>>> Bang for Your Buck
By staff writer David Nelson

August 16, 2006

Essential New Word of the Week: nipplature (definition hint: is it cold in here?)

A movie called Beerfest is apparently opening soon. Some quick checking reveals that it comes from the same minds as Super Troopers, it stars absolutely no one, and it does indeed appear to take place during some sort of beer festival. In other words, no snakes, no planes. I like a good bratwurst joke as much as anybody, but I don’t think I have to see this film, because last Saturday, brothers and sisters, I lived it.

Every August, my town plays host to Canada's largest beer festival. It may not have the catchy name or sexy lederhosen of Oktoberfest, but trust me, this is a staggeringly huge celebration of all things cold and malty. Hundred of brewers set up shop, and thousands of happy alcoholics-in-denial get to sample their products. It’s really quite exhilarating.

“Anyone who comes to a beer festival to drink Bud should be put down so his crappy taste doesn’t infiltrate the gene pool.”

So, in a departure from my usual expository style, I’m going to recount my adventures at the Beerfest. I knew that I would be too spectacularly fucked up to remember much, so I took copious notes throughout the day. That was kind of a drag, but some people thought I was some kind of actual journalist, and wanted to give me free stuff. Accepting it may have been dishonest, but my new set of matching Labatt coasters will both protect both my conscience and my coffee table.

I met some friends for an early breakfast at a diner near the Beerfest site. There, I learned that one couple joining us had their house burn down about a week ago. This was a shocking and tragic piece of news, especially since last month, the same guy severely injured his left testicle in an accident involving a pressurized acetylene torch canister. And you thought you were having a bad month?

In a moment of spectacular comedic timing, the waiter brought someone’s gigantic poached eggs to our table just as this testicular misfortune was being disclosed. So, one guy’s breakfast was pretty much ruined, but at least we all had a decent visual aid. Nobody said it out loud, but we all quietly promised ourselves to show this poor guy and his girlfriend a good time that day, even if it meant drinking an insane amount of beer together.

We made our way to the site of the Beerfest, Toronto’s historic Fort York. It’s a sprawling outdoor area where the British Army and Canadian militia fought the newly independent United States. I’m half American, but I was pretty sure that any residual hostility would be forgiven once the suds started to flow.

Here’s how the festival works: Upon entry, magical beer fairies give you a glass and five tokens which can be exchanged for beer at any of the booths. More tokens cost a dollar apiece. It’s kind of like a booze-soaked Chuck E. Cheese, but without the robot musical revues or the skee-ball.

I wanted to keep track of what time everything happened, but between the blazing sun and… you know, the beer… it wasn’t possible. So instead of noting the time, I made a point of noting which beer I was drinking when stuff happened. Practically speaking, this system meant I had to space about 20 beers over the course of an afternoon, and not have the same brand twice. But that’s just the kind of sacrifice I’m willing to make in the name of internet comedy.

BEER #1: Robert Simpson’s Confederation Ale

I’m beginning the afternoon on a beer with an eye-catching name, and a booth right next to the entrance. At first glance, I think it says “Confederate Ale,” a marketing gimmick which is kind of awesome in theory, but probably wouldn’t sell too many bottles here up north. It tastes pretty good, but I start to panic that some black guy might misinterpret the sign the same way I did. I decide to chug it down and move on, for my own safety.

BEER #2: Cameron’s Cream Ale

Having missed the opportunity to savor my first beer, I really want to appreciate this one on some sort of aesthetic level. I hold the beer for a few moments, taking in its appealing hue and nutty aroma. It’s about this time I notice how many ridiculously hot girls are milling around.

It’s self-evident that any girl who comes to a beer festival is going to be pretty cool anyway, but I am totally unprepared for just how attractive and scantily-clad they are. My beer-appreciation efforts fall by the wayside. No matter how golden a lager is, it can’t compete with the sun-drenched cleavage of a 21-year-old.

BEER #3: KLB Raspberry Wheat Ale

Tragedy strikes as I’m enjoying this popular fruity brand. A cute little ladybug flies onto my hand for a rest. Wanting to showcase my sensitive side, I turn to show the nearest girl, and the ladybug promptly takes a nosedive into my half-full glass of beer. I fall to my knees in horror and disbelief. I wasn’t so much mourning the death of the ladybug as the fact that I would now have to pour out half a beer. Stupid fucking ladybug. Still, if you’re going to kill yourself, that’s a hell of a way to go.

