Ontario Craft Beer week a celebration of suds
The fifth annual Ontario Craft Beer week kicks off Friday. Here's a look at the best
By: Josh Rubin
With weather as nice as weíve been getting lately, we probably didnít need another excuse to get out onto a patio and have a few beers.
But thatís just what weíve gotten, thanks to the fifth annual Ontario Craft Beer Week, which kicks off Friday. The festival runs from June 13-21, and has more than 300 events at over 100 venues around the province.
There are food and beer pairing events, meet-the-brewmaster sessions, a Fatherís Day barbecue and a doozy of a beer festival right at Yonge-Dundas Square.
Hereís a look at some of the highlights, listed day by day. (For full event listings, visit the official OCB week website).
Friday June 13: Griffin Session Toronto: Ever wanted to try a beer brewed by a literary legend? This festival, which serves as the official opener to OCB Week, is your chance. The festival, which runs from 6-10 p.m. at Yonge-Dundas Square, features collaborative brews which saw brewers from across the province paired up with people from the cultural world. Top of that list would be Margaret Atwood, who teamed up with Beauís All-Natural Brewing to brew a spiced ale known as a gruit (as of press time, they still hadnít had the good sense to call it The Handmaidís Ale). Tickets are $39.50 apiece and can be purchased online at sessiontoronto.com/tickets.html
Saturday June 14: Griffin Session continues at Yonge-Dundas Square from 5-9 p.m. Another fun one to check out (although it could be a bit of a crowd) is at the LCBO at Yonge-Summerhill from 3:30-4:30 p.m. There, comedian Tom Green will be signing bottles of his very own Tom Green beer, a milk stout that won the peopleís choice award at last yearís Session, and is now available at the LCBO. Another good choice, considering itís Fatherís Day weekend, is visiting the Amsterdam brewery (45 Esandar Dr.) where theyíre hosting a barbecue and brewery tour from 1-5 p.m.).
Sunday June 15: Want to give Dad an extra-special Fatherís Day? Bring him to the Beach BBQ and Brews festival, which runs from noon to 8 p.m. at Woodbine Park. There are brewers and barbecue specialists from across the province. Did we mention thereís live music too? (The festivalís also on Friday from 3-11 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 11 p.m.). Admission is free.
Monday June 16: Live in the east end and really love your locals? Live elsewhere, but would like to try some new spots? Then join the Danforth pub crawl, with representatives from six Ontario craft breweries hitting seven of the best east-end beer bars, starting at Relish (2152 Danforth Ave.) at 5:30 p.m. Visit the OCB week website for the full calendar.
Tuesday June 17: The kitchen team at the Mill Street brew pub shares some professional tips on cooking with beer (hint: itís about a lot more than just making a batter for fish and chips). From 6 to 8 p.m. at Mill Streetís brew pub in the Distillery District.
Wednesday June 18: Beauís Beer Dinner at the Wren (1382 Danforth Ave.) Beauís All Natural Brewing co-founder Steve Beauchesne presents a four-course beer dinner at one of the Danforthís coziest beer spots. Tickets are $40 (including food and beer); call (647) 748-1382 or email email@example.com .
Thursday June 19: Meet the GLB Faces at Hungry Brew Hops (211 Main St. S., Newmarket). Wanna know what champions look like? Come and meet the team from Great Lakes Brewing, which recently took home its second consecutive Canadian Brewery of the Year title. Head brewer Mike Lackey, owner Peter Bulut Jr. and several other GLB staffers will be bringing a special selection of brews to northern York Regionís hottest new beer bar. Admission is free.
Friday June 20: Summer Nights in the City at Cíest What (67 Front St. E.). Five cottage country breweries bring their top picks for summer brews to the heart of downtown Toronto, and one of the cityís most venerable craft beer bars. Try them all (in moderation, of course), and talk to some of the folks from the breweries. Admission to the event (which runs 5-9 p.m.) is free.
Saturday June 21: What fun would a beer week be without at least a few games? The An Sibin pub (709 Queen St. E.) hosts its annual Thirsty Games from 4-11 p.m. Thereís also an outdoor barbecue, and craft beer sampling.
Email Josh Rubin firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @starbeer