Zwanze Day is coming to Toronto

Zwanze Day


[zwon-zee, -zee]

1. another one of those craft beer things that makes you feel totally left out if you’re not attending.


OK, maybe that’s not the actual definition of Zwanze, but seriously, it may as well be–because when it comes to exclusivity and scarcity, few things rival Zwanze.

Am I writing Zwanze too much without explaining what Zwanze is?

Zwanz me to stop?

Sorry, I’ll stop.

For those who don’t know, Zwanze is a rare beer created by famed Belgian brewer Cantillon. For some time the beer was sold in bottles, but when it started popping up on eBay and the like for ridiculous prices, the brewers changed things up because they wanted to keep the nature of Zwanze fun (the word Zwanze comes from the Belgian-French verb zwanzer which means “to joke” and the word zwanze can mean a person who is a joker or can also be used to define a cheeky form of Belgian humour–or at least that’s what I’m able to glean from the wikipedia page I found that was written in French).

Regardless, as a result of people’s capitalist eBay re-selling ways, in 2011, Zwanze Day was born. The concept of Zwanze Day is that a select handful of beer bars across the world will be shipped a keg of Zwanze and they are all supposed to tap it at the same time. And while they call it Zwanze Day, it’s a pretty safe bet that the beer takes far less than 24 hours to be consumed by rabid, slavering beer nerds the world over.

As you can imagine, it’s typically a very, very, very good beer (the argument about it’s exclusivity giving birth to it’s prestige notwithstanding) and this year’s brew also looks like it might be able to live up to everyone’s insanely high expectations. From Cantillion, the 2013 Zwanze is described thusly:

Since beers commonly referred to as “abbey beers” are not, or not any longer, products of spontaneous fermentation, we decided to brew a top fermentation beer, from a technical point of view in any case. The yeasts were selected in collaboration with Institut Meurice, a post-secondary college in Brussels specializing in biotechnology. Brewed in March 2012, our “Cureghem” beer fermented four weeks in stainless steel tanks before being blended with 10% lambic and pumped into 400-litre barrels of various origins. After maturing for six months, the beers were blended and put into casks or bottles to undergo re-fermentation and reach 7.2% ABV (Alcohol by Volume).

And luckily for Toronto’s beer nerds, one keg of that delicious sounding beer is coming to our city! Surprisingly, when Brasseries Cantillion selected the 46 locations worthy enough to participate in Zwanze Day, they chose none other than the East Side Mario’s on Front Street.

No, obviously they didn’t really.

Instead, on September 14th, the beer is coming to barVolo, a place that, if it hadn’t already ranked among some of the best beer bars sure as shit does now. In fact, just three Canadian locations were chosen to participate in Zwanze Day. Along with Volo, Quebec’s Dieu Du Ciel! will tap a keg as will the Alibi Room in Vancouver.

Volo has opted to merge Zwanze Day with their ever-popular “We Live for The Funk,” an annual celebration of sour beers and funk music.

[This is the place where I would normally include information about how to get tickets, but 120 tickets went on sale for the event today at 2pm and they sold out in two minutes]

So 120 people paid $15 for one five ounce pour of Zwanze as well as early access to a nice list of funky beers before the doors will open to you folks, the mouth-breathing, ticketless masses at 7:00pm. If there’s any Zwanze left (there won’t be) you’ll be welcome to try it.

See you there. Or see you after where I’ll hold it over your head and rub it in that I was there.


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