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I had the chance to interview Les Murray, he is the President of the Toronto Festival of Beer which takes place next week starting on August 5th

Toronto Festival of Beer

Photo Provided by the Toronto Festival of Beer

 

<Matt> What is your history and how did you become involved with the Toronto Festival of Beer?

<Les> I’ve been involved with the festival as President for 6 years….the festival was founded by my business partner Greg Cosway

<Matt> How many people visit the Festival each year?

<Les> We continue to grow each year,,,,we expect 30,000 people this year…

<Matt> What is your favorite thing about being involved with the Festival?

<Les> The opportunity to work in a great industry and engage some very passionate and creative brewers….

<Matt> I have noticed much more Social Media involved in promoting the Festival this year, do you consider this one of your main marketing streams now?

<Les> Absolutely….social media will continue to have a major role in promoting the event…this year we have launched a social media lounge, exclusively for bloggers, tweeters, and media folks to power-up and wire-in…

<Matt> How has the move to the new location (Bandshell Park) worked out compared to Fort York?

<Les> Love it ….loved Fort York, but realistically, the Fort was built to keep people out…loading a large trade show and 30,000 people was difficult…

<Matt> In the past the Festival has been criticized about being more geared towards the Macro brewers such as Labatt’s, I noticed quite a few craft brewers on the exhibitor’s list this year and last.  What are you doing this year to promote the growing craft beer industry at the event?

<Les> We have many craft brewers participating at the festival…we created an area right smack in the middle of the site, infront of the stage, under 3 big tents , that we call “ The Local”…these tents feature all Ontario Craft Brewers…we also developed a new program this year called the MASH UP, featuring 8 craft brewers paired in groups of 2 creating a unique “mash” just for the festival…..

<Matt> Who are your favourite brewer’s at the event?

<Les> ….there are so many great brewers, Beaus, Great Lakes, Nickel Brook, Mill Street, Premium, doing great activations at the event                                                                                                                                                          

<Matt> What was the last craft beer you drank?

<Les> Beaus Lug Tread…..last night

<Matt> What are you most looking forward to at the Toronto Festival of Beer this year?

<Les> Love seeing all the brewers and consumers enjoying themselves..

<Matt> Besides beer what else can you do at the Festival?

<Les> We have grilling demonstrations in the Napoleon Tent with Celebrity and Local Chefs, we have great interactive games in the bet365.net tent, we  have great food vendors serving up everything from oysters to smoked meat, from bbq to gourmet grill cheese, from meatballs to thai food, and more….we have great entertainment all day on the main stage ,,,,,if you’re a girl and would like to know more about beer, you can take the Girls Guided Beer Tour with cicerone Mirella Amato….

<Matt> Do you have any future plans for the Festival that you can share with us?

<Les> we continue to look for opportunities to expand the beer selection and bring new and unique products for consumers to enjoy…we are also looking to expand our beer knowledge and education seminars …..stay tuned

<Matt> Where should people go for more information about the Toronto Festival of Beer?

<Les>  Beerfestival.ca 

 

I had a follow-up question for Les about the involvment of the Niagara Brewing College.  Les forwarded my question to Lorraine Snihur who is the Hospitality and Events Manager Wine and Beer Operations for Niagara College.

<Matt> I Noticed the Niagara brewing College Is exhibiting this year how did you hook up with them?

<Lorraine> As we are Canada’s first and only Teaching Brewery we thought that it would be a perfect opportunity to join the Toronto Festival of Beer this year!  We just opened in December and had our Grand Opening this past April and have already received some awards for our beer!  We hope that you will be able to visit us at the festival and taste some our First Draft Lager and Ale!

 

 

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There are 2 summer beer festivals coming up in the next few days.

Image Courtesy of The Hart House

First is the awesome Hart House Craft Beer Festival that will be held this Thursday August 28.  The event is held in the courtyard which is a stunning location.  Pretty much every craft brewer I can think of is there pouring beer and Hart House Executive Chef Marco Tucci provides an awesome BBQ.  I will be there helping Brock Shepherd pour for his Kensington Brewing Company.  Stop by and say hello!

 

Just 8 days later is another huge event.  The Toronto Festival of Beer which starts August 5th at Bandshell Park.  Beer, Music, Food, what else do you need on a summer weekend?  Look back here for an interview in the next few days with Les Murray President of the Festival!

 

Nothing like having a stout in the hot weather.  Most people say no way but I say what does it matter!

 

 

No review as it is too hot to write one but I have 3 words of advice: Go get it!

 

Well…..go get it this fall when hopefully they release it again!

P.S. I drank this in the Winter not today but, I am a proponent of having a stout on a lovely summer evening.  In fact I had one last night!

Another winner from Black Oak!

What can I say about Black Oak.  They put out one solid beer after another.

About the Beer – It poured very dark brown/black with a small head.  There was big chocolate aroma mixed with fresh notes and a bit of sour cherry.  The flavour was definitly chocoate mixed with some roasted malt, toffee, and a slight sour cherry finish.  Smooth going down.

Would I Drink it Again? – Yes, I have had many of these and will have many more.

One of my favourite local beers!

I always look forward to the Christmas season as Nutcracker Porter hits the scene again!

About the Beer – It poured pitch black with a great mocha head.  The aroma was of roasted malt, caramel, coffee, and some sort of nuttiness. The flavour was fantastic with nicely roasted notes, bitter chocolate, coffee, very light cinnamon, and a hint of mint????  The mouth feel of this beer is spectacular.

Would I Drink it Again? – Yes!!! Can’t wait till Christmas comes to get more of this excellent beer.

 

Picked some of this up today at the Amsterdam Brewery.

I first tried this beer during the Amsterdam Tap Take-Over at Castro’s Lounge then at Barvolo.  I was happy to hear they were going to bottle it.  I believe they only bottled 400 so grab some while you can.  They come in a cool wax dipped bottle.

About the Beer – It poured a lovely black colour with a nice mocha head.  The aroma was of roasted cocoa, rye, and maybe a hint of licorice.  The flavour was nice and complex.  It started with a nice shot of sweetness that was quickly followed by a hit of coffee.  The middle was full of cocoa, roast, and a touch of herbal notes.  The finish had a bitter tinge of espresso.  The beer was super velvety in the mouth.Wax Dipped

Would I Drink it Again? – Yes, this is a very nice beer.  Glad I have 9 more!

Quebec Beer

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