Posts by Rob Symes

Prize Lineup Announced for TBW Home Brew Contest

August 17th, 2011 Posted by Beer Events No Comment yet

Toronto Beer Week’s Home Brew Contest is truly extraordinary and unconventional in terms of the relaxed rules that we apply to encourage entries, how we judge the beers and for the prize lineup that we will be offering to winning  brewers this year– thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, participating craft breweries and key industry suppliers.  Although some details are still being finalized, and the prize categories will ultimately be tailored to respond to the categories of beers that do well in the first round of judging,  here’s what we can tell you:

  • Spearhead Brewing Company, as Official Sponsor of the TBW Home Brew Contest is offering a “best of show” prize to the brewer who has submitted a beer that is, in the opinion of the judges, truly exceptional.

The prize that Spearhead is offering consists of an opportunity to be special VIP guests of Spearhead Brewing Company at the 2012 Craft Brewers Conference in San Diego, including CBC registration, transportation and hotel accommodation.  The winning brewer will also be offered an opportunity to be Spearhead’s guest at their brewing site during a brew day. 

  • The Amsterdam Brewing Company, brewer of last year’s best of show, Teichert Smoked Porter, is again offering to brew and release one of the winning beer categories with the winning brewer.
  • Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company is joining the contest this year and is offering to brew an organic version of one of the winning beer categories with the winning brewer at their brewery in Vankleek Hill, and release the beer.
  • The Granite Brewery released the winning Beer from the Southern Ontario Brewers “Plan it at the Granite” Contest during last year’s Toronto Beer Week.  This year the Granite will be offering to brew one of the winning ale categories with the winning brewer.  The brewer will  have the opportunity to join Ron Keefe during the brew session as “Brewer for the Day” .
  • Great Lakes Brewery is offering the opportunity to brew one of the winning beer categories with the winning brewer their pilot system.  Great Lakes will release the winning beer as part of their illustrious Project “X” series.
  • We are also planning to offer additional prizes from participating breweries, such as gift certificates, gift packs, swag, goodies from Bob Latimer at Beer Wine and Filter, gift certificates from Randy at Canadian Homebrew Supplies in Brampton, offerings from Taps Magazine, and other prizes that we will offer at random to brewers of high placing beers!  Just one caveat though:  Aside from Spearhead’s Best of Show Prize trip to the Craft Brewers Conference, transportation and out-of-pocket expenses incurred in attending a participating brewery for a guest brew day are the responsibility of the winning brewer. 

We don’t know of any other Home Brew Contests that can match TBW’s Home Brew Contest awesome prize lineup that will be available to the winning brewers.  So brewers, fire up your kettles and give us your best! 

The Home Brew Contest rules and entry forms are available by clicking here.

The deadline for receipt of entries is Friday September 9th at 9pm!

Toronto Beer Week 2011 Homebrew Contest

July 22nd, 2011 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

Last year’s Toronto Beer Week HomeBrew Contest was a huge success and a lot of fun. The quality of the beers that were entered last year was simply amazing. This stands as a testament to the skill, expertise and passion of Canadian homebrewers–and it’s for this very reason that we’re announcing Toronto Beer Week’s 2nd annual HomeBrew Contest.

Homebrewers rock and form a vital part of Toronto’s vibrant beer scene. TBW’s Homebrew Contest is our way of recognizing the fine efforts of the homebrewing community, and we encourage all homebrewers to participate because we don’t charge an entry fee. That’s because it’s our belief that this Homebrew Contest should be accessible to all.

We’re currently finalizing this years prizing, and will release that information shortly, but expect it to be good! Last year’s prizes included the overall prize winner brewing a batch of his beer at Amsterdam brewery, a brewer for the day at the Granite under the supervision of Ron Keefe, delicious hops from Hops Direct and some great prizes from Canadian Homebrew Supplies, including a beautiful Blichmann brew kettle! To see how cool it can be to win, check out this write up of our grand prize winner’s brewery brew day.

Although TBW will be using the BJCP category guidelines to group the beers, the judging will not be BJCP sanctioned. When you enter you’ll need to determine which BJCP category is the best fit. You’ll find a complete list of all the categories here. The contest entries will be judged bythe very same people who run the week – brewers, bar owners and beer press. Don’t worry – we know good beer – if you’ve brewed a winner we’ll recognize it!

The entry form is simple and easy to complete and you’ll find it here. As long as you live in the great white north and you make homebrew, then the contest is for you. The rules and address you need to get your entries to are here. All entries need to be received by Friday September 9th at 9pm. If you have any questions we’ve not covered off, contact

Good luck and happy brewing!

Toronto Beer Week 2011 – Save the Dates!

