Well, it took its sweet time, but we seem to be actually getting a warm summer now and that means that we’re all more prone to going out and having some fun.
As you’ve no doubt heard, this weekend is the Toronto Festival of Beer, arguably the city’s largest beer festival. However, if watching dudebros and dudebrahs fall down a lot doesn’t sound like your idea of a good time, then maybe consider some of these alternatives that are happening throughout town. They’re slightly better than watching a guy with an Entourage muscle shirt fall down and go boom.
Brasserie Dunham Tap Takeover – July 25th, 12:00pm
Bar Volo (587 Yonge Street)
With over 26 beers on draught and cask as well as a selection of specialty bottles, all from Brasserie Dunham, one of Quebec’s best breweries, this is truly a beer event no one should miss out on and indeed one of the many reasons that Bar Volo is considered one of the foundations of the Toronto craft beer scene.
“Venture Off The Beaten Path” with RunTOBeer – July 28th, 7:00pm
Hill Crest Ave & Amelia Street (Cabbagetown)
Because it feels good to burn off a few calories with a good run before having a few beers. This particular run, Starting in Cabbagetown, going through the Beltline Trail, and ending at Midtown Gastro Hub, is the first in a three part Toronto running series in association with Muskoka Brewery, with a final run being in Muskoka during the fall. Taking part in the run will earn you a free glass of Muskoka Detour Session IPA which will in turn enter you in a draw to win free transportation to the Muskoka run. Each additional Detour you order will increase your chances of winning, but…don’t go crazy. Distance is 5k and each run will be held on a Tuesday, with all free to join. For more info about next week’s run, check out the Facebook event page.
Eyesore Cinema’s Second Story Screening Series – July 30th, 8PM
Upshtairs at Tequila Bookworm (512 Queen Street West)
Sometimes one of the great joys in life is to sit down with a few good beers, watch a hilariously bad movie, and crack a few jokes. Eyesore Cinema, the incredible video store with a specialty in the best of the worst hosts a screening at Tequila Bookworm’s upstairs venue every third or fourth Thursday of the month, showing a choice film and serving tallboys of some very decent craft beer alongside. $10 will gain you entrance and a beer, and the owner usually has a few DVDs for sale. This month’s screening is “Cry Wilderness”, the incredibly heartwarming story of an 11 year-old boy befriending Bigfoot and helping the creature avoid being caught by people mistaking it for an escaped Tiger. Really. That’s the synopsis. Family drama, the ongoing power struggle common in the conflict of man vs. beast, and the incredible power of friendship are all elements at play in this captivatingly bad movie. Prepare for shouted riffs from the audience and a lot of laughs. Keep an eye on future events through their Facebook page.
The Society of Beer Drinking Ladies – July 31st, 8PM
Since first starting up a year and a half ago, The Society of Beer Drinking Ladies have provided an incredibly comfortable female-only space for folks both new and experienced to the world of beer. Each bevy they throw has some new and interesting beers and takes place in a different location every time. Held on the last Friday of every month, expect an incredibly positive environment and to make more than a few friends. As of writing this, there are only a few tickets left for the upcoming bevy at the end of the month, but stay tuned to their social media outlets for news on future events.
Cask Conditioned Beer at Evergreen Brick Works Sunday Farmer’s Market – Every Sunday, 12-3pm
Evergreen Brick Works (550 Bayview Avenue)
Speaking of Volo, the folks at one of their other projects, the infamous Cask Days, have teamed up with Evergreen to present a ten week cask beer and cider feature, happening every Sunday until September 13th at the Evergreen Farmer’s Market. The feature will showcase four offerings from a particular brewery each week. This coming Sunday’s feature will be Granite Brewery, and samples of their Peculiar Strong English Ale, Hopping Mad American IPA, Summer Ale, and Galactic American Pale Ale will be at the ready. For more details on future pourings, check out the Cask Days web site.
Now, events are all well and good, but sometimes you just want a good beer and leave things at that. Well, you’re covered there as well. Here are a few choice picks I’ve been enjoying this summer.
Great Lakes Brewery Limp Puppet Session IPA – 3.8% ABV
By far one of my favourite session (session = 4.5-5% ABV or under and thus easy to drink a lot of) IPAs in the city and now, thankfully, available in LCBOs for $2.80 a can. Limp Puppet features beautiful notes of citrus and pine in the aroma that makes its way in to the taste along with some grapefruit in a wonderfully light mouthfeel. Ends nicely with a clean finish and lingering bitter aftertaste. All in all a beautifully crafted beer that is perfect for the weather.
Left Field Brewery Sunlight Park Saison – 5.7% ABV
Remember in the last article I wrote talking about the noise complaints Left Field Brewery has been dealing with, and that I suggested heading over there and trying their Sunlight Park Saison? Well, I’m saying it again, this time with more feeling. Named after Toronto’s first professional baseball stadium, Sunlight Park Saison is just gorgeous, pouring a nice golden colour, having a well balanced dryness to it, and a distinct note of grapefruit (freshly zested by the folks at the brewery). Really the best thing to do is to head over to the brewery yourself, try a sample of it in their tap room, and pick up a few bottles to take home.
West Avenue Heritage Dry Cider – 6.5% ABV
I know, I know, this isn’t a beer, but sometimes you just want a damn good cider to beat the heat, and West Avenue is the best local cidery for the job. Forget any preconceptions you have about cider being unbearably syrupy sweet, because you won’t find it here. Beautifully balanced in tartness from the apples and a dryness that leaves you wanting another sip, this beauty is only available in bars and is very much worth the cost of a pint. If you happen to be lucky enough to be in a bar with any of their bottled specialty ciders, do yourself a favour and order it.