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Eat & Drink

Summer beer festivals in Toronto 2012

Posted by Ben Johnson / June 5, 2012

Toronto Summer Beer Festivals 2012There are so many beer festivals that take place in and around Toronto every summer, that trying to keep track of them all can become a major source of anxiety to beer drinkers. Let's face it: having fun can be stressful. You worry that you'll miss your favourite brewer stopping by your neighbourhood, you stress out when you hear about a festival too late to coordinate your schedule or, worst of all, you're publicly humiliated by your much cooler friends who tell you what a great time they had at a beerfest you had no idea had already happened.

It's enough to make you need a drink.

Well, relax. I've done all the work for you and compiled a list of the various beer festivals happening in the city this summer so that all you need to do is show up, eat some food from a vendor and drink some sweet, sweet beer. You're welcome.

Barrie Beer Fest
What: The first annual Barrie Beer Fest will feature beer from a handful of local brewers, food from Sticky Fingers Bar and Grill, a tutorial about home draught installation, and music from 3MDM who are, apparently, "the best pub band in Canada!!!" (I guess that warrants three exclamation marks).
When: June 15 - 16
Where: The Barrie Curling Club, 175 Essa Road
How much: $18 if you buy online and $20 at the door. Group rates also available

Beach BBQ & Brews Festival
What: A ribfest featuring BBQ, live music, kid friendly rides, and a beer garden featuring seven different craft breweries.
When: June 15 - 17
Where: Woodbine Park, Toronto (Coxwell & Lakeshore East)
How much: Free

Ontario Craft Beer Week
What: The third annual tribute to Ontario's independent brewers, featuring the Ontario Craft Brewers' 29 members and comprising hundreds of events all across Ontario, including various food and beer collaborations, tap takeovers, and pub crawls. The week prior to the festival, we'll feature a comprehensive guide to the events occuring in Toronto during the week.
When: June 17 - 23
Where: All across Ontario
How much: The cost of events varies.

Session 99 Craft Beer Festival
What: Sort of the unofficial close of Ontario Craft Beer Week, Session 99 features food, 100 different beers, live music from a 12-piece soul band, an award-winning illusionist and two stand-up comics.
When: June 23
Where: 99 Sudbury Street
How Much: The day is broken into two "sessions," 1pm-4pm and 6pm-9pm. A ticket for each session will cost you $45.20 in advance or $50 at the door.

The Summer Festival of Craft Breweries
What: C'est What's annual summer beer festival features 40 Canadian craft beers to sample.
When: June 22 and June 23. 3:00 pm each day.
Where: C'est What, 67 Front Street East
How much: Free

Summer Beer Festivals TorontoToronto Festival of Beer
What: Beer from over 60 different worldwide brewers featuring over 200 different brands, in addition to cider and "ready-to-drink" beverages (i.e. coolers and pre-made cocktails). The event also features a "World of Beer Pavillion" featuring food and beer from one region. This year features Quebec. Unlike other festivals where you'll drink beer from plastic cups, The Toronto Festival of Beer proudly boasts that everyone attending receives a commemorative glass stein.
When: July 27 - 29
Where: Bandshell Park at The Exhibition Centre
How much: $38.50 for each day. Includes five drink tickets, a glass stein, and a guide to the events

Queer Beer Festival
What: The Queer Beer Festival isn't so much it's own festival as it is an additional, unofficial kick-off to The Toronto Festival of Beer. From the same organizers, this festival likewise boasts 200+ brands of beer but is also billed as a "celebration of diversity in tribute with the gay, lesbian and trans communities."
When: July 26
Where: Bandshell Park, Exhibition Place
Cost: $38.50

Hart House Craft Beer Festival
What: The 5th annual Hart House Craft Beer Festival features small craft breweries from across Canada and food by Hart House Executive Chef Marco Tucci.
When: August 2, 7:00pm
Where: Hart House, University of Toronto
How much: $35 for adults or $30 for students. Group rates also available

Muskoka Beer Festival
What: If you're headed to cottage country this summer, why not check out this day of craft beer tastings, local food, and live entertainment?
When: August 25 (It seems like their website hasn't been updated in a few years, but I confirmed with the organizer that the event is indeed happening and the info for directions and parking online is still accurate).
Where: Annie Williams Park, Bracebridge, Ontario
How much: Admission is $20 and drink tickets will run you $1, but that includes a commemorative taster glass.

