New festival proof that craft beer has hit the mainstream
When one thinks of craft beer, one doesn't typically envision a venue that boasts nine-foot televisions, a capacity for 800 people, a glass-encased motorcycle, or live DJs; however, for about the last two weeks, The Loose Moose on Front Street has made strange bedfellows of a sports bar in the entertainment district and some of North America's best craft beers.
It's all part of the bar's 17 Days of St. Patrick Craft Beer and Food Festival, which, appropriately enough, has been running since March 1st and will culminate with St. Patrick's day celebrations this weekend. In addition to the usual contests and live music, the event has featured some serious stouts on tap — e.g. Black Oak Double Chocolate Cherry Stout, Wellington Russian Imperial Stout, and Mill Street Cobblestone Stout — and a speciality menu.
Additionally, owing to sponsorship from North American Craft, the mini-festival showcases some great beers from Ontario, and the East and West Coast. There's even some decent stuff from the U.S. For $10, patrons can get four 4oz samples of craft beers from a list that includes:
- Hops & Robbers from Double Trouble Brewing Co.
- Arkell's Best Bitter, Silver Wheat Ale, Special Pale Ale and County Ale from Wellington Brewery
- Pale Ale and Nut Brown Ale from Black Oak Brewing Co.
- Vintage Lager from Hogsback Brewing Company
- Augusta Ale from Kensington Brewing Company
- Hop Head IPA from Tree Brewing Co.
- 606 IPA and Czech Mate Pilsner from Paddock Wood Brewing Co.
- Hawaiian Style Pale Ale from Spearhead Brewery
- ESB from Propeller Brewery
- Brooklyn Lager from Brooklyn Brewery
- Pepper Lime lager, Nut Brown, Lager and Mandarin Orange from Dead Frog Brewery
- Weissbeer from Denison's Brewing Company
While there may not yet be much demand for craft beer in this area of Toronto that typically caters to tourists and those looking for wings, a lager, and a Leafs' game, clearly event organizers are optimistic that beer drinkers with more sophisticated palettes will find something worth coming back for (besides the glass-encased motorcycle): the four best-selling craft beers over the 17 days will receive a 90-day trial on tap at the bar. After that, the idea is that craft beer will have a permanent home at The Loose Moose as these four taps will continue to rotate craft offerings.
Photo by Ross McAuley