Brewers Plate Details Announced!

Join Ontario Craft Brewers, slow food chefs and local food artisans for the 7th annual Brewer’s Plate on Wednesday, June 4th at the CBC Atrium in Toronto. With spring finally in bloom, taste the flavours of Ontario’s local bounty while gathering with farming advocates in the city of Toronto. The always sold-out evening’s specially crafted dishes will focus on field-fresh and creatively preserved food from Ontario’s farms and local food’s evolving presence in the public eye.

Attendees will sample the delicious creations of celebrity chefs known for showcasing local seasonal ingredients, paired with the craftsmanship of our fine Ontario Craft Brewers. Come and enjoy culinary delights from Café Belong, Cava, Earth Bistro, Ruby Watch Co.La Palette, Fonda Lola,Torito and Carmen, The Big Carrot, Toronto Garlic FestivalPegasus Hospitality Group, The Neal Brothers, Merchants of Green Coffee,  Andrew Muto, and more!

Check out a list of our brewer participants HERE. For the wine lovers, Southbrook Wines will be featured, representing Ontario’s vibrant and innovative viticulture with their biodynamic wines at the Brewers Plate.

Ticket holders will be treated to unlimited sampling of all the food and beverage partners with live music entertainment while supporting a great cause.

Unifying the vision of supporting our local farmers and economy, this year’s beneficiary of the 2014 Brewers Plate is the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. The Foundation is a charitable grant-making organization working to help keep farmers successful, strengthen local economies, and protect and grow natural features. At more than 1.8 million acres, Ontario’s Greenbelt is the world’s largest permanently protected greenbelt, keeping our farmlands, forests, and wetlands safe and sustainable.

Most of all, a big thank you to our local food champion chef’s ingredient suppliers, King Cole Duck, Grandview Farms and Sol Cuisine, who are donating their ethically and sustainably grown produce and meat to ensure the success of The Brewers Plate and to help meet our fundraising goals!

Tickets can be purchased HERE.

Where: CBC (Barbara Frum) Atrium, 250 Front Street West, Toronto ON.

When: Wednesday June 4th 2014, Doors open at 6:15pm

Ticket price: $125.00 + Service Charge

The Ontario Brewing Awards Celebrates Great Beer in Ontario

Last night the brewers of Ontario gathered at The Gladstone Hotel to celebrate the best of the best in 2014. Hosted by Roger Mittag, founder of Prud’homme Beer Certification®, and Beerlicious Inc., the event itself brought out over 200 industry members and media.

The evening highlighted the beer of over 40 breweries competing in 31 categories. Submissions were evaluated by a team of BJCP judges and were announced at the Ontario Brewing Awards with the following results:

GOLD

SILVER

BRONZE

NORTH AMERICAN LIGHT LAGER NORTH AMERICAN LIGHT LAGER  NORTH AMERICAN LIGHT LAGER 
   
BRICK BREWING COMPANY F&M BREWERY FLYING MONKEYS CRAFT BREWERY
LAKER LIGHT STONE HAMMER LIGHT ANTIGRAVITY LIGHT
     
NORTH AMERICAN LAGER NORTH AMERICAN LAGER NORTH AMERICAN LAGER
     
HOGSBACK BREWING COMPANY LAKE OF BAYS BREWING COMPANY AMSTERDAM BREWERY
VINTAGE LAGER TOP SHELF CLASSIC LAGER NATURAL BLONDE
   
