What is it about a grill, the smoky scent of food cooking outside that makes folks salivate and head to a picnic table, plates in hand?
Barrie recently hosted another fabulous summer event; the social calendar in our city is filled with wonderful things to do! While the name was changed to the ‘Downtown Barrie Craft Beer and BBQ Festival’, those feasting and sipping on suds toasted it as a very successful rib fest and that’s what matters.
As a good rib rub or marinade flavours the meat before grilling, this festival, like any good collaboration contained all the necessary ingredients for a perfect blend.
Waterfront setting, check, local craft beers, check, prize winning BBQ chicken, ribs, sausage, and pulled pork, check, hungry crowd of enthusiastic visitors and locals, check, sponsors, music and some truly witty signage to send you in the right direction, check, check, check!
Add in the sides of beans, coleslaw and cornbread, now you have a tasty meal.
Food trucks supplied all the extras, wild twisty potatoes or corn on the cob was available too.
I take it the BIA special ordered sunshine and picturesque sunsets, not sure who was in charge of the blustery wind though.
Local love was out in full force supporting the joint venture of Jessi from J’adore and Lawrence of the Butcher Shop with their new Fire and Ice food truck. Our dessert was a specialty known as the Canadian, topped with a maple cookie.
Now I will confess that I am not a beer drinker, but the DD, designated drinker, decided to whet her whistle with a premium apple cider from Thornbury Beverage Company and found it very refreshing.
I was impressed with the creativity of the signage, booth displays and educational opportunities available at the event. Visitors learnt about the process of beer making, from the microphone assisted Brewmaster sessions presented to the assembled crowds or in one on one conversation that took place at every booth.
There was a thirst for information!
The Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery on Dunlop Street was visible from the Heritage Park festival site. With Barnstormer Brewing Company and Redline Brewhouse here too, Barrie craft beers were well represented.
The festival welcomed vendors from every direction; Sidelaunch Brewing Company and Northwinds Brewery are from Collingwood, heading north you will find Sawdust City Brewing Co. in Gravenhurst, and Muskoka Brewery in Bracebridge, while south to Toronto is the home of the Amsterdam Brewing Co.
Each craft brewery had their own unique branding complete with funky faucet handles, all the better for pulling samples or full size bevy’s for guests to enjoy.
It was a hot day, perfect for sampling!
We chatted with the staff on hand from Brew Tours who recently opened a Barrie branch; what an interesting way to experience the craft beer world in our neighbourhood or beyond while under the leadership of trained tour guides to taste and talk all things beer; specialized tours for beer fans!
The food side is smoking hot; sides of ribs mopped with sauce then chopped to order, sing song voices holler out orders with a side of twang, the occasional bell rings in an enthusiastic gesture of appreciation.
We sampled a few sauces and checked the grills, Silver Bullet was the winning flavour for us, with no MSG and gluten free too! We took our feast of ribs, chicken, beans, coleslaw and a serving of cornbread home to enjoy as picnic tables were filled with families enjoying their meals.
A local dentist office was on site providing dental floss samples, assuring everyone left with fresh smiles!
Another great downtown festival flavoured the summer of 2016.
Summer is now at midpoint, how quickly has that happened?
Erin Corcoran Re/Max Chay Reality Inc. Sales Representative and enthusiastic owner operator of Barrie’s Simcoe County Shop Local dips her paddle in Kempenfelt Bay, as a team member in the Barrie Dragon Boat Festival. Check it out next month in my August review!