BEER #4: Blackjack Beer

I’m not sure if this was the exact name, but this brand makes me feel like I just got dealt a 16 with the dealer showing an ace. It tastes like rubbing alcohol blended with imitation Vietnamese cough syrup. Fortunately, I see something that cheers me right up: a beautiful, short, large-breasted, red-haired girl.

I have no idea why I’m so attracted to short girls. Maybe it’s because I can pretend they’re midgets, and throw them into bowling pins right after sex. It’s far easier to explain my burning desire for redheads. I used to work with one that was so gorgeous, every other redhead becomes more attractive by mere association.

Anyway, despite being short, this girl I see has a long, elegant neck, prompting a friend to label her “The Giraffe.” Taking the analogy just a step too far, he suggests I tackle her like a lion on the Serengeti. I tell him that’s no way to talk about my future wife.

BEER #5: Steamwhistle Pilsner

A month earlier, I had taken a nice tour of the Steamwhistle brewery. The Steamwhistle booth here at the Beerfest was now raffling off a VIP tour. Hmmm… I wonder how the VIP tour measures up with the regular tour. Possibly, the lucky winner gets to put on a hard hat and gloves, and re-enact the opening credits to Laverne and Shirley. I enter, knowing I can’t afford to miss an opportunity like that.

BEERS #6 and 7: Magnotta Lager

In what would become a recurring theme, my friend Matt crashes into me, causing me to spill half my beer. Enraged, I quietly begin plotting my revenge. While getting another one, I notice that a lot of groups came to the festival in matching headgear. I see plenty of pirate hats, Viking helmets, and Mexican sombreros. Cursing myself for not thinking of such a kickass idea, I throw out a suggestion for next year: we come dressed as beer ninjas. That way, we’ll be able to bypass lines, and possibly assassinate our rivals with poisonous blowdarts.

BEER #8: Harp’s Lager

We’re joined by my friend Adam. He starts chatting with the guy whose house burned down. Not knowing about the testicular injury, Adam asks, “So your whole unit was destroyed?” I pound back my Harp’s in order to stifle the chuckle which will surely send me straight to hell.

BEER #9: Brickman Pilsner

I have another Giraffe sighting. Redheads can’t handle too much sun, but my sweet ungulate quadraped is looking as radiant as ever. I stare at her for a while, but since I’m on my ninth beer, I figure it’s time to break the seal and head for the bathroom. Any toilet set up at a beer festival is more than likely a horror show, but the organizers really outdid themselves.

Instead of separate Porta-Potties, there’s a trailer with two long troughs installed on either side. Not being a horse or a convict, I’ve never urinated in a trough with 15 other guys before, but the atmosphere inside is surprisingly convivial. Nothing brings guys together like a good communal pee. Seeing the huge line for the troughless women’s bathroom, I thank god I was born a man.

BEER #10: President’s Choice Honey Red

This is a pretty generic beer from a pretty generic company known more for food products. However, since they’re giving away free cookies and potato chips, the booth is positively swamped. Meanwhile, I look over and see that the Budweiser tent is as deserted as a Scooby-Doo haunted amusement park. Dumb fucks. Anyone who comes to a beer festival to drink Bud should be put down so his crappy taste doesn’t infiltrate the gene pool.

BEER #11: Lakeport Pilsner

The good people at Lakeport are giving away CDs with such current megastars as Helix, Colin James, and Loverboy. I open mine and fling it at Matt as hard as I can. Part revenge, part ninja practice for next year. By the way, the sombreros are now outnumbering the Viking and pirate hats at least 5 to 1. I know that the Mexicans are a fertile bunch, but I never knew how fast they could reproduce.

BEER #12: Mill Street Coffee Porter

I normally don’t go for novelty beers, but this is tasty, and I think the caffeine is helping to stave off drunkenness. Of course, that’s asking a lot, since it is my twelfth beer. My group scores a table and some chairs, and we set up a rotation whereby some of us get more beer while the rest stay and guard the premium seating. I take my guard duty very seriously. When a group of drunken Viking-hats tries to steal our chairs, I stare them down. No plundering when I’m on duty.

BEER #13: Walkerville Premium Blonde

My notes are getting progressively harder to read. I’m sure by this point, I could not have given a fuck about penmanship. By now, the group I’m with has absorbed many friends-of-friends, and we’re all getting spectacularly hammered. Most of our new additions are couples, and very attractive ones at that. I can’t figure out who’s with who, or if anybody is single.