PILSNER PILSNER PILSNER
     
WATERLOO BREWING COMPANY MOLSON COORS CANADA KING BREWERY
WATERLOO PILSNER RICKARD’S BLONDE KING PILSNER
AMBER LAGER AMBER LAGER AMBER LAGER
HOPCITY BREWING COMPANY GREAT LAKES BREWERY KING BREWERY
BARKING SQUIRREL LAGER RED LEAF LAGER VIENNA LAGER
DARK LAGER DARK LAGER DARK LAGER
SIDE LAUNCH BREWING COMPANY WATERLOO BREWING COMPANY KING BREWERY
DARK LAGER WATERLOO DARK KING DARK
BOCK BOCK BOCK
KING BREWERY CAMERON’S BREWING COMPANY MILL STREET BREWERY
KING BOCK DEVIATOR DOPPELBOCK WEIZENBOCK
HONEY / MAPLE BEER HONEY / MAPLE BEER HONEY / MAPLE BEER
F&M BREWERY MILL STREET BREWERY BAYSIDE BREWING COMPANY
STONE HAMMER MAPLE RED ROYAL YORK STINGER HONEY MAPLE
HEFEWEIZEN HEFEWEIZEN HEFEWEIZEN
BIG RIG BREWERY DENISON’S BREWING COMPANY MAGNOTTA BREWERY
HEFE DENISON’S WEISSBIER TRUE NORTH WUNDER WEISSE
BELGIAN WITBIER BELGIAN WITBIER BELGIAN WITBIER
MILL STREET BREWERY AMSTERDAM BREWERY MOLSON COORS CANADA
BELGIAN WIT BOXER RICKARD’S WHITE
FLAVOURED WHEAT BEER FLAVOURED WHEAT BEER FLAVOURED WHEAT BEER
AMSTERDAM BREWERY CLOCKTOWER BREW PUB BEYOND THE PALE BREWING COMPANY
KLB RASPBERRY WHEAT RASPBERRY WHEAT PINK FUZZ
FARMHOUSE ALES FARMHOUSE ALES FARMHOUSE ALES
STACK BREWING BIG RIG BREWERY BIG RIG BREWERY
PORTES DE L’ENFERS SAISON BELGIAN BLOND
LAGERED ALES LAGERED ALES LAGERED ALES
THE PUBLICAN HOUSE BREWERY CLOCKTOWER BREW PUB BIG RIG BREWERY
PUBLICAN HOUSE ALE KÖLSCH GOLD
BRITISH PALE / BITTER BRITISH PALE / BITTER BRITISH PALE / BITTER
MUSKOKA BREWERY BLACK OAK BREWING COMPANY HIGHLANDER BREW COMPANY
CREAM ALE PALE ALE SCOTTISH ALE
AMERICAN PALE ALE AMERICAN PALE ALE AMERICAN PALE ALE
GREAT LAKES BREWERY COLLECTIVE ARTS BREWING GREAT LAKES BREWERY
JOHNNY SIMCOE RHYME & REASON CRAZY CANUCK
BRITISH IPA BRITISH IPA BRITISH IPA
MILL STREET BREWERY KENSINGTON BREWING COMPANY WATERLOO BREWING COMPANY
MILL STREET IPA BALDWIN FISHEYE-PA WATERLOO IPA
WEST COAST IPA  WEST COAST IPA  WEST COAST IPA
CAMERON’S BREWING COMPANY MUSKOKA BREWERY BEYOND THE PALE BREWING COMPANY
R.P.A TWICE AS MAD TOM IPA IMPERIAL SUPER GUY
DARK IPA DARK IPA DARK IPA
BIG RIG BREWERY FLYING MONKEYS CRAFT BREWERY WELLINGTON BREWERY
BLACK IPA NETHERWORLD TERRESTRIAL INDIA BROWN ALE
AMBER ALE AMBER ALE AMBER ALE 
KILANNAN BREWING COMPANY CLOCKTOWER BREW PUB SAWDUST CITY BREWING COMPANY
NEW ZEALAND RED CLOCKTOWER RED OL’ WOODY ALT
DARK ALE DARK ALE DARK ALE 
MAGNOTTA BREWERY F&M BREWERY AMSTERDAM BREWERY
TRUE NORTH COPPER ALTBIER STONE HAMMER DARK DOWNTOWN BROWN
PORTER PORTER PORTER
NICKEL BROOK BREWERY COMPANY HIGHLANDER BREW COMPANY SIX PINTS SPECIALTY BEER CO
MAPLE PORTER BLACKSMITH SMOKED  PORTER BEER ACADEMY PORTER
STOUT STOUT STOUT
F&M BREWERY SAWDUST CITY BREWING COMPANY BIG RIG BREWERY
STONE HAMMER COFFEE STOUT SKINNY DIPPING STOUT BIG RIG STOUT
FRUIT BEER FRUIT BEER  FRUIT BEER
AMSTERDAM BREWERY MILL STREET BREWERY TURTLE ISLAND BREWING COMPANY
FRAMBOISE FRAMBOZEN SMASH CHERRY PALE ALE
FLAVOURED BEER FLAVOURED BEER FLAVOURED BEER
AMSTERDAM BREWERY SAWDUST CITY BREWING COMPANY BIG RIG BREWERY
FULL CITY DOUBLE TEMPEST RED ROCKET CINNAMON VANILLA CAYENNE COFFEE BIG RIG PUMPKIN
STRONG BEER STRONG BEER STRONG BEER
DESCENDANTS BEER & BEVERAGE COMPANY SAWDUST CITY BREWING COMPANY AMSTERDAM BREWERY
PROLOGUE BELGIAN BLONDE PRINCESS WEARS GIRLPANTS VICAR’S VICE
GLUTEN FREE
NICKEL BROOK BREWERY COMPANY
GLUTEN FREE
BARREL AGED WHISKY BARREL AGED WHISKY BARREL AGED WHISKY
AMSTERDAM BREWERY WELLINGTON BREWERY CAMERON’S BREWING COMPANY
DOUBLE TEMPEST FROST QUAKE BOURBON BARREL AGED BARLEY WINE BOURBON BARREL DEVIATOR DOPPELBOCK
BARREL AGED WINE BARREL AGED WINE BARREL AGED WINE
AMSTERDAM BREWERY SAWDUST CITY BREWING COMPANY GREAT LAKES BREWERY
RYE PEPPERCORN SAISON ODB GARY
IMPERIAL STOUT/BALTIC PORTER IMPERIAL STOUT/BALTIC PORTER IMPERIAL STOUT/BALTIC PORTER
MUSKOKA BREWERY BIG RIG BREWERY WELLINGTON BREWERY
WINTERBEARD IMPERIAL STOUT RUSSIAN IMPERIAL STOUT
VEGETABLE BEER VEGETABLE BEER VEGETAL BEER
GRAND RIVER BREWING THE SHIP BIG RIG BREWERY
HIGHBALLER THE SHIP’S RATIONS BIG RIG PUMPKIN
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
THE PUBLICAN HOUSE BREWERY
PUBLICAN HOUSE
BEER OF THE YEAR
MUSKOKA BREWERY

