Rick McGinnis/Metro Toronto


Toronto’s Festival of Beer co-founder Greg Cosway, centre, joins Metro Toronto beer columnist Aonghus Kealy and national special sections editor Ann-Marie Colacino for a drink at Historic Fort York where the annual festival will be held.

It’s 11 years for the festival that celebrates the nectar of the gods. Here are the top 11 reasons that you must go to Toronto’s Beer Festival this weekend:

1. The Napoleon Grill Tent: See pages 13 and 15. ’Nuff said.

2. Historic Fort York: This venue is one of the coolest places for a party in the city. It’s one of the city’s historical treasures, but it’s one of the largest downtown escapes from Hogtown’s hustle, especially if the souvlaki and elbows at the Taste Of the Danforth has left a bad taste in your mouth. Talk to the right person at the fort, and they might even suit you up in a red coat and a musket.

3. Selection: More than 200 brands of beer enjoyed by 23,000 people. If that isn’t a party, what is?

4. The Steam Machine: It’s a van equipped with two taps on the driver’s side that will be parked and ready to serve beer. Where do the Good Beer Folks come up with this stuff?

5. Labatt’s Streamliner: Labatt Breweries adds some history to the event with this truck featuring a design that dates back to 1932. The bright red truck with gold graphics will be hard to miss at the Blue stand. Labatt exec Harvey Carroll mentions that Streamliner drivers were known to pick up “stranded travellers” along their routes. Ahh, just say hitchhikers, Harv. We’ve all thumbed it at least once. Right?



6. Goliaths Battle: Labatt beats Molson in the Festival brands war, 11-8, with Alexander Keith’s, Brahma and Leffe Blonde among their brands. Molson’s lineup includes Canadian Cold Shots, Heineken and Rickard’s Red. Canada’s oldest brewer is also bringing Negra Modelo, its Vienna-style dark lager from their Corona brewer in Mexico. It landed on LCBO shelves last month ($12.50 for six) and should be available at the Beer Store soon, says Molson exec Rob Assimakopoulos. Can’t wait to try it.

7. Me: See you Saturday! (Cricket, cricket, tumbleweed.) Guys?

8. I Scream: Yes, lager ice cream, by Toronto’s Great Lakes Brewery. It’s an all-natural, vanilla-based ice cream made with Golden Horseshoe lager. It has less than one per cent alcohol so it’s perfect for your DD. Cool!

9. Bombs Away!: Prepare to be bombed by Black Oak Brewery. The Oakville brewer will have a 40-litre cask of Hop Bomb Edition Pale Ale. Today only.

10. Meet The Parents: Don’t ask me who’s the mommy, but hard-working Festival co-founders Greg “Cos” Cosway and Scotty Rondeau will be in the grill tent all weekend. (See page 13.)

Amsterdam Brewing’s Framboise

11. Amsterdam Brewing: They’ll feature their Natural Blonde, Nut Brown, Framboise and KLB Raspberry Wheat at the Festival. But before and after the event, stop in at the 30,000-sq.-ft. brewery across the street from the fort on the east side of Bathurst. If you want to skip out on a date going badly, head to Am’s sampling bar and try the brewery’s eight beers on tap — free! Enjoy the Festival!


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