One of the best things about the events listing for Toronto Beer Week is the fact that there are a lot of events that are taking place that otherwise wouldn’t. Just the fact that there is likely to be an influx of interest in the subject tends to mean that there’s a lot of leeway for trying out new things to gauge the level of public interest; While it’s not particularly difficult to get people to drink beer, it’s more difficult to get them to attend an event that’s tangentially related to beer: Beer and history, beer and music, beer and writing. There are also events that challenge the presumed knowledge of beer nerds.
These are, after all, events that have to do with the ephemera of beer culture. Because they’re all so different, it’s as well to just dive in to the previews.
MONDAY SEPT 20
1620 Bayview Ave
First Annual Lager Taste Challenge- $25/ TICKET
Come out and join us for our first annual Craft Beer Lager Taste Challenge! Where we put your beer palate to the test with 5 different brews. The Top 5 connoisseurs will each be rewarded with great prizes – not to mention that every participant gets a bite and a pint to start! So give us a
shout if you’re feeling lucky at 416-489-RIBS (7427)
Now this looks like it might be fun. I’m not entirely sure how they’re going to go about it, but I suspect that you’ll be given five sample sized glasses of beer and a list of what they MIGHT be. The best part is that because they’re lagers, which beer nerds tend famously to eschew, anybody might have a shot at winning this. Maybe they’ll cover the tap handles with paper bags to give it more of an air of mystery. All I know is that you should try a side order of their baked beans since they’re superbly molasses-y, (which may not be a word).
TUESDAY SEPT 21
67 Front Street East
10:00 – 11:30 pm
Not Always In Good Taste – a beer writers-in-the-round, Free admission.
Writers include: Stephen Beaumont, Greg Clow, Nick Pashley, Ian Coutts, Steve Cameron, Troy Burtch, Robert Hughey, Aonghus Kealy, Josh Rubin
This should be interesting if only for the amount of personality present in the room. You’ve got Stephen Beaumont, who’s about as legitimate as beer writers get. You’ve got Aonghus and Josh from newspapers. Ian and Nick have published books this year. Troy and Greg are bloggers in the process of making good. (I don’t actually know Robert Hughey or Steve Cameron, so I’m loathe to try and sum them up in slightly less than a sentence. Seems dismissive.) You’ve got people representing all levels of beer journalism. I have no idea what they’ll talk about, but I get the feeling that whatever it is, it’ll be amusing. I hope they field questions. Maybe I should prepare a list. “This question is for the panel: If you were a beer, what kind of beer would you be?”
Accessibility: 2/5 It covers a lot of different readerships, but you’d need to want to know about it.
Price: 5/5 You can’t beat free.
SUNDAY, SEPT 26
Toronto Beer Quest
Toronto Beer Quest is an urban adventure where teams of two solve clues about beer, photograph themselves together at the clue location, and reach the finish line to qualify for prizes. The event has one goal: provide a fun way for Torontonians to experience beer through fun, history, and strategy. Prizes, sponsors, and other event developments will be announced on the Toronto Beer Quest Facebook page at http://bit.ly/TorontoBeerQuest.
Check-in at 11:00am, event starts at 12:00pm
Tickets are $30 (earlybird) or $40 for a team of two participants at http://torontobeerquest1.eventbrite.com/
I’ve got to say that originally, I didn’t quite get the concept for this one, but I was talking to Mirella Amato from Beerology on Saturday and she makes an interesting case for it. We’ve all been on guided tours, and I think I’m right in saying that attention tends to wander after a certain amount of time. You might be on the Maid of the Mist, overcome by the majesty and power of Niagara Falls and then twenty minutes later, you just want to take off the poncho and go get a coffee and maybe check your email. In this instance, where there are prizes involved for guiding yourself through the tour, your attention can’t afford to wander. Plus, in order to get a photo at each checkpoint, you actually have to learn things about the brewing history of Toronto. She’s managed to make the guided tour interactive and competitive. Deuced clever and you get some exercise before hitting the bar at the finish line.
Accessibility : 3/5 You need some special equipment and an interest in history.
Finally, I’d like to talk about a number of events that are cropping up which fall under this category if only because they are of the “have a beer with…” variety. Meet the brewer. Meet the journalist. It makes it sound as though they should be standing on a pedestal in the corner surrounded by velvet ropes, guarded by large men in black suits.
Ken and Adrian from Black Oak are hitting The Only Cafe on Tuesday and Bar Volo on Thursday. Those events should be fun, not only because they’re approachable and interesting guys, but also because they make some really tasty beers. Please take very small sips in front of Ken; it will save him from thinking about the next inevitable wave of deliveries.
Michael Hancock is going to be at the Monk’s Table on Thursday talking about his favourite subject: Weissbier. He’s a truly interesting guy and one of the most dedicated and exacting brewers I’ve ever met. You could learn a thing or six from Michael Hancock.
Bar Volo has the founder of Trois Mousquetaires on Saturday and they’ll be launching 8 beers from that brewery. If you’ve ever wanted to see whether your French holds up while drinking a 12% beer, this is your opportunity.
The Local on Roncesvalles has representatives from Great Lakes in on Tuesday to discuss their Pumpkin Beer. Every year the Halloween treats go on sale earlier. There will also be live music, so this will be a good night out even if you don’t want to talk to a brewer.
Next time, I’m going to talk about events that are about beer as a standalone entity.