 

Spring Sessions Just A Day Away!

Happy Eve of Beer Festival, everyone!

There are still some tickets available for Friday March 28th, so get them at beerfestival.ca!

Catch illScarlett on our main stage Friday night and watch Mill Street, Steamwhistle, Beau’s and Great Lakes battle it out on the stage in our Brewery Battle of the Bands, Saturday. They’ve been hard at work brewing great beer for you to enjoy as well as warming up their vocal chords to perform with the following bands!

  1. Tennessee Voodoo Coup featuring members of Mill St. Brewery https://www.facebook.com/tvc.to
  2. Audio featuring Beau’s All Natural Brewing Staff
  3. Die Tenacious Earth from Great Lakes Brewery
  4. And The Lowest Boardroom from Steamwhistle Brewing

The Sattalites will close the show on Saturday with a special Earth Hour Performance!

Don’t feel like heading home on Saturday? Join Mill Street Brewery in the distillery district for their Earth Day Lights Out Event following the Beer Festival. Take the Mill St. Shuttle Bus from the Brick Works to their brewery after the show on Saturday!

http://millstreetearthday.com/

Please enjoy responsibly. For your safe enjoyment, we have provided a shuttle bus from Broadview Subway Station to Evergreen Brick Works that will begin at 3:30pm on Friday and 1:00pm on Saturday and will run every 15 minutes.

We have also teamed up with Hailo, the Toronto taxi app, to offer those of you new to their service a free $15 taxi credit.

The Promo Code to use is: SPRINGBEER14

Download the Hailo taxi app for free from theApp Store orGoogle Play and take a few seconds to register. The $15 promo code can be entered by tapping on the Account icon (top left) and then ‘Hailo Credits’.

Look for the Hailo booth near the Entrance where they will be offering the chance to WIN more free taxi rides and a GRAND PRIZE of a Toronto staycation.

Hailo is THE way to get a taxi wherever you are, whenever you want.  All it takes is two taps on your smartphone. Pay automatically by card, with no hidden fees and receive instant receipts by email.

