*I received financial compensation for this post.
This past weekend I got to be part of a small group of media folks who previewed the beer and pop-up food lineup at AwesTRUCK, the annual awards ceremony that celebrates the best in food trucks. Actually, we did a preview before the official preview, because “preview before the preview” is kind of like the new “party after the after party” and I’m super cool and hip like that, YOLO, etc.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good food truck and this event–the largest gathering of food trucks in Canada ever!–is not without its obvious draws (Hello CHURROS!), but frankly, until someone figures out a way to pour beer out of the side of their truck, I’m generally not all that interested in spending too much time dining next to a vehicle. Thankfully though, the organizers of AwesTRUCK recognized that no outdoor event is complete without adult beverages and opted to plop a sizable
beer tent Samuel Adams Pavilion in the middle of the Garrison Commons at Fort York where the event took place. Naturally, given the rain and my barely restrained functional alcoholism, I stayed in the tent while I was there.
Now a beer tent typically isn’t much to write home about, but while I was there it dawned on me that this one actually provided a nice little reflection on Toronto’s beer and dining culture in general.
And we all deserve congratulations.
What I mean is, whereas one’s notion of the “beer tent at a non-beer event” likely conjures up images of Coors Light or Bud being poured into plastic cups to go with your hot dog, the folks who put together AwesTRUCK not only opted to forgo the usual monster brewers and instead delivered an honest-to-goodness craft brewer (OK yes, a billionaire craft brewer), but they also opted to provide space in the
beer tent Samuel Adams Pavilion for a few pop-up food options.
Being paired with Samuel Adams Boston Lager and Latitude 48 IPA during the event was food from Big E’s Hawaiian Grinds, Indonesian from Babi & Co, Mexicasian (that’s a thing!) from La Brea Food Co., and dumplings from FeasTO.
And while undoubtedly some credit needs to be given to event organizers for inviting a [billionaire] craft brewer and so-cool-they-don’t-even-cook-in-kitchens pop-up food vendors, I think some credit needs to be given to Torontonians and our own growing food and drink culture. What I mean is that we’ve come a long way from the days when a plastic cup of Coors would suffice at an event like this and instead we practically demand better options.
As a result, we have much better events to attend (assuming it’s not pissing rain like it was Saturday) and we not only get to eat things like Hawaiian pulled pork tacos and Tingo de Pollo chow mein at events, but we also get to do so while sipping a craft IPA.
We seem to be taking baby steps toward becoming a city that wholly embraces craft beer, but they’re steps nonetheless.
So….kudos Toronto! I raise this Sam Adams to you.