Monday, 7 July 2014

Durham Craft Beer Festival

The better beer revolution arrives in downtown Oshawa this Saturday for the first Durham Craft Beer Festival.

A dozen Ontario brewers will be taking over Ontario Street and the adjacent Buster Rhino’s Authentic Southern BBQ restaurant for the July 12 festival, dispensing five-ounce glasses of deliciousness to craft beer fans from across Durham Region and beyond.

Many hands make a beer festival, but I have to give props for this one to born-and-raised Oshawa boy Darryl Koster, Buster Rhino’s patron and a downtown Oshawa champion, who has taken the lead in making this celebration of beer happen.

Experienced craft beer lovers and newbies looking to join the revolution will have plenty of different brews to choose from at the festival. The list of brewers and their beers (at this writing) include:

Steam Whistle Brewery of Toronto (Steam Whistle Pilsner); Railway City Brewing of St. Thomas (Dead Elephant IPA, Witty Traveler); Spearhead Brewing of Toronto (Hawaiian Style Pale Ale, India White Ale, Sam Roberts Band Session Ale); 5 Paddles Brewing of Whitby (Strawberry Wheat, Dominatrix Black IPA); Barnstormer Brewing of Barrie (Flight Delay IPA, Billy Bishop Brown Ale); Black Oak Brewing of Toronto (Saison Belgium Wheat Ale, Dubbel Entendre, 10 Bitter Years IIPA); Cameron’s Brewing of Oakville (Cameron’s Lager, California Sunshine APA, Pistols at Dawn, Rye Pale Ale); King Brewing of Nobleton (King Pilsner, King Vienna, Thornbury Cider, Barn Door); and Lake of Bays Brewery of Baysville (TBA).

Three of my favourites will also be there, and all three are holding a little something back as to what they’re bringing to the party. That’s okay – we all like secrets. Canada’s Brewer of the Year Great Lakes Brewery of Toronto has at least announced two of their offerings (Audrey Hopburn Belgian IPA and Canuck Pale Ale) but they’re also bringing one they aren’t telling us about just yet. Nickel Brook Brewery of Burlington has taken the TBA approach, as has Flying Monkeys Brewing of Barrie.

“They’re keeping it close to their chests,” said Koster of Flying Monkeys. “But they promised something good.”

As the brewery is home to Smashbomb Atomic IPA – my first craft beer love – and Shoulders of Giants IIPA, it isn’t likely this brewery will bring anything that ISN’T good.

Tickets are $20, which will get you a commemorative glass and five tokens. For $69 you can get the VIP treatment, which includes early admission, lunch (Koster may break out his pit boss card and smoke something special) and 20 five-ounce pours.

Tickets are available at the website


Speaking of Shoulders of Giants, this 10 per cent boozy bombshell is finally available at the LCBO. At least I found it at the Gibb Street location in Oshawa.

Where else it is available is anybody’s guess. The LCBO changed their product search site and they appear to have sacrificed user-friendly for cool design. I couldn’t figure it out and neither could pal Don, he of the world famous Brew Ha Ha beer blog. He eventually called someone at a local liquor store who told him it was available at three Toronto outlets and nowhere else.

I guess the two bottles I bought on the weekend were figments of my imagination. Sure tasted good.


After going 8-for-8 in the Round of 16 of the World Cup I was brought down to earth in the quarter-finals, only taking three of four games. My one miss was Brazil. I honestly thought the pressure of 200 million rabid soccer fans would get to them and Colombia – playing the best football of the tournament – would prevail. Colombia wilted instead and now Brazil, missing superstar Neymar (broken vertebrae) and captain Thiago Silva (suspension) must face a German team just now rounding into top form.

So I’ll take Brazil.

The other semi-final has Argentina and Lionel Messi, fresh off their best performance of the tourney in beating a tough Belgium squad, against the Dutch, who outplayed but had trouble cracking the defensive schemes of Costa Rica. It took penalty kicks (and a gutsy goalkeeper switch) for Holland to come out on top and they go into this match as underdogs to La Albiceleste.

So I pick the Netherlands.

Sunday can’t come fast enough.

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