PRESS RELEASE: Cowbell Brewing Announces Partnership with Children’s Hospital Foundations

Tis’ the season of loving and Cowbell Brewing Co. in Blyth ON’s is doing their part. Cowbell Brewing Co. just announced that they will be partnering with four hospital foundations for their Greener Pastures Community Fund (5 cents of every can or pint sold to be donated to the foundations). These donations will go towards providing life-enriching technology and equipment for children, as well as funding services to help children and their families on their health care journey.

Full Press Release below


Cowbell Brewing Co. partners with Ontario’s four children’s hospital foundations for Greener Pastures fundraising initiative

BLYTH, ON, December 13, 2016 — Cowbell Brewing Co. is pleased to announce a partnership with Ontario’s four children’s hospital foundations, officially naming them as the recipients of the untitled-31brewery’s Greener Pastures Community Fund. As part of their commitment to the community, Cowbell Brewing Co. has been contributing five cents from every can and pint sold to the fund.

Proceeds from Greener Pastures, which started with the first pint sold in May of 2016, will support the highest priority needs of each children’s hospital foundation with specific projects being identified annually. Funds raised from the Greener Pastures initiative will support the CHEO Foundation (Ottawa), Children’s Health Foundation (London), McMaster Children’s Hospital Foundation (Hamilton), and SickKids Foundation (Toronto).

“At Cowbell, we are guided by doing what rings true, and creating the Greener Pastures Community Fund was just that. We wanted to give back to the community, and since most Ontarians have been touched by the remarkable care and treatment of our world-class children’s hospitals — my family and our Cowbell family included — we are pleased to support these hospital foundations. We are proud to announce this long-term partnership that will support children and their families in a meaningful way,” says Steven Sparling, Founder & CEO, Cowbell Brewing Co.

This partnership is an opportunity to raise both funds and awareness of the vital and unique role that children’s hospitals play in providing specialized care for families throughout Ontario. Proceeds from 2016 and 2017 will support state-of-the-art technology, specialized equipment, and life-enhancing programs and services to enhance kids’ health care journeys.

“We are pleased to welcome Cowbell Brewing Co. as a new partner with Children’s Health Foundation. It is an honour to be chosen as a recipient of the Greener Pastures Community Fund and we are thankful for this partnership that will positively impact thousands of children in our communities who rely on Ontario’s children’s hospitals,” says Sherri Bocchini, Chief Development Officer, Children’s Health Foundation (London).

Cowbell Brewing Co. is a family-owned and environmentally responsible craft brewery founded by the Sparling family in Blyth, Ontario. Cowbell brands are currently available through the LCBO, The Beer Store, restaurants and pubs across Ontario.

About Cowbell Brewing Co.:

Cowbell Brewing Co. is owned by the Sparling family who has entrepreneurial roots in Blyth, Ontario, going back three generations. They are embarking on an ambitious project designed to have positive local community and regional tourism benefits. They have recently broken ground on 111-acres of land on the outskirts of the village where a state-of-the art brewery, restaurant, and event venue is set to open in spring 2017. Cowbell Brewing Co. launched its first beer, Absent Landlord, in May. The brewery’s second beer, Doc Perdue’s Bobcat, will be hitting LCBO shelves in December.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Let’s just get this out of the way- I never fully understood the saying “put your money where your mouth is.” Expressions have never been my forte. This article is about taking action and making smart choices as a consumer. But that doesn’t make for a very interesting blog title. Anyway, here we go.

Pictured: My muscles, which I use to crush stereotypical gender roles.

If you know me or have read any of my previous blog posts, you know that I have no problem calling out sexism when I see it. In fact, *sips from mug of White Male Tears* it’s actually a source of joy for me, to do my part to squash the patriarchy at every possible opportunity. It’s pretty easy to look at the beer industry (as well as the beverage industry in general) and find inequalities between men and women*, from the way their treated at the time of service, to the types of jobs they hold at the brewery level. Calling these instances out and talking about them is important. But what do we do about it?

