By Troy Hasselman, September 9 2019—
The Mashing, Alberta Beer Festivals’ autumn sampling event, promises to bring a carnival atmosphere over its two days at the Grand Stand in Stampede Park, with entertainment complementing the myriad food, beer, cider and spirits sampling stations that will pack the festival.
“We have a ton of entertainment, we have six different DJ’s playing from the Crafted Sessions group,” says Alberta Beer Festivals president Bill Robinson. “Dandy Brewing Company’s going to do a record party, Wildrose is going to do a record party also. We’ve got a drag show, we’ve got a mentalist, Green Fool is going to do a circus show, ATCO is going to do a big cooking-with-beer demo with Village Brewery so you can try some pretty crazy food. On top of that is a sampling event so we’ve got 75 breweries, distilleries, cideries and restaurants too. It’s on two levels with five stages.”
The vendors show the growth that has been made in food and drink pairings in Calgary in recent years, with beer-based restaurants playing a central role in Calgary’s food scene.
“There’s 12 different restaurants ranging from Cupcake Company to Chocolate Company to places like National and Pig and Duke that serves barbecue,” Robinson says. “The food that gets paired with beers has really changed in the last few years. It used to be drunk guys eating from a hot dog stand — not that that doesn’t happen, it still happens — but you go to a place like Craft or National and the food is pretty fantastic while it used to be stuff you ate while you were drinking beer.”
The Mashing is a smaller show after the massive Calgary BeerFest that happens in the spring at the BMO Centre. The fall show tries to equally combine the sampling aspect with the numerous types of entertainment into one unique event.
“In the fall we’re trying to do an intimate, local, really fun event where people can come and experience all the beers and ciders and spirits in a different way,” Robinson says. “All the entertainment makes the event really unique but we’re trying to do something that no one else in the world is doing. There are people out there making carnival-type things and there are different kinds of entertainment and we’re trying to put all of those elements into one thing, plus a sampling event and we don’t know of anywhere in the world where that’s happening.”
The drink samples at The Mashing are more local than the global-spanning lineup that is included at Beerfest but the lineup nonetheless tries to offer new and unique drink experiences and to introduce visitors to something they haven’t tried before.
“The Mashing tends to be more locally-focused, we do have a bunch of breweries, some from overseas and a lot from BC and Ontario and stuff like that,” Robinson says. “Now that a lot of spirit companies have been around a lot longer they’re starting to branch out and make some truly special things. You get to try something different here and get a chance to find a new favourite, but if you just try a little sample you get to try some things that you never heard of before.”
The unique makeup of the festival is also reflected its warm vibe and communal atmosphere.
“There’s a community aspect to this you don’t get going to the pub, you go to the festival and it’s the friendliest place you can go,” Robinson says. “You get there and everyone’s in a good mood, you’re standing in line and you start talking to the people in line with you, you meet people you wouldn’t almost anywhere else, people always come together over good food and drink and that’s what we have in abundance.”
The Mashing will take place Sept. 13 and 14 on the Grand Stand at Stampede Park. For information about the festival and tickets please visit the festival website.