Summer in Toronto is festival season, and while there's an increasing number of events dedicated to all manner of food and drink (grilled cheese, sushi, dumplings, sake, et. al.), nothing can really compete with an event that explicitly dedicates itself to humankind's greatest invention: beer. Luckily, with a growing number of local brewers and beer enthusiasts, there's no shortage of events this season.
Here are my picks for the top beer events in Toronto for summer 2015 to help you separate the wheat from chaff (appropriate beer reference!)
Craft Beer Saturdays at Victory Cigars
Maybe it's because I'm fond of a good cigar paired with a craft beer, but to my mind there aren't enough events that celebrate the combo. Thankfully there's no Craft Beer Saturdays at Oshawa's Victory Cigars. Running until August 22nd, the event will feature a different brewery pouring samples and pints paired with a cigar selected from owners Kevin Newell and Julian Luke inventory.
The Society of Beer Drinking Ladies Bevy 0017
Location TBD | June 26
In a craft beer industry largely dominated by dudes, the SOBDL have created a fairly awesome series of peen-free events so that ladies can sip the good stuff away from all the beards and fart jokes. This time around they're boasting a vaguely ridiculous collection of participating breweries including MacKinnon, Descendants, Collingwood, Cameron's, Northwinds, Muddy York and more.
Puddicombe Farms, Winona ON | June 26 and 27
It's not beer and it's not in Toronto, but you really need to get out of your comfort zone, man.
There will be a slew of beverage makers on hand including some of the great Ontario ciders you probably should already know about including Puddicombe Cider Co., County Cider Co., Thornbury Village Cidery, Pommies Dry Cider Co, Spirit Tree Estate Cidery, and more.
Brewer's Backyard Canada Day
Evergreen Brick Works | July 1, 12pm-5pm
A veteran of summer events, International Man of Beer Mystery Cass Enright has the recipe for success figured out with his "backyard" series of events. This is yet another family-friendly, and free event at The Brick Works, an excellent setting for relaxing and enjoying a few interesting offerings from local brewers like Collective Arts and Oast House.
The Liberty Market Summer Craft Beer Fest
The Liberty Market Building Galleria | July 2, 5pm-10pm
With The Craft Brasserie and two brew pubs moving into the area, it's getting increasingly difficult to hate Liberty Village. Why not use this event--which will feature 19 brewers both local and distant, independent and corporately owned--as your excuse to check out what's new and worth visiting in Toronto's 20-something suburbia in the sky?
The 12 Beers of Summer
The Gladstone Hotel | July 17
Seemingly oddly named given that it will feature 10 breweries and one cider, this new event at The Gladstone is a rarity in that the marketing material seems to encourage attendees to get sloppy--given that the entry is $20 and includes unlimited sampling, I'm not sure folks will need to be told. Warning: may contain karaoke.
Toronto's Festival of Beer
Exhibition Place | July 24, 25, and 26
Featuring over 300 different brands of beer that run the gamut from small and local outfits like Junction Craft and Left Field to purveyors of mass-produced industrial lager like Miller Lite, Budweiser, and Corona, TFOB has it all. Find interesting craft offerings among the "beer girls," fizzy lagers, and pseudo craft schlock and expect thousands of beer drinkers gathering to party, bro (and lining up to pee).
The Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival
Roundhouse Park | August 8, 12pm-7pm; August 9, 12pm-6pm
Offering beers from the Ontario Craft Brewers, this festival at Roundhouse Park is still a relatively casual affair. Ticket prices appear to have jumped this year from $10 in advance to $20 (or $25 at the door compared to last year's $15) but that's still decent value given that the "ticket" is your glass, meaning you can return for day two without having to buy a second ticket.
The Indie Boat Hop
The Empire Sandy | August 26, 12:30-4, 5:30-9
When some of the best beer makers in the province team up with one of the city's best beer bars, there's only one venue badass enough to host them all: a pirate ship. Indie Alehouse, Bellwoods, Sawdust City, Stone City, Great Lakes, Nickel Brook, and Clifford Brewing will join forces with Bar Hop to set sail on the Empire Sandy on not one but two cruises. Ahoy, palloi.
Toronto Beer Week
Various venues | September 18-26
Toronto Beer Week isn't just one event. Obviously, it's an entire week of events that will feature beer dinners, tap takeovers and more happening across the entire city. We'll have a run down of the whole week closer to the actual date but for now just mark your calendars and get your drinking pants out of storage. Yes, the ones with the elastic waistband.
What did I miss? Add the beer events you're most looking forward to this summer in the comments.
by Ben Johnson via blogTO