The one event that I look forward to the most during the beautiful and hot summer months has come and gone. The Annual Toronto Beer Festival has once again given me great memories, the inside scoop on the newest brews, a little 80’s music dance party, some sun and a little big of a hangover. This year’s event has held up to the others in the past and continues to offer a consistent amount of fun and organization – not to mention they gave away the cutest mini steins as the tasting mugs this year – Nice one guys!
I was pumped to be able to go again this year with media passes, this allowed me to go a couple times over the weekend and experience one of my favorite girl groups of all time – Salt and Pepa. My friend and I arrived Friday evening, we walked around the busy band shell park, ran into a few friends and as the sun went down we danced and sang loudly to ‘Whatta Man’ while sipping on Flying Monkey’s Berry Ale. It was a fantastic night. I made sure I took myself home at good time that night because I was doing it all over again the next day.
Saturday at Beer Fest is always the busiest; this gives it a way different vibe than the other days. The drunken college kids all come out to play which is pretty funny to watch however, to me, Beer Fest is all about tasting and enjoying the many different beers while those guys just come to get drunk, they don’t care what it is. Lucky for you, I care! I have picked out all my new, unique and hoppy faves from the weekend to share that you must try when you get the chance!
Once you arrive you need to pick up drink tokens, they sell these in bags of 20. The token booth line-ups are usually on the longer side but the wait goes by so fast. One token gets you a half pour and two tokens will get you a full one.
My tip: always go for the half pour because they usually over do it = more bang for your buck. Also if you are not diggin the beer, you don’t have to get through a whole glass of it.
The beers I loved:
Railway City: Platform 12. This was a stronger beer, dark in colour hoppy with a nice sweet after taste. This beer was my fave of the festival – I am always impressed by Railway City – they do it to me every time.
Mill St: Paradise IPA. A nice hoppy nose on it with lots of citrus, but a surprisingly sweet malty caramel note as well. A nice colour and smooth taste – the sweetness at the end does not make it taste like a full on IPA, it’s lacking that bitterness.
Lake of Bays: Spark House Red Ale. This one used to be call their Rouse – this has been on my faves list since last year. I wanted to mention it because they are changing the packaging.
Wellington Brewery: Boot Chuck. I always enjoy the beer coming out of Wellington Brewery and always look forward to a new brew from them each year. The Boot Chuck is an IPA that brings together the malt complexity of a British IPA with the bitter kick of an American IPA. Yummy!
Hogtown Brewers: Hogtown Ale. I finally got to try their beer – exciting! It was tasty and refreshing. It was a full flavor brew with the most crisp and clean palette – a great all around drinking beer.
I wish Sawdust City had their own booth this year. I am a big fan and have had it a few times on tap at a pub on Bloor called Brydens. I found their beer at the Mash Up tent but, mixed with another craft beer. I love this idea and loved trying the mixes but, I would have loved to share this fine brew as is with my buddies that day. So I hope we will see them next year!
I know most of these can only be found by going directly to the breweries themselves, however, give a few LCBOs a call or look out for them on tap at a few Toronto pubs.
See ya next year Beer lovers! What were your faves? Leave a comment or tweet to me @erinlovessfood