For the past four years I’ve been attending Toronto’s Festival of Beer. It is, to this day, one of my favourite summer festivals, combining sunshine, music, food, and, of course, beer. BeerFest is everything great about summer rolled into one spectacular weekend-long event.
On Saturday I headed down to Bandshell Park to get my drink on with several thousand other people interested in tasting one of the 300 beers on tap at the festival. With so many brewers present we were able to enjoy a plethora of new beers and ciders in the sunshine. I was pleasantly surprised to see a large cider selection available for tasting; ciders have become increasingly popular over the past couple of years with brands like Molson and Keith’s jumping on the trend and popularizing the boozey apple juice with the masses. The best cider of the day, however, didn’t hail from a major brand – instead it came to us courtesy of Toronto’s own Brickworks Ciderhouse. A new player in the space, Brickworks Ciderhouse Batch: 1904 is the first brew to come from Brickworks; after tasting it more than once, I’m sure it won’t be the last.
Among my favourite beer discoveries of the day was another Toronto local, Kensington Brewing Company. While KBC is known around town for their delightfully hoppy FishEYE-PA, it was their Watermelon Wheat Beer that I found most exciting. It’s very easy for a fruit beer to taste like someone put candy in your beer, but the KBC Fruit Stand Watermelon Wheat is a subtle flavour derived from real watermelon juices (no concentrate here) and is the perfect wheat beer for a hot summer’s day.
In between our mini pints of beer we enjoyed delicious beef jerky and bags of Neal Brothers Srirachup Chips – because nothing goes better with beer than chips and jerk. Except maybe some music, but the folks at BeerFest had that covered for us, too. On Saturday evening we were treated to a performance by Canadian rockers The Trews, who performed for the happy and mostly buzzed crowd as they drank and ate and danced the night away.
The day was an incredibly successful one, new beers were discovered, memories were made, and swag was stuffed into many a purse… or maybe that was just me – but I have a lot of branded sunglasses now.
Did you hit up BeerFest this weekend? What was your favourite part about the festival this year? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.