The top 22 beer festivals near Toronto for 2016

The top beer festivals near Toronto for 2016 will draw you outside the GTA to get your fix of pilsners, lagers and ales. While the city has a number of beer events scheduled for the months ahead, it's nice to see what else Southern Ontario has to offer.

Here are my picks for the top beer festivals near Toronto this year.

The Beer Show (May 6-7)
The Beer Show is hitting the Bayside Centre in downtown Sarnia on the first weekend of May. The event will be showcasing beverages from breweries like Beau's, Mill St. and Samuel Adams.

Ajax Beerfest (May 7)
This event will bring twelve craft breweries and wineries, live music, buskers and giveaways to the Ajax Community Centre for one day only.

Albino Rhino Beer Festival (May 14)
The Sanctuary in Ridgeway, Ontario will be transformed into a beer lover's paradise for the Albino Rhino Beer Festival on May 14. You'll get to sample beer from Redline Brewhouse, Flying Monkeys and the Elora Brewing Company (and more) and snack on food truck eats.

Muskoka 24 Craft Beer Festival (May 21)
Spend part of the May 24 weekend sipping up brews and soaking up rays in Muskoka. The event will take place at River Mill Park and boast top-notch eats and beers by Highlander Brew Co., Barnstormer Brewing, Lake of Bays Brewing Company and more.

Kawartha Craft Beer Festival (June 10-11)
Peterborough's second annual craft beer fest will take over Millenium Park for the second weekend of June. Featured brewers include The Publican House Brewery, Smithavens Brewing Company and Bobcaygeon Brewing Company (among others).

King City Craft Beer and Food Truck Festival (June 11)
Memorial Park in King City will be hosting a bevy of food trucks and breweries for a day-long event on June eleventh. Expect to see familiar names like Cameron's, Beau's and Flying Monkeys.

YGK Craft Beer Festival (June 11)
The YGK Craft Beer Festival is hitting Fort Henry in July for an event featuring top secret brews, local food vendors, live music, activities and a ton of craft ciders and beers.

Beer & BBQ Show (June 17-19)
Beer and BBQ are a match made in heaven, so making the trek to London is totally worth your while. If your interests go beyond the world of brews and brisket, there will also be wine and spirits to sample plus a bevy of music, games and tastings.

Canada's Wonderland Brew & BBQ Festival (June 25-26)
Instead of making a beeline for the Leviathan, head to the Action Zone to get your hands on some BBQ and local craft beer. Details are still TBA, but entry to the event will be free with Park admission.

Parry Sound Beer Festival (July 2)
Make your way to Waubuno Beach for a Canada Day weekend bash fit for brew lovers. There will be live music, games, food trucks and (of course) plenty of beer.

Funkfest (July 2)
Sawdust City Brewery in Gravenhurst will fill its space with barrel-aged berliners, fruit brews and kombuchas from 17 ontario craft breweries on July 2. Aside from beverages, there will be funk bands, demonstrations, food trucks and a juice bar.

Because Beer (July 8-9)
Because Beer offers a great introduction to craft brews, with more than 30 craft beer companies attending. If you want to showcase your own homebrew, feel free to enter this year's Because Beer Homebrew Competition.

Cornwall Summer Beer Fest (July 9)
Head to the Jet Set Pub on July 9 for Cornwall's largest craft beer event. Last year's fest featured over 35 beers and ciders from 15 breweries and this year is going to be even bigger. For now, details are still under wraps.

Durham Craft Beer Festival (July 9)
Buster Rhino's Authentic Southern BBQ in Durham will be hosting this year's craft beer event. Expect to find beers and ciders from popular local brands like Muddy York Brewing Co., Falcon Brewing Co. and Steam Whistle.

Downtown Kitchener Rib & Beer Festival (July 15-17)
The Downtown Kitchener Ribfest & Craft Beer Show will put the spotlight on BBQ and local brews. Beverages will be supplied by Black Oak Brewing, Double Trouble Brewing Co., Muskoka Brewery, Wellington Brewery and more.

Session Muskoka (July 30)
The northern brother of Session Toronto touches down in Annie Williams Park at the end of July. It will boast beverages from over 25 breweries and a few spirits (for those who like something a little stronger than your average ale). Live entertainment and food will be plentiful.

Niagara Craft Beer Festival (August 5-7)
The location of this fest has yet to be announced, but it's promising over 100 small batch craft beers and ciders, dishes by Niagara's top eateries and a healthy dose of live music and entertainment.

Forest City Craft Beer Fest (August 13)
London's annual celebration of craft brews is returning to Covent Garden Market mid-august. Details about this year's event are still hush hush, but you can expect an impressive roster of craft brews and local eats.

Niagara Falls Beer Festival (August 13-14)
From August 13 to 14 three city blocks on Queen Street in Niagara Falls will be taken over by beer vendors and live performers. Aside from a kickass roster of breweries, you'll get to see Wave reunite and Dave Faustino DJ.

Hamilton Beer Festival (August 19-20)
Bayfront Park will play host to the third annual Hamilton Beer Festival. The event is still working out its brewery and entertainment lineups, so keep your eyes on its social channels for details.

Kingston Rib Fest & Craft Beer Show (September 9-11)
The Kingston Rib Fest & Craft Beer Show will showcase BBQ ribs and chicken, craft-brewed beer and live entertainment in Memorial Centre Park.

La Salle Craft Beer Festival (October 7-8)
The La Salle Craft Beer Festival will play host to a ton of breweries at the beginning of October. As expected, the event planners haven't released many details yet, so you'll have hold tight for a little longer.

What did I miss? Add more Ontario beer festivals to the comments section.

Photo by Jesse Milns.


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