Beer lovers, prep your bellies and condition those livers to intake an exorbitant amount of your favourite alcohol-infused companion during the seven sweet days of Ontario Craft Beer Week (June 16th to 23rd). Now in its fourth year, this festival of frosty beverages will entice and inebriate alcohol aficionados and casual pint-guzzlers in over 50 communities across the province.
With more than 150 events on tap (cheap pun very much intended) in breweries, pubs, restaurants and event venues throughout Ontario, a bevy of artisan ales, heavenly lagers, supreme stouts, perfect pilsners (I’m just going to stop there) will be served up by 30-plus craft brewers. From Toronto to London, Muskoka to Niagara, and Cambridge to Vankleek (you know, Vankleek… they’ve got leeks… and vans… maybe?) OCB Week is committed to opening up the industry to the public through brewery tours, seminars, beer dinners, music nights, and full-fledged rock-your-world festivals.
With an overflowing list of exceptional events to ingest, it’s a daunting task to truly root out the best bets for OCB Week – so we decided to bear the burden on your behalf. So when you see us out, buy us a pint and say thanks (i.e buy me beer, please)…
The Toronto Wine & Spirit Festival
Back at Sugar Beach in its 5th year, live music, complimentary tasting seminars and plenty of luscious libations are what you can expect. Given that it’s a sampling event, your admission includes an event wristband, five sample vouchers (worth $1 each) and an official sampling cup. Samples will range from 1-5 tickets.
Thursday, June 13th to Saturday, June 15th, 6pm to 11pm, $21.50 advance or $30 at the gate, Sugar Beach
The Beach BBQ & Brews Festival
If you really want to impress your pops this coming Father’s Day weekend, these are the necessary elements to have: beer, meat, music, and beaches. Good thing the City of Toronto got the memo (for once), and created this free ribfest, complete with all the appropriate accouterments so that you can begin your climb to the top of the list as your daddy’s favourite offspring.
Friday, June 14th to Sunday, June 16th, 3pm to 11pm, free entry, Woodbine Park
Ontario Craft Brewery Tours
Another way to impress your elders, appeal to your barely-legal little ones, or rouse your crew of ruckus bar-mates is to go on a brewery tour. Running daily throughout OCB Week, each tour takes you through three of the finest Toronto craft breweries (potential breweries include Great Lakes Brewery, Black Oak Brewery, Steam Whistle Brewery, Mill Street Brewery, or Amsterdam Brewery) to sample award winning ales while getting a back-stage pass to the small batch process they employ.
Saturday, June 15th to Saturday, June 22nd, 1pm to 4:30pm, $55, Multiple Locations
The official closing festival of Ontario Craft Beer Week 2013, Session Toronto will be a last hoorah for your beer gut (and by this point you might be needing a couple of nights off the piss). Bring it all together with the brewers themselves and hold those glasses high as we say goodbye to another year of Ontario Craft Beer.
Saturday, June 22nd, 4pm to 9pm, $50, Artscape Wychwood Barns