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 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

Launch of the Durham Knights Brewery & Dinner Bus Tour

You’ve been called to honour your name with the company of your fellow knights. What will you do, to experience a night like none other?
Join us, of course! Bottomless Pint has partnered up with Events on Tap to offer you the Durham Knights Brewery & Dinner Bus Tour. During the tour we will visit  5 Paddles Brewing Co. in Whitby, Old Flame Brewing Co. in Port Perry and Manantler Craft Brewing Co. in Bowmanville, Ontario.

The craft beer industry is exploding across Canada, and the Durham Region is no exception. In our own backyard, residents and tourists alike have the opportunity to experience and support local breweries. Events On Tap is excited to offer such a comprehensive tour in the Durham Region starting April 30, 2016. Check for further information regarding additional tour dates. Stay tuned for more beer tours to come. For all the details about the tour please see below.

We hope to see some of you on this tour! Cheers

Single Ticket – $115 + HST
2-4 Tickets – $110 + HST/person
5-9 Tickets – $105 + HST/person
10 or more Tickets – $99 + HST/person

Tour Includes
VIP Round-trip Transportation.
Guided tours – a min. of 10 guests required.
Beer Samples at 5 Paddles Brewing Company, Old Flame and Manantler Breweries.
Brewing process and historical tour at each brewery, where applicable.
Handcrafted, local food at Old Flame Brewing Co.
Live Entertainment at Manantler Craft Brewing Co.
A reusable bag for all your brewery purchases.

Tour Details
6:00 pm: Meet up behind Landmark Cinemas at 75 Consumers Dr, Whitby, ON (Thickson Rd. exit north from the 401 to Consumers Drive, then drive westbound to the back of Landmark Cinemas.)
Should you miss us at the meetup location, drive to 1st brewery stop at 5 Paddles Brewing, up the street seconds away at 1390 Hopkins St #3, Whitby, ON L1N 2C3. Transportation costs and arrangements are up to you. See Terms and Conditions for further details.
6:20 pm: Arrive at 5 Paddles Brewing Co. – depart at 6:50 pm.
7:20 pm: Arrive at Old Flame Brewing Co. – depart at 8:30 pm.
9:00 pm: Arrive at Manantler Craft Brewing Co. – depart at 10 pm.
10:30 pm: Arrive at drop off location behind Landmark Cinemas.

*All times may vary slightly due to traffic, weather, group cooperation.
~Must be over 19+ to buy ticket; photo ID will be checked to board limo.

**For bookings of more than 15 guests, please contact Events On Tap directly by phone at 416-294-5419 or email at

Beer In Context (or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Drink In The Moment)


The Only Bar, on the even of Sawdust City's Tap Takeover. Not pictured: Sean Norris' insane handlebar 'stache.
The Only Bar, on the eve of Sawdust City’s Tap Takeover. Not pictured: Sean Norris’ insane handlebar ‘stache.

I’m sitting at the Only having a pint. Tonight is the Sawdust City tap takeover – an event even I couldn’t wangle an excuse to not attend. I really like the vibe of the Only, in that it doesn’t know what it is. Is it a Betty’s clone crossed with Starbucks before Starbucks was cool? To me, it is a man cave-esque bar (where the philosophy of your design aesthetic is to visit Value Village to find shit to throw on your walls) leads into an equally eclectic, cozy, warmly-lit coffee bar, fully equipped with a community table and mismatched furniture. I fucking love this place.

The community table at the Only is a popular spot.
The community table at the Only is a popular spot.


I’ve touched briefly before on my opinion on the context of beer drinking. In fact, it’s one of the big reasons why the writers on this blog are charged with writing something, anything, as long as it’s about beer and it’s not a review. We’ve done them before (when the blog was one guy starved for ideas), but the more we tried to figure out what we were about and where our place was in the well-saturated Ontario Craft Beer blog scene, the more we realized how subjective and meaningless (to us) reviews were. It became obvious with some speed that we loved beer, we loved the community, we loved the exploration – but most of all, we loved opening people’s minds to the inclusivity and depth that is the Ontario beer scene.


So, off we set to launch a medium with which to find the balance between informational and fun to read. We want to include everyone, of all interest and knowledge levels, in the beer scene we love so much. There was born one of our favourite abbreviations: BIC, or Beer In Context. This, we decided, is how we’re going to speak to both the uninitiated yet curious beer fan, as well as the discerning Cicerone, and everyone in between.


Beer In Context is the idea that one’s enjoyment (inclusive of memory of nerdy things like aroma and flavor) of any given beer or beers is both related to and more memorable if recalled in the context in which it was consumed. It’s not hard to grasp; the 5 W’s of a beer simply mean an environmental recollection of an entire evening or situation.


I first went over the idea of BIC with myself when I went to Bar Hop – alone. I had a dinner to attend in a couple of hours, and with time to kill, I wanted to see what summery stuff was available at my favourite bar.   As it is on summer evenings, BH was crammed with people; the Jays game on the telly, and a lone seat at the bar awaited me. I had no book, no newspaper, no laptop – I decided to just enjoy the atmosphere, Twitter, and the 7 Weeks Of Staying Up All Night by Sawdust City that I tried for the first time that day.


For someone like me with a chronically poor memory, I sure remember those two hours really, really well. I remember the date. The Jays’ opponent. The name of the two ladies to the left me at the bar who asked me what to have. The smell of the sandwich in the hands of the guy to my right (who was jotting down notes of some kind in a notebook feverishly with his other hand for over an hour). Most of all, I remember being floored by the beer. Every ester note, every sip, every new discovery I made through my analysis of this saison. Weird, right? That a beer could stand out so much, and with such detail, that it makes one’s evening more memorable? To me, they are hand in hand, one not remembered without the other.


To you, the beer fan, I say this: try to keep the context of one’s beer in mind. Compare it to the next time you have it. Consider what you ate with it, where you were, who you were with. I dare say that you’ll never be bored of a beer again – I promise.


– Mike

Practically Irish Brings Craft Beer to Pickering

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There are a growing number of breweries opening up in the Durham Region, which is amazing if you live in the area. Practically Irish is one of the new additions to the growing list of craft brewers in the area.

Practically Irish officially started in June 2014. The idea came about like most great ideas, over a few beers with friends. In this case, it was between long time friends and homebrewers Brian James (President) and Dwayne Fernandes (Brewmaster). Their dream started back in 2012, after attending OCB Conference, which after creating a business plan and working out all the details, they took possession of an industrial unit in January 2014. As things started to take shape, Brian and Dwayne brought in Alex Bitterman, who is Vice President and Sales and Promotions. Not only are the 3 friends working hard to complete the brewery, they have hired a couple of assistants in addition to having had tons of help from friends and family.

Currently they are running on a 250L system, which with help from an overseas investor will allow them to double their production in February 2015. Practically Irish is already looking to expand with the addition of a bottling line, 8 new fermenters and a new Brite Tank. As of right now, they are brewing their Blonde Ale which can be found in bars and restaurants in Durham Region and 9 bars in Toronto. They are already expanding their selection with a Midnight Milk Stout, which I was lucky enough to sample and I must say it was amazing. Already there are plans for a Cream Ale and an ESB in the Spring. Practically Irish is also in talks about the possibility of opening a brewpub in Pickering at a later date.

The retail area of the brewery will be fully completed and licensed in early February 2015. They are located at 1033 Toy Ave, Unit 8, Pickering, ON. So give them a follow on twitter (@pracirishbeer) and check out their site at for all the information on their opening date.