We started off by mingling and having some beers from the tap, although when I asked the man behind the counter for a Rickard’s Honey Brown I didn’t realize at the time that he was Mr. Rickard himself.
The group was then treated to various beer and food pairings, organized by Kerry Scarsbrook (on the beer side) and Blair Rasmussen, Executive Chef at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
The mini bison sandwiches (think pulled-pork sandwich) was delicious and its suggested pairing was Rickard’s Red. Meanwhile the prawn quesadillas with a cool Corona could only be beat by the addictive beer nuts.
After the delectable goodies we split into two groups for a full on tour of the Brewery and “Beer 101” session. Gord Rickard led us all around (luckily the oompa loompas didn’t have to carry anyone off) and the tour ended with a taste of Rickard’s Red – that was so fresh, the timestamp on the bottom of the can (right off the line) was about 2 minutes before we drank it down.
Once back in the main room, we were all treated to a special 50th Anniversary Brew (unique to Vancouver) called Rickard’s Gold Standard.
I had a lot of fun and met some very nice people, like Adam and Tonia from the Molson social media team, and enjoyed seeing friends and colleagues. Towards the end of the evening I really enjoyed speaking with Geoff Molson (7x great grandson of John Molson) and having some of the best tasting Canadian I’ve ever tried. In this smaller setting (those who decided to stay well past last call) Duane took a sip of his beer and shouted over to Geoff, “So sure, you make beer, but can you do a keg stand?” to which Geoff replied, calmly and assured, “You know what? YES.” We were all pretty amused by the conversations that followed.
Leaving the brewery we were handed taxi vouchers as well as some lovely parting gifts from Molson – beer glasses and 1GB thumbdrives loaded with promo materials, logos and videos.
I always disclose on my site that, for events and promotions like these, I maintain the full editorial right to express my honest opinion (did I like it, did I have a good time etc.) and I have to say that Molson did this event right. Truthfully I’m more inclined to drink Molson now than I ever was before after meeting such kind and knowledgeable folks as Kerry Scarsbrook and Gord Rickard.
UPDATE: Molson just delivered a little “morning after” present for us.