Cask Days 2013 Pictorial Survival Guide

It’s Cask Days eve! I hope you have hung your steins by the window with care, in hopes that St. Ralph, soon will be there.  Seriously though, if you like beer and are in the GTA, chances are you’re going to Cask Days, either Saturday or Sunday.  Or maybe both.  last year I wrote a somewhat irreverent guide to cask days.  This year I’m being (slightly) more mature.  First off, I will admit, I have sort of kind of planned out what I want to drink, by checking the beer list.  You might want to as well.  Now what follows is my pictorial guide to surviving Cask Days.


It might place you in Gryffindor

While the weather is meant to be quite temperate this weekend, when the sun goes down it gets cold.  Cover your lid with something warm.  Added bonus: Toques are socially acceptable in the wider world.  No less than 4 cabs drove past me when I tried to flag them down wearing the sorting hat after the Mill St Oktoberfest party.

A firm foundation

A firm foundation

While I’m known to wear flip-flops 9 months of the year, you won’t see me rocking these classics (that saw me through both Toronto Festival of Beer and Session). The Brickworks has lots of concrete floors, and flip-flops aren’t great standing-around wear.  Also, there’s always potential for broken glass and spilled beer.  I’ll be wearing water-resistant leather hiking boots.

It's a beer festival, not an Arctic excursion

It’s a beer festival, not an Arctic excursion

Thankfully (and since the very first Cask Days, I believe) all beer is served in glass (not plastic).  This year, I believe, we’re getting session-specific printed mason jars.  Sturdy and hipster-chic.  But at cellar temperature, your hands are going to get cold. Bring gloves.  My pair on the right there, are leather riding gloves bought at Mark’s for like $16.  They’re not insulated but provide enough coverage for fair-weather drinking, plus they’re tactile enough that you can still get tokens out of your pocket without taking them off.


Warm is better than cool

True, it isn’t meant to be too cold this year, but it still pays to have a warm shirt.  If you’re planning on staying past dark, you might even want a coat.  Personally, I like a wool hoodie Erika bought me years ago.  Yes, you might want to show off your craft beer prowess by wearing a cool brewery t-shirt, (extra points for Kiwi breweries), just make sure you’ve got the warm-wear to back it up.


Plastic or, ummm, fabric?

I know it might feel like a school field trip, but bring a backpack.  Or a messenger bag.  Or a purse.  Not a plastic shopping bag (didn’t we ban those things?).  Why?  If it’s nice and warm, you’ll want a place to stick your gloves, toque and sweater.  That’s it really, it might be empty if it’s cold, but at least you’ll have it.


Plastic or, ummmm, plastic?

Last year I poked fun of Mike Warner for advocating on behalf of bringing cash vs using the onsite ABMs.  I’ve flip-flopped (even if I’m not wearing them).  Here’s why: It’s one less potential line-up to avoid. Also, if you get your cash at your own bank, you’ll save like $3-5 dollars, and I’m cheap. If you forget, run out or disagree, there are options available onsite.


We’re all getting out alive

Take transit.  There’s a shuttle bus from Broadview station.  Take a cab (split between 4 people it could well cost the same or less than TTC).  Walk; the fall colours in the valley are gorgeous right now.  If you drive, make sure you’re the DD, and enjoy the non-alcoholic drinks.  And make sure your drunk-ass friends buy you something nice as thanks. Maybe some beer for later?

Most of all, come ready to have fun.  Yes there will be line-ups (starting with the one to get in).  Yes, you won’t get to try every beer you want.  But Cask Days is probably the best festival in the Country.  You will get to try insane things from amazing brewers.  There will be awesome food, beautiful artwork and great music.  It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

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