Toronto Bourbon Week Returns on Friday

BW-Toronto-Def-Eagle smallOnce again, The Bar Towel is happy to be involved in Toronto Bourbon Week, launching this Friday, November 14th and continuing until November 20th.  And then on the very next day, the first-ever Ottawa Bourbon Week begins and runs until November 27th.

This years’ Bourbon Weeks feature 20 events across Toronto and Ottawa, each at a different venue and each having its own unique theme, including a number pairing bourbon with bourbon barrel-aged beers.  The events in Toronto include:

An in Ottawa:

The events are a mix of ticketed and general admission, so check the specific event listing for more details.  We hope to see you out this year at Toronto & Ottawa Bourbon Week!


Join us at Hintontoberfest on Saturday


Our Beer Lineup for Hintontoberfest

Our final Brewery Market of 2014, Hintontoberfest, promises to be an amazing wrap up to the season on Saturday, October 25th from 12-6pm at Hintonburg Park in Ottawa.

We’ve got a stellar lineup of over 45 beers from 9 Ontario breweries, including Flying Monkeys, Bicycle Craft, Turtle Island, Nickel Brook, Dominion City, Broadhead, Lowertown, Stone City Ales and Whitewater.  Check out the roster of beers here.

One of the special beers available on Saturday is the debut of “The Amarillo Chainsaw Massacre” Red IPA, a Pro-Am collaboration between Broadhead and homebrewer Andy Morrison, which Andy won the opportunity to brew as part of the National Capital Homebrew Competition.

We’ll also be serving delicious sausages by Sunnydays Gourmet Dogs and Sula Wok will be there with tasty Asian tacos.

As always, the Brewery Market is free admission, goes rain or shine and is all-ages and family-friendly.  We’re on from 12-6pm at Hintonburg Park, and proceeds help support the great initiatives of Ottawa Riverkeeper.  Beer and food tickets can be purchased with cash or credit card.

We hope to see you there!


Join us at Torontoberfest tomorrow

PrintOktoberfest isn’t over yet, and we’ve got one more Globe and Mail, CTV, Where and CityNews-approved bash in Toronto to celebrate.  Join us tomorrow, Monday, October 13th for the final Brewer’s Backyard of the year, Torontoberfest at the Evergreen Brick Works.

We’ll have up to 22 different beers available from our participating brewers Beau’s All-Natural, Black Oak and Junction Craft.  Plus, we’ll have a selection of sausages freshly grilled up by WVRST.  You can see the entire menu for Torontoberfest here.

As always, admission to the Brewer’s Backyard is free, and we run from 11am-4pm at the Koerner Gardens and Holcim Gallery areas of the Evergreen Brick Works.  The event runs rain or shine, and Holcim Gallery is covered so we can all stay out of the rain in case it’s wet.  The Brewer’s Backyard is an all-ages and family-friendly event.  We hope to see you there!


Listen to Bar Towel Radio live from Beau’s Oktoberfest

BeausOktoberfest2014-smlThis past weekend I was at Beau’s Oktoberfest in Vankleek Hill, with the great privilege of moderating two panels at the “School of Bock“, an entertaining education-focused program at this fantastic event.

With the return of Bar Towel Radio after a prolonged absence last month, we felt it was a good time to keep the podcast party going!  So, we recorded both sessions live if you’d like to listen to (or relive) them.

The first session, entitled Dr. Beerlove (Or how we learned to stop working and start drinking more beer), was a lively chat about the history of Beau’s, with great stories told by Steve Beauchesne, Tim Beauchesne, Matt O’Hara and Jordan Bamforth.  Listen or download the episode here:

Dr. Beerlove live from Beau’s Oktoberfest 2014

The second session, entitled Beau’s Brewer’s Battle Royale, was a raucous debate where four pilot beers were tasted, which were made by different staffers at Beau’s, competing for a production run in the Wild Oats series. Listen or download the episode here:

Beau’s Battle Royale live from Beau’s Oktoberfest 2014

Note: as the audio was recorded live in a large room, volume levels are variable and not all audience questions are completely audible.

If you’d like, feel free to listen to or subscribe to Bar Towel Radio via iTunes.  We hope you enjoy them!


Bar Towel Radio Returns

The Farmhouse Tap & Grill in Burlington, Vermont.

The Farmhouse Tap & Grill in Burlington, Vermont.

Well, it’s not quite the return of Arrested Development, but after a 6 year (!) hiatus, The Bar Towel’s podcast, entitled Bar Towel Radio, has returned.

In July of this summer we traveled down to the Vermont Brewers Festival in Burlington, Vermont, and had a chat with Jeff Baker, the Director of Liquid Assets at the Farmhouse Tap & Grill, an great beer bar and restaurant in town.  And that visit and chat is now our latest podcast!

