Malcolm Jolley’s pictures from Beau’s Oktoberfest 2017.
Here are some photos and colour commentary to compliment Jamie’s AMAZING VIDEO of the festivities at this year’s Beau’s Oktoberfest in Vankleek Hill, Ontario. The festival takes place on a Friday evening and then all day on Saturday. It’s a fundraiser with all the proceeds going to charity: Beau’s Oktoberfest raised more than $100,000 this year and has raised a total of $616,889 in nine years (more on this here). Because it’s a fundraiser it’s staffed by volunteers, which adds to the feeling of merriment and community fair that the beer, food and music festival engenders.
All the photos below were taking on the Saturday, September 22, from 11AM, when the gates opened until about sunset, when your photographer lost his light and his focus, having made a brave effort to try as many of the dozens and dozens of craft beers available. By no means does this colection of images come even close to documenting all the things that went on that day and evening (again, see Jamie’s amazing video post for broader survey), it’s really more a few snapshots of what I saw when my nose wasn’t buried in a commemorative Beau’s Oktoberfest 2017 ceramic stein.
Jamie and I go to Oktoberfest putatively to work. In previous years we’ve taken turns appearing at The School of Bock, a building on the VanKleek Hill fairgrounds that’s the site of seminars and structured tastings. The one we do mostly is always sold out on both days: Pairing Beer & Cheese 101. It’s sold out because attendees get to drink beer and cheese, while learning fun fact about both from Andrew Laliberte who is an expert at both. Here he is preparing the tasting plates of cheese that he’s sourced from Ontario and Quebec at 11AM on the Saturday.
Beau’s Oktoberfest is not just a beer festival, it’s a food festival too. About two dozen food stalls set-up by Ottawa and Eastern Ontario restaurants serve forth Bavarian inspired dishes throughout the party. I started my day with the first Rueben sandwich from the Cheshire Cat’s kitchen, which went perfectly with an Oktoberfest Marzen…
Along for the ride
Our MC for the beer and cheese panel, and the man in charge of The School of Bock, was Phil Hawken whose day job is the Quality Assurance Manager at Beau’s Brewery. This man knows everything about what went into every bottle of Beau’s beer. Between him and Andrew, who sells cheese for a living, has made cheese, and is qualified sommelier as well as a beer expert, Jamie and mostly asked questions and tried to learn as much from them as we could, along with the audience. Photo credit: Antonia Whyatt.
Once our “work” was done Jamie and I enjoyed the festival and got to catch-up with our friends in the Beau’s family, like Christina Stuewe who organizes the brewery’s many appearances at events.
Class is not dismissed
Of course, The School of Bock did not end with our session. Programming continued all day. Here Beau’s own Chef Bruce Wood leads a class on the perfect pairing of beer to seasonal, local food.
Volunteers with beer
Oktoberfest volunbeers use a two person set-up to serve as much beer to as many people as quickly as possible. On each keg is a pourer, and in front of her, someone to collect tickets and serve the glasses of beer.
Sisters in arms
Beau’s Marybeth Mclaughlin hangs out with Collective Brewing’s Erica Campbell, who represented her brewery and The Society of Beer Drinking Ladies, on a panel called This Woman’s Work: Craft Beer Careers, moderated by Marybeth. Beau’s Oktoberfest welcomes craft brewers from around Canada and the world, and serves cask beers brewed by their friendly competitors in a special tent.
This year a Ferris wheel added to the country fair atmosphere of the festival. Note the, one of many, waste station in the foreground that helped keep the fairgrounds clean and the event sustainable.
Speaking of waste, there were roaming volunteers to collect it, if you didn’t get to a waste station before they found you. This lady carries receptacle made of pipe for used beer glasses.