When Warren and Catherine Frantz travel, they enjoy stopping in at breweries for tours and a little taste-testing.
The Lively couple said they were excited when they learned about the first annual Elgin Street Craft Beer Festival, which took place outside of the Townehouse Tavern from noon to midnight on Aug. 10.
For $20, participants were given a beer sampling glass and three tokens for beer samples of their choice.
“We love it,” Catherine said. “This way we don't have to go out of town to try new stuff.”
As a fan of pilsners, Warren said he was mostly trying that type of beer. He did, however, step out of his comfort zone to try Nickel Brook Brewery's Bolshevik Bastard Russian Imperial Stout.
“It's kind of a neat taste,” he said. “I don't really drink dark beers, so it was a neat little surprise.”
Catherine said her favourite beer came from Sudbury's newly-opened nano-brewery, Stack Brewing. She said she enjoyed their Valley Girl brew.
Andy and Carla Martel were also among those working their way through the beers on offer at the festival. Although he hadn't finished his rounds yet, Andy said he enjoyed one of the offerings from Creemore Springs Brewery the most.
“I'm fussy about it,” he said. “I like my beer just to taste like beer. I don't like the additives they put in, and the flavouring.”
Andy said “it's about time” Sudbury had a beer festival. “It's very nice to have something like this,” he said.
The festival's organizer, Townehouse Tavern operations manager Paul Loewenberg, said he decided to organize the event because craft brewing is an up-and-coming market.
The festival featured nine brewing companies which were serving up 25 different types of beer. Besides that, participants were able to order from the Townehouse and Laughing Buddha menus, which together offer about 150 types of beer.
Some of the beers on offer by the brewing companies are new, experimental creations or limited-time brews, Loewenberg said.
“So it's a chance for a lot of people to try something new,” he said.
Although the rigours of making sure the festival was going smoothly meant Loewenberg wasn't able to sample any brews himself Aug. 10, he said he's tried most of the beers on offer in the past.
“It's like chocolate, cheese and wine,” he said. “There's a million flavours and million different tastes that you can have.”
Those at the festival seemed to be excited to try the offerings of Stack Brewing, which has only been open for about a month. The brewery's owner, Shawn Mailloux, said he received a positive response from the festival participants.
“No one has sworn at me yet, saying it's swill,” he laughed. “Everything seems to be going good.”
Mailloux praised Loewenberg and the staff at the Townehouse and the Laughing Buddha for organizing the event. He said he might have put together a similar event himself, but as a new business owner, he had too much on his plate.
“So it's awesome someone jumped on board and did it, and we can be a part of it,” he said.
Compared to Stack Brewing, Muskoka-based Lake of Bays Brewing Company, which has been around for three years, is a veteran in the industry.
Sean Allen, who was handing out samples at the company's booth, said the company is doing very well so far. He gave kudos to Loewenberg for organizing the festival, and by extension, supporting small breweries such as Lake of Bays.
“I see this event going for many years to come,” Allen said.