You can give it a listen right here:

Bar Towel Radio – Jeff Baker & the Vermont Beer Scene

If you’d like, feel free to listen to or subscribe to Bar Towel Radio via iTunes.

Here are some of the spots referenced in the episode, if you can make it down to visit Burlington:

You can read our past Bar Towel On the Road Report about Vermont here.


Golden Tap Awards 2014 Announced

GTA - logo - Black and ColourLast night at beerbistro the 2014 Golden Tap Awards were announced:

  • Best Brewery in Ontario: Great Lakes Brewery
  • Best Brewery for Cask-Conditioned Ales in Ontario: Great Lakes Brewery
  • Best Brewpub or Tied House in Ontario: Bellwoods Brewery
  • Best Cidery in Ontario: West Avenue Cider Company
  • Best Regularly-Produced Beer in Ontario: Beau’s Lug Tread Lagered Ale
  • Best Seasonal or One-Off Beer in Ontario: Great Lakes Brewery Thrust! An IPA
  • Best Cask-Conditioned Ale in Ontario: Granite Brewery Hopping Mad
  • Best Bar for Draught Selection in Ontario: Bar Hop
  • Best Bar for Packaged Beer Selection in Ontario: Bar Volo
  • Best Bar for Cask Ale Selection in Ontario: Bar Volo
  • Best Beer Event in Ontario: Cask Days
  • Best Beer Writer in Ontario: Ben Johnson
  • Best Staff in Ontario: Bar Hop
  • Best Newcomer to the Beer Scene in Ontario: Side Launch Brewing Company
  • Most Innovative Brewery in Ontario: Bellwoods Brewery
  • Best Beer Design and Branding in Ontario: Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company
  • Brewmaster’s Choice – Best Beer in Ontario: Sawdust City Lone Pine IPA
  • Editor’s Circle Award: Buster Rhino’s & Durham Craft Beer Festival
  • Editor’s Circle Award: Society of Beer Drinking Ladies
  • Editor’s Circle Award: Beau’s Oktoberfest
  • Editor’s Circle Award: George Milbrandt
  • Editor’s Circle Award: Nickel Brook Brewery
  • Best Beer of the Fest: Bellwoods Bounty Hunter

Thanks to all who made the Golden Tap Awards a success!


Countdown to the Golden Tap Awards

GTA - logo - Black and ColourThe 2014 Golden Tap Awards will be handed out tonight at beerbistro as a part of Toronto Beer Week.  This year is the biggest Golden Tap Awards ever, with more categories added reflecting the expanded craft beer culture in Ontario.  Tonight’s event will feature an all-Ontario beer and cider festival, with over 30 breweries and cideries available, including:


  • Great Lakes Thrust! An IPA
  • Junction Brakeman’s Session Ale
  • Spearhead Sam Roberts Band Ale
  • Sawdust City Lone Pine IPA
  • Black Oak Oaktoberfest
  • Nickel Brook Le Paysan Saison
  • Amsterdam TBW Farmhouse Ale
  • West Avenue Spy: Northern Spy Apple Farmhouse Cider
  • Left Field Sunlight Park Saison
  • Boshkung Tart-an Spruce Ale
  • Beer Academy Rauchbier
  • Bellwoods Bounty Hunter Strong Porter with Vanilla + Coconut
  • Beau’s Haters Gonna H8 Kolsch Bock
  • Spirit Tree Double Pagan Crabapple
  • Kensington FishEYE-PA
  • C’est What Burnt Offering Harvest Ale
  • Side Launch Wheat
  • Cameron’s Roggenbier
  • Hop City Hopbot
  • Publican House Highnoon


  • House Ales Punters Gold
  • West Avenue Cider Wild Blueberry Scrumpy


  • Spearhead Hawaiian Style Pale Ale
  • Spearhead Moroccan Brown
  • Steam Whistle Pilsner
  • Arch Dinner Jacket O’Red IPA
  • Creemore Springs Traditional Pilsner
  • Collective Arts Saint of Circumstance
  • Beau’s Dial “Z” for Zwickel
  • Side Launch Dark Lager
  • King Dark Lager
  • King Pilsner
  • Oast House Biere de Garde
  • Brick Works Ciderhouse Batch: 1904
  • Innocente Bystander American Pale
  • Mill Street Nightmare on Mill Street
  • Mill Street 100th Meridian
  • Mill Street Oktoberfest

The Golden Tap Awards are free to attend and you can purchase beer at the event.  Doors open at 5pm, and the awards show is at 8pm.  Beerbistro is located at 18 King Street East.  We hope to see you there!


