- The Main Attraction
- The Atmosphere
- The Venue/Location
TFOB or officially, Toronto Festival of Beer is every beer lovers dream festival. You got great food, music, the crowd is always friendly, and did we mention, beer? It’s an annual event that Torontonians welcome as a reason to go out and enjoy the weather, but also to pick their favourites for the long cold winter ahead. Did we just dip down to 20 degrees in July? Yikes. We were once again given the chance to attend ‘Beerfest 2014′ and we definitely tried our best to find the beers you should put on your bucket list to go out and buy.
210 Princes’ Blvd
Toronto, ON M6K 3C3
Now the folks who bring you beerfest every year, are working hard to bring you more and more events each year. This year they introduced the Spring Session which took place on March 28-29 giving us who are dying of winter, a reason to come out. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make it, but keep that in your calendars for next year if you guys want to attend. Scott and I were very fortunate to be given media passes to represent TUC at Beerfest 2014. After checking in, we decided to check out the Media Lounge. This year, we were to treated to Neal Brothers new Srirachup’s kettle chips. Which are basically Sriracha and Ketchup thrown together, very Canadian we thought. =P.
Similar to last year, many vendors/brands of beer were set up under tents or had their very own booths stretching across the entire Toronto Festival of Beer event grounds. Once again, The Bandshell Camp at the Exhibition Grounds was where the event was held. This year’s event consisted of over 300+ brands of beer and continued the push for our local and kraft breweries. Which we we’re glad to see. For food, this is probably the most food vendors we have seen at beer fest. We we happy to see our friends over at Fidel Gastro and Red Lobster staying strong serving up mighty dishes for all the hungry souls attending the event. We dropped by Fidel Gastro just before we left and was treated with a nice surprise when we saw Matt working hard as usual. Stay strong bro. =)
Beerfest 2014 continued to use the token based system where $20 got you 20 tokens. You’ll have to buy these at the token booths where they only accept CASH. So make sure you bring CASH. Most brewers has their own token prices but you can rest assured in knowing almost all the brewers charge 1 token for a 4oz glass and 2 tokens for an 8 oz. Continuing Scott’s advice from last year, key tip is to try as many beers as you can. So you should just spend 1 token on the beers. This way you’ll get a nice taste of what a brewer has to offer and with 20 tokens it allows you to try quite a variety of beers. Unfortunately for us, we didn’t play a lot of games where there were just a TON of sunglasses that were given. So be on the look out as we’re sure there will be games again next year.
Now for the most anticipated part of our post, the favourite list of the event. Here are our favourites from both Scott and myself. Favourites from last year can be found here – Beerfest 2013.
Crabbie’s Ginger Cider
I’m not going to lie, when one of my buddies who also happen to be visiting Beer Fest told me to try out Crabbie’s Ginger cider I was highly skeptical. Firstly I’m not a huge cider drink and secondly, I wasn’t sure how many drinks they had by the time when they told me to try it out. However, I was pleasantly surprised when the first taste of Crabbie’s touched the tip of my tongue. It was sweet but not overbearing and the ginger taste had nice depth and was quite strong, the ginger provided a nice bite as well to the drink. This is a great drink for the summer and for those of us who like the slightly less “beer” tasting beers. The 4% alcoholic content makes this a great light drink for beer drinkers everywhere.
Red Bull Beer
Was not quite sure what to expect when I received my 8 oz’s of this North Carolina beer. But boy, was I glad I got it. It’s a relatively strong beer sitting at 7.1% alcoholic content but it tasted nothing like it. From the moment it entered your mouth to the finish, this beer was extremely smooth, and was probably the beer’s strongest selling point. Now this is all dependent on who you are as a beer drinker, but after an evening of tasting fragrant and aroma filled beers, I appreciated the relatively mild taste of red bull. If malt beer isn’t your thing, you probably would avoid this. However personally, I enjoyed this beer and would recommend it for those who want a milder tasting beer.
Innis & Gunn – Rum Finish
Hailing from Edinburgh Scotland came this brewery that we have never tried. However, there was a huge line up and after bumping into friends who vouched for it, we just had to try it out. Rum Finish appeared to be their popular choice, and for very good reason. The Rum Finish had a nice body to the beer that mixed fruit and spicy notes quite well together. This beer has won the prestigious Grand Gold at the Monde Selection Awards in 2012. I can’t say I’ve tried a lot of Scottish beers, but if this was an indication of what to expect, then I must say sign me up. I would love to try Innis & Gunn’s Original. As a heads up, Rum Finish does have a slightly higher alcohol content at 6.8% because of the rum.
Tempt2 Cider – Apple
Yeah, this girly cider? Now we here at TUC love cider, if not, then maybe it’s just me, Brian. But after a really strong showing at last year’s event, I felt cider took a slight dive down this year. This cider on it’s appearance is very girly, the design, and the flavour profile, but I found this cider refreshing. So if you’re not a huge beer drinker like my girlfriend for an example and are tired of Fruli the strawberry beer, then I would say try out Tempt2. My only warning, it’s pretty sweet, and depending how many you have, it can be too sweet. Tempt9 with it’s strawberry and lime has been getting good reviews from event goers so maybe try that as well?
Other than that, we unfortunately didn’t find any other ciders that were… really good. We still enjoyed Magner’s Pear Cider and Somersby’s is never a bad choice. But let’s hope for some new additions next year.
So whether you were out enjoying the music by the widely popular areas set up by Budweiser and BudLight (yes, you’ve done it again, it was a great party area), or taking pics with random strangers likes us, one-at-a-time, lol. Beerfest this year closed off strong just before the showers came in hard Sunday night.
Overall, Scott and I loved Beerfest. It’s really a reason to simply go out with good company and find your old and new beer favourites. There’s a lot to try out. And the food and beer line ups continue to get better and better each year. So even if you’re not a huge fan of beer, there are just soo many options that we’re sure you’ll find one to your liking. Now with the options of the Spring Session and other events they’re releasing, you may wonder… which one should I choose? Staying honest with our readers, we say if you can only pick one, this is the one – Summer Beerfest event. At $40/ticket, it can get a little pricey for beer, but we believe there’s enough here to keep you coming back for more. It has for us.
The Damage: $39.50 / Ticket ($1 half a cup, $2 for full cup)