Ontario Craft Beer Week

Ontario Craft Beer Week preview 2013

Ontario Craft Beer Week arrives on Sunday for their fourth annual excuse to drink for a week tribute to the great beers that this province has to offer. There are over 30 participating Ontario brewers hosting 150+ events across the province and as you can imagine given that this city is the centre of the universe, a large number of them are occurring right here in Hogtown.

The week will offer all manner of beer and food pairings, brewmaster's dinners, pub crawls, brewer collaborations, celebrations of cask ales and one-offs and much, much more, so, while it's tempting to try to attend all the events (and I applaud your moxie for thinking of it) it would quite literally be impossible (not to mention detrimental to your health).

So to help you plan your week of libations, I've taken the liberty of selecting a few highlights in order to whittle the comprehensive list of every event happening in Ontario to a manageable two or three local events each day so all you have to worry about is ironing your drinking pants.

Sunday June 16

Beach BBQ and Brews Festival
Kick off your Ontario Craft Beer Week with a family friendly event that will feature BBQ, live music, and, obviously, copious amounts of craft beer. Bonus: Beer drinking dads can spend one last say with the kids before embarking on a week of drinking!
WHERE: Woodbine Park, East Corner of Lakeshore Blvd East and Coxwell Avenue. Toronto, M4C 4E6
WHEN: June 16, 2013, 12:00 PM - 8:00 PM
HOW MUCH: Free Admission, individual vendor prices will vary

Monday June 17

Neustadt Beer Tasting and Tap Take-over at Get Well
People who know beer have long known Neustadt Brewery as something of hidden gem when it comes to Ontario's craft beer scene; however, with this event at Get Well featuring six different Neustadt beers on tap and representatives on hand to chat about the beer, it seems likely the secret is about to get out. Get yourself to Get Well on Monday so you can tell people you've been drinking Neustadt beer since before it was cool.
WHERE: Get Well Bar, 1181 Dundas St W Toronto, M6J 1X4
WHEN: June 17, 2013, 6:00 PM - 2:00 AM
HOW MUCH: Free Admission, pints will cost you (Pacman is free!)

Cruisin' the Danforth - Multi-Brewery Pubcrawl
Hosted by reps from Great Lakes Brewery, Steam Whistle, King Brewery, Cameron's and Wellington Brewery, the Cruisin' the Danforth pubcrawl will feature specialty beers and one offs from each brewer along the way with stops at Relish Bar & Grill, Sarah's Cafe, Sauce, Morgans, and The Only Cafe. Expect prizes, loads of great beer, and, if you're lucky, a shirtless Troy Burtch, Great Lakes sales rep and Danforth pub crawl expert.
WHERE: Various Locations on the Danforth
WHEN: June 17, 2013, 6:00 PM - 2:00 AM
HOW MUCH: Free Admission, but it's probably wise to bring cash for drinks at each bar

Tuesday June 18, 2012

King Brewery Tap Takeover at the Mugshot Tavern
Check out the beers from King Brewery, a great brewery just north of us in Nobleton, as they take over the taps at Mugshot Tavern. Among other goodies, you'll have a chance to try an un-filtered version their excellent pilsner.
WHERE: The Mugshot Tavern, 1729 Bloor Street W Toronto, M6P 1B2
WHEN: June 18, 2013, 6:00 PM - 1:00 AM
HOW MUCH: Free Admission

Beau's Meal with a Mentor
Two great brewers, a four course meal, and a great venue on the Danforth: Beau's brewmaster Matthew O'Hara will be cohosting the dinner at The Auld Spot with his mentor Michael Hancock, the man responsible for the beers at Denison's brewery. In addition to a menu that actually features some form of pork for every course (including "boarchetta" and bacon for desert), the evening will afford you an opportunity to get the inside scoop about Hancock's latest venture, starting up Side Launch Brewing Company in Collingwood, Ontario.
WHERE: The Auld Spot Pub, 347 Danforth Avenue Toronto, M4K 1N7
WHEN: June 18, 2013, 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM

Wednesday June 19

Over The Tap Takeover
Toronto's own Great Lakes Brewery, aka the Canadian Brewing Awards best brewery in the country for 2013, is joining forces with Beaus, the all-natural brewers from Vankleek Hill, to bring 36 beers and two cask offerings to Bar Hop, one of my personal favourite bars in the city. If that's not enough for you, rumour has it that Beau's will be bringing the beer they brewed in collaboration with Tom Green, a man who once drank milk directly from a cow's udder on TV, so...I'm sure it's gonna be tasty. Plus, the name of the event makes me think of a movie about arm wrestling.
WHERE: Bar Hop, 391 King Street West Toronto, M5V 1K1
WHEN: June 19, 2013, 1:00 PM - 2:00 AM
HOW MUCH: Free Admission, pints of Tom Green's beer will cost you

Cask Night at An Sibín Pub
Say what you will about the authenticity of the Irish Pub that replaced the Real Jerk, but it's hard to argue with an evening sampling one-off cask offerings from Ontario craft brewers. I feel like this night might go a long way to soothing sore Queen East residents bitter that their go to jerk spot was ousted by landlords. Why don't we all go give An Sibin a chance and drink some great Ontario cask ale?
WHERE: An Sibín Pub, 709 Queen Street East Toronto, M4M 1H1
WHEN: June 19, 2013, 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM
HOW MUCH: Free Admission