Well, I may not have an all-encompassing answer for you regarding these complex problems. However, I know at least one way to make yourself heard, and it comes down to the concept of “voting with your dollar” or using your power as a consumer to make conscious choices about where you spend your money. Ladies, I know what you’re thinking: “But Victoria, we only make 77% on the dollar to what males make, I don’t have piles of money to be spending on all the companies I’d like to support!” Girl, I hear you. So I’m going to make it easy for you, let’s talk about the bars you go to. If you’re reading this, you probably like drinking (can I get an amen?) and no matter how much your bank account may be hurtin’ this month, let’s be real- you’re probably going to go out and buy a pint or 5 anyway. So take your beat-up credit cards and head to an establishment where ladies are thriving in senior leadership positions or are owners. Show them that you dig what they’re doing and the places they’ve created, and appreciate them for the badasses they are.

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Photo from the Ladies Pub Strut during OCB Week 2016

Below is a list of  bars that my friends and I like to go to in Toronto that are owned or spearheaded by strong women. If you have more that you want me to show love to, tweet them to me @_VictoriaBrews! Shoutouts to The Danforth for having so many BossLadies!

  1. Grand Trunk
  2. Brass Taps
  3. Folly Brewpub
  4. The Edmund Burke 
  5. I’ll Be Seeing You 
  6. Little Sister & Noorden
  7. Sauce on Danforth
  8. The Old Nick
  9. Wise Bar
  10. The Local

There you have it. Now get out to these bars and make it rain on these ladies! Just kidding, you should probably just politely pay your tab like a normal human.

 

 

 

 

* I’d also like to acknowledge that there is substantial inequality faced by those in this field that identify as non-binary, and that these issues also disproportionately affect women of colour. However, I do not feel that my lived experience allows me to speak authentically on these topics, and encourage you to research literature written by my awesome friend Robin Leblanc, and interviews done with my other super cool friend, Renee Navarro, for some more intersectional perspectives.

EXCLUSIVE: Rorschach Brewing Co. Opening Early 2017!

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Are you ready for this?! ANOTHER brewpub is set to open in Toronto’s East end for early 2017! We are getting spoiled over here and I for one could not be happier.

Introducing Rorschach Brewing Company! Opening at 1001 Eastern Avenue. Rorschach Brewing Co. is the brainchild of four friends, three of whom met at the University of Toronto’s Engineering program. They have spent the last two years in the planning stages and now their dream is becoming a reality. Matthew Reiner, the brewmaster has been home brewing for the past eight years. His focus is on aggressively hopped IPAs and mixed fermentation Saisons. Mohan Pandit and Chris Ristevski are also engineers and Ben Ragan has a background in construction and wine.

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As you probably know (or have assumed from the clever logo) Rorschach is the name of the infamous inkblot test, when asked how they decided on this name their answer was quite philosophical: just like the inkblot test, beer is a subjective experience. Every person’s palate is unique and they perceive flavours differently so they wanted their name and slogan “Life’s too short for ordinary beer” to reflect the ideology that beer is something to be experienced and experimented with! Their goal is to craft beers that are complex and flavourful but also highly drinkable. This is a philosophy that The Bottomless Pint can get behind! see Victoria’s previous post on the subjectivity of beer tasting.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Matthew, Mohan and Ben over a few samples of their brews. They showed me around the (mostly empty) space explaining their vision. There will be a ten bbl brewhouse with six fermenters and two bright tanks. They will be installing 14-16 taps but will probably launch with about five beers. The founders have all discovered their love for beer while travelling abroad where they also experienced many culinary styles. The inspiration for their menu comes from tapas style dining. They will not be serving your average pub food but rather snacks that are meant for sharing and most importantly complementing the beer. The main floor holds 70-80 guests while the massive second floor patio holds approximately 100. Ideally there will be a take away counter for bottles as well, all depending on licensing of course.

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Now to the good stuff, the beer! I was lucky enough to try three of Matthew’s creations. A Saison, a West Coast IPA and a Coffee Oatmeal Stout. The Saison is currently in line to be the flagship beer: fruity, dry and medium bodied, this beer is definitely a crowd pleaser. The IPA is hopped with Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe, very juicy with the hop focused in the aroma and flavour and very little lingering bitterness. The Coffee Oatmeal Stout is beautifully roasty and smooth. Matthew roasted the coffee beans himself and they are currently trying to convince a family member with a coffee-roasting hobby, to create of a unique blend for this particular beer.

