Get ready for nine packed days of Ontario craft beer goodness.
Get ready to show a little provincial pride, because today kicks off a nine-day celebration of Ontario beer with the arrival of Ontario Beer Week.
Put on by the Ontario Craft Brewers, an organization with more than 150 breweries as active members, Ontario Craft Beer Week gives local breweries their time to shine. It’s a fantastic sign of just how far the province’s beer scene has coming along, sporting more than 200 events across the province for nine days.
Historically, Ontario Craft Beer Week events have been low-key: a tap takeover here, a sampling event there. But if you’re looking to step it up a bit, there are always a few events worth checking out. This year the options are far from disappointing, featuring festivals, beer dinners, and even a road trip to Buffalo.
Here are just some of the events happening around the city that you won’t want to miss.
WHEN: Friday June 10, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
WHERE: Steam Whistle Brewery
HOW MUCH?: $30
Kick off Ontario Craft Beer Week in style at the Steam Whistle Roundhouse. For $30, you get an unlimited sampling of a massive variety of Ontario craft beers and a chance to win some awesome prizes.
WHEN: Saturday June 11, 2:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
WHERE: Left Field Brewery (36 Wagstaff Drive) or corner of Lower Simcoe and Bremner
HOW MUCH?: $65
While tomorrow is calling for rain here in Toronto, across the border the Buffalo Bisons will be playing against the Charlotte Knights at Coca-Cola Field, and baseball-themed Left Field Brewery is planning on being there with a busload of beer and baseball fans. Purchase of a ticket gets you on the bus bound for Buffalo, two Left Field beers, a special reserved seat for the game, and a reminder of how bad the Rogers Centre beer options are by checking out the selection at Coca-Cola Field.
WHEN: Saturday June 11, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (ladies only), 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
WHERE: Dundas Square
HOW MUCH?: $40 (general admission), $100 (Princess Pass)
Always the highlight of Ontario Craft Beer Week, Session is a fantastic beer festival featuring some of the best offerings of the province, including many one-off collaboration beers for their famous “Collaboration Nation” contest. This includes Muskoka Brewery’s beer with musical group the Born Ruffians. Ruff Draught Tropical Blonde Ale features distinct tropical flavours like mango with a malty, slightly bitter finish.
The festival is broken up into two sessions. For the first one, the Society of Beer Drinking Ladies has taken over, making the entire four-hour session ladies only. At 5 p.m., admission opens up to everyone. A general ticket will get you a sampling glass, five beer tokens, and access to the more than 100 beers in the festival. For a special treat, $100 will get you the “Princess Pass,” which includes more beer tokens, a catered private area, and no lines at the entrance, making for an altogether more exclusive experience.
WHEN: Wednesday June 15, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
WHERE: Granite Brewery (245 Eglinton Avenue East)
HOW MUCH?: $70
Join Granite Brewery brewmaster Mary Beth Keefe as she leads you through her beers paired with the Toronto brewpub’s incredible food, which includes a choice of entree of chicken supreme, angus strip loin, or organic trout.
WHEN: Sunday June 12, 10:30 a.m.
WHERE: Trinity Bellwoods Park
HOW MUCH?: Free
Feeling a bit guilty about all that beer you consumed the night before? As always, RunTOBeer has got you covered with 15k, 10k, 5k, and 3k running options to 3030 Dundas West, where a complimentary beer from Niagara’s Oast House Brewery awaits you. To sign up for a spot, go to RunTOBeer’s submission page, and for details on the distance trails, watch its Facebook page for updates.
Can’t make it to this event? No worries. There’s another run on June 19, which teams up with Side Launch Brewery and the Loose Moose.
WHEN: Wednesday June 15, 6 p.m. to midnight
WHERE: Duke’s Refresher (8-382 Yonge Street)
HOW MUCH?: Free (pay for your beer)
Living in Toronto, it’s easy to think that in terms of excellent quality beer, there are slim pickings north of the city limits. Duke’s Refresher is setting out to prove that view wrong by offering 12 taps from four of Northern Ontario’s finest breweries: Side Launch, Collingwood, Muskoka, and Sawdust City. Get a taste of the cottage experience right here in Toronto.
WHEN: Friday June 17, 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday June 18, 1:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
WHERE: Edward Village North York (185 Yorkland Boulevard)
HOW MUCH?: $30 to $60
Because who doesn’t love another beer festival? Held at Edward Village North York, a 10-minute walk from Don Mills Station (or a short shuttle bus drive away if you’re not feeling the whole walking thing), Toronto Craft Beer Festival sports 17 breweries, one cidery, and Auchentoshan distillery among its selections. Featuring musical guests such as the Paul James Band and the Carpet Frogs, and a fantastic selection of local food, this festival will prove to be a fantastic start to the weekend.