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Eat & Drink

Toronto's first Winter Brewfest leaves a bad taste

Posted by Liora Ipsum / February 22, 2016

WinterBrew Fest TorontoWinter Brewfest took place over the weekend at the Enercare Centre and while the beer festival had a successful run in Ottawa earlier this month, Toronto beer drinkers seemingly saw the glass half empty... er, more like three-quarters empty. Reviews posted to the event's Facebook page were almost unanimously negative.

The pitiful pours might have been an issue of optics; the 16 ounce sample mugs looked especially sad at just four-ounces full. The cost also left a bitter taste for most attendees who seemed unsatisfied to shell out an average of four tokens ($1 each) for a quarter pint.

Winter BrewFest TorontoOne thing that did impress was the promise of 50-plus brewers in attendance from across Ontario, Quebec and beyond. Unfortunately, the pre-printed postcards outlining the brews on offer weren't accurate as I'm told that many had sold out on the first night and that new "surprise" brews had been subbed in.

Even still, the sheer selection was awesome. Alas, only a few breweries manned their own stations, which left the rest in the hands of volunteers; some with more skill than others.

WinterBrew Fest TorontoOne bar was devoted exclusively to Quebec brands, another was all about Ontario, while another dealt in a potpourri of brands. Ordering was a chaotic process and there was little no time for chit- chat with beer makers.

winter brewfestAside from beer, other attractions included a DJ, a carnival game and food trucks. It seemed like a well thought out event, though lacking in execution.

winter brewfest


winter brewfestPhotos by Hector Vasquez.
Other Cities: Montreal