare Brewing Company , which combines my love of the Bard with my love of small batch craft beer. A stop I should have made a while ago, but life never goes in such straight lines for me, Bittes Schon Brauhaus is a New Hamburg entry from the fine people that brought us Descendant's in Kitchener.  A turn southeast and we find ourselves at a couple of Cambridge breweries my retail schedule has kept me from getting my paws on. North Works Brewing and the elusive and only open 7 hours a week Barncat Artisan Ales. The journey continues as we slip into the west end of Hamilton and the latest addition to a burgeoning scene sure to keep growing. Grain and Grit Brewing is just around the corner from our pals at Fairweather, so why not have two and then call it a day, this Polk will be done.
No doubt a time will come when Mrs. Polk takes the wheel.

  The 4 days will be filled no doubt with some quick in and outs and others will be spent lingering over a flight or a pint and talking beer with brewers and new friends alike. We choose to try to hit up many new to us breweries to help illustrate all the growth in the industry in just a few years and to show you the world is an amazing place if you just take a leap and head into the unknown.
  I hope to inspire others to do the same, this entire journey has been an homage to the beer that helped save my life and it is a small thanks I can give to be able to help showcase as many of them as I can. Hit the road, have some fun and remember that it's always about having a good time.
 I'm setting the trip counter to zero, it's time to go!

Raise your glass and your standards
One Beer at a time.


1 comment:

  1. Dude! seriously in my back yard... I live at sawdust in my off hours