... and what did I learn? Well, the nicest guys to drink with are the off duty local OPP who watched the crowd's back the night before. And there was the realization that having smart guys in the room who have brewed in industrial and craft settings for decades adds a hugely positive level of understanding to a discussion where there are many levels in the room from hard core beer thinker to nano craft brewer to happy two-four pop beer buyer. Interesting to note that value and authenticity were the factors of the greatest interest to those at the presentation. Plus, I learned that a Tim's chocolate glaze will almost entirely strip the taste of the cigar from your mouth... thought not your sinuses. Then, I also learned that in Buffalo NY Tim Hortons is called Timmy Ho-Ho's which is just wrong. Also, you never know where you will meet people who know people you know. Additionally, I learned from having the mango hoppy Vassar Heirloom as well as Dieu de Ciel imperial stout that mixing two strong tasting beers can actually not lead to a strong tasting blend. I was surprised by the negation.
I don't know how many of these I could go to in a year. The perfect weather, setting, company, program, volunteer work, community support, staff dedication, food and beer selection, insane taxi drivers, tone and fun of this event might actually be hard to beat.