February 10th, 2011 Posted by Beer Events No Comment yet

We are pleased to announce that the 2nd annual Toronto Beer Week (TBW) will once again be taking over the streets of Canada’s largest city. Working off a tremendously successful week in 2010, TBW promises to be bigger and better this year, and due to popular demand will be expanding to add an additional weekend. 2011 will now see 10 days of beer-related events celebrating quality craft brews, and the amazing places you can enjoy them.
For seven days in Fall 2010, the city of Toronto was transformed into heaven for craft beer drinkers as over 50 bars, pubs and restaurants participated in the city’s first ever beer week. They were joined by 17 breweries, 3 brewpubs, and 5 import agencies who delivered on their promise to deliver an outstanding week of great beers, events and venues.
2010 featured an extensive range of memorable events, including brewery dinners, beer festivals, one-off special casks and much more. It could also claim to being a truly citywide event, as good beer bars all across Toronto joined in on the fun. This vast range of events and locations made TBW a celebration of beer that appealed to Torontonians sense of diversity and exploration. A world-class week for a world-class city!
The 2011 edition will commence on Friday September 16th and will run until Saturday September 24th, with plans to include even more unique experiences for beer drinkers.  “Last year was a huge success for us, more successful than we ever imagined, and we’d like to build on that and bring Toronto residents much more in 2011,” stated co-founder, Troy Burtch.
“Our team heard a lot of feedback after our inaugural week and the consistent message was that we could stretch out the 2011 week to offer more events, beer dinners, pub crawls, home brew competitions etc. Also, the new 10-day format allows for more individuals living outside the city to travel to Toronto to participate. We heard from a lot of people who made Toronto a travel destination during the week and we’re proud to help boost tourism numbers in this great city.”
The TBW team will once again be working with breweries and licensees to create events that suit their independent character, and deliver outstanding and memorable experiences to all attendees. “We’re exploring new and exciting ways to promote the Week and encourage awareness of the incredible beers that are now available in Toronto, as well as the unique venues that sell them, said Burtch.”
To find out about all the latest developments visit us at or follow us on our Facebook and Twitter pages (@torontobeerweek).

About Toronto Beer WeekTBW is a series of events dedicated to the celebration and advancement of the craft beer movement. TBW will showcase authentically brewed and flavourful beer, the talented brewers who create them, and the licensees who proudly support them. It’s all about good beer – no bland, mega beer permitted!
TBW is a collectively owned organization involving some of Toronto’s most seasoned and passionate beer industry members. Our team includes publicans, brewers, media, marketers, and authors, all bringing their valuable experience and vision to create a significant event that reflects the best interests of all participants.

CASK! December Social: Saturday December 4th

December 1st, 2010 Posted by Beer Events No Comment yet

Calling all lovers of cask ale! This Saturday join fellow afficianadoes of the good stuff at the Victory Cafe. The event will take place upstairs from 4:00 – 7:00 P.M.  and will feature the following brews from the F&M brewery on cask: Harvest Pale Ale, IPA and Oatmeal Coffee Stout.

There will also be a cask of Cheshire Valley IPA in the event that supplies of the F&M casks run out, so if that’s not an incentive to order another half I don’t know what is!

For more info about CASK! visit their website.

CASK! Social – November 13th

November 10th, 2010 Posted by Beer Events No Comment yet

Good news for cask ale fans, as Ontario’s only real ale consumer organization announced its November social recently. CASK! is dedicated to the promotion of quality cask ale, and its socials provide a great venue for both afficianadoes and people new to the real ale format. They operate on an informal drop-in basis, where you can sample a pint or two in the midst of like-mided individuals. This month’s social is at Dora Keogh, which is handily situated by Broadview station on the South side of the Danforth. Dora’s is a neighbourhood institution, and rightly lauded for its fine atmosphere and finer ales. The casks available at this moth’s social cover a number of basis, with Mill Street ESB taking the more traditional English route, Black Oak Hop Bomb satisfying hopheads everywhere, and Black Oak Nutcracker Porter heralding an early start to the festive season. All are fine beers, but the Nutcracker in particular is viewed as one of the best offerings in the province, so if you can only try one this would be the one to consider.

Here are the details in the most recent CASK email:


It’s that time again…we’re getting ready for another Cask! Social. Let’s all meet over a few pints of cask-conditioned ale and chat about how delicious it is! The November Cask! Social is taking place from two to five on the afternoon of Saturday November 13th at Dora Keogh (141 Danforth Ave – Broadview Subway Station)
We have three cask ales lined up for the occasion: Black Oak Hop Bomb, Black Oak Nutcracker Porter and Mill Street ESB
See you there!
For more info about CASK! visit their website.