In fact, most of my conversations go about two minutes before the words “my husband” or “my boyfriend” find their way in. I guess I should be grateful that these beautiful women don’t want me to waste my time, but as a guy, I naturally feel that pretty much all women on planet Earth belong with me. It’s written into our DNA or something. Even so, it’s always good to make new friends over some beers.

BEER #14: Korruptor Strong Beer

At 15% alcohol by volume, this brand purports to be Canada’s strongest beer. It’s being served by guys in biohazard suits and masks. I’ve never studied marketing, but I stop to wonder if this is really the image they want to project. The beer doesn’t taste half bad, but by the time I get through it, I’ve moved from “strongly buzzed” to “seeing double; in very real danger of pissing self.”

BEER #15: Robert Simpson’s Confederation Ale

Despite my earlier vow to not repeat beers, I’m now motivated to drink whichever product has the shortest line. Remarkably, I’m still lucid enough to stay the hell away from the Budweiser tent. I enjoy my Confederation Ale with a feeling that I’ve come full circle, and I don’t care if any anti-slavery Unionists see me.

BEERS #16 and 17: Trailhead Red Amber Ale

I get more tokens, which I promptly exchange for more beer. I barely get to taste this one before Matt crashes into me again, causing me to spill the entire beer. A passer-by remarks that I can have him brought up on charges of committing beer crimes. I briefly consider it, then I remind myself that I might very well need his help to find my apartment tonight.

BEER #18: Red Stripe Beer

I’m drinking a Jamaican beer, which is appropriate, because the Beerfest has basically become an embodiment of pure hedonism. You can smell pot everywhere. Couples are humping away on the ground. Girls in the audience are going topless in order to win t-shirts, and I doubt they see the irony. Another redhead (not The Giraffe) approaches me and tells me she likes the bandana I’m now wearing for some reason. By the time I figure out a way to segue that into a request for oral sex, she’s long gone.

It’s total chaos. Thousands of people have been drinking and partying in the sun for five hours straight. I lose my writing pad, and for a while, I’m resigned to phoning in a crappy top ten list or something for this week’s article. Thankfully, my friend’s girlfriend finds it for me. I give her a hug in appreciation; some lady sees this and offers to help me hook up with her. The guy who lost his house is propositioned for a threesome. In terms of karma, I think he’s probably earned it, but he wisely takes the higher moral ground.

BEER #19: Sleeman Red

Someone is attacking The Giraffe! She’s being carried away on the shoulders of a guy wearing a pirate hat. Normally, I wouldn’t get involved… and this occasion is no different. For one thing, she appears to be a willing participant. For another, I’m in no condition to fight a pirate. Also, some stupid company was giving out whistles, and the air is now filled with their shrill cries. Any rape prevention whistles would surely be lost in the crowd. I bid farewell to my sweet Giraffe in the hope that I might someday stroke her soft underbelly and experience her prehensile tongue.

BEER #20: Corona

The beer festival ends, and we sloppily make our way to a bar where my friend Liam works. It’s blatantly obvious that we should not be served any more booze, but dropping Liam’s name gets us in the door. There are about ten of us, and the girls are starting to get real friendly. I’ve deduced that none of them are single, but it really doesn’t matter; everyone is showing a lot of love and having a good time.

I finish the night with a bottle of Corona, one of my summer favorites. I realize that I’ve made it to number 20 and decide to cut myself off before alcohol poisoning sets in. What an afternoon it’s been. There are about three dozen photos of me from that day, all showcasing my various stages of inebriation. Most of them feature me licking the girl I’m posing with, or else demonstrating proper kung fu technique.

Looking back, I can honestly say that the Beer Festival is hands-down the highlight of my summer. I have large gaps in my memory from that day, but my notes and photos taken by friends verify that it wasn’t all some awesome dream. If you live around Toronto, I highly recommend you attend the Beerfest next year. But don’t expect to see me. Beer ninjas are invisible.

Essential New Word of the Week:

nipplature [‘nIpla’?ur] n: There are all sorts of good reasons to stare at tits. And truly, the nipple is the best part of the breast. It’s like the cherry on a delicious, fleshy sundae. Every straight guy in the world loves to see a stiff nipple come into definition. But it only happens under the right circumstances, such as cold weather. Now, amateur meteorology has a new friend.

Nipplature is the temperature at which a particular female nipple will harden. It’s not an exact science; you have to make allowances for size, puffiness, and the kind of bra she’s wearing (if any). But your new interest this growing field, will surely have you lowering your thermostat incrementally, trying to hone in on your girl’s exact nipplature. It’s fun and educational!