There is still a ton of work to be done and licensing to be acquired so an opening date cannot be accurately predicted at this time, but be sure to watch out for this one! The location is absolutely gorgeous, the building itself is an old house with a massive expansion added on the back but the front of the original house has been beautifully preserved. The parking lot next door is a huge bonus and it is literally just minutes from the lake (and the lakeshore bike path!).

Good luck guys! I can’t wait to see (and taste) the final results!

PRESS RELEASE: Eastbound Brewing Company coming to Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood

Looking like there is going to be another brewpub coming to Toronto. This time it will be in the Riverside area, 700 Queen St. E. Eastbound Brewing Company is the project started by David Lee (BrewMaster), Tara Lee (Kitchen) and Adam Stiles (Brand Lead). Eastbound will be a 3500 sq foot space with a full working brewery and dining area. Look out for their opening in early 2017.

Full Press Release below


TORONTO, ONeastboundcolourlogo-1

Eastbound Brewing Company is happy to announce that it will be opening a brewery, kitchen and retail shop in the heart of Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood, at 700 Queen Street East Toronto, ON M4M 1G9.

A full working brewery in the space will allow us to open with a selection of fresh beer crafted by our Brewmaster David Lee, formerly of Kensington Brewing Company, Mill Street Brewery & Grand River Brewing. The Siebel Institute trained brewer will bring his voice to classic styles, in the ever changing Eastbound beer line up. “I see us as having one foot into classical and one foot into the wild and adventurous” says Lee. “Our goal is to respect tradition, but at the same time push the boundaries of innovation. We are really excited to help build up the east end of Toronto’s beer scene, along side some of the great breweries that have already set up here.”

Working in tandem with our brewing operation, the kitchen will have a beer focused menu, crafted by a chef who knows her beer and her brewer. Accomplished chef, and wife to our brewmaster, Tara Lee will be heading up the kitchen. Tara has spent many years in kitchens across Toronto, as Sous Chef at Cowbell, Skin+Bones and currently Bar Hop Brewco. Chef Lee says “Beer is amazing to cook with, drink on its own and to pair with food. We are going to have a lot of fun with the dishes playing along with our evolving beer list.” More details and menus will be released as we approach the opening of the 80 seat brewpub.

A retail beer shop will offer grab and go cans for visitors and neighbours to continue enjoying Eastbound beer from the comforts of home or to share with a few friends. “I’ve always thought of the local beer scene as a place where you can try something new, learn a thing or two and get to share an experience with those around you. Good beer pairs best with good people. That is the atmosphere we are trying to achieve here in Riverside,“ according to Dave Watson, Managing Partner. Watson comes from a background of beverage manufacturing and building beverage brands.

The 3,500 sq foot space will drop guests right in the middle of the beer making process. The open concept offers views into our kitchen and our brewery from any seat in the house. The building’s past lives include a furniture store, and in the early 1930’s was a short lived cinema called Teck Theatre. “We want you to see the process and every step along the way, ask questions about where the stuff comes from, and why we choose to use the ingredients we do. I think that is going to be a really great part of your experience when you come to have a beer with us.” says Adam Stiles, Brand Lead. Stiles has been a student of the craft beer world and has shared his experience and expertise with television and online audiences across the GTA. By day he will be our brand lead, but by night you will still be able to catch his local weather forecasts, as Stiles has been a television meteorologist in the Toronto market for the past 8 years.

Timelines for the exact opening date is yet to be determined with a goal of early in 2017 set as the target.

To follow along on the progress, as we work toward opening, check out our Instagram account: @eastboundbeer or visit www.eastboundbeer.com

Cask Beer Festival comes to Durham Region

Fall is in the air, the Pumpkin beers are pouring and Cask Days is around the corner. This year Durham Region will be getting their first ever Cask Beer Festival courtesy of The Tap and Tankard inTap Cask Fest Whitby (Read about the bar in Victoria’s post about Beer in the Burbs). For 12 years now Cask beer lovers have been attending Cask Days, personally my favorite beer festival. The event features hundreds of unique beers from around Ontario and the US. But the owner of The Tap, James Hobbs wanted to bring the Cask experience to the burbs.

