Ontario’s brewery Beau’s is not just producing and selling beer. For eleven years, they have been supporting the small community of Vankleek Hen by organizing an Oktoberfest by bringing music, food, and tons of great beer.
Van Leek Hill is a small village of 2,000 people in Eastern Ontario. Last September, its population exploded up to 17,000 festival-goers on the occasion of Beau’s Oktoberfest. 1 hour by car from Montreal, Ottawa and Cornwall, the beer fair showcases over 50 producers from the region and beyond. “From a perspective, we are in the middle of nowhere and we are at the center of everything. The opportunity to attract residents of these three urban centers is to seize, “said Jennifer Beauchesne, marketing and communications specialist for Beau’s.
If the region does not have a lot of hotels, festival-goers can get a festival bundle that includes a round trip by bus or RV/Tent set up on the site to turn the day trip into a weekend escaped. “The campsite has developed its own microculture. It extends the pleasure experienced during the day spent at the Oktoberfest, “says the ambassador of the event.
Bavarian tradition meets the Canadian terroir
Beau’s is keen to preserve the Bavarian roots of the event beyond the title. The Oktoberfest, which literally means October feast in German, is a feast celebrated on the square in Munich. Under more than a dozen tents, the beer is drunk in enormous pints of a liter called Mass. The concept has since circumnavigated the world, including Quebec and across Canada.
The Canadian national anthem is sung in French and English, followed by Germany anthem and the Aboriginal lands on which Oktoberfest is held are recognized. The program also includes many traditional artists such as the Canadian king of polka Walter Ostanek, returning to general demand after several appearances.
As the first Oktoberfest was celebrated October 12, 1810 for the marriage of the future King Ludwig I of Bavaria with Princess Theresa of Saxony-Hildburghausen, several couples imitated them in Vankleek Hill.
The food is also imbued with the Bavarian touch. “Many traditional European dishes will be revisited with a Canadian twist,” says Jennifer Beauchesne. Spätzle, a culinary preparation based on pasta from South Germany, and we will be serving poutine, for example.
“Most of the first beers brewed by Beau’s are German-style, so this is an expression of our respect and love for the German brewing history,” says the spokesperson. The diverse offer of products includes organic beers, and without alcohol or gluten. According to Jennifer, do not miss the rare barrel-aged beers produced in small quantities by Beau’s sister brewery, Halcyon Barrel House.
Behind the tantalizing golden hue of its drinks, Beau’s brand is green. “We can trace the route of our beer ingredients to the farm where they grew. Organic farming goes well with the environmental values of the brewery in general. Sustainable development goes without saying because it’s impossible to produce beer without pure water. That’s why managing a business demands values that exceed the instant profit motive and reflect what we want to see in the world, whether through fundraising or choosing organic products. “
Do good, feel good
This is the golden rule of Beau’s, which, since its founding in 2009, has raised more than $ 2 million for a variety of causes, including $ 710,000 from the fallout of Oktoberfest. “We focus on the environmental and community initiatives Hidden Harvest Ottawa or Ottawa River Keep who are constantly looking for funds to continue to exist,” says Josh Gottlieb, producer of Beau’s events.
The event also supports United Way Ottawa and United Way Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry with a charity bike ride. With a minimum donation of $ 125, cyclists departing from Cornwall, Ottawa, and Montréal have access to the festival, the bus ride and various prices depending on the amount paid. “The participants give back to the community while living a safe and fun tour from different starting points. And then, a good cold one after the bike or the race always tastes great! “Says Jennifer Beauchesne.
100% Canadian sound
Throughout the year, Josh Gottlieb travels the country to recruit the names of Canadian music who will host the next festival. Two stages stand near the kiosks to welcome recognized musicians and emerging artists. The hunt has been good this year: the rock band The New Pornographers performs Friday on the main stage. Caravane de Québec and Montrealers John Jacob Magistery will represent the Belle Province on Friday. In the running for the prestigious Polaris Prize, rapper Shad succeeds them the next day.
Fifteen emerging artists will also perform on the Black Forest stage dedicated to the revelation of new talent. Five Montréal bands are part of the 2019 showcase including Oakhearts and Lost Love.
“It’s one of the most fun things about my job. Through all that I hear in the months leading up to Oktoberfest, I take care to find musicians who are at the same caliber as those of previous editions, but who also offer the public a certain novelty, an artistic freshness ” Josh Goettlieb explains.
“Everyone chooses their own adventure at Beau’s Oktoberfest. There is so much to see and try that no one will have the same experience. Here, it’s not enough to sit at the beerhall to sip a beer but to live an experience that changes over the hours, the time of day, the polka, the Canadian groups through the race bag. The type of day you want to have depends only on you. And in addition, the cost of your ticket contributes to the well-being of society. As long as doing good to others, as much have fun doing it, “summarizes Jennifer Beauchesne.
A few weeks before the start of the festival on September 21st, all you have to do is prepare to drink amazing beer, inflate your bike tires and meet up at Vankleek Hill.
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Written by Charlotte Mercille | Translated by Leonardo Calcagno