ontario craft beer week

The top 15 events at Ontario Craft Beer Week 2015

Ontario Craft Beer Week kicks off today for the sixth tribute to the great beers made by the Ontario Craft Brewers member organization. There are hundreds of events occurring across the province, but as you can imagine, all the good events are being held in Toronto because obviously.

As with previous years, OCB Week is something of a double-edged sword: It's the excellent excuse you've been looking for to drink every night for a week, but it's also overwhelming how many bloody options there are to get your craft beer fix. Thankfully, you have me to steer you toward the good ones. Just think of me as your tipsy goodwill ambassador.

Here are my picks for the top events at OCB Week this year.

Various times

LCBO craft beer tastings
The LCBO gets in on the craft beer week fun with a variety of brewery-specific tastings over the course of the week, featuring beers like Wellington Brewery, Beau's, Railway City, Muskoka, Great Lakes, and many more.

Friday June 12

Lake of Bays Tap Takeover at The Roncy Public
6:00 pm - 10:00 pm
We don't really get a chance to try most of Muskoka's Lake of Bays Brewery's lineup here in Toronto and, to be honest, craft beer fans don't get a lot of the good stuff in Roncesvalles, so this is a great opportunity on both fronts. Try Crosswind Pale Ale, Rock Cut Baysville Lager, Spark House Red Ale, and 10 Point IPA.

Saturday June 13

Griffin Session Toronto
For better or for worse, Session Toronto is THE event of OCB Week these days. What was once the unofficial piss-up at the end of the week for industry folks is now a no-holds-barred shindig at Yonge and Dundas Square that sees dozens of breweries shamelessly pairing up with celebrities for a shot at an LCBO listing.

Corner Block Party
When you think of the Irish, you think of BBQ and Ontario craft beer, and that's why The Corner House Irish Pub will be hosting a BBQ tonight serving unique offerings from Wellington Brewery, Black Oak Brewing Co, and Sawdust City Brewing Co. Slåinte, bitches.

Sunday June 14

Collingwood Brewery presents: RunTOBeer at Tequila Bookworm
For some reason, there is a growing number of people who like to combine running with drinking beer. While I'm personally more of a "walk slowly to beer" kind of dude, Toronto's craft beer running club, RunTOBeer, is leading the charge in runs followed by "recovery" beers.

Monday June 15

Beau's + Beast Beer Dinner

Beer Writer pro tip: I've learned that you can usually tell the awesomeness of a beer dinner by the ranking of the representatives the brewery sends to attend. If you see that the "Sales and Community Manager Guy" is hosting the dinner, take a pass. If you see that Beau's All Natural Co-founder Steve Beauchesne and Brew Master Matt O'Hara are attending, sign the eff up.

Tuesday June 16

Vinyl Nite
If you haven't been to the Monarch Tavern lately well...actually it's pretty much the same as it always has been--except these days there's good beer on tap. Go see for yourself on Tuesday when they bust out old records and spin entire sides. As a bonus, there are cheap pints of Beau's Lug Tread ($4) to be had. It's a night so cool they had to misspell night to convey its epic coolness.

Great Lakes Brewery and Left Field Brewery Beer Dinner at Morgan's
I'm a sucker for a beer dinner and this one, hosted by two of Toronto's best breweries, seems slated to be a good one. Hosted by Left Field's co-founders Mark and Mandie Murphy along with Great Lake's Sales and Community Manager Guy Troy Burtch, this event will see four courses prepared by Chopped Canada winner Chef Anne Sorenti paired with GLB and LFB mainstays as well as some rarities from the cellar. $59.99

Wednesday June 17

Brews and Balls
It's not often that craft beer is paid with pinball, but it's clearly awesome so this has all the makings of becoming an official thing. On Wednesday, Ottawa's Big Rig Brewery takes over the taps at Junction City Music Hall, who will put out a selection of pinball machines. You had me at balls! Wait...

Hopped up Hump Day Beer Dinner
Cafe Belong will welcome Muskoka Brewery President Gary McMullen as he hosts a five course meal paired with his company's beers. Gary's flagship beer, Muskoka Cream Ale just celebrated its 19th birthday. The guys knows a lot about beer and is a hell of a nice guy to boot. Eat dinner with him, already! $65.

Nickel Brook Tap Takeover at Thirsty and Miserable
Nickel Brook's beers are awesome and Thirsty and Miserable, Kensington's most awesome bar, will be devoting all eight of their taps to Nickel Brook Wednesday. Do you really need more information?

Thursday June 18

The Ladies Pub Strut
5:30pm start
In an industry largely dominated by dudes, it's important to celebrate the fantastic ladies gettin' er done in craft beer. Hit up this women-only craft beer pub crawl and raise a glass (or seven) to the women of Ontario craft beer by visiting bars that are all owned by women. You'll hit Sauce, Brass Taps, Louis Cifer, Das Gasthaus, The Old Nick, and The Auld Spot.

Untapped Brewmaster's Dinner at the Mill Street Brew Pub
There are few people making beer in Ontario who are as clearly passionate about making beer as Mill Street's Joel Manning. The guy simple digs beer and it's obvious. Accordingly, the dinners he hosts at Mill Street's brew pub are reliably great. If you've never been to one, go to this five course meal for $69.99. Go on, go!

Out in Left Field Beer Dinner
You can't actually get a local craft beer at the Rogers Centre (making it the only stadium in the majors to have that distinction). Thankfully the persistent buggers at Left Field Brewery actually landed the Renaissance Downtown Toronto Hotel in the Rogers Centre as an account and are hosting a beer dinner overlooking left field at the Jays-Mets game Thursday. Hoist a few over a $60, four-course meal and rage at the powers at be (quietly though, it's a restaurant after all).

Friday June 19

The Beach BBQ and Brews Festival
Friday 3pm - Sunday 8pm
A family friendly and free event at Woodbine Park that features live music, rides for the kids, grilling demonstrations, and, a bunch of beer from brewers like Left Field, Sawdust City, Great Lakes, and Silversmith. It's fathers day weekend so toast your dad/kids/the fact that you don't have a dad/kids!

What did I miss? Add the events you're most excited about in the comments.

Ben Johnson also writes about beer over on Ben's Beer Blog. Follow him on twitter @Ben_T_Johnson.

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