“What’s better than beer and barbeque?” asked Sam Elliot, Steam Whistle Brewery Regional Sales Representative. We were at the 2nd annual London Beer & BBQ Show, which ran from Friday, June 20th to Sunday, June 22nd at the Western Fair District. After attending the event on the opening and closing days, I agree with her. It’s a great way to officially welcome summer and barbeque season.
The exhibition took over the Canada Building. At least 50 different beers were available from a mix of local, provincial, and national vendors. Visitors enjoyed their beer with their friends as a variety of music was played. It was similar to enjoying a weekend barbeque in your own backyard.
Inside, the the building was filled with music from sponsoring radio stations such as 97.5 Virgin Radio and FM 96. The Oktoberfest Lounge featured accordion players performing Bavarian music. Outside, a DJ from the Moosehead Lounge spun dance hits, and a stage featured Sloan and local performers such as SnakeBite and the Stanley Brown Blues Band. Each day was tied to a specific genre of live music, from country to rock and blues.
So Many Options, So Little Time
“The idea is you go to the liquor store, you go to the beer store, you see different products,” explained Mike Fromme from M&T Printing Group, at the Oktoberfest Lounge. “You come here, you sample all different kinds of beer, from microbrewies [and] larger companies”.
With a wide variety of beer, coolers, barbeque, and other snacks such as frozen yogurt, popcorn and lemonade, it was tough deciding what to sample, but the vendors’ representatives were eager to recommend products. After filling my order for one each of the filling Montreal smoked meat and pulled pork sliders, both on focaccia buns, from S.W.A.T. (Sandwiches With A Twist), the man running the food truck gave me a pulled pork slider on a pretzel bun for my opinion. Both of the fresh and soft buns were great matches for the crunchy coleslaw and tender meat.
A representative from The Farm Network recommended the pistachio and hazelnut butters earlier that Friday. The hazelnut had a stronger flavour than the mild pistachio, but both were sweet.
Discovering Local Gems
“This is a really great way to learn what you might not know about your local community,” said Jeff Rankin, Event Guy for Railway City Brewing Company. “We’re still telling people that Railway City started up in St. Thomas about seven years ago.”
Beertown Public House and Smoke-n-Bones were two of the local restaurants featured. Beertown offered a taco combo deal with a sample of Sommersby Cider for a four dollar value. The slightly spicy smoked chicken taco with hot sauce and a refreshing Sommersby Blackberry was a great lunch during a bright Sunday afternoon. The smoked ribs and wings from Smoke-n-Bones were great for dipping in all of the tangy sauces offered.
Eatdrink magazine had a booth at the show, and publisher Chris McDonell was enthusiastic about the show. “Not only are some of our favourite brewers here, but we were also able to sample some products that are usually available only at the breweries. Flying Monkey, for instance, had 10 different beers available for visitors to taste.”
Attending the London Beer & BBQ was a first summer weekend well spent. If you’re curious about what’s available for your next barbeque, be sure to stop by next year.
The London Beer & BBQ Show
Western Fair District, London
Emily Stewart is a Western University graduate who enjoys exploring restaurants and food related events.