Father's Day 2016 marked a fun day for a Niagara couple, touring craft breweries in a limousine, dining and drinking beer.
Initially the contest was won by Bob Murden who unfortunately couldn't attend. Moving on to the runner up, we called Robin Brock to tell her she won the Great Niagara Craft Brewery Tour. Ultimately, Robin had entered the contest to give it to her son for Father's Day - a single, father of 3 children, who she thought would love the day's events. We don't know who was more excited Robin or her son, Josh Davidson and his girlfriend, Nicole Doucette.
Before we get started telling the tale, we here at Connecting Niagara would like to thank our sponsors. Without their participation this contest would not have been possible.
A Big Thank You to:
- Regional Limousine - limousine service for the day
- Brimstone Brewery - beer tastings, tour, lunch and beer for the winners to take home
- Oast House Brew House - beer tastings, tour and beer for the winners to take home
- Kame and Kettle Beer Works - tastings and beer for the winners to take home
- Iggy's Pub and Grub - tastings and dinner
- Niagara's Designated Drivers - delivered the winners home responsibly
- Lev8 Low Level Aerial Photography - photography
- PRowl Communications - organizing the event and providing you with Connecting Niagara
Please visit their websites and show your support - always shop local!
The Great Niagara Craft Brewery Tour
And the tale begins with Regional Limousine picking up Andy Harris, our photographer, and then little ol' me... We had a good half hour drive from Welland to Port Weller to pick up Josh and Nicole. During the ride we took the time to get acquainted with our driver, Amy. She was awesome! Cheerful, knowledgeable and as it turns out we have a lot in common and know many of the same people in the local horse industry. We sure were happy the limo had such an awesome air conditioning system - boy was it hot on Father's Day. Anyway, after driving around for a bit, we finally located Josh's home and made our introductions...
Josh and Nicole were a little nervous as they were hopping in a limo with a couple of complete strangers to spend the day drinking.. What if we didn't all get along? It would have been a long day! All in all, for not knowing each other, by the end of the day, we were all good friends! We chatted about what to expect throughout the day, what we all did for a living, the various brew houses we would be visiting, the wine industry, and more. We had some time to kill on the drive to Brimstone Brewery in Ridgeway.
As an event planner, we forgot to ensure there would be parking out front of Brimstone Brewery and The Sanctuary when we arrived. Boy, did we luck out - there were three spots available, perfect for the silver-streak of a stretch limo. The parking spot made for the perfect photo op!
Inside, we were greeted by the team at Brimstone, shown a menu and given a seat right beside the vats - we couldn't get any closer to the beer if we tried. As the photographer and I had done a tasting the week prior to the event, we enjoyed a glass of our favourite Brimstone Brew, while Josh and Nicole were given the cross with five of Brimstone's brews. They were given a little history and flavouring styles on each of the beers. Josh discovered he liked Midnight Mass, a dark beer with a wonderful coffee flavour. He didn't think he would like something so dark, but ultimately that is what he chose to take home with him. The lunch was wonderful and was the perfect complement to the beer for all of us. When lunch was over, Matt gave everyone a quick tour (we were running late already), and off we went to our next stop.
We arrived at Oast House Brewers in Niagara-on-the-Lake and were welcomed by Brooke for the second leg of our journey. They promptly poured us their pride and joy Barn Raiser and chatted with us about the history of Oast. We were then given another sample as we set off for a tour of the facility. We didn't take the time to play ping-pong, even though the table looked inviting. Brooke and Meagan took turns giving us the highlights of the equipment and the process used to make the beer. Wow - all those vats! Great brewing going on here. Did you know they hand label each bottle? What a job that would be. Back out to the main area, we were given four glasses with hops in them. We were asked to crack them open and crush them up, then try to guess which beer was made with each variety of hop. One of them had the distinct aroma of marijuana - interesting. How time flies when you're having fun. Off we went with 4 cans each of Barn Raiser and Josh bought a poster another poster to mark his winning day!
Next the journey across the peninsula to Kame and Kettle Beer Works in Fonthill. If you've never been to Kame and Kettle, it is a small brewery in the Town Square of Fonthill. One door on the street level of South Pelham St. and a bigger entrance and sitting area outside off Town Square. The limo took up pretty much their entire parking area when we were dropped off. Mercedes, one of the owner's daughters was there to greet us and get the photo of all of us and the limo in the parking lot. Inside, Todd welcomed us and gave Josh and Nicole a bit of the history of Kame and Kettle. Both Josh and Nicole tried the Candy Apple first. This one is very refreshing on a hot day - and hot it was - a scorcher! The Candy Apple beer is a combination of Kame and Kettle's bitter and a cider. We found the cider takes away from the bitterness of the bitter and the bitter takes away from sweetness of the cider, making for as we said, a very refreshing beer. Nicole and Josh went up to the bar next to chat with Todd about another choice of beer. They were fascinated by the artwork on the bar top, but declined to add to it. Josh stating he was left handed and would smear everything... After trying another couple of beers here, the winners picked 2 crowlers each to go and we hurried into the limousine for the quick trip around the corner to Iggy's Pub, again in Fonthill.
Iggy's Pub and Grub is known for having over 25 craft beers on tap. They are often the place of choice for new introductions of local brews. It was a tough choice for Josh and Nicole here trying to decide which four beers to enjoy in their flight and not only that, choose from the menu for dinner. Both Nicole and Josh looked exhausted now - beer drinking all day, it's hard work. Maybe it wasn't exhaustion at all, just a few too many beers in one day. The beer was poured, we chatted more about the day and ordered dinner. There's always something unique on the menu at Iggy's, we all enjoyed. When we arrived, we were a little concerned as I had not heard from Niagara's Designated Drivers - they were our ride home for the day. Luckily, we had their number and Brad called back within minutes - he was expecting our call. We gave him an estimate of the time we would be finished to ensure we all arrived home safe and sound from a day of drinking - responsibly - we might add! Brad texted to say he had arrived, so leaving the group for a few minutes I went out to chat with him and let him know where the winners needed to be taken home to. Believe it or not, Niagara's DD, texted to say all arrived home.
It was fun planning this prize and were happy the winner could enjoy the day on short notice. Josh and Nicole enjoyed the entire day, and promised to go back to each location we visited during the Great Niagara Craft Brewery Tour. We told them about the Pelham Suppermarket and bandshell concerts on Thursday nights in Fonthill - they were planning for that one...
All in all a great day! Who says work has to be 'all work and no play'. Our work here at Connecting Niagara certainly is not all work! We love it.
Please enjoy the photos taken by Andy Harris of Lev8 Low Level Aerial Photography throughout the day. There are quite a few, so sit back and enjoy! We'd offer you a beer to go with the show... well, we think you know why we can't.