The Toronto’s Festival of Beer, presented by The Beer Store, was back and stronger than ever this year. It came and went between July 26th to 28th and as I speculated, it was a perfect event to relax and enjoy the day with friends. The recipe for the event organiser’s success was simple; they had lots of beer, lots of food, and great entertainment… you can’t really go wrong, whatever your tastes are! I attended the event on Saturday, July 27th, and it was an absolutely great time. Here are some of our highlights that surely should make you want to attend in 2020!
01. The Beer
– To say the least, there was no shortage of beer at this festival. Specifically, there were over 400 breweries to choose from ensuring that there is a beer for everyone! I tried everything from Steam Whistle to Birra Morretti (Italy), but there were two beers that specifically stood out. The first was the Watermelon Watermelon Lager by Great Lakes Brewery (Toronto). It may sound odd that they would mix watermelon and beer, but let me tell you, it was one of the most refreshing beers I have ever had!
The second was Yell’oh from Brewery Ommegang (Cooperstown, NY). It was another odd pairing as this beer was infused with pineapple, but I have never had anything like… it is a must-try! In addition to the beers already mentioned, I also sampled Left Field Brewery, Locker Room Lager, Old Credit Brewing Co, Eastbound Brewing Co, Silly Sir Brewing Company and many more. The point is, the massive selection of beer is something I have never experienced in my life.
Missed this year’s event entirely? TFOB recently shared this cool little video recap:
02. The Food
– Just like the beer selection at this event, there was something for everyone to eat. I saw everything from porchetta sandwiches to oysters to Nashville hot chicken. While I was there I opted for a pizza from Queen Margherita Pizza. It was fresh, hot, tasty and easily transportable, not to mention the pizzas were cooked to order in authentic Italian wood-burning ovens! If you don’t feel like pork, oysters, fried chicken or pizza, there was also authentic BBQ, poutine, massive pieces of corn on the cob, burgers, Mexican cuisine… and the list goes on and on.
For dessert, I couldn’t resist the Tiny Tom’s Donuts as they are a childhood favourite of mine. They are great for sharing with friends, especially because they offer a 22 dollar deal for four dozen doughnuts! Overall, it is impossible to go hungry at this event!
03. The Entertainment
– Dwayne Gretzky was the headliner when I attended, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. Dwayne Gretzky is a Canadian band who do one thing; they play the classics but play them very, very well. They had the crowd up and dancing for their entire set which is extremely hard considering they’re not even playing original songs. I am predominantly a hip-hop fan and the way that Dwayne Gretzky commanded the stage and captured the attention of literally thousands of people was truly impressive. Even for someone like me who didn’t know all the songs, it was a lot of fun and I am very happy that I got to see them.
They closed their set with the ‘90s one-hit wonder “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba, which incidentally ended up being the perfect end to an amazing day. If you ever have the opportunity to see Dwayne Gretzky, I strongly recommend that you do!
If you’re unfamiliar with Dwayne Gretzky, then check out the recently-released music video for their reimagining of ABBA’s “S.O.S.:”
04. The Location
– The organizers of the event couldn’t have picked a better location than they did. The event once again took place at Bandshell Park on the lakeshore where incidentally the Toronto CNE is held. Most Torontonians, including myself, have been going to the CNE since a young age and attending the Beerfest on these grounds just brought back that feeling of nostalgia for me. Not to mention, the park has a lot of greenery and isn’t just mud and rocks. The fact that the grounds actually had a park feel to it made me feel like I was in a smaller scale Osheaga or something similar. Attendees were just sitting in the grass drinking, eating and laughing with friends. The nature of Bandshell Park really created that summery, feel-good vibe that I was hoping for in going to an event like a Beerfest.
– Overall, if you are in the Toronto area in late July you absolutely must attend this event. It is an ideal way to enjoy a summer weekend with your closest friends without breaking the bank as you often must do with so many similar affairs around Toronto. When Toronto’s Festival of Beer returns in 2020, you can trust that we will be there. You should be too.
Check a feel for the festival’s vibe with some of Francesco Colosimo’s photos: