In a few hours, Toronto Beer Week will kick off with a launch party at the Summerhill LCBO.
The next week will feature a slew of events in and around the city and even an official beer, Interloper, a barrel-aged, blended farmhouse beer made by Indie Alehouse and available at the LCBO, participating TBW bars and at Indie’s bottleshop.
That much you probably already knew.
But to help you make the most of your Toronto Beer Week and give you the inside scoop, I’ve put together this list of 10 totally true facts about Toronto Beer Week.
Everything written here is totally 100% true. Obviously.
1. Founded in 1835, Toronto Beer Week was created by Sir Anthony Beerweek and was initially an annual two-day celebration of the harvest that culminated in thousands of local men, clad only in loincloths, working together to capture a shaved, greased camel, which would then be cooked and eaten by the townsfolk. Owing to waning tastes in camel meat, increased interest in animal rights, and the convenient coincidence of its founder’s surname, the event has gradually evolved into a week celebrating local beer.
2. From September 16-18, WVRST beer hall will once again host the Craft Invitational. Featuring 12 emerging breweries from across Ontario, the event is a showcase of “up and comers” where beer is offered by the glass or in two different sized flights. You can vote for your favourite beer and the winner is announced on the afternoon of Sunday September 18th. The brewery with the least amount of votes will be granted a SKU at the LCBO.
3. The 2016 edition of Toronto Beer Week will feature over 120 events held in 70 bars pouring beer from 30 breweries. Over the eight days of TBW, it is expected that roughly 17 beer nerds will utter the phrase “I detect a hint of diacetyl.” 47 butthurt men will complain publicly about not being allowed into events held by the Society of Beer Drinking Ladies, and four people will argue about whether or not the Molson-owned BATCH brewery is really making “craft” beer. I will punch a man in the neck for using the word “mouthfeel” unprompted and 14 guys named Dave will each eat either poutine or shawarma after last call as a direct result of attending Toronto Beer Week events.
4. On Monday, Sept. 19 Indie Alehouse will welcome neighbouring breweries Blood Brothers Brewing, Burdock Brewery, Halo Brewery, and Rainhard Brewing Co. for one of their excellent beer dinners. For the West End Beer Social, Indie Alehouse’s fantastic Chef Todd Clarmo has worked to pair dishes with each breweries’ beer offerings. Fun fact: Clarmo actually started working in Indie’s kitchen in the mid-eighties as part of a work release program after he stabbed a drifter. If you see him, do not make eye contact.
5. The organizers of Toronto Beer Week have this year established a “buddy system,” encouraging any mid-sized Toronto breweries to travel in groups for their own protection. Reports indicate that executives from AB InBev have been spotted in the area and so semi-successful breweries are being cautioned not to walk alone in order to avoid being bought up by the beer giant. TBW officials have said to be cautious of anyone offering suitcases full of money or making claims that “you will still get to have full creative control of your beer.”
6. The good folks at Amsterdam Brewery will be hosting a “fall food faire” on Tuesday Sept 20th and will feature the return of two great beers. The annual Autumn Hop wet-hopped beer will make its return (in cans this time!) as will Maverick and Gose, an award-winning collaboration between Amsterdam Brewery’s Iain McOustra and Great Lakes Brewery‘s Mike Lackey. This tart, salty, Gose aged in chardonnay barrels that will return as the third beer in Amsterdam’s Farmhouse Series was actually first brewed when McOustra and Lackey attended summer camp together and was originally given the much less appetizing name “Iain and Mike’s Happy Surprise Toilet Wine.”
7. In order to ensure that the water released to Lake Ontario continues to meet provincial and federal standards during Toronto Beer Week, Toronto Mayor John Tory has approved overtime hours and has called in reserve staff at Toronto’s Wastewater Treatment Plants. As the city’s intake of beer increases significantly throughout the week, there has historically been a direct correlation in flushed toilets that, famously, resulted in disaster in 1999, 2003, 2004, and, of course, the Great Pee Pee Tsunami of 2006. To ease stress on the city’s infrastructure, Tory has encouraged Torontonians to embrace an “if it’s yellow let it mellow” policy or to urinate in the subway like they usually do.
8. To commemorate their collaboration beer, The Great Left Side, staff from from Great Lakes Brewery, Left Field Brewery, Side Launch Brewery, and east Toronto restaurant The Wren, created a braid from strands of all of their hair. That braid, affectionately nicknamed Rascal Thunderton, was stirred into the brite tank of this special ESB. You can sample The Great Left Side and see if you taste the Rascal when the beer is tapped Wednesday Sept 21 at Left Field’s tap room during a showing of the Toronto Blue Jays game against the Seattle Mariners.
9. The people who run Toronto Beer Week do so entirely on a volunteer basis and the event does not make any money for its organizers. Most of the staff comprises assorted beer industry representatives and a handful of small, troll-like, mould people who are grown each year in an uncleaned drip tray at The Cloak and Dagger.
10. As the last remaining vestige of Anthony Beerweek’s legacy, on Saturday, Sept. 24th Great Lakes Brewery will host a camel roast from 1pm to 5 pm. In recent years, the camel has typically been replaced by a pig, but in keeping with tradition, Great Lakes Brewery’s owner Peter Bulut Jr. has been known to shave his entire body for the event and, weather permitting, don a loin cloth. A cover charge, beers, and a heaping plate of roasted camel meat will cost you $5 each. Rumour has it that a certain amazing beer that rhymes with Marma Mitra might make an appearance in the GLB retail store at the same time as this event.