Though Spring officially sprung on Monday, this weekend marks the second coming of Winter Brewfest. Taking over the Enercare Centre at Exhibition Place from March 24 to 25, attendees can sample over 150 beers from Ontario and Quebec breweries while jamming out to hot DJ beats and snatching snacks from some of the city’s fave food trucks.
But with so many beer and food festivals vying for our hard-earned dough and scattered attention spans, we wanted to know what makes Winter Brewfest stand out from the pack. So we sent a few questions over to Michael O’Farrell, the General Manager of Winter Brewfest, to get the executive rundown…
Winter Brewfest is back for a second year. After a bit of backlash from your first outing in 2016, what changes have you made to improve the sophomore event?
We have made many changes to this year’s event. First, we have more than doubled the space for this year’s festival. With over 80,000 sq. ft., festival-goers can expect a large variety of food options and more breweries to attend the event, serving up their own creations. Plus, we have increased seating.
We have also partnered with Intellitix to embrace RFID technology and all the benefits that come with a cashless event. Wristbands will serve as an admission ticket and digital wallet, compact and easily accessible, right on the wrist.
Also, the majority of 4 oz. beer samples will be available for 2 Brew Bucks ($2). Since we are passionate about delivering a unique experience to the craft beer community, cicerones (aka beer experts) will also be on-site to answer festival-goers’ questions and even suggest beers they should sample based on their personal tastes and preferences.
This year, we have added a Yoga on Tap session for those interested in joining Toronto’s yogi community. Festival-goers are welcome to taste 4 beers while doing a Yoga session. The Yoga class will take place on Saturday, March 25 at 2 pm, and tickets are on sale on our website.
With so many festivals for sudsy sippers, what makes Winter Brewfest stand out from the pack?
We’re offering more than 150 beers from both Ontario and Québec – we’re the biggest indoor beer festival in Toronto! There’s also a nice variety of Food Trucks offering different types of meals. We also have some of the best Toronto DJs.
On top of everything, it’s mostly the ambiance of it all that makes it stand out from the pack. There’s just nothing better than discovering new brews in a warm and festive environment while listening to good music and sampling delicious gourmet food.
What are some of the lesser-known breweries that will be showcased that Torontonians likely haven’t met yet?
From Ontario: Market Brewing, St. Mary Axe, Cassel Brewery and Perth Brewery. From Québec: Le Trèfle Noir, Gainsbourg, and Vox Populi.
Quick fix: Tell us three special brews guests simply must try when they head to Winter Brewfest this year.
Vox Populi’s Double Fruit Punch: A powerful, aromatic Double IPA. With flavours of citrus and tropical fruits, its discrete malts and bitterness in restraint make it very easy to drink.
Beyond the Pale’s Pink Fuzz: Rather than adorn the glass with a fresh slice of citrus, these guys choose to infuse the entire batch with a veritable orchard of grapefruit zest. Tastes just yummy!
High Road’s Bronan: This golden IPA is full of peach, passion fruit and citrus notes imparting a wonderful tropical flavour perfectly balanced with sweet malt undertones and hop bitterness. Also, it’s brewed with the same yeast of the popular Heady Topper from The Alchemist’s Brewery.
Is Winter Brewfest just for beer lovers? Say someone hates beer. (The thought – oh my!) Is there anything to tempt them at the event?
Not just for beer lovers! We also have ciders, non-alcoholic beer, and a wine and spirits bar.
Winter Brewfest at Enercare Centre takes place from March 24 to 25. Tickets are $30/session, or $40 for both sessions, and can be purchased online here.
Who’s excited to attend Winter Brewfest in Toronto? Let Vv Magazine know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.