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This a great event and I encourage everyone to go who has an interest in brewing or how beer is made!

Across North America, the first Saturday of November is recognized as “Teach a Friend to Homebrew Day”, and the Southern Ontario Brewers recognize the date by hosting a Learn2Brew event. In cooperation with Amsterdam Brewing, the Southern Ontario Brewers invite you to spend a day learning about homebrewing on Saturday 3. November 2012 at 45 Esandar Drive, in Toronto. This group of homebrewers will be demonstrating a range of homebrewing techniques and equipment from single-vessel systems through larger 3-vessel breweries. The group consists of novice homebrewers through professional brewers.

“Homebrewers are proud of our craft, and usually take any opportunity we can get to show it off.” explained Jason Stranak, one of the event organizers. “We hope to attract members of the public with an interest in craft beer, homebrewing or anyone who enjoys tasting and learning about hand-crafted full-flavoured beer. We are inviting the public to come out to view the beer brewing demonstrations and learn about the hobby and ask questions about the brewing process”.”

Amateur brewers will be setting up their mash tuns, kettles and assorted gear and attendees can expect that there will be at least 10 brewing stations on site brewing a variety of ales and lagers during the demonstration using malted barley, hops, yeast and water.

Jamie Mistry, brewmaster at the Amsterdam Brewery has been generous in hosting this annual event for the fourth year running. The Amsterdam Brewery will also be open for the event, with public tours of the new Leaside brewery location, and Amsterdam beers will be available to sample.

Date: Saturday, 3.November 2012
Time: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Location: Amsterdam Brewery, 45 Esander Drive, Toronto

For further information, media may contact:
Jason Stranak, Southern Ontario Brewers

The Southern Ontario Brewers are a group of amateur homebrewers from the GTA (and beyond) who love to share their passion for homebrewing. SOB is an informal association of amateur brewers who share brewing knowedge and stage the occasional gathering to brew together and perhaps share our beers. – The SOB mandate is to be inclusive, not elitist. We hope to have a little fun, and perhaps break some of the rules along the way.


Toronto Beer Week 2012 is almost here and I am happy to be part of Barrel Bragging Rights at The Monks Table.  I won’t go and explain what Barrel Bragging Rights is all about because Mike Warner and Josh Rubin have already done it for me here and here!

Barrel Bragging Rights

Can you smell those hops?

This year I was lucky enough to work with Erica Graholm from Steamwhistle on our beer.  Unlike my some of my peers I am not going to give away any secrets as to what our beer is, you will have to just show up and try it!  Erica has a write-up on the Steamwhistle page here about the inspiration for the beer though.

Shout out to Iain McOustra for allowing us to use the pilot system at Amsterdam Brewery!

You can always check out the events page on for more information.

This sounds like a blast!



First Dinner To Feature An Organic Brewery & Gourmet Vegan Chef In One Of Toronto’s Landmark Venues

TORONTO, ON (November 21, 2011) – Canadian Beer News, one of Canada’s leading sources of beer industry news and information, is pleased to announce the launch of the Canadian Beer News Dinner Series. This ongoing series of dinners will bring together some of Canada’s top craft breweries and beer importers with outstanding chefs and restaurants to create unique and exciting beer and food pairing experiences.

For the debut dinner on Tuesday, December 6th, the organic beers of Beau’s All-Natural Brewing will be served alongside a gourmet vegan meal prepared by Chef Doug McNish, all presented in the luxurious surroundings of The Windsor Arms Hotel. Each course will be paired with a different beer presented by Beau’s co-founder Steve Beauchesne – including rarities from the brewery’s “Wild Oats Series” and “Greener Futures Bourbon Barrel Aged Series” – and Chef McNish’s healthy, hearty and beer-friendly creations will prove that there is much more to vegan food than tofu and sprouts.

“The intention of the Dinner Series is to partner unique and distinctive craft breweries with top rate chefs that aren’t normally known for working with beer,” said Canadian Beer News publisher Greg Clow. “Beau’s is a brewery that pushes the boundaries with every beer they release, and while vegan cuisine may not be the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to pairing food with beer, Doug is ready to wow both the converted and the naysayers.”

Tickets to the first event in the Canadian Beer News Dinner Series are available now for $95 (inclusive of tax and gratuities) at More information about the series can be found at at

For further details, contact Greg Clow at


Canadian Beer News Dinner #1: Beau’s Brewing & Chef Doug McNish

The Windsor Arms Hotel
18 Saint Thomas Street, Toronto

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011
6:30 PM – Reception with passed hors d’oeuvre & beer pairing
7:15 PM – 4-course Dinner with beer pairings

$95 per person including taxes and gratuities


Beau’s All Natural Brewing ( is a family-run and totally DIY beer company based in Vankleek Hill, a small town about an hour east of Ottawa. They brew interesting, award winning, tasty beers using the highest quality, all natural ingredients like certified organic hops & malts and local spring water. Best known for their flagship brand, Lug-Tread Lagered Ale, they also brew a number of seasonal and one-off beers, and are well-known for their support of charitable initiatives in their local community and beyond.

Doug McNish ( is one of the foremost vegan/raw food chefs in the world. After losing 100 pounds on a plant based diet, he decided to change his career path and become a professional vegan chef. He is a Consulting Chef at The Windsor Arms, where he has developed vegan options for the hotel’s dinner and brunch menus. Doug is a contributor to health and wellness websites and various magazines, has been broadcast on both local and national television, and is currently writing a raw food cookbook to be published in March 2012.

