Jon Johnson
CCE CONTRIBUTOR

As a graphic designer and screenprinter, writing about beer may be new to me, but getting excited about, and talking about beer is not.

Craftoberfest

As a thirtysomething beer enthusiast who has lived in Kitchener-Waterloo his whole life, it may surprise some that I have only been to one Oktoberfest festhall event. The organizers of Craftoberfest would not be surprised at all.

Since KW Oktoberfest is sponsored by Molson-Coors, their offerings are the only beers found in festhalls, Oktoberfest offers little of interest to a guy like me. Craftoberfest is looking to change that.

Craftoberfest is a series of events that are being presented as an alternative to the Molson-Coors sponsored main event, and way to highlight the growing number of craft brewers in the region, and Ontario as a whole. The goal is to get us “back in touch with the region’s rich heritage” and to be “a space for our community to come together.”

There will likely be a number of specialty beers and one-offs to make appearances at these unique events, which is a far better reason to leave the house than drinking generic, mass-produced beers in giant tents, if you ask me.

I can’t wait to see what comes out of Craftoberfest this year and in the future. Craftoberfest runs September 27 to October 17. http://www.craftoberfest.ca

The Pumpkins are Coming!

Some may say the pumpkin spiced trend has jumped the shark, but I still get pretty excited when pumpkin beers come back. If you like the flavours of autumn, I highly recommend picking one up. Since they can vary a fair bit in style, here are some quick notes about ones you may run into:

Grand River Brewing – Highballer Pumpkin Ale, 5.2% – Cambridge, ON
This brew is a great introduction to pumpkin beers. Not too much pumpkin, not too little, this gets it just right.

Shipyard Brewing – Pugsley’s Smashed Pumpkin, 9.0% – Portland, ME
My personal favourite. Pugsley’s Smashed Pumpkin is a perfect late fall beer, warming you from the inside out, with high alcohol content and a flavour reminiscent of a mix of pumpkin and apple pie spices.

Great Lakes Brewing – Saison DuPump, 5.2% – Etobicoke, ON
The Saison DuPump is an interesting mash up with Belgian Saison/Farmhouse ale qualities with pumpkin spicing. It’s very much worth