Now in its 11th year, Cask Days is virtually inarguably the biggest beer event in Ontario, if not Canada. Featuring hundreds of breweries pouring cask-conditioned, unfiltered, naturally carbonated beer over Oct 23rd, 24th, and 25th, if you’re a fan of craft beer there are probably few things you don’t already know about this epic tribute to real ale, so this year I dug extra hard to bring you the inside info that no one else has.
Here are seven totally true facts about Cask Days.
1. For the first time ever, Cask Days will feature a celebrity “cask tapper” who will start the festivities by tapping the first cask of the event. For the inaugural tapping, that honour will fall to Toronto’s own, Drake, who will use the occasion to drop his newest single “(You make me wanna) Tap Dat Cask.”
2. You probably already know that, throughout the event’s three days, roughly 8000 people will attend Cask Days’ five sessions, but did you also know that, thanks to the recent closure of a nearby reptile emporium, it is also expected that roughly 1500 small snakes and geckos will be passing through the Evergreen Brickworks on exactly the same weekend? Organizers are advising attendees to wear high socks or to tuck their pants into their boots.
3. In addition to early access tickets, “baller passes”, an exclusive Sunday brunch ticket, and guided tours, this year Cask Days will feature a new option called the “FOMO Passport.” Added for those attendees who are perpetually afraid of missing one of the rare beers being offered, the FOMO Passport provides ticket holders with an exclusive ability to try all 300+ beers being poured, in convenient thimble-sized samples.
4. As in previous years, Cask Days will feature excellent local food (this year from Brando’s Fried Chicken, WVRST Beer Hall, Porchetta & Co., 416 Snackbar, and Bar Volo). This year, however, if you want to save money, my cousin Ron is going to bring his barbecue down to the side of Bayview avenue with a buttload of No Name hotdogs that he’s selling for a quarter each (no bun).
5. In addition to their usual art and music features, for the first year ever, this year a large part of the Evergreen Brickworks will be cordoned off for “Hip Hop Laser Tag,” an interactive, rap-themed, high tech hide-and-seek wherein Cask Days attendees can shoot each other with lasers while early 90s hip hop and RnB pumps into the fog-swirled arena.
6. For a small fee, attendees of this year’s Cask Days will be able to forgo the classic Cask Days mason jar and opt instead for an artisanal branded wineskin or bota. Made out of two pieces of tanned and close-cropped goatskin and lined with a goat bladder to keep real ale from leaking, the Cask Days Bota© is a modern take on the traditional drinking vessel of shepherds and is replete with a shoulder strap so you can show it off wherever you go.
7. Because one of the largest draws of Cask Days is the ability to try beer that not many other people have tried (and then brag about it), this year event organizers will be offering a “Smash the Cask” option. If you sample a beer you really like, Smash the Cask allows you to ask Cask Days staff to dump the remaining contents of the cask down the drain in exchange for a donation to a local charity, ensuring that no one else can try that beer after you.