Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Durham Craft Beer Festival this Saturday

The largest beer festival between Toronto and Ottawa and the best beer festival between - no, the best beer festival, period - takes place this Saturday in downtown Oshawa.

The 4th Annual Durham Craft Beer Festival kicks off at 12:30 (11 am for V.I.P.s) on a closed-off Ontario Street at King Street, which is conveniently located next to Buster Rhino's, the host for this event.

The festival is a guaranteed good time and this year's lineup of brewers is, in my humble opinion, the best one yet, with fifteen breweries - there may be a late 16th entrant  - pouring some pretty awesome beers.

I don't want to overstate this, but the lineup is beyond stellar, and it didn't even have to leave Ontario.

Locally there's my personal brewing heroes Manantler (Bowmanville); two-time People's Choice winner Old Flame (Port Perry); silver medal winning Second Wedge (Uxbridge); and newcomer Falcon (Ajax) from Durham Region.

Rouge River will also be here, and Markham is practically local.

Rainmaker Porter (Second Wedge), Dirty Blonde (Old Flame), Bitter and Brown ESB (Falcon) and Passionfruit Sour (Rouge River) are just a few of the local brews that will be pouring.

Toronto is bringing out some heavy hitters as well, highlighted by Great Lakes, a two-time Canadian Brewery of the Year and the makers of so many great IPAs it would unfair to mention just one.


The city's east end, which has recently been declared a must-visit zone (by me), provides us with the other three breweries: Left Field, Muddy York and Rorschach. I can vouch for all three: they make amazing beer.

Great Lakes, as always, will keep us guessing until festival day, but their fellow breweries from the Big Smoke will be bringing Laser Show Vermont IIPA (Left Field), Truth Serum (Rorschach) and Gaslight Helles Lager (Muddy York), just to name a few.

From cottage country we have two major players in the Ontario craft beer scene in Muskoka and Sawdust City, and from either side of the province we have Cowbell (everybody needs more cowbell), Beau's, Railway City and Big Rig.

That means Absent Landlord Country Kolsch (Cowbell), Full Time IPA (Beau's) and Alpha Bomb IPA (Big Rig) will be available to enjoy.

Like I said, stellar.

Expect about 1,500 people in attendance, 75 or more different craft beers and a whole lotta fun, said Darryl Koster, the festival co-host (with wife Beth) and my favourite publican.

"You're going to have a great time," Darryl promised. "It's an awesome fun day. Come out and have some craft beer with friends and enjoy yourselves."

Tickets are $25 ($30 at the door) and include five tokens and a festival sample glass. VIP tickets are $75 and grant you early access, 25 tokens and a VIP lunch.

This will be my fifth festival (there were two in 2014) and the first in which I will be working, so this will be a different experience for me. In other words, I will be sober, but still lovely company.

So come out and say hi and look for the smiles from the rest of our staff, as well as all the volunteers that help get this beer festival off the ground.

And have yourself an awesome time.


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