A foot of snow on the ground is no reason to stop us from getting together for a few pints of limited edition beer. In fact, there are two beer events in the next week that test the rule that summer is the time for great beer focused activities.
It looks like the Brewer's Backyard will be continuing their association with the Evergreen Brick Works this year. The first event on the 2013 schedule for them is Brew Year's Day on Sunday January 6 from 12 to 4 PM.
Six breweries — Nickel Brook, Great Lakes, Indie Ale House, Amsterdam, Cheshire Valley, and Grand River — will all be pouring winter offerings that aren't widely available. I had Nickel Brook's Old Kentucky Bastard (their Russian Imperial stout, aged for a year in bourbon barrels) on tap at barVolo and it's delicious enough to make the trip out just for that one beer.
Popup vendor Big E's Grinds will serve their take on Hawaiian food "including grilled shrimp, pineapple and pulled pork."
Despite the "Backyard" in the name the beer will be poured inside the Young Welcome Centre, but those willing to venture outside can get in some skating on the Brick Works' artificial rink. Admission is free; food and beer tickets will be available at the event.
For a more concentrated dose of Great Lakes beer, head to C'est What on January 8, after 5 PM for their brewery feature event. They'll have: Karma Citra IPA, Harry Porter, Audrey Hopburn (Belgian IPA), Deliverance American Farmhouse, Pompous Ass, Smoked Rye, Apocalypse Later (Double Black IPA) on tap and a firkin of Harry Porter and the Bourbon Soaked Vanilla Bean. Again, there is no cover for this event and it's a pay-as-you-drink. It will be tough to choose two or three favourites from that lineup that as well as quality has the diversity factor of including beers that aren't strictly winter seasonals.
Torontonians devoted to the craft beer event schedule for their socialising used to have a hard time connecting the dots between October and May, but these two events are just two examples of how things are progressively getting better.