My days of hitting up Bar 244 to get cheap beer are over. I’m not willing to sacrifice having my nice shoes trampled over or having people spill their drinks on me in (Rob Ford’s words) one of their “drunken stupors” to ruin my party dresses either. Sure there are great patios all across town doing their version of “happy hour,” but it’s usually only limited to a few beers on tap or the pricier import bottles. So, while trying to find a compromise between my need for vitamin D (at least whenever I can get it since Mother Nature has decided to screw us this year) and the need for variety, it seems Steam Whistle heard my prayers as its annual summer Roundhouse Craft Beer Fest returned this past weekend at the brewery.
There isn’t much that will stop me from going to Steam Whistle’s craft beer fests. Case in point: I also attended their winter craft beer fest – hand warmers and all.
I come from the generation of craft beer drinkers. The Molsons of our parents’ time no longer cut it for us, and Steam Whistle brings all the boys (and girls) to the yard while keeping the big conglomerate breweries out of our hair.
The cost of an afternoon of full-on beer drinking starts with $20 to $25 admission, and usually $10 worth of tokens is more than enough for me. To put things into perspective, a half pour is $1/sample and a full pour is $2. Food was available for purchase with cold hard cash.
If you can somehow muster up some stomach real estate after all the carbonated liquid gold has been consumed, a platoon of food trucks was on standby to keep you on your feet. Old-time favourites such as Fidel Gastro’s and Gorilla Cheese were there, but there were also a few food trucks making their festival debut, such as Kal & Mooy (an East African food truck which served up fresh samosas sans all the potato filler found in Indian ones) and Burgatory, which made me commit one of the deadly sins (gluttony) while I scarfed down their Greed Burger with bourbon, bacon and fries.
Being summer, most breweries had their lighter beers out, and while I tried several I found most of them low on flavour and not nearly cold enough for summer. Highlander Brew Co.’s Lion Grass Beer with lemongrass and dandelion was the exception as it was both cold enough and offered up flavour at the same time.
Flying Monkeys, my favourite brewery in Ontario, served up their usual Orange Mungus – which is always a go-to for me in summer months – but it was their Chocolate Manifesto milk stout that had me going gaga. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted Sugar Mamma’s Mini Donuts, and the rest, as they say, is history. Best pairing ever!
If you attended the Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival, what was your favourite part? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.