Cheers to summer beer fests in Ontario

Cheers and bottoms up at the Toronto Festival of Beer. (Handout)

Cheers and bottoms up at the Toronto Festival of Beer. (Handout)

JIM FOX, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:24 PM ET

“Sweet, glorious beer.” – Homer J. Simpson

The fermented beverage of choice on these hot summer days will be celebrated at a weekend beer bash in Toronto and similar events including one in London, Ont.

There will be far more than 99 bottles of beer on the wall at the Toronto Festival of Beer. The event at Bandshell Park at Exhibition Place July 26-28 will feature more than 200 brands of “Canada’s favourite beverage.”

From lagers to stouts, fruit beers to ales, there will be something for everyone including “teetotallers.”

BOTTOMS UP

The festival is again headed toward a sell-out, drawing 35,000 beer aficionados.

Organizers call it “a celebration of Canada’s rich brewing history” hosted by experts of the craft from around the world.

Among the more than 60 brewers will those presenting new brews from Canada.

These include Toronto’s gluten-free Snowman Brewing, Silversmith Brewery from Niagara-on-the-Lake and Ramblin’ Road Brewery Farm of La Salette in Norfolk County.

West Coast breweries are a focus in the World of Beer Pavilion as they produce “some of the best craft beers out there and this is arguably the birthplace of the hop-forward beer trend,” said publicist Stephen Murdoch.

These include Granville Island Brewing, Central City Brewing Co., Tree Brewery and, from the U.S., Sierra Nevada, Stone Brewing, Firestone Walker and Silver City Brewing.

The industry has undergone significant changes and growth over the past decade with new craft brewers, brewpubs and types of brews.

There’s more than just beer at the show with several non-malt based beverages available including wine, ciders and ready-to-drink beverages.

On-site food vendors will offer everything from oysters and poutine to burgers.

Visitors can also learn barbecuing tips and recipes from Ted Reader & Friends in the Grilling Tent and there is a “brand experience area” dedicated to a specific brand or brewery.

This will provide festival-goers an opportunity to experience those brews “in an environment that coincides with the lifestyle that the specific brand or brewery identifies or defines itself with.”

Main stage entertainment includes Escort, De La Soul, Spin Doctors and Big Sugar Yard Style with Willi Williams.

NEED TO KNOW

The event is at Exhibition Place, 200 Princes' Blvd., Toronto and is only for ages 19 and older.

Admission is 39.50 and includes five sample tokens and a sampling cup.

Show dates and hours are: July 26, 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.; July 27, 1:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.; and July 28, 1:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. beerfestival.ca

The show promotes responsible serving and drinking, urging the use of public transit, taxis or designated drivers. Fest president Les Murray said a partnership with Hailo, a free smartphone app, “puts people just two taps away from a licensed Toronto taxi.”

CARE FOR ANOTHER?

If you can’t make it to the Toronto bash, there are plenty of other fests across the province.

Many brewers also offer tours including Steam Whistle Brewery in Toronto’s historic CP Rail John Street Roundhouse. steamwhistle.ca

Among the upcoming fests (from canadianbeernews.com) are the Kitchener Ribfest and Craft Beer Show, Victoria Park, on this weekend until Sunday; Hart House Craft Beer Festival, Toronto, Aug. 1; and Forest City Beer Fest, Museum London, Aug. 3.

Session Muskoka, Annie Williams Park, Bracebridge, Aug. 3; National Capital Craft Beer Week, Ottawa, Aug. 9-17; Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival, Toronto, Aug. 10, 11; Summer Craft Beer Fest, Liberty Market Building Galleria, Toronto, Aug. 22; and the Festival of Good Things, Dow People Place, Sarnia, Aug. 31.

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