Toronto’s Festival of Beer Returns to Exhibition Place

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Flying Monkeys Team at Spring Sessions of Toronto's Festival of Beer
Flying Monkeys Team at Spring Sessions of Toronto's Festival of Beer

By Lory Diaz

Toronto’s Festival of Beer is quickly approaching! The big beer bash is happening July 28-30, 2017 at Bandshell Park in Exhibition Place, with the Sat., July 29 session already sold out. Toronto’s kick-off to outdoor festival season began the weekend of May 20, with the Spring Sessions Festival of Beer. I like to think of Spring Sessions as the pre-drink party to Toronto’s busy summer calendar.

Flying Monkeys Team at Spring Sessions of Toronto's Festival of Beer
Flying Monkeys Team at Spring Sessions of Toronto’s Festival of Beer

The Spring Session of Toronto’s Festival of Beer was held at Fort York Garrison Common grounds on May 20 and 21, 2017, with Elliot Brood performing on the Saturday, and The Trews on Sunday. Beers and breweries available for this event were Lost Craft, Batch, High Park, All or Nothing, Sawdust City, Big Rig, Great Lakes, Mill Street, Goose Island, Granville Island, Brickworks Ciderhouse, Flying Monkeys, and more!

Brickworks Tent at Spring Sessions of Toronto's Festival of Beer
Brickworks Tent at Spring Sessions of Toronto’s Festival of Beer

The Spring Session event is really like a small party with close friends, where everyone can catch up and talk, try some delicious snacks, and eventually blast some fun music. Just like that scenario, there are games scattered around the grounds! Aside from winning prizes distributed by local stations and sponsors, guests can also play over-sized chess and bocce.

The food vendors are there to provide some of your favourite party foods. Think delicious finger-food: Mustache Burger, Chimney Stax, Oyster Boy, Tiny Tom Donuts, and Smoke’s Poutinerie, just to name the classics. I usually save Tiny Tom Donuts for the CNE, but they go surprisingly well with beer fest activities.

Smoke's Poutinerie Truck at Spring Session of Toronto's Festival of Beer
Smoke’s Poutinerie Truck at Spring Session of Toronto’s Festival of Beer

Now that you know what the opening act of Toronto’s Festival of Beer was like, here’s what to look forward to for the main event, and think of this more as the epic house party where you make new best friends, and discover a new favourite beer:

The live performances for July include Methodman & Redman on Friday July 28, Sloan on Saturday July 29, and Alan Doyle for Sunday July 30, 2017. I’m not quite sure how tickets are still available for Method and Red on Friday, but I am certain that it’s going to be an amazing party to start your weekend!

The beer and brewery list for Toronto’s Festival of Beer is also significantly longer: Lagunitas, Manantler, Somersby, Cowbell, Naughty Otter, Spirit Tree Cidery, Kensington Brewing Co., Amsterdam, Landshark, Mad & Noisy, Bobcaygeon, Rainhard, Side Launch, and (my personal favourite) Unibroue – but that’s not even the complete list.

There are just far too many breweries to list, so please pace yourself and focus on trying something new. The event does run on a token system, with some beers having a higher value than others (1 vs. 2 tokens for a full sample, with the higher alcohol content beers usually in the 2 token range). My recommendation would be to try and get a larger group of friends to attend with you so you can all sample some new beers, and discover flavours you may not have picked up at the LCBO or Beer Store.

Crowd at Spring Sessions of Toronto's Festival of Beer
Crowd at Spring Sessions of Toronto’s Festival of Beer

That’s really one of my favourite features of Toronto’s Beer Festival, outside of the fun and boisterous party energy: guests can sample flavours that they may not normally choose. This means that discovering a new favourite beer is absolutely possible. If you are planning on attending, please make sure to have safe travel arrangements; Festival organizers have outlined available accommodations and packages for staying the night in Toronto that are close to the grounds. You can check all that information out here: http://beerfestival.ca/stay-night-hilton-toronto-x-tfob/ Have fun!