If you have any questions please email toronto.support@hailocab.com or visithailocab.com/toronto/blog for more information.

The best of the best in beer in Ontario, see what’s brewing in 2013

WRITTEN BY: Enrique Barrios

“The best of the best in beer in Ontario, see what’s brewing in 2013 ”

It’s two weeks before the 10th annual Ontario Brewing Awards (OBA) gala and more than 40 of the province’s finest breweries have sent their best libations to be judged by veteran palates at downtown Toronto’s Beer Academy. Since taking on an assignment to write for Toronto’s Festival of Beer’s blog, everything has been building up to this moment—the beer tastings that determine the winners of the OBAs.

As I walk through double doors, I’m greeted by a small room that manages to fit seven tables with three judges each. The atmosphere is abuzz with excited murmurs of the beer tasting that is about to take place.

I find myself wondering how the hell I got here as I relive my entire beer-drinking experiences in five seconds—my first pint of beer in a back-alley Irish pub in downtown Vienna, Austria; 42-second keg stands in my undergrad when I weighed 128.5 lbs. pounds (soaking wet); my first bottle of Duggan’s No. 9 India pale ale after my friend’s then-neighbor, who helped brewer Mike Duggan with the recipe, suggested we try some after its initial sale at the LCBO. My conclusion: I’ve come a long way.

I’m here to meet Roger Mittag, lead organizer of the OBAs and owner of Thirst for Knowledge Inc., a leading Canadian beer education company. He explains that the beer submitted doesn’t necessarily focus on the latest beer fads. “The awards are less about what’s popular with beer consumers than they are about what’s popular with beer brewers,” Mittag explains.

That’s where the judges enter the picture. The brewers are evaluated by officials from the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP), an internationally recognized beer-tasting organization. These expert beer tasters award points based on taste, color, texture (think heady froth and carbonation) and aroma relative to the style of beer. And since judges aren’t paid (beer doesn’t count as compensation), they earn points for every competition they participate in to enhance and maintain their judging credentials.

With any awards program, there are winners and losers. However tonight I’m reminded of something my friend’s grandfather always used to say, “There’s no such thing as bad beer, just some’s better than others.” And that’s what the OBAs are about – celebrating brewers big, small and everything in between.

The judging process itself creates an air of anticipation among the brewers, who must wait nearly one month for the winners to be revealed at the OBA gala. “Each beer entry is assigned an anonymous number so nobody knows which brewer wins at the time of judging,” Mittag says.

Towards the end of the tasting, I’m able to get a few words in with Victor North of Three Brewers, a competitor and judge at the OBAs, who has brewed commercially for two years. I ask him why brewers enter this competition. “Because it leads to a better understanding of beer and provides an opportunity for recognition,” North says. “It’s also an opportunity for brewers to receive valuable feedback since they can choose to see the tasting notes.”

Since the OBAs began in 2003, the number of categories has grown considerably. In 2006 there were just 10 categories; today there are 24 and even that’s not enough to cover off 65 essential beer styles, Mittag notes. This year, the awards feature over 210 beers submitted by more than 40 brewers, from lagers to India pale ales to fruit or vegetable beer.

The OBAs will also continue to hand out an award in the popular home-brewer category, which is sponsored by Lake of Bays Brewery. Anyone who works for a brewery in any capacity is barred from entering this category. The home brewer’s prize, apart from bragging rights, prestige and the respect of their peers, is the right to brew a full-sized batch of their own blue ribbon at the Lake of Bays brewery (see what I did there?).

“Every once in a while you see someone who comes in for the first time and does an amazing job on their beer and they get rewarded for it,” says Mittag.

Given this will mark my first (and hopefully, annual) attendance at the OBAs, I’m literally counting the days to the gala where the winners will be announced. I have a vague idea of what to expect, but if you’re like me and you love beer, it doesn’t even matter as long as that golden, auburn, amber, black, copper (and all of the other colors it comes in) are there for sampling. Did I ever mention, “There’s no such thing as bad beer, just some’s better than others?”
Roger Mittag, lead organizer of the Ontario Brewing Awards, sorting through beer submissions for the beer tastings. Paul Dickey (right) and Roger Mittag (left) discuss which table to send a flight of beers to. Brad Clifford (left) of Get Well Brewery and Victor North (right) of Three Brewers discussing a beer in the competition. A framed chalkboard at Toronto's Beer Academy detailing the brewing process.

