The top 10 beer events in Toronto for spring 2015
Spring might not actually be in the air, but it is technically here and, after a record cold February, I think we could all use a drink. Thankfully, there is no shortage of opportunities this season to get out of the house, meet some other winter-weary-humans and have a beer in the sunshine while we warm up for summer. Just be sure to bring a jacket.
Here are my top picks for beer events in Toronto this spring.
Cameron's March Blues Party Cask Night, March 26
Back again this year is the Oakville brewery's Blues Night. From 6:00-9:00 p.m. there will be blues music from Soulshaker, food from Liaison College, and, obviously, beer from Camerons (including cask offerings). $20 until March 24, $25 after.
Society of Beer Drinking Ladies Bevy #0014 March 28
This increasingly popular ladies-only beer tasting is celebrating its 14th event this week. Only open to ticket-holding women at an as-yet-undisclosed-location, the event opens up to non-ticket holders and dudes at midnight and will feature beer brewed just for the occasion.
The Brewer's Backyard Good Friday (April 3) and Victoria Day (May 18) Edition
International Man of Beer Mystery Cass Enright's long-weekend, family-friendly, and free beer events are an excellent opportunity to learn about, try, and meet the people behind the best beer Ontario has to offer--paired with local food vendors in the relaxed setting of the Evergreen Brick Works.
The Ontario Brewing Awards , April 9
Held at the Corus Quay Building, the Ontario Brewing Awards will this year celebrate their 12th year. The decidedly beer-industry--heavy event will honour the achievements of the province's brewers in 29 style-based categories. Who will win best Lime-A-Rita? We'll find out!
Toronto's Festival of Beer Spring Session, April 24 and 25
A two-day spring teaser for Toronto's Festival of Beer, the "Spring Session" this year will bring 20+ brewers to Sherbourne Common. $30 gets you in the door with five drink tokens and the opportuntiy to see Lowell on Friday and JJ and the Pillars on Saturday--plus you get a mug!
The Brewer's Plate, May 13
Featuring unlimited tastings from over 20 celebrated chefs and a smattering of local brewers (yep, unlimited beer) the focus of The Brewer's Plate on May 13 is sustainability and local products. Along with all that food and beer, part of your $125 ticket price goes to the Friends of the Greenbelt. It's a self-righteous foodie's dream date! (Location TBD)
The Second Toronto Craft Brew Cruise, June 6
Featuring an early sailing at 2pm and a later one at 7pm, both journeys of the second annual Craft Brew Cruise will take 500 craft beer fans out on the lake in The River Gambler for a three hour tour along Junction Craft Brewing, Oast House, Great Lakes Brewery, and others. Tickets are $45 and they sold out quickly last year.
Session Toronto, June 13
Session is an event that has outgrown its humble beginnings as an industry piss-up into a monstrous beer event in its own right. So humongous that last year they moved it to Yonge and Dundas Square just to keep up, there will be over 30 brewers there and, if you like beer events with lots of selection and a huge crowd of beer drinkers, this is the one to hit this spring. Tickets are $40 in advance or $50 at the door and there's also a "Princess Pass" that lets you skip the line and, presumably, comes with a tiara.
Ontario Craft Beer week, June 12-21st
Ontario Craft Beer Week is apparently so big that they've changed the definition of the word week to mean nine days. Wow! As in previous years, there will be a plethora of events hosted by the OCB's 50+ members, including tastings, dinners, collaborations and more. BlogTO will have our pick of the best Toronto events closer to the actual "week."
The non-event spring beer event
In case you're one of those people who are averse to lines, crowds, sunshine, or the sample sizes at beer events, there are plenty of options for good ol' fashioned "just drinkin'" this spring. The city's brewers offer up myriad great beers made right here that you can take home to drink in the comfort of your home and there is no shortage of great craft beer bars, both popular and a little off-the-radar, in which you might easily while away an afternoon without having to buy a ticket.
Ben Johnson also writes about beer over on Ben's Beer Blog. Follow him on twitter @Ben_T_Johnson or we'll kill this dog.
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