Toronto Beer Week
What: Billing itself as "Toronto's premiere craft beer celebration," Beer Week is the brainchild of a handful of some of the city's most knowledgeable beer enthusiasts and will comprise of a beer-focused dinner, pub crawls, tap takeovers, and samplings of one-offs and beer rarities. This event is dedicated to the advancement of the craft beer movement and proudly boasts "no bland mega beer permitted!"
When: September 14 - 22
Where: Various venues across the city.
How much: Costs vary per event



Jeff / June 5, 2012 at 11:00 am
It is all about marketing obviously... Get a night full of people that may or may not go during the rest of the weekend but aim it at the "queer" crowd. I always thought the use of the word "queer" was offensive, guess not..
Comments / June 5, 2012 at 11:10 am
Disappearing...much like elephants at Markham Zoo...
Derek replying to a comment from Comments / June 5, 2012 at 11:13 am
Yup, and homophobic comments will continue to disappear.
Comments / June 5, 2012 at 11:28 am
Nothing homophobic about asking if someone from the gay community could answer the questions posed above.
Cyril Sneer replying to a comment from kettle / June 5, 2012 at 11:56 am
Yes, of course.
Cyril Sneer replying to a comment from Why? / June 5, 2012 at 11:58 am
There doesn't "need" to be, and its not an issue of permission. It just serves as a social activity for meeting other (gay) dudes who like beer. Duh.
IL / June 5, 2012 at 11:58 am
You forgot about the Brewers Market every sunday at the Wychwood Barns!!
Queer / June 5, 2012 at 12:04 pm
Clearly the festival was made out of a clear wish for it. Beer festivals are normally targeted towards (or the main audience that is attracted is) heterosexual men, although most heterosexual men and LGBT do get along the fact is a lot of LGBT do not feel comfortable or safe.

It is simply a place for LGBT to celebrate the same things as everybody else, and not feel scared/awkward/whatever. Everyone can participate in any event, the LGBT community is always welcoming. It isn't a matter of segregation on the side of LGBT.
Lilian replying to a comment from Why? / June 5, 2012 at 12:18 pm
I dont understand -- does the concept of St. Patrick's Day and Carribana make your head explode, too?
Lilian replying to a comment from Comments / June 5, 2012 at 12:24 pm
Of course it's homophobic/heterosexist and obtuse to presume someone with lgbtq affiliations would have to explain to straight people why the use of social events to create safe spaces for that marginalized group, would be necessary.

(This is the part where you passive aggressively demand a Straight Beer Festival without the slightest hint of irony.)
Maybe replying to a comment from Derek / June 5, 2012 at 12:25 pm
they should be kept, as a record of creeps to keep an eye on.
Queer replying to a comment from Lilian / June 5, 2012 at 12:29 pm
Lilian is right.

No explanation is needed.
Comments replying to a comment from Lilian / June 5, 2012 at 12:37 pm
Maybe replying to a comment from Comments / June 5, 2012 at 12:42 pm
Pretty much my reaction to your silly remarks.
Timothy Taylor / June 5, 2012 at 12:50 pm
the biggest shame is that some of these beer festivals serve 1) lager and 2) alcho-pops! insanity, canada needs its own CAMRA to put on a real beer festival.
Lilian replying to a comment from Timothy Taylor / June 5, 2012 at 12:58 pm
I'm still a complete beer novice, but glad I wasn't crazy for tilting my head at the inclusion of alcho-pops!...
Josh / June 5, 2012 at 11:58 pm
Ahhhh Yeah!!! Bring it on Beer Festival Season! Love it Love it! Ahhh man the beer the sun.
Other Cities: Montreal