BOYS, BEER & BEARDS
By Kate Yacula
We recently visited what is becoming the newest and hottest trend: The Garage Party. Yes, where you keep your cars or motorcycle is the same place that is being turned into a bar-style man cave for guys to chill out, drink beer and shoot the the sh** with their bearded buddies; move over 1970’s rec room! The garage is where it’s at to host a party, and no one parties like rural Manitoba!! To get the scoop, we headed for the Twin Beaches where our bearded friend and beer connoisseur Dan has created the ultimate chill space in his very own garage. “It’s all in the details” he said. You’re instantly welcomed by the scents of man, oil, sweat & beer infused into the exposed particle board walls. Most of the items decorating the walls are collected vintage items and some were passed down to Dan from his Dad; like the yellow 1960’s chainsaw that hangs above the fridge.
The Garage party is a fun, low-key environment where everyone is welcome. “It’s a place of refuge” said Dan, “all you have to do is open your garage and people come from near and far to hang out or just pop in to say ‘Hi’.” These parties aren't just for rural areas, they’re popular everywhere, even in the city Dan explained. They stem from a love of beer and wanting to hang out with buddies. Dan loves having the guys over at his garage and working on his bike. “I had 780 empties after the first two months I built it” Dan laughed. Talk about having a damn good time! Now, this new-style man-cave isn’t just for the guys, it welcomes the ladies too! “Build and they will come, and everyone is welcome” said Dan. These lounging spaces have transformed just as traditional gender roles have evolved over the years. The concept of being inclusive is just as strong as the beer.
You can’t have a garage party without beer, and for our friends, that’s what it’s all about! Looking back for the history buffs, early evidence of the first fermented beverages dates back about 12,000 years alongside the development of cereal agriculture. The earliest known evidence of beer production dates back about 5,000 years to the Sumerians of ancient Mesopotamia. In short, beer is a big deal. We did some field research to find out what everyone liked to drink. We brought a bunch of local beer brands including Farmery & Fort Garry and this is what the guys had to say. Typically, “You drank what your dad drank. It was sort of tradition.” They said they were pretty loyal to their personal favourites: Miller Lite and Lab Lite, “It’s a Manitoba thing” they said. Though today with the beer industry booming there seems to be endless selections of different beers from all over the world, especially great varieties from local breweries and microbreweries.
One up-and-coming brewery that is close to home, and that you may have seen on CBC’s Dragons Den, is Farmery Brewery in Neepawa, Manitoba. We reached out to owners Chris and Lawrence Warwaruk who have “…created a business model that tries to source and contribute on a local level as much as possible” said Lawrence. We asked the owners about trends in the beer world and what’s hot now. Lawrence explained, “Understanding trends within the alcohol beverage market and trends within the Craft beer segment is crucial to longevity. That's where our flavoured beer fit in. We always wanted to offer a different take on a world trend. We may still do a 'hoppy' IPA but the arrows are pointing toward other beer options primarily in the refreshment category, which our flavoured beers may fall into.”
Well, Chris and Lawrence at Famery were bang on! When we interviewed the guys about garage parties, we asked them to weigh in on Farmery’s flavoured beers: Prairie Berry, Iced Tea & Pink Lemonade, and they said they really liked all three! Although the guys were still loyal to their personal favs they made sure to say, “We’re willing to try new flavours and be adventurous with new beers.” So, make sure to buy extra beer for your garage party because these fun fabulous flavours aren’t just for the ladies!
Lastly, we asked Lawrence to weigh in on beer at the garage party, “The garage party goer is looking for choice or variety, something fun and new and they’re interested in supporting local. Check, check…check!”
Last on our list; we spoke to our mens hair stylist and grooming expert Matt MacDonald about the ever so popular beard trend.
KATE: So, what’s the deal with beards? Our friend Dan from the garage party said he hasn’t been clean shaven in almost twenty years! So, there’s definitely something going on here, what is it?
MATT: Beards are just badass. Personally, I feel I look better with my beard. When I look at pictures of myself without one, I feel that I identify more with the “bearded me”.
K: Your beard always looks so perfect, what’s your secret? Favorite product?
M: I use and sell Crown Shaving Co. products made in Toronto, Canada. They have great products for shaving and beard maintenance. I’m never able to choose one favorite product so I just layer the tonic and cologne together. Love it.
K: What’s your favorite beard look?
M: Every guy is different with what he wants his beard to look like but I like when it’s shaped and styled. I like a nice tight haircut with the contrast of a styled beard, styling a heavier jaw and fading detail on the sides is key.
Needless to say, we had a blast researching this one. Next time you see a garage door open, with a beer in hand, hit up the party and just say “Hi”. It’s also a must to try the new flavoured beers from Farmery. They’re the perfect pick for summer!