Session Toronto 2015 happened and it was good. I love this festival because, like most craft beer festivals, there’s good beer, good company and good music (it just so happens that The Beatles and Sublime repertoire totally caters to me).
What really interests me about this festival is the beer contest: breweries partner with celebrities on beer collabs, and the crowd votes for their favourite. The winner gets their beer at the LCBO (and a lot of free press). We’ve seen this with 2013’s Tom Green Milk Stout (Beaus) and 2014’s Sam Roberts Band Session Ale (Spearhead), both of whom made appearances last year:
Yes, this year brought Olympic athletes to the beer fest, but the real winner in my book was the outcast: which happened to be the collab by Big Rock Brewery (from Calgary) and Judd Nelson, from The Breakfast Club.
I was introduced to this beer by my friend Magenta from the SOBDL, who was drinking it when I first arrived to Session, and I asked what was in her cup. “It’s called Mindbender… Nobody really likes it, but I do. It has a lot of flavour.” I said I would try it, and then this beautiful man poured me some while I was chatting in line with an old friend about his beer startup and all was right with the world.
My beer’s glorious nitrous white head settled, and I took a sip. It indeed tasted like a stout: roasty and smooth with pronounced coffee flavour. I later learned from Chris of Big Rock that Mindbender is a 9% White Imperial Stout — a bold choice for my first beer of the night. He then told me about Judd Nelson, and how he planned to be here for Session, but his agent made him stay in LA for a last-minute movie reading or something like that. He said that white stouts are pretty rare, and that the coffee taste comes from slow-roasted white coffee beans. This one beer was so unique, it deserved its own documented story.