Ben's Beer Blog

A place for all things beer.


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Never mind Oktoberfest, here’s Craftoberfest

When I was in university, I travelled to Kitchener to attend the annual Oktoberfest event there, and it was nothing short of terrible.

The pilgrimage to the K-W included sleeping on the floor of a frat boy friend of a friend and it coincided with a lamentable period of my youth that all men seem to go through where we find it humourous to hit each other as hard as possible in the balls. While my group of friends always had a gentleman’s rule that these shots were permissible only when administered open-handed, the agreement was not enough to prevent my two best friends from nearly fighting each other in the middle of a polka-filled hall of dirndl- and lederhosen-bedecked revellers that evening.

Accordingly, I will likely forever associate my experience at Oktoberfest with a terrible night of drinking and the anxiety of perpetually fearing blunt force trauma to my penis and testicles. And while the organizers aren’t responsible for me associating Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest with being hit in the balls, it seems to me an apt metaphor for the annual event. Continue reading


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An honest public relations invitation

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from:aywf@edgyconceptspr.com
to: undisclosed recipients
date:Wed, Sep 28, 2016 at 10:58 PM
subject: Exclusive sneak peak

Hi food and/or drink blogger!

I have never read your blog before, and in fact had never even heard of you before today, but I’d like to mention your website by name here in my opening so that it seems like I am a reader of yours and not a public relations intern contacting you with an unsolicited invite to a marketing expense disguised as an event.  I especially liked that one recent post of yours on that thing you wrote about.

I’m reaching out today because I Googled a few keywords relevant to the food and drink industry in this geographical region and, as a blogger with a tangential relationship to the restaurant I’m representing, you and the 50 other internet-based media types I will be contacting today will probably be very interested to learn about the the event for which I’ve been tasked with generating buzz. Continue reading


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Contest: Win two tickets to Cultivate: a food and drink festival

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Have you found yourself lamenting the fact that summer is winding down and there are thus fewer and fewer opportunities to combine your love of food and beer festivals, road trips, and pie-baking competitions?

If so, I’ve got good news for you.

On September 23, 24, and 25, Port Hope Ontario will play host to Cultivate: A Festival of Food and Drink–and Ben’s Beer Blog is giving away a pair of weekend passes to one lucky reader.

Cultivate is a three-day celebration of local food and, as you might imagine given that you’re reading this on a beer blog, there will be beer there, too. Continue reading


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Seven totally true facts about Cask Days

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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. Continue reading


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CONTEST: Win two tickets to Shakesbeer

Studio Session - 001 Brought to you by Classical Theatre Project, Shakesbeer will transform Artscape Wychwood Barns into a pop-up theatre and beer hall for the “The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged)” on April 18, 2015, and Ben’s Beer Blog is giving away a pair of tickets to one lucky reader. 

And oh yeah, as the name might suggest “Shakesbeer” is  not only an evening of theatre focused on the Bard, it’s also a chance to take in said theatre with your favourite beverage in hand. 

Along with classy theatre, the event will feature a beer line up from Publican House, Junction Craft Brewery, Wellington, and Steamwhistle, as well as cider from Brickworks Ciderhouse.

 In keeping with traditional Shakespearean fare, there will also be…Australian meat pies (just go with it). To enter for a chance to win two tickets to either the 6:30pm performance or the 9:00pm performance, simply comment below and leave a Shakespeare quote that you’ve modified to include beer

I’ll place all entrants in a hat and choose a winner on Monday April 13th. As always, entries that I like the most will be entered into the hat twice as will entries from those who share a link to this contest on twitter. 

If you don’t win, fear not, you can of course still attend and Ben’s Beer Blog readers can receive a special discounted price. Simply use the promo code brew39, and receive $10 off your tickets. Good luck!


  •  If you write “To beer or not to beer” I’ll make sure you don’t win. Come on. You’re better than that. 
  • In case you were wondering, the tights wearing fellows in the lead image are actors Matt Drappel, Jeff Hanson and Kevin Ritchie.
  • Also in case you wondering, I received zero financial compensation for this contest, I just thought it sounded like a fun event in my neighbourhood and decided to help out.