Toronto’s Festival of Beer – History lesson

This year marks the 19th anniversary of Toronto’s Festival of Beer (TFOB). With that comes a bunch of new brews, bands and bustling crowds.  In its infancy, Canada’s largest festival took place at Fort York and featured the beers of 8 brewers and attracted 1,200 enthusiasts. Since then the popularity of this thirst-quenching weekend has more grown exponentially. In 2009, they moved their location to Bandshell Park at Exhibition Place, with 35,000 square feet of outdoor space to accommodate their growing popularity.

Although the festival is most known for its beer, and highlighted over 200 brands in 2012, it still has much to offer the non-beer drinkers among us. Each day the event features a headlining band on their main stage. In the past, it has featured big names such as Big Wreck, Dragonette, Salt n Pepa and The Sheepdogs. This year’s festival takes place from July 26th-28th and will feature De la Soul, Escort and The Spin Doctors. TFOB also highlights delicious food made by local and celebrity chefs that pair well with beer in their grilling tent.

The idea for the festival evolved from Greg Cosway a graduate of Carleton University who developed his love for beer by founding Canada’s first ever “Beer of the Month Club”. The event is now run by Beerlicious Inc. and is headed by Greg and his fellow beer enthusiast Les Murray, a former executive of Labatt. They work together to create an atmosphere of fun, entertainment and responsible consumption.

I was lucky enough to sit down with these two busy pals to ask them some questions about the festival and how it has developed over the years.

We snagged a table at Betty’s and, nervous about my beer choice, I ordered a Creemore and breathed a sigh of relief as Greg opted for a Bud Light and Les, a Guinness. “We’ve got to remember our roots and where we come from” says Greg as he makes reference to bigger beer companies as “the original craft brewers”.

When asked what it takes to put on a large-scale festival like this, Greg laughs, “lots of beer”. They work year-round, with 3 full time staff and only take two weeks off after each event before they begin looking for ways to improve the next. “It is like having a mulligan on every golf swing; every year you get to chance to do it over and to make it better,” says Greg.

The 20-year process of building a successful event is not without its hitches. Greg and Les have navigated many difficulties along the way.  Responsible use is always at the top of their list and they have addressed issues in the past of the “frat party mentality”. To combat this issue and prevent over consumption, they have continued to stress their mandate of delivering a festival that focuses on “ locally produced, farm to table, natural ingredients, quality products and people who are passionate and integral to the entire brewing movement,” states Greg.

The above philosophy is also showcased in the continuous improvements made on the environmental friendliness front at the event. They have made some crucial changes in their program to reduce amount of waste that a festival produces. The largest initiative, the switch from plastic cups to a collectable glass mugs. Les states “ the reduction in waste when 30,000 plastic cups are left to dispose vs the 100 glasses that remained last year, is undeniable. They also installed 3 water stations at the festival that significantly reduced the plastic water bottle waste.

In a discussion about social media, the two readily admit that marketing to social media savy consumers is both a learning curve and a big opportunity for them. “ Marketing via social media, allows us to target key social influencers and attract a new audience of young, urban centric individuals. These as new consumers that are into food, fashion and entertainment, but have never been to the festival”, says Les.  This new audience has also spawned some interesting festival programming such as the Girls Guided Beer Tour, which welcomes female attendees to learn more about beer and Taps & Tunes satellite events that they host during the year to keep the audience buzzing.

Their social media campaigns have also created a strong community spirit. In the last five years, the festival has seen the development of teams that come in creatively dressed in uniform to partake in the beer culture. They encourage the team spirit of the festival because they love it, support it and it “is nice to see people traveling in groups and looking after one another,” says Greg.

When it all comes to a close on July 28th this year, Greg and Les say they will feel a sense of relief, gratitude and accomplishment, but will begin the planning process soon after. “Every year you have another opportunity to up the ante, right?” says Les.

To see how they’ve upped the ante this year, visit www.beerfestival.ca and purchase your tickets to Toronto’s Festival of Beer!

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