Last weekend, on June 23-24, the 2017 Toronto Craft Beer Festival took place in downtown Toronto.
Bringing craft brewers from all over Canada, as well as some fine BBQ cooking, the event was a huge success, and was soon sold out for both days.
We visited on Friday 23rd and, despite the day being overcast, came away thoroughly satisfied and with a few new brewers to share.
Not to be confused with the Toronto Festival of Beer, which also has corporate beer on show, the Toronto Craft Beer Festival is all about the craft, something the cheeky tagline “The REAL Beer Lover’s Beer festival!” proudly alludes to.
This year, there were 21 craft breweries with between 1-4 beers each up for tasting, as well as a craft cider brewer and an appearance by scotch distiller Auchentoshan, for a very special mixed offering featuring two craft beers (more on that later).
The brewers were:
- Ace Hill Beer
- Barnstormer Brewing Company
- Beau’s Brewing Company
- Big Rock Brewing
- Broadhead Brewing Company
- Brock St. Brewing Company
- Cowbell Brewing Co.
- Great Lakes Brewery
- Haliburton Highlands Brewing
- Hill Street Beverage Co.
- Hockley Valley Brewing Co.
- Junction Craft Brewing
- Left Field Brewery
- MacKinnon Brothers Brewing Co.
- Market Brewing Co.
- Muskoka Brewery
- Northern Maverick Brewing Co.
- Pint Pursuits Brewing Co.
- Shawn & Ed Brewing Co.
- Shiny Apple Cider
- Side Launch Brewing Company
- Whitewater Brewing Company
- Auchentoshan Scotch Whisky
While there were some familiar names and faces there, there were also a few new ones, and these were the ones I was interested to find out more about.
Northern Maverick Brewing Co.
One of the newest kids on the block was Northern Maverick Brewing Co., who will be opening their brewpub in downtown Toronto later this summer.
Founded by Jason Kaptyn, he’s taken his love for home brewing and turned it into his business dream. To help turn that dream into reality, he’s brought on board Brewmaster Andrew Crowder, formerly of Muskoka Brewery.
One of the cool things that Northern Maverick has done is to tie their brewing closely to charitable causes.
Their first beer, Fake News Ale (more on that in the beer section), will donate 5% of sales to charities that help causes impacted by Donald Trump’s administration.
They also support Egale Canada’s Human Rights Trust, that promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, queer, and Two Spirit (LGBTQ12S) human rights, as well as the environment, through the Lake Ontario Waterkeeper effort. We’ll drink to that!
Market Brewing Co.
Founded by friends Shane McCarthy and Josh Domingues in 2016, Market Brewing Co. was created with a simple mantra – to provide a true community hub for the Ontario town of Newmarket.
The first goal was to provide a place where family and friends could show up, relax, and catch up with each other’s lives in a gentle, relaxed atmosphere. But that was just half the plan.
A great community hub needs great beer, and so Market Brewing Co. was born.
Bringing award-winning Brewmaster Ethan allured into the fold was the final piece of the puzzle.
12 months later, and the folks at Market Brewing currently have four beers to call their own, with more on the way.
With regular events planned throughout the year to promote independent artists, as well as fun family evenings, Market Brewing Co. look set to more than deliver on their promise to make Newmarket a community hub that everyone can visit.
Of course, no craft beer festival would be complete without some awesome beers to sample, and the Toronto Craft Beer Festival didn’t disappoint.
From full and hoppy IPAs to lighter fare summer beer, from dark stouts to nutty brown ales, the event had something for everyone (including some non-alcoholic craft beer).
Click through the gallery below for my notes on the various beers I tried.
These beers, and the many others on show, reinforced the continuous growth and popularity that craft beer continues to enjoy, both in North America and around the world.
With the passion that the brewers bring for their craft (no pun intended), and the love the employees have for their work, it’s encouraging to see the industry grow in both stature and relevance.
The Toronto Craft Beer Festival was a great collection of beers, brewers, food, and music. I can’t wait until next year’s return.