- The Main Attraction
- The Atmosphere
- The Venue/Location
For us Torontonians who suffer through half a year of cold weather, there’s nothing more we look forward to than the nice weather that comes with summer. And nothing says summer more than good tasty food and a cold glass of beer. Now where can we find such wonderful combination of things? At The Festival of Beer of course. This year those of us at TUC got an amazing opportunity to visit this sold out festival and see what all the hoopla is about.
210 Princes’ Blvd
Toronto, ON M6K 3C3
For those readers who aren’t sure what The Festival of Beer is, allow me to be your intrepid guide in explaining this once a year event to you. The Festival of Beer has been going on now for 19 years and has a rich history of bringing us wonderfully crafted beers from Canada’s rich brewing history and all over the world for us to try. If you’re like me and love the taste of beer, this is the place to be. This year alone there were over 200+ different beers on display for everyone to try.
We made our way relatively quickly past security and were guided towards the Media Lounge where we picked up some free drink tickets and then promptly made our way to explore the rest of the festival.
How The Festival of Beer is set up is basically tents of breweries are all over the fenced in grounds, and some tents house more than 1 brewer. These are usually the smaller or more local brewers. This year, alongside these tents were other stalls/areas set up for some of the larger vendors where there were DJ booths, mobile breweries, and small games were set up everywhere for everyone to enjoy some fun while drinking their favourite beers. In the middle of the grounds there was a concert stage set up as well for bands.
The festival works on a token based system. At a booth near the entrance of the Festival you spend 20$ for 20 tokens and each brewer 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. Now the tip here that many of the festival goers gave me is, if you’re here to basically try as many beers as you can 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.
Alongside the many breweries that were at the festival this year, there were also some of the best eats available in Toronto and many of which I’m sure you readers are familiar with. Our good friends Matt from Fidel Gastro’s and Matt from Rock Lobster Food Co. were there serving up a storm and providing mouth watering food as always. Serving alongside them were Oyster Boy, Smoke’s Poutinerie, Ted’s World Famous BBQ and many more vendors to help with providing those savoury eats to pair up with the wonderful beers that were offered.
There were quite a few memorable booths/tents at the festival this year and if it were up to me, I’d tell you guys about every single one of them, but if I did, this post would never end-that’s how great this festival was. But to give you guys just a taste of what was out there, I’ll list a few of the highlights.
Foundry Golden Cider had a unique and fun area where they hosted an apple smashing contest where people would get a chance to toss an apple and depending on how hard the apple was smashed, you received a prize.
Alexander Keith’s also had a great area where you could sign up for a contest and win great prizes as well as a neat mobile brewery they brought along where you got to see some of the process on how beer actually gets brewed and what goes into it.
The final mention goes to the Bud Light area for having a great DJ and supplying hours and hours of fun and great music. The party at the Bud Light area was just as good as any other party you would go to on a Friday night, and it was pretty packed, but also full of fun.
Now onto our shortlist of beers which we got the opportunity to try and liked quite a bit at this year’s TFOB. Hopefully that will get your taste buds going and inspire you to get your tickets for next year’s festivities. (Keep in mind, these tickets sell out quickly every year, so be sure to check out the website regularly for updates.)
Old Credit Brewing – Pale Pilsner
The Pale Pilsner was my personal favourite of the ones I was able to try during the festival. It’s a nice local brewery based out of Mississauga, for those of us who want to help support local companies. The beer features a slight honey taste with a touch of wheat and is incredibly light and smooth.
Magners – Pear Cider
For all the cider lovers out there, have I got a cider for you. This pear cider from Ireland-based brewer Magner, is refreshing and sweet (but not overwhelmingly so) and as you would expect, a slight pear taste. It went down pretty easy and there weren’t any odd or unpleasant aftertastes. So if you are normally an apple cider drinker, give this a try. I’m almost certain you’ll love it.
Dead Frog – Honey Brown
Even though I wasn’t able to try any other honey brown beers out there, the one I did try definitely stood out in my mind. From their brewery in British Columbia, Dead Frog’s Honey Brown beer tasted exactly like its name- a slight honey taste with a hint of caramel flavour to it and not too carbonated.
Of course, no festival is successful without the lively and energetic people that go to them. And boy did we get to meet a lot of fun and great people. Every single representative from all the brewers we got to talk to were incredibly nice and informative and they helped us learned a lot about each of their respective brewing companies. The festival goers themselves came from all walks of life. Although most people were probably around the age of 20-35, you could still find people from all age groups. If you’re a first timer planning on going next year with reservations about the type of crowd that will be there-don’t. We met amazing people all night (like Teena in Toronto in the social media lounge, nice meeting you), and there’s no doubt you will too.
To sum it up, we here at TUC had a great time trying beers, eating food, and meeting new people. It was great seeing some old friends from Rock Lobster, Fidel Gastros, Alexander Keith’s and Rolling Rock. If you have not been to Beerfest make sure you get tickets for next year and go. I’m certain you won’t be disappointed. Drink responsibly and party on.
The Damage: $39.50 / Ticket ($1 half a cup, $2 for full cup)