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Come enjoy beer, bourbon, and smoked meat (with me!)

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A few months ago, I had an opportunity to host an event organized by the folks at Orchestra Marketing that combines the typically forced act of “networking” with the slightly more enjoyable act of drinking beer.

Dubbed “beerworking” the event was an exercise in learning a little about beer while meeting new people and has since blossomed into a popular ongoing series of get-togethers hosted by knowledgeable fellow beer scribe, Crystal Luxmore, for whom I was substituting when I last hosted.

Thankfully for me, Ms. Luxmore again finds herself otherwise engaged for an upcoming event and I’ve been asked to fill in.

Also thankfully for me, this event, taking place on Thursday March 12, from 6:30pm – 9:30pm  has evolved to include not just craft beer, but also bourbon and smoked meat. No really. It’s like they’ve taken a page from my dream journal. All that’s missing is 90s era Tiffany Amber Thiessen.

The event will feature beer from Sudbury craft brewery Stack Brewing who, rumour has it, are gearing up for broader distribution of their heretofore relatively unknown beers, so you’ll have a chance to try a few beers you probably haven’t had before.

We’ll also be enjoying a selection of bourbons from the portfolio of Kirkwood Diamond Canada, including Buffalo Trace and Eagle Rare and I’ll make some effort to explain why beer and bourbon go well together (aside from the answer my grandpappy always gave that “you got two hands for a reason!”).

Lastly, because all this good drinkin’ will surely work up a hunger, we’ll be enjoying a selection of cured meats from none other that Toronto’s Caplansky’s.

I know, I know. At this point you’re probably already saying “Just shut up and take my money,” so here’s the link to get tickets

It’s just $50 a person which, considering you’re getting three beers, three bourbons, and three different sandwiches, is a hell of a deal (even if the experience will be marred slightly by having to listen to me pretend I know what I’m talking about).

If you bring a friend you can get a pair of tickets for $90, but considering the event is designed to meet new people, rolling solo is obviously cool, too.

See you there! I’ll be the guy covered in mustard.


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Contest: Win two tickets to The Craftmas Beer Experience

You checked our shitters, honey?

CONTEST CLOSED: 

Congratulations to Phil for his winning comment and xmas movie and beer pairing:

Die Hard paired with Maclean’s Pale Ale because Yippy Ki Ay Mother Fucker!

Call me a sentimental son of a bitch but a comment that references my favourite Christmas movie, names an Ontario craft beer, and drops an eff bomb seems to me like what the holidays are all about. Congrats, Phil! Enjoy the Craftmas Beer Experience.

This holiday season, the folks who have brought The Beer Experience to Berkeley Church for the last two years as part of Toronto Beer Week are getting into the festive spirit.

The innaugural, aptly (if awkwardly) named winter equivalent, Craftmas Beer Experience, promises much of the same elements that have made The Beer Experience a success the past couple of years–and Ben’s Beer Blog wants to send you and a friend to the event to check it out.

Happening at District 28 near Toronto’s Port Lands on Thursday December 4th, The Craftmas Beer Experiences promises unique and festive beers from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co, Black Oak Brewing, Cameron’s, Creemore Springs, Great Lakes Brewery, Junction Craft Brewing, Kensington Brewing Company, Mill Street, and Wellington, among others. There will also be food provided by Matt Basile’s Lisa Marie Food Truck.

Tickets, which include five drink tokens, can be purchased in advance for $25 each, but for one lucky Ben’s Beer Blog reader Christmas is comin’ early, because we’re giving away two tickets! Ho, ho, effing ho.

In the spirit of the season, to enter, simply leave a comment here letting me know your favourite Christmas movie, the perfect beer to pair with it, and why.

On Monday December 1st, the contest closes and I’ll pick the best/most entertaining entry to receive two free tickets. Preference may or may not be given to people who spread word of this contest via twitter.

(Use your real email address when you comment so that I know how to contact you)