Fans camp in ice fishing shacks on Regina street to score special brew

People camp out in ice fishing huts on the sidewalk in Regina, Sask. on Saturday, December 7, 2013. Eleven hours before Regina's Bushwakker Brew Pub released its 2013 edition of blackberry mead on Saturday, there was a lineup forming outside its doors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Grant Frew

REGINA - Fans of a once-a-year holiday beverage in Saskatchewan kept up their tradition of queuing overnight for the treat, even though they had to endure wind chill temperatures below —40 C.

Eleven hours before Regina's Bushwakker Brew Pub released its 2013 edition of blackberry mead on Saturday, there was a lineup forming outside its doors.

Kyla Will, who was first line, spent the night with two friends snuggled under blankets on a couch they'd brought themselves.

Close to 100 others were also there, including many in ice fishing shacks.

The take-home bottles of mead are only available in limited quantities on the first Saturday of December.

Last year's batch of 6,000 bottles sold out in a little over an hour.

"It's tough to swallow after the first one, but after that it goes down like juice," said Alan Currie, who waited in line wearing a snowsuit and a ski mask.

"It's more about tradition," he added. "And not many people get to have it."

Bushwakker served hot chocolate throughout the evening and also set up portable toilets.

The Regina bar has been offering the honey-based drink for about 20 years, but it didn't become a popular phenomenon until around 2005.

Shane Gosselin, who was in the queue said he's been doing the overnight camp for the last four years. Surprisingly, he doesn't particularly enjoy the mead and generally gives it away.

"I don't know that I'd really profess that it's phenomenal stuff. It's just something that you don't normally get," he said. "So, for me, that's kind of the fun of it."


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