Saturday, March 17, 2018

City Park Runners Taproom Run

Oh in the kindest hours
I feel my heart

Broken Social Scene, Old Dead Young (from the album Hug of Thunder, side d)

By all accounts the second annual City Park Runners Taproom Tour was another resounding success.  Officially it's the Brooks Taproom Tour, but the heart and soul of this fine 'peg City event rightfully belongs to Erick Oland, local independent, owner operator of City Park Runners.  Ninety-one runners registered, eighty-two showed up for this blissful romp through gritty Winnipeg streets. Erick, gentleman that he is, allowed a few late entries so as not to disappoint.  It was entirely groovy happening and I'm of the generation that invented the word so I say it with fidelity.

Half Pints
photo credit Carly Walsh
Six O'clock on a Thursday evening, temperature hovering around zero, lots of blue sky, no wind, absolute idyllic conditions for a run. There was no official start, no timers, no whistle, no stretching (thank goodness),  just a few words from Erick reminding us to be safe then a "okay, let's go eh".  Wanting to avoid overburdening any one taproom we split into two large groups on Ness Avenue with one group running the course clockwise and the other counter clockwise.  It worked, kinda, sorta but I think the counter group was larger.
Torque Brewing
photo credit Carly Walsh
Thirteen kilometers and five different taprooms, a beer every 2.6 km, not bad!  We are greeted enthusiastically by servers at all five taprooms. We were a friendly group, if not an oddity (what, you run AND drink beer at the same time). Smiles and good cheer flourish. The pours are suitably small, about two ounces, just enough to catch the nuances and subtleties of craft beer. Some had the beer pre-poured (it was kind of flat and warm at One Great City), while others took orders. And then we move on, in search of another ale oasis in a sea of warehouse grunge.

Oxus Brewing (a stone's throw from Garbage Hill)
photo credit Carly Walsh
Half Pints, One Great City, Torque, Barn Hammer (my fave), and the new kid on the block, Oxus participated. Oxus won't be open until late August but -good news- their beer is available at MLCC.  The owner, Sean, is doing all renovations of the old warehouse by himself which explains the delayed opening.  Like all good things it will be worth the wait. Oxus is a stone's throw from Garbage Hill; how cool is that, a hydration station right where it's needed most!  Ted's Run for Literacy has a few ideas up our sleeve.

Barn Hammer
photo credit Carly Walsh
Erick ordered dozens of pizza from Carbone Wood Fired Pizza but there were slim pickings when my crew arrived.  Apparently some runners have big appetites, really big!  No matter, we found a few crumbs in the boxes and there was plenty of beer from all five tap rooms available. The store was packed and the vibe was contagious.  Great fun was had by all.  It was a class A party!

One Great City
photo credit not known
Erick sends a shout out to the staff at Barn Hammer for their exceptional hospitality.  About 30 runners arrived  simultaneously at Barn Hammer unannounced to the serving staff (is it possible Tyler forgot to tell them?).  Erick explained the event and lovely Tamara, after asking who will pay, shifted into 5th gear and said "Okay then, what can I pour you?".  Erick said Tamara was cool, calm, polite, and very friendly.  Way to go Barn Hammer, way to go Tamara! That's local service for you fast and friendly.
Shameless self-promotion. Three Ted's Run for Literacy board
members participated in this event. Yup, we like beer!
photo credit Carly Walsh.

I asked Erick why local independent businesses support one another rather than compete.  He replied it's because local independent small businesses face similar challenges.  They compete against giant international chains that would just as soon see the locals fail and would happily stomp them into oblivion.  Local businesses need each other to slay the giants and to encourage Winnipeggers to keep their money in the city. They look for original ideas to attract customers.

Last year this event sold out in about 12 minutes.  This year, with double the numbers, it sold out in less than 24 hours.  Many others tried to register but couldn't because it had reached capacity. Will Erick host the Taproom Tour again next year?

"I think the Taproom Tour was a great experience for all and I will certainly explore doing this again, or something new!"

Here's hoping!
My feet move. My heart pumps. My mind floats. My spirit soars.  

With thanks to Half Pint, Oxus, Barn Hammer, One Great City, Torque, City Park Runners, Brooks, and Erck.  In gratitude I will display your logo on the sidebar for one month.

It's a good day to be alive,