KW Oktoberfest: A Brief History from Chainsaw

KW Oktoberfest: A Brief History from Chainsaw

Being that our fair city of Kitchener-Waterloo houses an abundant amount of students, the sight of drunken mobs stumbling down the street shouting at cabs isn’t new. But this week you may find a little more vomit on your front lawn. And whoever’s lawn that was, I’m sorry. The sauerkraut didn’t taste any better the second time.

It’s Oktoberfest! The nine-day festival where Germans (and KW’s Funny Hat Clubs) can celebrate their heritage. I know that when I think about the history of Germany, Oktoberfest is the first thing that… well, almost the first thing that comes to mind.

It’s like St. Patrick’s Day, but rather than saying “Kiss me I’m Irish”, you can say “I’m German, try my sausage.” And instead of everyone pretending they’re a little bit Irish, a number of us in KW are actually a little bit German, somewhere down the line. The German population is very large in our area – it’s because of this that KW is responsible for the second largest Oktoberfest in the world. Wondering where the largest one is? Go back to school.

Oktoberfest began in the early 1800s when Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese. The whole of Munich was invited to the 16-day party the crown threw in anticipation of the wedding day. Two hundred and some years later, the massive party has continued nearly every year. It’s only been cancelled due to things like war and cholera epidemics.

Did you know that Kitchener was once known as Berlin? The name was changed during World War I. Since Canada was an ally/bitch of Great Britain, a vocal anti-German minority wanted to change the name. Anyone who wanted to keep the name of their town the same was considered a traitor to Canada. After a vote virtually no one participated in, the town was named after Britain’s Minister of War, Lord Kitchener. 

Fascinating, eh? 

Since the German population of Kitchener was so large, they were able to keep the Oktoberfest tradition going after leaving Europe; traditions such as Uncle Hans, Miss Oktoberfest, the parade, and of course the German outfits  – the Dirndls, Lederhosen, and those hats with the feathers. Can you believe that this celebration of German culture/drunk fest has been going on for over two centuries?

Sure, what you’ll become most familiar with at the festival halls isn’t German culture, but over-priced beer and food, half of which seem to end up on the floor – judging from the state of my shoes. But hey, who doesn’t love a little tradition?

When you get tired of the chicken dance, remember that you can spill beer on your shoes here at Chainsaw, and for much cheaper


This article was written for Chainsaw by Greg Johnson

The Mysterious Origins of “Chainsaw Lager”

The Mysterious Origins of “Chainsaw Lager”

People often ask us: “How your beer so good???”

And we wish we could tell you. Yet each time we have to ask ourselves if you’re ready for a secret as closely guarded as this one. Is the world? We face this question every time someone takes that first sip of Chainsaw Lager, and the all-too-familiar look of absolute enjoyment washes over their face.

But after some discussion, and much argument, we have decided to unveil how Chainsaw Lager came to be…

Chainsaw Lager was first discovered deep in the salt mines of Argentina, around three hundred years ago. After using dynamite to grind up a large block of table salt, miners mistakenly discovered a dormant volcano, and subsequently caused an eruption. Although no miners were injured, many shovels were damaged beyond repair.

And so it was that 19-year-old Diego “Chainsaw” Sanchez Domingo set out to explore the aftermath of the volcanic eruption that had left dozens of Argentinean homes salt-less.

As Diego approached the site of the eruption, he discovered bubbles rising out of a fissure in the earth. In a matter of seconds the bubbles became a geyser that soaked him in what he assumed was old milk – the kind found at the bottom of a bowl of cheerios. But after tasting his shirt, his life was changed forever.

Diego “Chainsaw” Sanchez Domingo kept the secret of the lager-spewing geyser his entire life. Every night he would return to the beer fountain and every night he would collect enough to sell at his local tavern. The full-bodied lager was an instant hit, and soon Diego was transporting vast quantities across the sea, to an unknown source in the foothills of Southwestern Ontario.

The brew has always been served in secret. If Chainsaw Lager, as we like to call it, is served anywhere else in the world, the location is unknown to us.

No one knows what happened to Diego “Chainsaw” Sanchez Domingo. But his memory lives on in Argentina. In honour of pioneering this ‘globally’ renowned lager, Diego’s shapely profile adorns many of the more expensive commemorative Argentinean stamps.

Since Chainsaw Lager isn’t “brewed” in any conventional sense, it is impossible to bottle and store; the atomic force of the carbonation will oftentimes shatter glass. As a protective measure, Chainsaw Lager may never be served in a container with a lid. Which, in a happy coincidence, only adds to its mysterious flavour and, dare I say, remarkable aroma.

Chainsaw Lager is an elegant drink, reserved only for truly discerning palates. It takes an educated tongue to recognize the subtle notes of hops, barley, and original Cheerios. Experts will often cite differences in the method of tasting Chainsaw Lager with that of tasting wine. With wine, a taster will generally take a sip, swirl it around, and then spit it out. For Chainsaw Lager, experts suggest that ‘guzzling’ or ‘chugging’ is the only proper way to appreciate the distinctive, zesty flavour.

