By DAN MACLEOD
Students of Conestoga, when you go out for an evening of drinks, what kind of beer do you normally order? Molson? Coors? Bud? It’s a shame when Stella Artois is considered a classy step up. You deserve better. You deserve flavour. You deserve a beer whose main selling point isn’t how cold it tastes (a quality that when provided still can’t hide the fact that it tastes like carbonated urine). You deserve a night at Kickoff in University Plaza.
Troy Rathbone, owner, has had the bar for nine years but it’s been open for 12. When he took possession of Kickoff, it had already established its niche market of having the best craft beer selection in Kitchener-Waterloo. When a shipment comes in, they usually have between 20 and 30 different varieties. Craft beer is also referred to as micro-brewing. It’s beer that is made in small batches by dedicated brewers with quality ingredients. This results in a multitude of varieties offering different aromas, flavours and alcohol contents. Kickoff is proud that it supplies such an impressive selection. Rathbone says, “The clienteles like that we switch the beer up all the time, trying new things.”
Kickoff is primarily a sports bar where people can go to watch live soccer, football, hockey and other sports. But their return clientele ranges from sports fans to beer connoisseurs to all kinds of university students. They’re always happy to rent the place for any kind of event. Some students even hook their laptops up to the flat screen to broadcast live online events such as Blizzard’s Blizz-con invitational Starcraft 2 tournament.
Since craft beer is always made in small batches, Kickoff’s selection changes every few months. They order from area breweries such as Mill St. Brewery, but they also order batches from all around the world. They’re especially good at stocking seasonal beers. This fall they’re featuring beer such as Nightmare on Mill St. (a pumpkin ale) and Hoptoberfest (a hops-focused Oktoberfest beer).
If you’re tired of buck-a-beers that are mostly composed of rice and offer nothing good in the way of flavour, and if you’re looking for a truly unique experience in Waterloo, then you will not regret a trip to Kickoff. Just don’t drive home.