Review by Terry & Danny Gaisin
Perhaps this column’s banner line should have read the ‘philosophy‘ rather than the science of barbecuing. Spending an evening at Hamilton’s Gage Park beer and rib festival is an experience. From the enticing odour one notices upon entering to the actual participation in victuals and sipping brews; it is a happening. This is the 5th local occasion for Northern Heat Rib Series to include our city among the seventeen locales the group has chosen for their annual caravan stops. Unlike many major events, this one does use the opportunity to gouge attendees; instead, the food is family priced and the quality is more Keg® level than Mickey ‘D’s.
Folks can choose between meals or ½ racks and fortunately both come in takeaway containers, as finishing even six ribs was beyond our gastric capacities.
There were eight craft beer bottlers displaying and this afforded us the opportunity to glean an explanation why there are opposing opinions over our Province’s new Premier’s decision about ‘Buck a Beer’. Craft Heads Brewery®‘s Brian explained that except for the major bottlers, there is a ‘price floor’ unless quality is sacrificed, and that figure is $1.25. With bottled water occasionally sharked at 2.50 or $3.00, I can live with my bottle of brew costing a buck and a half or a ‘toonie!
Justin of Northern Heat suggested talking to a few of the master chefs and one of these stood out. Tex Robert Jr. Or “Grand Daddy” hails from River Ridge LA and travels with two semi-trailers to about twenty different such shows. In addition to a creative and prize-winning master, he’s a true Southern philosopher . He insists that his sauces have a true Louisiana taste that is a reflection of the State and the South’s culture. According to Grand Daddy, Food and People are the mainstream interest of Dixie and is one of the defining characteristics of the Confederacy’s famous natural hospitality. Been there, and enjoyed that! BTW, the trophies displayed by all of the outfits are adjudicated by the eating folks, not professional (bribable) judges.
One of the booths that deserve mentioning is there on behalf of KEMP HOSPICE. This is an organization that offers compassionate palliative care to both adults and especially children who have suffered a familial loss and are struggling with the bereavement process. The range of support they offer is mind-boggling and worthy of support.
The Festival runs until 11pm on Sunday, with music at both the stage and bandstand almost continual. Suggestion:- bring a few (a lot) of Wet Wipes as both fingers and faces become sauced-up!