Before Sonic Unyon brings us their biggest event of the year, Supercrawl, let’s take a look back at another awesome event they throw, Because Beer! This was the festival’s third year, and it has quickly become a summer highlight for me. I’ve attended each year so far – apologies for no blog post on it last year (let’s blame the beer).
You know the Waterfront area is one of my favourite spots in Hamilton. It’s so perfect for festivals. Because Beer brings craft breweries, food trucks, live music, and games together for a two-day event in this gorgeous outdoor space. Your ticket comes with sample tokens, and away you go. The key, here – pace yourself and stay hydrated!
Two years ago at the inaugural Because Beer, I talked about my love for Collective Arts – from their branding to their beer – and now they’re here! It’s so cool that the brewery is now based in Hamilton (check out my visit last fall if you missed it). I went from being a fan, to interacting with the brand, and now I have friends who work at their north end location. It has been awesome to see them expand even more – now they have a huge beer garden and host tons of events, from concerts, to yoga, to pop-up shops. Needless to say, I beelined right for them and enjoyed their new Gose, Hefeweizen, and Papaya Saison.
You can always count on the Sonic Unyon team to book a stellar musical lineup. Between the two days at Because Beer: Terra Lightfoot, Yukon Blonde, Grey Lands, Laura Cole, Thompson Wilson, Ben Somer, Steve Strongman, and Born in the Eighties took the stage. This year they had the stage underneath a tent, which was a smart move in the event of rain, but luckily there was only a touch of rain on the Friday evening. The tent also added a more intimate vibe to the performances.
Upon arrival on the Saturday afternoon, I was just in time to catch my friend Ben Somer. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, he’s one of my favourite local songwriters. He gets me every time I see him live. In typical fashion, I had to get up close for a photo, and Ben appropriately dedicated his song “Oh No, the Cameras” to me!
A fun edition to this year’s festival was Serve Ping Pong, who were set up with a couple of their tables. Not to brag, but I’m a decent ping pong opponent, and I think beer only enhances my skills. There were more activities this year, like giant Jenga (always a fave of mine). A life-sized beer pong set up garnered quite the crowd who were into some friendly competition.
Another big highlight for me was local cover band supergroup Born in the Eighties. They played early enough in the day that it took the crowd a minute to get into it. From Salt N Peppa to Human League, to the Bangles, they didn’t hold back. Before long, people were up and grooving right at the foot of the stage. Born in the Eighties play every Art Crawl after party at Club Absinthe (including an official Supercrawl after party) – you’ve got to experience them.
Of course, you can’t have all of those delicious craft brew samples without some sustenance. There’s nothing like being sufficiently tipsy and then setting your eyes on a food truck. It’s like an oasis in the desert. MeatVentures was that for me and their Flip Dog and waffles fries hit the spot.
My favourite part of Because Beer is just the vibe of the whole day. It’s such a laid back festival and the location is perfect. You can mingle underneath the tents or park some lawn chairs in the shade or sit by the water. The day ended with a stunning orange glow as the sun set, followed by a dance party with Yukon Blonde!
Cheers and see you next year!