The Sacred Oak Beer Lineup Announced

SacredOakThe Sacred Oak, Toronto’s (possibly) first-ever all-barred aged beer festival organized by Indie Alehouse and The Bar Towel, has released the lineup of beers available.  The following will be pouring at both sessions (in limited quantities) on Saturday, September 13th as part of Toronto Beer Week:

  • Indie Alehouse Sun Kicked XO – Imperial Wit aged in Cognac barrels
  • Indie Alehouse Sun Kicked Anejo - Imperial Wit aged in Tequila barrels
  • Indie Alehouse Strawberry Brown - Barrel aged Strawberry Brown
  • Indie Alehouse Ned’s Stache - Barrel aged Flanders Ale
  • Indie Alehouse 99 Luft Balloons - Barrel aged Berliner Weisse
  • Nickel Brook Kentucky Sour - Tart ale aged in Bourbon barrels
  • Nickel Brook New World: Brux - Belgian-style pale ale with brettanomyces in Chardonnay barrels
  • Amsterdam Crucible - Framboise aged in Cab/Merlot barrels
  • Amsterdam Superstition - Barrel aged Farmhouse
  • Beau’s Ashnan - Wheat Wine aged in white wine barrels
  • Bellwoods Donkey Venom - Brett barrel aged Porter
  • Bush Pilot Norseman - Eisbock aged in Armagnac barrels
  • Great Lakes Berry Manilow - Farmhouse aged in Pinot Noir barrels
  • Muskoka Twice as Mad Tom IPA - Aged in Cognac barrels
  • Four Barrels (Indie Alehouse, Amsterdam, Great Lakes, Sawdust City) - Barley Wine aged four ways

Tickets are still available for both sessions (1-4pm and 5-8pm) but are going fast.  You should grab some tickets to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime lineup of beers before they’re gone!  Tickets are $25 and include a souvenir tasting glass and two drink tickets.  More samples and food will be available for purchase at the event (cash only).  Reminder, the event takes place at Indie’s Barrel Warehouse, which is located at 165 Geary Avenue (near Dupont & Dufferin), not their restaurant.  We hope to see you there!


Toronto Beer Week 2014 Launches Tonight

TBW_2014Logo_WhtBG-300x300Toronto Beer Week, now in its fifth year, launches tonight (Thursday, September 11th) and features the largest number of participants in its history.  With over 100 bars, restaurants, breweries and importers participating, Toronto Beer Week is one of the biggest and most concentrated celebrations of craft beer in the city.

Over the span of nine days, Toronto Beer Week features beer events of all kinds, including tap takeovers, beer dinners, pub crawls, beer talks, special tastings, festivals and more.  There are dozens of events listed in the official calendar, with more being added constantly. The Bar Towel is involved in a few, including hosting the Golden Tap Awards at beerbistro (Wednesday, September 17th) and co-presenting the Sacred Oak: A Night of Barrel Aged Beer at Indie Alehouse’s Barrel Room (Saturday, September 13th) and the Australian Invasion at the Beer Academy (Monday, September 15th).

Playing off of the impending municipal election, the theme for this year’s Toronto Beer Week is “Your Taste Counts“, and everyone who attends is encouraged to vote for their favourites of Toronto Beer Week using the hashtag #TBW2014 or by filling out a quick form online.  This gives beer drinkers a chance to have their voice heard to recognize the best of Toronto Beer Week, including favourite bar, brewery, event and beer tried during the week.

Toronto Beer Week kicks off at The Beer Experience at the Berkeley Church on Thursday, September 11th and runs through Saturday, September 20th.  Amsterdam BrewHouse has brewed an exclusive TBW Farmhouse Ale, which will be tapped on Friday and available at select events throughout the week.

The Bar Towel is an official partner of Toronto Beer Week.


Announcing The Sacred Oak: A Night of Barrel Aged Beers

SacredOakThe Bar Towel and Indie Alehouse are teaming up to present The Sacred Oak: A Night of Barrel Aged Beers.  This will be one of the first exclusively barrel aged beer events in Ontario, with special barrel offerings from the following breweries:

  • Indie Alehouse
  • Great Lakes
  • Bellwoods
  • Beau’s
  • Nickel Brook
  • Sawdust City
  • Muskoka
  • Bush Pilot (collaborating with Nogne O and Nickel Brook)

The event will be taking place at 165 Geary Avenue, near Dufferin and Dupont, home to Indie’s barrel aging facility.  It promises to be a fantastic event of featuring barrel aged beers ranging from porters and stouts to sours and wits, all amongst the sacred oak of Indie’s own barrel collection.

This is a ticketed event, and for the price of $25 visitors will receive a custom glass, 2 drink tickets, and a chance to try some of the most exclusive and rare barrel aged beer in Ontario.  There will be two sessions, 1-4pm and 5-8pm, both on Saturday, September 13th as part of Toronto Beer Week.  Tickets are now available for purchase here, while quantities last.

The Sacred Oak is a partnership event between the Indie Alehouse and The Bar Towel.