And so the secret has been revealed. Chainsaw Lager is not brewed, but spurts forth from Argentinean soil as the result of a freak volcanic eruption.

The fountain has sometimes been mistaken for the fountain of youth, since those who drink from it often revert to the joyful ignorance and frequent vomiting of childhood.


This article was written for Chainsaw by Greg Johnson

Chainsaw’s Coat Check

Chainsaw’s Coat Check

Wintertime, in Canada, goes through a few different phases. There’s the lead up to the holidays; where the cold is bothersome but for the most part tolerable, and the child inside us almost wishes for it to snow by Christmas. Then there’s the long dreary middle where we deal with the reality of a white Christmas; and finally the slush months – where everything melts and leaves behind a bunch of grimy, poo-brown snow. This last phase isn’t all that bad, because at least we know that winter will soon end, and St. Paddy’s Day is on its way!

We are currently in the middle phase – where it’s as cold as a witch’s tit and there is absolutely nothing to look forward to. Unless of course you enjoy flowers, chocolate, and the act of picking out the Hallmark card that best sums up your feelings toward your partner. It’s also the season of coat check. Or rather, the season of risking frostbite to preserve your outfit, save $2 and avoid coat check.

We get it – coat check is annoying. Nobody wants to shell out money they could be spending on alcohol just to hang up their coat. Which is why most people opt to leave their jackets at home. But minus twenty degrees Celsius would be cold even if you were wearing a parka and snow pants. What’s the point in going out to a bar if you’re already numb when you get there?

Coat check is only $2 at Chainsaw. We encourage you to take advantage of this; consider it an inexpensive way to make sure that no one mistakenly walks away with your jacket, if you choose to bring it to the bar and not hang it up. Or, you know, a cheap way to make sure no one wakes up in the morning unable to feel his or her extremities. Frozen Popsicle is a thing, guys. Do you really want to freeze the most important part of yourself before you get home… or, you know, wherever it is you end up?

With the deals we have here, odds are that $2 isn’t going to cut into your budget too badly. Next time it’s below freezing and you weigh the pros and cons of venturing outside without a jacket, remember that coat check is only two bucks. And we’re always smiling!

All said, if you enjoy showing up to the bar with nipples that could etch glass, that’s your prerogative.

Maybe the cold never bothered you anyway.


This article was written for Chainsaw by Greg Johnson

The 4 Kinds of Halloween Costumes

The 4 Kinds of Halloween Costumes

Got your Halloween costume all figured out? Well, that’s super. At Chainsaw, we’ve seen a lot of different costumes over the years, some of them very creative, others terrible. But most Halloween costumes can be broken down into four familiar groups: The All-Out, The Same One Every Year, The Barely Trying, and The Barely Dressed.

The All-Out
These people really care about their costumes. They can spend days thinking and sewing and even welding until they have a perfectly elaborate construction that is ready for the world to see. Halloween is serious business for them, and they want you to know. They put the same effort into their costumes as the cosplayers who go to Comic-Con do, dressed as their favourite superhero or villain. The main difference is that people who go all out for Halloween don’t necessarily have to live in their parents’ basement, nor are they afraid of the sunshine.

Our Tuesday night karaoke host, Zach Parsons, goes all out for Halloween. Last year he built his own Daft Punk costume. Ask him about it. If you do, be prepared to see some pictures. Seriously, he’s still beaming.

The Same One Every Year
“Why tamper with perfection,” is the motto of these loyal if not slightly lazy people. They found what worked a long time ago and they’ve stuck to it. Usually, these costumes will be pretty generic – examples being a Nerd outfit (all you need is a geeky shirt tucked into baggy khakis, tucked into socks and some taped glasses) or something that’s relevant no matter the year. Like Batman, or Luke Skywalker.
When evaluating the different groups, it is important to note that although The Same One Every Year may not win points for originality, they are still putting on a costume, which is more than can be said for some people.

The Barely Trying
Now, these people don’t just hate dressing up – they hate everything our society stands for. They don’t dress up, and if they do, it’s only because they’ve been forced to. If they agree, they wear “clever” signs that read ‘404 Error: Costume Not Found’ and etc. I’m not sure if these people are lazy, or just think they are better than everyone else. But I do know that they grow up and they buy houses, and when Halloween rolls around do you know what they do then? They turn their lights off and pretend they’re not home!

The Barely Dressed
We should all be pretty familiar with this one by now. Some ladies & gentlemen take Halloween to be the day they can get away with wearing pretty much nothing at all. As Lindsay Lohan says in Mean Girls, “In the real world, Halloween is when kids dress up in costumes and beg for candy. In Girl World, Halloween is the one day a year when a girl can dress up like a total slut and no other girls can say anything else about it.” While these costumes are perfectly acceptable for parties with an adequate space-heater-to-naked-butt ratio, they aren’t the most practical, being that midnight marks the start of November. It’s going to be one cold night for The Barely Dressed. But, hopefully, for them, they won’t have to pay for a drink all night. And isn’t that really the dream?


This article was written for Chainsaw by Greg Johnson