For whose of you who do not know what Cask beer is here is a definition. “Cask ale or cask-conditioned beer is unfiltered and unpasteurised beer which is conditioned (including secondary fermentation) and served from a cask without additional nitrogen or carbon dioxide pressure.” (Wikipedia)

The Tap will host Cask Fest, a one day event feature casks from around Durham and Toronto. The event will take place Saturday October 15th between 2pm-6pm at 224 Brock St S, Whitby. This event is $25 which includes 5 – 6oz. samples and food.  This is a indoor/outdoor event with the food portion being a BBQ outside, while live music plays in the background. Tickets can be purchased at https://whitby.snapd.com/#/events/view/987591. Be sure to come by and say Hi to me if you are coming to the event.

The cask list continues to grow day to day but the list I currently have is:

Mill St. Brewery – Tankenstein
Muskoka Brewery – Peppered lager
Beaus All Natural  – St Luke’s Verse Gruit ale with lavender, rosemary and thyme
Great Lakes Brewery – Dry Hopped Canuck
Big Rig Brewery – Amber Ale and Chocolate Stout
Old Flame – Caramel Black Walnut Stout
Railway city – Double Dead Elephant IPA (might change)
Manantler Brewery has yet confirmed

Bar Hop Brewco to host Beer Dinner with Stephen Beaumont to celebrate book release

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Holy beer pairings!  Just as I was reading about this on Twitter, I recieved this over email!  As if anyone needs more reasons to attend BarHop Brewco.  Thanks a lot, Matt.

This looks fantastic.  If you’re a beer nerd in any capacity, I highly recommend you attend this.  Well-respected beer writer and traveller Stephen Beaumont will host a beer dinner on October 4 at BarHop Brewco!.  Tickets available here.

 


On October 4 beginning at 6:30 pm, Bar Hop BrewCo at 137 Peter Street presents a four-course beer dinner hosted by Toronto beer luminary Stephen Beaumont to celebrate the release of his ALL NEW, completely revised and updated second edition of THE WORLD ATLAS OF BEER, co-authored with Tim Webb.


unnamedThe new WORLD ATLAS OF BEER is a richly illustrated and comprehensive guide that kicks off in Europe and travels through the Americas and Asia before ending in the Middle East and Africa. Beaumont and Webb are tireless beer travellers who in this newly revised and expanded edition add coverage of nations such as Poland, Switzerland, India and China to fully updated information on beer lands both traditional and untraditional. In total, close to one hundred countries are covered, so that with this ultimate companion in hand readers can explore the best beers the world has to offer.

The dinner at Bar Hop BrewCo on October 4 will be the first beer dinner Stephen has hosted in Toronto in over a decade! He will relate stories about the creation of the new ATLAS, share insight into the changing nature of the world of beer today and generally talk about everything beer-related, all while sharing an outstanding four-course dinner designed by Bar Hop BrewCo chef Mark Cutrara and expertly paired by Stephen with an array of exciting and delicious international beers. After dinner, Stephen will stick around to chat and sign copies of the new WORLD ATLAS OF BEER.

The dinner tales place at BAR HOP BREWCO on Tuesday, October 4, beginning at 6:30.

Tickets are $75 (including all taxes & gratuities) and are available online at www.universe.com/worldatlasofbeer.

Pre-release copies of THE WORLD ATLAS OF BEER will be available for the reduced price of $32, tax included.

 

WIN Tickets to ‘For The Love Of Beer’ with Jim Koch

Toronto Beer week is in full swing! During this wonderful week full of amazing events showcasing the beverage we truly love, Samuel Adams (Boston Beer Brewery) will be throwing their ‘For The Love of Beer’ event with the unique opportunity to meet Jim Koch.samadamslogo

Join us in Toronto, Ontario at “For The Love Of Beer”, a Toronto Beer Week Event, and enjoy a night of premium craft brews, beer infused appetizers, and live entertainment, with an appearance from Jim Koch. We’re going to be serving some truly unique, small batch craft brews straight from the Boston Beer Brewery, as well as our Samuel Adams classics. The evening will be a celebration of beer, joining the Toronto beer community with one of the world’s most renounced craft beer influencers.

