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Beer and games

The magic words are “goat race”. For me at least, since there I have something to confess: when I met the guys from Sly Fox at last year’s CBC and their brewery, it was not necessarily the Krones Craftmate that fascinated me most. The competition was pretty fierce, though: the main topic of conversation in the brewery, you see, was the annual goat race, which back then I just missed (at the same time perhaps the biggest disappointment in my memories of the CBC in Philadelphia). Yes, I’m easily enthused by events with a beer-themed supporting programme – but there are some really brilliant ones to enjoy. Time to spotlight a few of these rather special events.

Goat race at Sly Fox, Pennsylvania (USA)

That visit to Sly Fox is meanwhile over a year in the past, but it left such a lasting impression on me that I’m still keeping an eye on the brewery in all the media– und am repeatedly impressed by their event programme, which offers a variety of highlights all the year round. And the staff at Sly Fox take it all seriously: on the brewery’s website , for example, there’s an overview of all participants – simply reading the names can cheer you up a bit on a bad day. To complement the 40 – 60 goats, there’s an impressive choice of different bock beers, which Brian O’Reilly and his team brew specially for this event. If you have an opportunity to be in Pottstown, PA on the first Sunday in May 2018, you should definitely not miss out on it.

Cans Film Festival, Birmingham (UK)

Cannes? No, not exactly. The organisers of the Cans Film Festival can’t quite stretch to that. But what they triumphantly deliver is a tribute to old classic films and good canned beer ! From 15 June to 7 September 2017, England’s oldest functioning cinema, “The Electric”, will be screening cinematographic masterpieces, accompanied by the appropriate canned beer. If you have an opportunity to visit Birmingham for a few days this summer, you’d do well to take a look at the programme straight away, and make sure of your tickets. I will refrain here from any snide comments about the cinema-friendly English summer ;-).

Canoe tour with beer tasting, Colorado (USA)

In the midst of the Rocky Mountains lies the Breckenridge Brewery. The brewery’s spacious, farm-like layout alone creates a welcoming ambience, while the mountain backdrop all around provides the requisite visual splendours. This August, there’s going to be an event jointly hosted by the brewery and Centennial Canoe, in which the imposing scenery around the brewery comes more strikingly into focus: for three days, the participant paddle through the red sandstone canyons of the Colorado River, camp on its banks and in the evenings enjoy a choice of beers from the Breckenridge Brewery – including explanations and stories from the brewmaster. If the Atlantic were not so huge and Colorado weren’t such a long way away – I’d already be more or less already on board.

Stave Skiing World Championships, Bavarian Alps (Germany)

I’ve also found another event a bit closer to home: the Stave Skiing World Championships (“Fassdauben-WM”), which the Hofbräuhaus Traunstein brewery hosts in Ruhpolding every two years in winter. The what? A brief digression on the history of beer barrel crafting will make things clear: staves (in German “Dauben”) are the long wooden planks that are used to make barrels for wine or beer. And if you take one of these used barrels apart, the old staves are ideally suited – well, perhaps not quite ideally – as skis. A fact well known to the more than 300 participants, too, who strap on these staves and hurtle down the slope of the Westernberg. By the way: if you want to take part yourself the next time it’s held (the date hasn’t been finalised yet), you don’t have to buy a wooden barrel yourself – the stave skis are provided by the hosts.

If you’re still reading, then seemingly you’re a pretty genuine fan of beer-themed events. Have any of you already attended one of the four events I’ve described? Or do you know of some other highlights worth taking time out for?

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