Beau's and Relish Bar & Grill Pick Up the Bill
I know this list already includes a couple offerings from Beau's, but I feel I'd be remiss to leave this one off for one simple reason: Free shit. For this one, Beau's and Relish Bar & Grill are offering up complimentary samples of Lug Tread as well as food from Relish's Chef Joanne Clayton. There's also going to be pints of the "Pan Ontario" beer, a barrel-aged collaboratio between Beau's, Flying Monkeys, Great Lakes, Amsterdam and Wellington (for sale. The Pan Ontario ain't free).
WHERE: Relish Bar & Grill, 2152 Danforth Avenue Toronto, M4C 1K3
WHEN: June 19, 2013, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

World Sauntering Day at Sauce
I'm not going to lie to you. This event is on the list mainly because it references "world sauntering day," which is not only fun to say, but is apparently celebrated on the 19th of June each year with the intention of reminding us to slow down and take it easy. Sounds good to me. So why not saunter your lazy ass to Sauce for some Cameron's and Flying Monkeys beers?
WHERE: Sauce, 1376 Danforth Avenue Toronto, M4J 1N9
WHEN: June 19, 2013, 4:00 PM - 12:00 AM
HOW MUCH: Free Admission

Thursday June 20

The Pilsner Punchout!
We beer snobs occasionally overlook less bold and easier to drink styles like pilsners and it's a shame given that we actually have some really great examples brewed right here in Ontario. Case in point, King Brewery in Nobleton and our own Steam Whistle Brewery. On Thursday, the two brewers will go head to head and if you miss your chance to try King Pilsner unfiltered at Mugshot on Tuesday, you can try it here against the even more rare unfiltered Steam Whistle--a delicacy that the "good beer folks" brewers have been known to take home for themselves.
WHERE: An Sibín Pub, 709 Queen Street East Toronto, M4M 1H1
WHEN: June 20, 2013, 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM
HOW MUCH: Free Admission

Black Oak Board Games Roadshow at The Only Cafe
It's a little known fact among massive nerds Cattan enthusiasts that the folks at Black Oak have been combining two great things on a semi-regular basis at their brewery: namely board games and craft beer. For OCB week they're taking their show (and Monopoly and Snakes and Ladders) on the road to The Only Café, one of the city's best beer bars. There will be a fantastic line-up of Black Oak beers, the sound of rolling dice and, probably, people with the longest road going home winners.
WHERE: The Only Café, 972 Danforth Ave Toronto, M4J 1M1
WHEN: June 20, 2013, 6:30 PM - 9:30 PM
HOW MUCH: Free Admission

Exploring Beer Cocktails and Mixes
If you've ever been curious about ways to ruin a perfectly good beer, this event hosted by Certified Beer Sommelier Doug Appeldoorn will show you how to do just that with fruit, herbs, and other commonly available ingredients. Plus the event takes place at Grapefruit Moon so there's guaranteed to be limited seating. What fun!
WHERE: Grapefruit Moon, 968 Bathurst Street Toronto, M5R 3G6
WHEN: June 20, 2013, 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
HOW MUCH: Free Admission

Friday June 21

Mill Street Brewery's Strange Brew
Billing itself as a "celebration of craft beer, rock n' roll, and the unusual" Strange Brew will feature performances by Dwayne Gretzky and other musical acts, as well as (I shit you not) sideshow weirdos, a mind reader, and a bearded lady. Oh yeah, there will also be beer from Black Oak, Lake of Bays, Mill Street, Neustadt and Steam Whistle. See if you can drink enough to hit on the bearded lady.
WHERE: Strange Brew, 50 Edwin Avenue, Toronto, M6P 3Z5
WHEN: June 21, 2013, 8:00 PM - 2:00 AM
HOW MUCH: $20.00

Ontario Craft Brewery Tours
It might seem like focusing on how it's made is an unnecessary exercise in cutting down on your time spent drinking it, but there's something to be said for taking an educational visit to a few of our city's breweries to appreciate the work that goes into bringing delicious local beer to our glasses. Ontario Craft Brewery Tours offers just that, taking those who are interested in where beer comes from before it hits our bellies on a behind the scenes look at three of Great Lakes Brewery, Black Oak Brewery, Steam Whistle Brewery, Mill Street Brewery, or Amsterdam Brewery.
WHERE: Ontario Craft Brewery Tours will pick you up at Union Station
WHEN: You can contact the organizers about arranging a tour on pretty much any day you like but tours typically run from 1:00 PM - 4:30 PM
HOW MUCH: $55.00

Saturday June 22

Session Toronto
If you're going to hit up only one event for Ontario Craft Beer Week, for my money it should be this one. The official closing festival of the week will feature live music, food trucks, a selection of special collaboration beers in addition to a great lineup of offerings from 21 Ontario brewers (and one from BC but that's OK), and it all goes down in the excellent event space (there's an ATM now!) at Wychwood Barns.
WHERE: Wychwood Barns, 76 Wychwood Ave Toronto, M6G 4C6
WHEN: June 22, 2013, 4:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Sunday, June 23

Summer BBQ and Cask at the Granite Brewery
Really? You're still drinking? OK, well, we need to talk about your problem, but first I guess we may as well hit up the Granite Brewery for one last hurrah. Along with a menu that includes BBQ, vegetarian options, and tacos, Granite will be celebrating the start of summer with some limited-edition cask offerings including Summer Ale, Galactic Pale Ale, and an Extra Special Bitter. Send what's left of your liver off in style before next year's OCB Week rolls around again.
WHERE: Granite Brewery, 245 Eglinton Ave East Toronto, M4P 3B7
WHEN: June 23, 2013, 2:30 PM - 6:00 PM
HOW MUCH: Free Admission, food and drinks will cost you

Ben Johnson also writes about beer over on Ben's Beer Blog.

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