Bottomless Pint will be giving away 10 pairs of tickets for tomorrows event! All you have to do is tweet @bottomless_pint and @SamuelAdamsCA using the hashtag #FORTHELOVEOFTO and tell us about your love for beer!

Didn’t get a chance to give the tickets? The first 30 people to go on the site (http://www.samueladams.com/TorontoBeerWeek) and use this specific code upon check out get $5 off the ticket price: BOSTONLAGER

See you there!

PRESS RELEASE: The Return of Samuel Adams Utopias coming to LCBO

The return of the highly-coveted Samuel Adam Utopias is coming to the Summerhill LCBO on September 23rd. If you miss the limted run of the $114.95 bottle of this one of a kind beer you will be able to buy it through the LCBO Vintages Shop Online Wednesday, September 28 at 8:30 a.m.  This 2015 edition of Utopias will go fast. I am personally looking to add a bottle to go along side my 2012 edition of the beer.

To celebrate the launch of Utopias in Ontario, Jim Koch Samuel Adams Founder and Brewer  will be hosting a tutored tasting of a number of Samuel Adams beers, including Utopias, at the LCBO’s Summerhill location at 2:00 p.m. on the day of the launch. He will also join a celebration of Samuel Adams beer at a Toronto Beer Week event called For the Love of Beer. Although Utopias will not be available to sample at this event, beer fans will be able to meet Jim and sample several Samuel Adams beers not typically available in Canada. For the Love of Beer starts at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 22 at 99 Sudbury.

Full Press Release Below


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LIMITED RELEASE OF SAMUEL ADAMS UTOPIAS ARRIVING AT THE LCBO SEPTEMBER 23
Samuel Adams Founder and Brewer Jim Koch to host tutored tasting in Toronto prior to launch

TORONTO, ON (September 7, 2016) – On Friday, September 23, the LCBO will release a limited number of bottles of Samuel Adams Utopias. A total of 700 bottles of the highly-coveted beer will be available both in-store and through the LCBO’s Vintages Shop Online at a price of $114.95 per 710mL bottle.

In-store, 350 bottles will be released for sale to the public at the LCBO’s Summerhill location (10 Scrivener Square, Toronto) at 4:00 p.m. on September 23. The remaining 350 bottles will be sold through the Vintages Shop Online beginning the following Wednesday, September 28 at 8:30 a.m.unnamed

For beer fanatics, Samuel Adams Utopias has become one of the most sought-after beers on earth. Meant to be savoured like a fine cognac or port, Utopias is known for its extraordinary flavour profile; wood, toffee, cocoa, raisin and maple aromas contribute to the distinctive flavour, which includes notes of molasses, earthy wood, dates, and light smoke, nuts and toffee. Utopias is a blend of batches, some of which have been aged for more than 22 years in a variety of barrels at Samuel Adams’ Boston Brewery. This Utopias release is 28% ABV.

To celebrate the launch of Utopias in Ontario, Samuel Adams Founder and Brewer Jim Koch will be hosting a tutored tasting of a number of Samuel Adams beers, including Utopias, at the LCBO’s Summerhill location at 2:00 p.m. on the day of the launch. A total of 24 tickets are available for the tasting at a cost of $75 each. The ticket also guarantees the right to purchase one Utopias bottle before its general release at 4:00 p.m. Tickets for this experience go on sale tomorrow, September 8, through helloLCBO at 1-800-668-5226.

While Koch is in Toronto, he will also join a celebration of Samuel Adams beer at a Toronto Beer Week event called For the Love of Beer. Although Utopias will not be available to sample at this event, beer fans will be able to meet Jim and sample several Samuel Adams beers not typically available in Canada, including Cinder Blonde Gratzer, Grumpy Monk and Chai Saison. For the Love of Beer starts at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 22 at 99 Sudbury.

