Festivus of Beer

I love outdoor festivals and the taste of sweet, delicious alcohol so you think  an event that honours them both could only be mind blowing-ly fantastic. Add cheeseburgers, hot mini donuts, and BBQ hot dogs to that already savoury mix and you’d have to pay me to leave. Unfortunately, this outdoor festival was celebrating my least favourite form of alcohol- beer. Sponsored by Nando’s Flame Grilled Chicken, the 2010 Canada Cup of Beer took place over a sunny Friday/Saturday in an open field at the beautiful University of British Columbia (UBC) campus in Vancouver, BC. An interesting choice as half the students who attend UBC are too young to even enter the heavily secured festival compound.  Oh well. Just means more stuff for the rest of us.

For a mere $15 admission, you get a coupon for a free ¼ chicken dinner from Nando’s, a small beer cup and 5 tokens to use at any of the various booths in exchange for beer samples. The goal of the Canada Cup of Beer is to introduce and promote various beers and beer related products to the drinking public. My goal – to see how many samples I could get with only 5 tokens. Hee hee hee.




As a kid, I always imagined beer would be what turpentine tasted like –colour and smell intact.

As a teenager having a beer for the first time, I realized that I was right all along.

Pale ale, Hefeweizen, Stout, Lager, blah, blah, blah. To me it’s all pale turpentine, sliced oranges in turpentine, dark turpentine and turpentine.

Ur pretty. In my belly u go!

I’ve choked down a few sips of beer in my time and have even selected the least offensive one that I could manage to ingest in a life or death situation – Heineken – which I only chose for its pretty green bottle versus the more common aluminum canned beer. Other than that, I’ve steered clear of the stuff and have instead chosen to focus on the lovely assortment of hard liquors available to a non-connoisseur like myself (Does it have alcohol in it? Perfect. Pack it up.)

However, the invite to this event came and I saw it as an opportunity to open up my palate to a whole new slew of non-turpentine great tasting beers. Surely they must have improved upon that horrible taste since I was a kid. Right?

Plus, I can never give up another chance to become a self-proclaimed expert (see social media, rock climbing, UFC judge, etc). As my palate and knowledge (and desire) for beer was non-existent, I happily brought along a few beer-loving friends to help in the decision making process:

Nelleytimes presents: The Officially Random 2010 Beer Awards

First up, the honourable mentions. They didn’t have any beer and thus were my two favourite booths (love you guys!)

  1. Moscato wine: Ice cold and delicious. It tasted similar to an ice wine but not as sweet
  1. Tried the Lemonade cocktail which I liked as it was very refreshing
  2. Loved the Black Jack Cola which was a jack and coke flavoured drink and guess what? Tasted just like a jack and coke but without the pesky work of opening and measuring from 2 different bottles

Now, a random sampling of 8 of the best and worst beers, placed in order of ‘Please sir, can I have some more?’ to ‘ Why would you serve this hate-in-a-glass to me?’

  • #1. Estrella Damm Beers Co.

What I drank: Beer

More specifically: Inedit Beer. Beer that comes in a pretty wine bottle. I’m a customer already!

Consensus: Wow! I wish I had been weaned on this, (instead of that damn breast milk) so I could have been drinking this my whole life.

Special shout out to the friendly staff who generously poured our half bottle sample servings.



  • #2. Howe Sound Brewing Company

What I drank: Beer

More specifically: Hefeweizen

Consensus: The best Hefeweizen in the bunch. I liked it even better than the Granville Island one (see below). Also, a special thank you to the bartender who poured an extra big sample of this delicious amber liquid when I told him I didn’t like or drink beer. I sure liked this one.


  • #3. Granville Island Brewery

What I drank: Beer

More specifically: Hefeweizen

Undoubtedly one of the most famous brewers in Vancouver, theirs was essentially a ‘Free Beer Here’ booth. They’re easily the most popular and their attendance at this event was really more of a nice gesture (who doesn’t like their favourite beer for free?) than a marketing necessity

Consensus: Great beer. I would happily drink this in any life or death situation



  • #4. Central City Brewing Co.

What I drank: Beer

More specifically: Red Racer raspberry flavoured wheat beer

Consensus:  Not bad. After the turpentine taste goes away, you get a hint of raspberry flavour. Lovely. I compare it to having a moderately okay meal and then getting a delicious mint to follow.

  • #5. Whistler Brewing Co.

What I drank: Beer

More specifically: My first beer of the festival. Sampled both the Classic Pale Ale and the Hefeweizen or export Lager (I forget) not that it mattered as I disliked it all.

Consensus: My resident beer expert claimed it to be decent beer. Teenage memories came swirling back. I disliked it and disposed of it by sharing it with others. I agree the pale ale tasted cold and fresh but it simply wasn’t to my liking.

  • #6. Hell’s Gate Brewing

What I drank: Beer

More specifically: Beer even the Devil doesn’t let enter his home (leaves it by the gate apparently). Tried both their ‘genuine’ and ‘premium’ beer with equal results. Blah!

Consensus: This Company advertises their beer as ‘great priced craft beer’ and should perhaps focus on creating some great tasting ‘great priced craft beer’. I actually considered reaching for some turpentine to get rid of the taste.

  • #7. Dead Frog Brewery

What I drank: Beer

More specifically: Pepper-Lime flavoured beer

Consensus:  Besides the badly chosen name (‘Dead Frog’? Really?), this is the worst thing done to beer since its original invention. Congrats on winning my patented ‘Creative but Still a Bad Idea’ award. Even the stranger who let me taste his sample was happy to give me more if I wanted some (No thanks buddy. That tablespoon I slurped will haunt me forever).

  • #8. Samuel Adams

Who drinks this on purpose??

What I drank: Beer

More specifically: Samuel Adams Coastal Wheat with lemon

Consensus: Why!? Why would you make this?  I think I needed some of the less horrible tasting pepper-lime beer to get the taste off my tongue. Hands down the worst beer I have ever had. Everything about it was artificial and I couldn’t in good conscious, force it onto my friends (I like them, after all) so I poured it out. I would have preferred to do so into Samuel  Adams’ face but the ground would have to do….for now (I’m gunning for you Sammy A!).





Tips on getting free samples or extra large samples, *hiccup*:

  • Tell them you hate beer: Beer vendors are happy to introduce you to your first taste of what they believe is the best beer on earth
  • Seek out happy vendors: they want to give it away. Help them achieve this
  • Brand new entries: Never heard of it? Well now’s the time to try it. Their focus is to get as many people as possible trying their new fare
  • High on Empty: Go to booths that are empty. It’s hard for them to give away free samples in front of a crowd
  • Last resort: Always be friendly and simply ask for a free sample (Gimme!…please.)

Empty Keg

In a short 2-hour span I sampled more beer, wine and coolers than I ever could have imagined. By the time we rolled around again to the pepper-lime flavoured beer and I was considering trying it again (surely, 2nd times a charm!), I knew it was time to hang up my sampling mug and stumble on home.

5 tokens, 20+ samples (hiccup) and 3 trips to the port-a-potties later, all I have to say about the 2010 Nando’s Cup of Beer is…






Sammy A photo credit

6 thoughts on “Festivus of Beer

  1. Hey Nelley! I tried leaving this on your Happiness is a size 6 blog as a comment but it wasn’t working, I wanted to let you know I left you a blog award on my blog!


  2. Pingback: A slip of the Mexican tongue « Living, with 'Nelley

  3. Pingback: Just Here for the Libations « Living, with 'Nelley

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