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London Ribfest bolsters craft beer selection

Ribfest kicked off Thursday in Victoria Park and runs through to Monday. 980 CFPL file photo

Of all the gastronomic combinations, few complement each other as well as beer and ribs.

And that’s why 10 craft breweries from London and the surrounding area have been invited to this year’s edition of Ribfest, which kicked off Thursday at Victoria Park and will feed Londoners through to Monday.

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“You can be standing in line with a beer, while you’re looking for your ribs,” said Ribfest owner and organizer, Doug Hillier.

The all-ages beer garden has the capacity for 2,200 guests, fully encompasses Ribbers Row, and features local brews from Anderson Ales, London Brewing, Forked River, and Railway City. It also features the up-and-coming Powerhouse Brewing, which is slated to open up inside the old Kellogg building this fall.

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Valerie Cull is the director of operations at Powerhouse Brewing, which is set to open at 100 Kellogg this fall. Liny Lamberink/980 CFPL

“Our signature beer that we’re showcasing is called Homecoming. It’s an American Pale Ale,” said Powerhouse director of operations, Valerie Cull.

“It has a really nice citrus undertone to it, finishes smooth, and pairs really well with ribs because it does have that citrus. So if you’re doing something like a sweeter sauce, as for instance Boss Hog’s, that would be a good combination.”

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Boss Hog’s is the local ribber in town. Owned by London’s Tom Diavolitsis, Boss Hog’s won both the people’s choice and judge’s award for best ribs last year. Diavolitisis hopes for the same kind of success this year.

“We’ve got the foot on the gas. We’re going to go hard, and give it our best effort,” Diavolitsis said.

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London’s Tom Diavolitsis owns Boss Hog’s, which took home the people’s choice and judge’s award for best ribs last year. Liny Lamberink/980 CFPL

So what sets Boss Hogs apart from the other nine ribbers lined up along Wellington Street this weekend? Diavolitsis says it’s the consistency.

“We don’t play with our product. We found the right recipe, and we stuck with it.”

Diavolitsis wouldn’t divulge much about the recipe itself, but did explain what Londoners can expect from their fares.

“You’re going to get sweet at first, and then as you bite and chew into the rib, you’re going to get smokey. You’re not going to get a very salty flavour, but there’s a hint of it. So you’re going to get a bit of bold, a bit of sweet. It’s balance.”

Beer and ribs aren’t the only offerings at RibFest. There’s also live entertainment, midway rides, beer pong tournaments, artists, and a variety of different vendors.

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