Consecutively voted the #1 hotel in Toronto by Conde Nast Traveler magazine, The Windsor Arms Hotel ( is nestled on a quiet street ideally located just steps away from Yorkville, the heart of Toronto’s most fashionable shopping and entertainment district. An aura of warmth, discreet luxury, and the latest technology combined with our exceptional level of service makes Windsor Arms Toronto’s most luxurious boutique hotel. The Windsor Arms is host to the Courtyard Cafe – open for Sunday brunch and special events; Prime Steakhouse – open for breakfast, lunch and dinner; the Tea Room for traditional afternoon tea; and Lounge 22 for tapas and cocktails.

Canadian Beer News ( is a website and news blog dedicated exclusively to coverage of Canada’s beer and brewing industry. Presenting news and information with minimal editorializing, Canadian Beer News features announcements of new beer releases, brewery openings and closures, news about festivals and events, and other information from breweries all across the country.


I have been negligent with posting this summer but hey everyone needs a vacation right?

It is time to bring it up a notch as Toronto Beer Week is about to start!  To kick things off with a bang, tomorrow Friday September 16th there will be a great event at the Monk’s Table called Barrel Bragging Rights!  A bunch of critics like myself got together with a group of amazing brewers to come up with 11 one-off creations for your drinking pleasure.  

I am not going to expound much more about it since Mike Warner of A Year of Beer has a great blog post giving you all the details, Check it out! : Barrel Bragging Rights

This is a can’t miss event!

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 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?



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!



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!


One of my all time favorite names for a beer!

Does This Muumuu Make Me Look Hefe? was a beer created by Mike Lackey and GLB for Project X last November.  I first tried this beer around the same time while it was on Cask at Barvolo.  It was such an intriguing beer that I had to run out to GLB and grab some bottles before they were all gone (which was fast).

Lucky for all of you this beer will be featured (along with 18 other GLB beers and collaborations with House Ales, St.John’s Wort and Bartle) on tap at Barvolo  this weekend during – A Night With Mike Lackey & Great Lakes Brewery-March 12 event.  Sadly I will be out of town this weekend so you all better enjoy the beers for me!

About the Beer – It poured a cloudy orange/yellow colour with a good head.  The aroma was a crazy mix of melon, floral hops, the tropics, sweetness, and herbs.  The flavor was just as crazy good.  Yeast, lemon, banana, melon, spice, and a dry herbal/pine bitter finish! Yum!

Would I Drink it Again? – Yes,  this is not a beer you could sit down and drink tons of at one time (well maybe YOU could) but it sure makes for a great pint!

So if you can’t wait till Toronto Beer Week arrives in September here is a little pre-beerweek fun!

February 23, 2011 (Toronto, ON) – While St. Patrick’s Day may be on March 17th, craft beer drinkers will be awaiting the 19th with anticipation, as Toronto Beer Week (TBW) marks the start of its six-month countdown by inviting beer lovers on a drinking tour of some of the city’s finest establishments. The 2011 edition of TBW will take place over ten days in September from the 16th to the 24th, but drinkers can get a preview of the fun on March 19th.2011_TBW_LOGO_BLACK_-_SMALL

Two pub crawls will hit the streets of the city at 2pm. A downtown crawl will be hosted by Cass Enright (founder of the popular and and Rob Symes (news editor on and contributing writer for TAPS The Beer Magazine). The crawl will begin at the Queen & Beaver at 35 Elm Street, before proceeding to The 3 Brewers, Duggan’s, beerbistro and C’est What.
At the same time, a second crawl hosted by Troy Burtch (Director of Sales & Marketing with TAPS The Beer Magazine and creator/writer of the Great Canadian Beer Blog) and Nick Pashley (author of ‘Notes on a Beermat’ and ‘Cheers! An Intemperate History of Beer in Canada’) will hit Kensington Market and the Annex. After meeting at The Cloak & Dagger (394 College Street) the next stops will be Caplansky’s Delicatessen, Burger Bar & Tequila Tavern, The Harbord House and the Victory Cafe.

A number of one-off beers will be available at most participating locations in addition to an already stellar lineup of brews. Food and drink promos will also be available at certain locations.

TBW crawl host and notorious propper-up of bars, Nick Pashley is a fan of pub crawls, and provided this quote in the run-up to the March 19th events: “Why a pub crawl? If you have to ask, this might not be quite for you. Some of us who can’t wait for Toronto Beer Week have put together not one but two pub crawls. The concept is simplicity itself: turn up, buy beer, drink same, tip the bar staff, chat amiably with fellow pedestrians, move on to next pub and repeat as required. Bask in the company of Cass and Rob downtown or Troy and Nick in lower midtown, visit a few fine pubs, and drink excellent craft brews. You have better things to do?”

While there is no fee to participate in either crawl – other than your beer… we’re not that generous – RSVPing is recommended. For the downtown crawl email numbers to Rob at, and for Kensington Market / the Annex email Troy at

About Toronto Beer Week
TBW is a series of events dedicated to the celebration and advancement of the craft beer movement. TBW will showcase authentically brewed and flavourful beer, the talented brewers who create them, and the licensees who proudly support them. It’s all about good beer – no bland, mega beer permitted!
TBW is a collectively owned organization involving some of Toronto’s most seasoned and passionate beer industry members. Our team includes publicans, brewers, media, marketers, and authors, all bringing their valuable experience and vision to create a significant event that reflects the best interests of all participants.
For more information, please contact:
Cass Enright
Executive Committee, Toronto Beer Week
Rob Symes
Executive Committee, Toronto Beer Week
Troy Burtch
Executive Committee, Toronto Beer Week

Shameless plug!

Just a reminder that the Cask Social is tomorrow at the BurgerBar from 3pm to 6pm.

Here is the beer line-up!

  • Augusta IPA
  • Beau’s Bogfather
  • Cheshire Valley Robust Porter

Burger bar is in Kensington Market at 319 Augusta Ave.

Get out and have some “Real Ale”.  I will see you there!

For more info check out the Cask Social Website: LINK


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