By Thomas Johnson, September 17 2018 —
“The term ‘mashing’ is a common process in cider-making, spirit-making and beer-making,” says Bill Robinson, president of The MASHING Calgary. “Those are the three types of alcohol we’re focusing on.”
The MASHING, the beer-tasting event hosted by Alberta Beer Festivals formerly known as Oktoberfest, looks to expand on Calgary’s already vibrant craft beer scene by reinventing the beer-tastings that have proven so popular over the last several years.
“We wanted to be different. There are a lot of beer events. We could have sat back — Oktoberfest made money and people knew what it was,” Robinson says. “But we thought, ‘What could we do that’s better? How can we move forward?’ ”
The MASHING will take place at the Stampede Grandstand on Sept. 21–22, occupying the interior of the facility as well as spilling out into the grounds for an indoor-outdoor take on an established formula. In addition to the tastings, which aim to put a spotlight on breweries, cideries and distilleries in the greater Calgary area, The MASHING will offer a variety of entertainment that includes live music by local troubadour David Bradford and DJ Rusty Meeks, plus a record party courtesy of the Dandy Brewing Company. There will also be a dedicated Cask Stage for one-of-a-kind beers available for one-night-only, film screenings of The Matrix and Blade Runner 2049 as well as a Great Gatsby-inspired performance piece by acrobatics duo Cirque de la Nuit.
“It’s just more things to get your experience,” Robinson says. “Half of it is outdoors and there’s two levels with a city view. That’s what we’re going for: no lederhosen or umpa-music. Something more fun.”
Proceeds from The MASHING will go towards the Autism Aspergers Friendship Society Of Calgary and Kids Up Front charities, as well as The Calgary Food Bank, who are partnering with Uncommon Cider Co. to press a special cider for the event, all the proceeds of which will be going to benefit the Food Bank.
The MASHING comes as a response to the boom in Alberta’s craft-beer market that has been flourishing in the last half-decade. There are currently more than 100 breweries in Alberta, over 40 of which are located in and around Calgary. According to Robinson, what would otherwise be a saturated market has actually helped to develop the community.
“It’s exciting because they’re all trying to do something a little bit different to stand out. The competition is actually making for better beer. Each one is thinking about putting their best foot forward and it’s keeping everyone on their toes in terms of creativity,” he says. “Rarely have I heard of anywhere in the world where you see so many breweries opening up in the same area at the same time.”
Tickets for The MASHING Calgary are available at albertabeerfestivals.com.