This past weekend was the 5th Annual Big Strange New Brunswick Brew. This is an event put on by the Members of Barleyment and is spawned from Big Strange Brew in Ontario. It’s an event for brewers (beginner to experienced) and non-brewers to talk, learn and discuss beer and all grain brewing. Also to meet other Members of Barleyment and their families as we have members, literally, all across Canada but mostly Ontario and eastward. Yes, there are places east of Toronto.
At a big brew you can taste a beer style from almost any place in the world and beer that isn’t really to any style but is delicious non the less. There was about 30 kegs that contained Vienna, Marzen, Flemish Red, Blonde, Helles, different types of bitters (dry hopped and not), various Stouts, Irish Reds, dry hopped lagers, ales flowing through a Randall, Maple Brown, Dunkles, Muenster Alt, Witbier, Rauchbier oh the list seemed endless. There was even a cider…
Another great thing about the big brews is that you get to eat some great tasty food. Fresh mussels, organic sausages, rib steak, pulled pork, deep fried turkey, homemade waffles with fresh fruit and whipped cream. Oh and I can’t forget the fresh roasted coffee. Just to name a few items.
I spent the few days leading up to the big brew kegging beer and making dispensing lines. On Friday morning, I was up and got my sons ready for school. With a kiss and hug they were on the school bus and I was making my way back to the house to start packing the van.
In went the tent, sleeping bag, matress, cooler of food (someone had to feed the dogs), pillow and the beer. 4 kegs in total. Two Pond Hockey Pale (one dry hopped the other not), a Vienna Lager, and my Garden Hose Lager (that I forgot to put a filter in).
Loaded up and on the road heading to pickup Jason and Kevin by 9am. With Jason and Kevin in the van at around 10am we headed off for some food at the Blue Canoe. With a stop at the Oromocto Canadian Tire to pick up a chair for me, we were on the highway heading towards Gagetown and beyond.
With a beautifully scenic drive and taking a short ferry ride across the Saint John River behind us, we arrived at Camp Pascobac (near Kars NB) on the Belleisle Bay around 12:30pm only to be greeted by Buffy the leg licking dog. Luckily our hosts, Sarah and JW, also greeted us but not with leg licking but a pint of Helles. Shortly after we arrived Daniel showed with a trailer of beer and gear.
After a few pints of various lagers and ales, it was best that we put up our tents really soon. At which time Cliff drove up with a then working car battery.
As the late afternoon continued, others started to arrive. Mostly the local people around New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Thus, adding beer kegs to the walk in refrigerator.
The Frisbees, footballs and horseshoes started to come out. It was good to see many people that I have not seen for some time and taste their beer.
The evenings dining consisted of whatever you brought to eat. The BBQ was fired up and people frolicked to it like mosquitoes to…well us. There was rib steak, tenderloin, chicken and sausages of various tastes. We didn’t go hungry nor did we have to worry about not having something to wash it down with as the refrigerator was starting to get filled up nicely.
As the evening continued many of us headed down to the beach where a bonfire was to begin. Unfortunately, Daniel had a hard time getting the fire started with his various powders and gasoline. Even with Cliff dancing around with Lederhosen on didn’t help. The ever patient Ken took over and eventually the fire was as tall as the trees. Cliff still continued to dance around with his Lederhosen, I guess he enjoyed doing this.
Others from Ontario and Quebec started to arrive as the evening got later. It turned out to be a late night.
Although Friday was overcast, Saturday turned out to be a beautiful, sunny day. After having scrambled eggs, toast, fresh roasted coffee and a 5 gallon pale of water, team SpaceMan Spiff started the brew at around 9:30 in the morning. Our recipe was to be a ordinary bitter. About four other breweries were on the go also. Their were Chris, Cliff, Daniel, Ken and Gabe. Each having help from others.
In the early part of the afternoon, Alan controlled the grill that was plugged with organic sausages. The gentleman that makes the sausages was actually an opera singer. Interesting…
With a few problems we managed to finish the brew day around three o’clock. It was really hot so we went in to the lodge to get out of the sun and concentrate on having a few beer. The conversation inside the lodge turned quite colourful after a few pints.
For the evenings feast, we had deep fried turkey, steamed mussels, pulled pork, salad, Arctic char and a few other items. It was a great feast to say the least.
The evening ended for me at around 10:30 as we listened to the hockey game on the radio. The previous evening, I stayed up much too late and I was feeling it Saturday night.
Sunday morning when the sun arrived, I crawled out of my tent and headed towards the lodge. Inside, people were getting ready for the breakfast. There was bacon (turkey and pork), Daniel’s famous waffles with whipped cream, chocolate and fresh fruit. Alan’s coffee greeted me once again in the morning as it did on Saturday. It was a tasty brew.
As we cleaned up and pack up our tents, we said goodbye to our friends in hopes to see them once again next year. To say that the Big Strange New Brunswick Brew was an enjoyable time would be an understatement. Many thanks go out to everyone involved at making this event a great success.
Good friends, good beer, good times I cannot wait until the next big brew, cheers.
To see some photos of the event please visit the Members of Barleyment’s photo gallery.