In summary, beer lovers should mark the following dates and times on their calendars:

Thursday, September 8 (8:30 a.m.) Tickets to tutored tasting with Jim Koch (including the opportunity to purchase one bottle of Utopias) go on sale through helloLCBO at 1-800-668-5226 (limit of 2 per customer).
Thursday, September 22 (7:30 p.m.) For the Love of Beer with Samuel Adams Founder and Brewer Jim Koch at 99 Sudbury Street. Tickets and information available at http://www.samueladams.com/TorontoBeerWeek.
Friday, September 23 (2:00 p.m.) Jim Koch will lead a tutored tasting of Samuel Adams beers (including Utopias) at the LCBO Summerhill location.
Friday, September 23 (4:00 p.m.) Utopias released for sale to the general public at the LCBO’s Summerhill location (350 bottles available, limit of one per customer). Jim Koch will be available from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. to meet with Samuel Adams fans and sign bottles.
Wednesday, September 28 (8:30 a.m.) An additional 350 bottles of Utopias released to beer fans across the province through the LCBO VINTAGES Shop Online (note that pre- registration with the VINTAGES Shop Online is required for telephone or online purchase, limit of one per customer).

For more information on the Utopias launch, customers can contact the LCBO through helloLCBO at 1-800-668-5226.

ABOUT SAMUEL ADAMS UTOPIAS
Beer collectors and connoisseurs already know Samuel Adams Utopias is unique among beers. Utopias is an uncarbonated blend of batches, some of which have been aged in different wood barrels for more than 22 years. The 2015 blend was aged in single-use bourbon casks from the award-winning Buffalo Trace Distillery.

With an alcohol content of 28%, Utopias is best enjoyed as a two ounce pour in a snifter glass at room temperature like a cognac or fine port. This latest batch has notes of fig, chocolate, molasses, tobacco and spice with a subtle sweetness and a deep, rich, malty smoothness.

Samuel Adams Utopias is considered by some beer collectors to be the culmination of the art of brewing. The 2015 batch produced less than 10,000 bottles, of which the LCBO is offering 700 for sale.

The ABCs of success to Steam Whistle’s Roundhouse Craft Beer Fest

Photo credit Mike Palmer

August 13th & 14th is the return of Steam Whistle’s Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival (RHCBF); a summer must. Hosted in Roundhouse Park in Toronto, the festival embodies the laid-back, friendly nature synonymous with Ontario’s craft beer scene. Come experience the flavours from over 40 craft breweries and over a dozen gourmet food trucks as they share their bests in suds & bites.  Tickets are available at http://www.craftbeerfest.ca/.

Photo credit Jeff Rogers

Here’s your #RHCBF warm-up  a.k.a the ABCs of success to the Roundhouse Craft Beer Fest.

 

Appreciate: With + 40 craft breweries it’s tempting to over-indulge in sudsy deliciousness. Remember it’s not a race. Pace yourself and appreciate the flavours & the atmosphere, because what other festival can you bring a blanket, find a patch of grass and relax as you soak it all in?

Photo credit: Mike Palmer

Be strategic: While a high IBU may be your go-to brew, it may blow-out your taste buds. It’s best to start by getting a feel for the breweries and their offerings (any limited editions?). Then make a plan – start off with lighter beers such as Steam Whistle Pilsner or blonde ales, then head into the darker ales from ambers to stouts. Save those Double IPAs and high-hopped brews for the grand finales.

Conquer your fears: Don’t be afraid to break the mold, be bold and step out of your comfort zone. If you’re committed to one style, try that style from a few breweries so you can appreciate their subtle (or big) differences.

Photo credit: Mike Palmer

Drink water: Stay hydrated; match a water for every beer. Not only does water keep you hydrated it also helps cleanse your palate leaving you ready for the next taste. Complimentary waters stations are available at the #RHCBF.

Photo credit: Mike Palmer

Eat, drink and be merry: Live by this rule! Eat first then worry about your thirst! With over a dozen food trucks to choose from, there is sure to be something to satisfy any craving. Start your day with a good meal and snack in between to ensure your day isn’t cut short.

Photo credit: Jeff Rogers

Find a friend: Or make some new ones. Take the opportunity to chat with brewers and learn about their craft. Not sure what to try next? Ask fellow patrons for their recommendations!

Photo credit: Mike Palmer

Get dressed: It’s an outdoor festival, be sure to dress for the weather (whether rain or shine), bring a hat and keep the SPF coming.

