Well, the paint has barely dried on last weekend's 905 Halton-Hamilton Craft Brewery Invasion of 2019 and already our laser-keen sights on set on 2020.
Our sights are, of course, trained much sharper on next year because it's... um, *ahem* 2020. (Brain: "Really? You went there already? Like you don't think we'll be hearing those stupid 20/20 puns and shit all next year?")
Moving on... the reason a handful of us are already looking ahead is that Josh Hayter, co-owner of Kingston's Spearhead Brewing, is planning a February 22nd Kingston Craft Brewery Invasion that's gonna make the 1944 storming on the Beaches of Normandy look like... actually, no, that was a significant (and blood-drenched) tipping point for the Allies in World War II.
Perhaps the Griswold's trip to Walley World in National Lampoon's "Vacation" might be a more apt comparison for our lot of loudmouths and lunatics. And that's just the women. You should see the men. We're really pieces of work, the bunch of us. Even cops look at us, shake their heads and think, "Ugh. Too much paperwork."
So anyway, some of my friends are already chomping at the bit to get the salient details of February 2020's big Kingston Craft Brewery Invasion. And that's why I'm here... So, let's get rolling with the deets.
I popped into Oakville's Cameron's Brewing back in late September to grab some brews. I also wanted to get a picture of my son, David, with the six awards Cameron's had won at the Ontario Craft Brewing Awards earlier in the month because, you know. hometown pride and all. I could only see three (I took the pic anyway) and was told by my favourite retail worker, Rona, that the other three awards were down in Las Vegas at the National Beer Wholesalers Association convention, held September 22-25 at Caesar's Palace. It seems Cameron's director of Operations Clint Israel and his wife, Victoria, went down to Sin City for the convention, as well as Brewmaster Jason Britton.
But my locals weren't alone down there. Also attending were Nickel Brook Brewing co-owner Peter Romano and his wife Sandra, Flying Monkeys Brewing co-owners Peter and Andrea Chiodo and, hey, one Mr Josh Hayter. Now all of these people, though most especially Josh and Clint, know well of my love for Vegas.
Clint and I talked at great length about some of my Vegas adventures upon his return and he passed along that he and Victoria had a great time down there. But I was curious about what Josh thought of my favourite stomping grounds.
"Vegas was great. I was flying solo and stayed at Caesars," he told me. "I hung out with the Peters, the Cameron's crew and a few more (since) we're all using the same importer."
As for the convention, "The Beer show was successful but a lot smaller than I expected." A few of his beers, notably Hawaiian Style Pale Ale and their new Spearhead 4 India Session Ale, got some positive attention, he added, which is timely as the brewery plans to push into the Ohio, New Jersey and Michigan marketplaces very soon in the new year.
And Las Vegas itself? "I've been a lot of places and Vegas is the weirdest. I never go off the strip and I'm gonna go back with my wife (Adrienne) so we can take it all in. The size of the hotels is what really got me. They are massive." He added with no doubt a grin, "I could live the rest of my life in Vegas... and it would be a solid six months."
But you're not here to listen to Vegas stories. If you were, you could read any of my 5,000 blogs on the place. I think it's come up in the space before. But I'm not obsessed.
No, sirree Bob and Virginia, you're here to read about the February 22 Kingston Craft Brewery Invasion. So let's get to it.
The organizer, Josh, makes an early promise. "The Kingston trip is gonna be epic!" The day, which will start at 11 am, is slated to stop at Kingston Brew Pub, Stone City Ales, Daft Brewing, SanTur Brewing (pending), Riverhead Brewing, Skeleton Park Brewing and, of course, will finish up at Spearhead Brewing.
And how are we getting around the "Limestone City"? "I've got us a bus and a driver to take us around for the day." Turns out one of Spearhead's shareholders owns, hey, a bus company. "I've got the cost handled 100% but it would be nice if at the end of the day, the driver gets a tip from the riders." (Least we can do and here's why.)
"I've got the head of the Kingston Economic Development (department) helping me set up the trip. I've got Tourism Kingston providing gift bags and (potentially) sponsoring a meal for everyone. It's (their) job to help promote Kingston businesses," Josh said, adding, "It also helps that I'm friends with the head of both organizations."
|Wait? Is that Canadian rocker Sam Roberts serving up|
beer from a Spearhead tap? It certainly is. I'm guessing
that when a brewery helps create the Sam Roberts Band
Ale that the musician automatically comes with the deal.
Josh was looking to get a "awesome group rate" at a Kingston hotel and at the moment, it looks like that's gonna be the Delta Marriott, "the nicest hotel in Kingston in my opinion." He thinks he can get rooms for $129/night as opposed to the prices I checked online, which ranged anywhere from $180 to $275, depending on the night. "I'm waiting on the (group rate) password now."
The free lunch will be at Kingston Brew Pub and the free dinner at Spearhead itself. BUT he needs group numbers sooner rather than later, please. "We gotta start organizing soon because I'll need numbers. I believe this trip will be the most fun and it will also introduce you to all all the beer that Kingston has to offer." You can contact him directly at: Josh@spearheadbeer.com, through Twitter: @spearheadjosh or even me, if you want, and I'll pass it along. But I'll tell you this for free. You will NOT want to miss this one!!! Josh is pulling out all the stops and I have already booked the day off. Yes, more than three months in advance. But Scooby Doo Gang, that's it, that's all and I am outta here. Until next time, I remain...