toronto festival of beer

10 rules for enjoying Toronto's Festival of Beer 2015

Toronto's Festival Beer is nothing if not aptly named. Taking place July 24-26 at Exhibition Place, it is, inarguably, the city's largest beer event. And while there are obvious benefits to attending an event that boasts that distinction (i.e. all the dang beer), you can't simply iron your drinking pants, hop on the TTC, and hope for the best. You need to plan if you want to make the most of an event this big.

Here are 10 mostly serious rules for enjoying Toronto's Festival of Beer.

1. Drink the beer
With over 60 brewers pouring 300+ brands of beer, there's going to be a lot of beer to try. I recommend being strategic. Skip the stuff you can get every day at the Beer Store (obvi), opt for the unique and interesting stuff that is seasonal or a one off, and make a point to visit to your local brewer to show some love to the folks making beer in your own backyard.

2. Bring cash
No one likes a lineup. Given that you'll probably be queuing up for everything from food to the privelge to urinate, plan ahead so that you can at least skip the line at the ATM.

3. Be patient
There will be roughly 30,000 people attending the event over the weekend and, given that they will all be drinking alcohol, there's bound to be at least a few examples of dickish behaviour. In order to make sure everyone is having a good time, chill out, take a deep breath and--hey look, there's beer everywhere! Why you mad, bro?

4. Try to shut off your inner cynic for the afternoon.
With a grilling tent sponsored by Labatt's, rides sponsored by Uber, seminars sponsored by the Prud'homme Beer Certification program, and a host of other sponsors, it's often tough to still see this event as a " celebration of Canada's rich brewing history." Enjoy some sunshine, find the good beer, and try to drink enough of it to silence the sound of cash registers ringing in your ears.

5. Don't drive, dummy.
I forget which Toronto taxi service we're supposed to be supporting this week, but whichever one it is, call them and arrange for transportation. Or take the 511 streetcar, which will drop you off right at Exhibition Place. If you're attending Ontario' s largest beer event, you're clearly going to drink, so plan ahead. There's literally no excuse for driving under the influence.

6. Cut the sleeves off your t-shirt.
Given that the event takes place in late July, it's bound to be hot. Why not stay cool by removing the clothing that covers the hottest part of the body, your upper arms? As an added bonus, exposing your guns is a universal symbol that you like to party.

7. Please don't tell any one how Irish you are
Each year the festival features a pavilion that highlights beer from a certain geographical area. This year the pavilion will host a slew of Irish brewers, Irish entertainment, and Irish celebrity chefs to give attendees the full Irish experience. Of course if you actually are Irish, try to find some shade.

8. Consider taking at least a short break from drinking at some point
The festival offers loads of brewers' round tables, chats with beer sommeliers, and even a course on pairing beer with cheese. Check out one of the talks and learn something about beer. Or at least read the description of one of the talks, say "that sounds interesting," and then continue drinking beer.

9. Embrace your sense of musical nostalgia
The TFOB boasts live music every night and, consistent with previous years, the 2015 lineup brings a healthy dose of "hey I remember those guys!" This year, get down to Naughty by Nature on Friday and 54-40 on Saturday.

10. Don't ogle the beer girls.
It's bad enough that some big beer companies see the need to send young women in low cut shirts to events like this just to help sell their overly-marketed, shitty beer. There's no need to perpetuate this classless, sexist business model by patronizing said beer companies or by being a perv.

Toronto's Festival of Beer runs Friday July 24-Sunday July 26. Friday and Saturday are already sold out but you can still buy tickets for Sunday starting at $39.50. More info here.

What did I miss? Add your tips and suggestions in the comments.

Ben Johnson also writes about beer over on Ben's Beer Blog. Follow him on twitter @Ben_T_Johnson or we will kill this dog.

Photo by Andrew Williamson


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