Learn 2 Brew Day @ Amsterdam

November 4th, 2010 Posted by Beer Events, Miscellaneous Beer News No Comment yet

Hot on the heels of Toronto Beer Week’s Homebrew Contest comes an event hosted by the Southern Ontario Brewers and the Amsterdam Brewery, where attendees can learn how to make their own beer from the pros (well, the homebrew pros, at least). The SOBs make up Ontario’s largest homebrew club and this is the second  ‘Learn 2 Brew Day’ they’ve held at Amsterdam. Last year’s edition was a roaring success and this year’s promises more of the same, and The Bar Towel encourages anyone with an interest in learning how to make homebrew or a desire to improve their technique to head on down to the Amsterdam Brewery this Saturday.

Here’s how the SOB’s frame their event:

Want to see how to make your own beer?
Toronto’s largest homebrewing club can show you how!

Learn 2 Brew Day occurs on the first Saturday in November, when new, and not so new homebrewers around the world are encouraged to learn how to brew or teach someone how to brew.

We’ll have onsite homebrewing demonstrations by over twenty different brewers, each with their own unique style and approach.
Learn how to brew, to build a setup to match your needs, and budget!

Saturday, November 6th from 10am until 6pm
Amsterdam Brewing Co. 21 Bathurst St, Toronto

If you can make macaroni and cheese, you can homebrew; it’s that simple.”

This also shows a continued commitment to the homebrew scene from Amsterdam, who also agreed to make the winning entry of the TBW Homebrew Contest, which was a delicious smoked porter made by Bar Towel member Kyle Teichert. We’ll keep you updated on the release date and details of this tasty brew, but in the meantime thanks to brewmaster Jamie and the whole Amsterdam crew for supporting Ontario’s amateur brewers!

Great Lakes Harvest Fest

September 14th, 2010 Posted by Beer Events No Comment yet

Join us on Saturday, September 25th from Noon-4pm outside on our courtyard as we celebrate the harvest season at Great Lakes. Admission is free.

We’ll have both our seasonal ales on cask – Pumpkin Ale and our new Sweet Pete’s Peach Wheat! And what would a fall event be without harvest time food? We’ll be cooking up bratwursts, while there will be a variety of local producers selling baked goods, fresh produce, local coffee, organic soap, and much more.

There will be live music featuring Hamstrung String Band.

Bring the whole family and enjoy the taste of the harvest!

Amsterdam to Brew Winning Homebrew Contest Entry

August 30th, 2010 Posted by Beer Awards No Comment yet

Toronto Beer Week is proud to partner with the Amsterdam Brewing Company to offer a spectacular prize to the winner of the Toronto Beer Week Homebrew Contest 2010. Not only will the winner experience the pride of being the top dog, but they’ll also experience making their beer on a larger scale under the supervision of Amsterdam’s brewmaster, Jamie Mistry, at the brewhouse. Amsterdam will then release the beer from their brewery store, with a portion of proceeds being donated to a charity of the winner’s choice.

Amsterdam have a great history of supporting homebrewers – they’ve hosted a teach a friend to homebrew day and they also won a Golden Tap award in 2009 for the doppelbock they produced in collaboration with local homebrewer and Bar Toweller, Derek Hyde. We’re excited to have them onboard and supporting the local scene. We’re also excited about drinking the winning beer once its released!

In addition to the grand prize, there will also be extra prizes for the second and third placed brewers, as well as the style category winners. The second placed entrant will experience being a brewer for the day at the Granite Brewery in Toronto, where brewmaster Ron Keefe will show you how he makes his fantastic range of ales. Individual category winners will receive a homebrewing prize pack courtesy of our sponsors, Hops Direct and Canadian Homebrew Supplies. The third placed entrant will also receive a subscription to Taps: Canada’s Beer Magazine.

The deadline for submissions is September 15th and full rules and entry form can be found by clicking here.

Toronto Beer Week Events

August 26th, 2010 Posted by Beer Events No Comment yet

Toronto Beer Week is starting to look a lot more exciting now that events have begun to be posted on the website. As of right now here are a few events that beer drinkers can look forward to.

The Monk’s Table has a full slate for the week, with pairing dinners, a beer cocktail evening, and a drinking session with Bar Towel head honcho Cass where he’ll be enlightening attendees on beer and advertising. Bar Volo continues to promote exciting events, with notable entries including the launch of their very own beers and a visit from acclaimed Quebec brewery Trois Mousquetaires. Expect the following beers at the 3M launch night: Noire, S.S Sticke Alt, S.S Rauchbier, S.S Maibock, S.S Oktoberfest, G.C Doppelbock 2009, G.C Imperial Weizen 2009, G.C Baltic Porter 2009 and G.C Weizenbock 2010. Cloak and Dagger are having a Sausagefest, and I’ll resist the urge to crack a joke. C’est What will be hosting its annual fall beer festival on the Friday and Saturday and Ronnie’s Local will hold an Oktoberfest to coincide with Kensington’s pedestrian Sundays.

Look for new events at the TBW website or get the latest updates on facebook and twitter.