Saturday was a special day, a day that only comes once a year. A day, where all rejoice, that such a wonderful gift was given to the world, a day when all celebrate the wonder and joy brought to the world on this day twenty eight years ago.
And what is all this about you may ask. My birthday of course!
This weekend marked my twenty eight year of life. The last year has been pretty damn good. Twenty seven may very well have been my best year to date, 28 has a lot to live up to, but it could be even better. We shall see.
I did quite a few things for my birthday, normal stuff really. Had a few drinks and played some videogames with a friend of mine Friday night. Saturday we made a wonderful breakfast, which was made even better when my roommate started making crepes, and prepared to enjoy a beautiful day. We played Frisbee, chilled at the beach, and I managed to sneak out for a few free drinks at the local bars before heading home to finish off the night with an episode of Star Wars Clone Wars. All and all, it was a thoroughly successful day.
Sunday, however, was THE day. Courtney had something big planned, and though I didn’t know what it was, I was excited. And it turned out I had good reason to be. Courtney came through with a winner and got us VIP tickets to the WA Beer and Beef festival. Two of my favorite things put together with a gorgeous day and you have a recipe for a happy Jake.
I am not exactly sure where the venue was. It was on a lovely little piece of property some where in the Swan Valley. There was a man made pond with a small island in the middle. There was a bridge that reached the island and free paddleboats that the patrons could use for a brief paddle around the lake. It’s a good thing we got at the boats early when there was no line. It was a lovely little pond to paddle around in and enjoy the warm spring weather.
The event featured tents from many of the local breweries along with wonderful food, largely in the form of BBQ places, but there were sandwiches, and pies, and chips, and frozen yogurt as well. The venue featured two music stages as well, which featured a range of different artists. They were good fun. The VIP area was awesome. It featured an open sided tent with couches and tables to sit at, big beanbags to lounge on in the sun by the pond, giant jenga, free beer tastings, and two free pints per person. It also had its own bathroom, which was a wonderful addition even though the general use bathrooms were quite nice and sufficiently numbered even for the large crowd the event drew.
The event itself had a simple premise. As part of the ticket price you received a small taster glass attacked to a neck lanyard to carry around. Each of the tents handed poured tasters, about a shots worth, of whatever beer or cider they had on at the moment. The tasters were free and you could have as many as you liked. They rotated what drink was on every hour or so, so there was always something different to try. One essentially wandered around the basically circular area and tried different beers and ciders while chatting and enjoying the lovely weather. One could buy a full pint if there was a particular beverage that tickled ones fancy. The ticket also included a free shuttle to and from the event. Though the timing of the busses could certainly have been better, it was still a helpful service.
We, of course, arrived on the first bus, which means we were there pretty much when the show started. We spent the first hour doing a circuit of the grounds, getting the lay out down, and sampling a wide variety of the liquid offerings. We lounged around in the VIP area for a bit and then hopped on the paddleboats for a run around the pond before things got busy. Then we bought some absolutely delicious, fall off the bone soft, ribs and drank and ate until it was time for our master class.
Part of the VIP package is a free master class. These classes were each an hour long, and they were mainly classes on beers from different countries. We chose to do a class on New Zealand beers. Sadly, the palate that had all the tasting beers never arrived, so we ended up with a class on new Victoria breweries. The staff didn’t really do much talking. It really just turned out to be a bunch of us sitting in a room drinking beers from some of the new breweries in Victoria, chatting, and eating appetizers. It wasn’t much of a class, which was a bit of a let down as I was looking forward to learning a thing or two, but it wasn’t bad. Good beer, good food, and a good chat; its not like I can seriously complain.
Of course, for those looking for a change, there was a winery booth where one could buy from a range of bottled wines, which they then allowed you to open and consume. There was also a “bar” for cocktails. I put the bar part in parenthesis because it wasn’t really a bar. They had a selection of maybe five essentially pre made drinks to choose from. One of the bar tenders is a co-worker of Courtney’s, so of course we went by and said hello. We also each got a drink while we were there. The cocktails were rather good despite the limited selection. I rather enjoyed mine in fact.
For dinner we decided to try a few different things. We got a rather delicious steak taco from one of the stands. The meat was cooked excellently, and the toppings that went with it were spot on. The only reason I had any problem with it is because I am spoiled. I am used to fantastic street tacos for around a $1 US. This one cost us $7 AUS, which we really should be used to by now. It was tasty regardless of the price. The second place we went to was by far the most popular joint at the show. It was an Argentinian style grill and the line for the place was long for most of the day. The wait was worth it though. The meat was seasoned to perfection and cooked on a giant circular charcoal grill that reminded me of the good old fashioned Webber one sees every where back home, just bigger. The meat was tender, juicy, and amazingly flavorful. It was fantastic.
Sadly, the show said it went till 9, which officially it probably did, but it was essentially over by about 7:30. As soon as the sun went down (and it was a lovely sunset indeed) and it was dark out, people started to leave. As the people started to leave the booths began to shut down. Once the beer tents began to close there was really no reason to stay. Our bus wasn’t coming until 9pm, so we hopped on the first one we could find and headed out of dodge.
All in all it was a wonderful day. I enjoyed the food, the beer, and the company. The weather was perfect for a day out doors, and the venue was splendid. It was a wonderful day.
P.S. A special thanks to the love of my life Miss Courtney for such a wonderful birthday.