It's natural that with warmer weather our drinking tastes turn to beer so it didn't take much debate for us to establish the middle of June as a good time to kick off 30 days of Ontario beer. It's a lucky coincidence that the Ontario Craft Brewers have organised a week of events, starting this weekend, that celebrate the breweries they represent.
Ontario Craft Brewers is an organisation of the province's smaller to medium-sized breweries that work together to promote their beer brewed in traditional styles, with natural ingredients, and free of preservatives and additives. Many but not all of the Ontario breweries that we'll be featuring during the 30 days are among the 25 OCB members. The full OCB brewing philosophy can be found here in pdf format.
The OCB week web site augments the usual event listings for the week with their informative I'm an Ontario Craft Brewer video, an online version of caps, and a beer personality quiz. The quiz is quick and from the response on Twitter, provides interesting and accurate suggestions.
There are a huge (almost overwhelming) number of events during the week so I've broken down what I think will be the highlights into three categories below. These are all Toronto-centric and may not be to your tastes so take a look at the full listing.
All Week Events:
Great Lakes IPA triple tap takeover at the Rhino: IPAs are one of the fastest growing categories of craft beer and one of best examples of how their distinctive flavour differs from mass-market beer. The Rhino has one of the largest patios in their neighbourhood. June 20 – 25; The Rhino; details.
Ontario Craft Beer Week at the Only: The featured craft brewer will rotate daily between King, Beau's, Great Lakes, Mill Street, and Muskoka. June 19 – 25: The Only Cafe; details.
Father's Day Weekend:
Cask Ale Crawl: Ten pubs that serve cask ale across Toronto are featured. If you think you can make it to them all, enter the prize draw by grabbing a passport from any of the participants and having it stamped at each stop. Various locations; details.
Many breweries in the GTA and across Ontario have bring Dad for a beer/bbq/lunch events on site on Father's Day Sunday. Trafalgar is the only one that used the magic words "pig roast" so I'll mention them in particular. Traflagar Brewery; details.
One Day Events:
One Off Beer Dinner at Harbord House: Three courses from one of the best food spots on the Harbord strip matched with beer. David Bieman from Great Lakes will be there to discuss each of the three small-production beers. Monday, June 20; Harbord House; details.
Beer Stock II/Battle of the Casks: Mississauga's celebration of beer includes both those from Ontario and international selections. Thursday, June 23; West 50 Pour House; details.
House Ale Takeover at barVolo: Volo is widely considered one of the best spots in Toronto for cask beer tasting. On Friday they'll be serving house ales from a variety of brewers with a variety of delivery mechanisms, including hand pumps and gravity-fed casks. Friday, June 24; Bar Volo: details.
Session 99: The Toronto wrap-up party will feature one of the widest selection of craft beers during OCB week. Out-of-province beer guests, food vendors, and live entertainment round out the programme. Saturday, June 25; 99 Sudbury; details.
Written by David Ort
As one of Spotlight’s contributing editors, David enjoys turning his mind (and keyboard) to a wide variety of topics ranging from recipes to restaurants to craft beer. When he’s not writing for Spotlight Toronto, David shares his thoughts on new restaurants and beer at PostCity.com and all things food and drink on his own site, Food With Legs.