HAVE A BLAST! And check out the full listings of breweries at www.craftbeerfest.ca

Beer In The Burbs- Putting the “Great” in the “Greater Toronto Area”

Or perhaps… making the GTA great again? Nah- I’d rather not go there…

For the past few years I’ve either been working or studying in Toronto while living in Ajax with my roommates (see: Mother and Father). I’ve found that it’s very easy to become very narrow-minded about the city, and all of the things going on in it. Many people can be reluctant to go North of a certain street if they live in the Entertainment District, hesitant to travel West of a certain street if they live in the Beaches, and so on. I’ve noticed that this hyper-local allegiance is also prevalent in beer, as well as when discussing better beer bars. Some people are choosing to drink only from breweries that are from their stomping grounds of Toronto, or will only support a bar that’s within spitting distance.

This observation has only been amplified by the recent adoration for the “Toronto VS Everyone” trend. Not to say that there’s anything wrong with this trend (much love to Peace Collective, do your thang dawg). I actually think it’s awesome to see people showing love for their city and remaining loyal to their neighbourhoods and local stops. However- there’s some seriously good stuff happening in the suburbs these days, and I don’t think they are getting enough recognition. You may be thinking I’m being biased since I’m a burbs girl born and raised, but I have actually just signed a lease on an apartment in the city, so I see firsthand the draws to both ways of living. I’ve also noticed while working at a brewery, that events like Ribfests or some of the specialty activations during Ontario Craft Beer Week are far more impactful and well attended in these regions. Of course this is, in part, due to the relative quietness of the regions in comparison to the city. But the significance of the events to these communities is, in turn, exponentially more impactful- and I think that needs to be noted and rewarded. I think there should be more attention paid to the suburbs and the GTA, because any effort exuded in these regions seems to be paid back tenfold by the appreciation and participation of consumers.

Outlined below are three examples of areas outside the city that are home to some awesome bars and breweries, with a few gems being highlighted as inspiration for you to get in a car, or dare I say it, on the GO train, to visit these not so sleepy suburbs.

Whitby/Oshawa

Bar to Visit: Tap & Tankard

Live Music, daily specials, and two different bars with over 15 taps and plenty of tall cans to choose from. This bar is a hub for the community, and houses many different groups throughout the week including philanthropic and running groups. The food is excellent, proving it’s far more than just that bar you went to when you were perhaps slightly less than 19 years of age.

Breweries To See: 5 Paddles, Brock St, and while you’re out here, go to Bowmanville and see the nice folks at Manantler.

Photo by The Tap & Tankard.
Photo by The Tap & Tankard.

Mississauga/Etobicoke

Bar to Visit: Rib Eye Jack’s Ale House

Ridiculously long bottle list (100+ beers in total between bottle and draught) with goodies from Ontario and Quebec, as well as rotating cask selections. Need I say more? Oh yeah, they also have pretty great whisky if that’s your thing. They try to use local ingredients when possible, and the atmosphere is laid back and welcoming.

Breweries to See: Trafalgar and Cameron’s in Oakville, Black Oak & Great Lakes Brewery in Etobicoke

Photo by Hungry Brew Hops.
Photo by Hungry Brew Hops.

Newmarket

Bar To Visit: Hungry Brew Hops

Amazing rotating tap selection that changes so often they have an “on deck” section in their beer menu so you can plan accordingly. The owner Boris is well known in the industry, and for good reason. Tons of variety in the food offered, amazing beer and the atmosphere is exciting and just upscale enough without feeling stuffy. If you know someone who’s been here or lives in Newmarket, people love to rave about this place! Good vibes all around.

Breweries to See: Arch Brewing

Photo by @rebeccabentolilaphoto on Instagram.
Photo by @rebeccabentolilaphoto on Instagram.

I’ve barely skimmed the surface of what these regions have to offer, but I hope this encourages you to venture outside of Toronto if you get the chance. Thanks to the following lovely folks for inspiring this article, who work (and drink) in these places and helped me create this blog post: Kristin MacDonald, Jen Reinhardt, Mike Relic, Jon Graham, Jared Allen.

Have any suburban spots that you think should have been included? Tweet me and tell me about them: @_VictoriaBrews