Toronto Beer Week Begins Tomorrow!

September 14th, 2017 Posted by Beer Awards, Beer Events, Feature, Golden Tap Awards No Comment yet

Toronto Beer Week, a 10 day celebration of beer in the city, begins its 2017 edition tomorrow, September 15th. With 200+ events across 60+ venues and 30+ breweries, it truly is an amazing way to experience “The Best Beer City in Canada”.

The Bar Towel (a founding member of Toronto Beer Week), is thrilled to be a part of a number of events during Toronto Beer Week:

Beer Writers Debate & Discussion: Sunday, September 17th. Starting at 3pm at C’est What, I’ll be a part of a panel of local beer writers (including Jordan St. John, David Ort, Robin LeBlanc, Thomas Gilbert and Crystal Luxmore) in debating the meaning of Craft Beer, discussing crap vs. craft, and gazing into the crystal ball to determination the path of Ontario’s beer future.

I&G_Roundel_Logo_2017_CMYK (1)The Science of Flavour with Innis & Gunn Founder and Master Brewer Dougal Gunn Sharp: Tuesday, September 19th. In this Q&A we will chat with Innis & Gunn’s Founder and Master Brewer to get a sneak preview of some of Innis & Gunn’s newest beer innovations before they arrive in Ontario and hear from on his brewing journey, the “happy accident” that led to Innis & Gunn Original and the inspiration behind the flavours in their beers. Tickets are $10, but as a reader of The Bar Towel you get a chance to enter a contest to win tickets! Simply email your name to and we will draw three winners who will receive a pair of tickets each.


Golden Tap Awards: Wednesday, September 20th. The Golden Tap Awards returns for its 15th year in recognizing the best in beer in Ontario’s most democratic beer awards event. We will hand out the awards at an all-Ontario beer festival at beerbistro, where all tap lines will be turned over for one night only. Participating breweries include Great Lakes, Shillow, Collective Arts, Nickel Brook, Junction, Indie Alehouse, Tooth & Nail, Bellwoods, Folly, Exchange Brewery, Bench, Beau’s, Left Field, Halo, Side Launch, Granite, Cheshire Valley, Spearhead, Katalyst, 4 Degrees, Merit, Shawn & Ed, Halcyon Barrel House, Cowbell, County Canteen and more! Admission is free and no tickets are required to attend. Doors open at 5pm and the awards show begins at 8pm.

We’ll also be floating around at many of the other great events taking place during Toronto Beer Week. Looking forward to see you in Canada’s Best Beer City!

Vote Now for the 2017 Golden Tap Awards

August 29th, 2017 Posted by Feature, Golden Tap Awards No Comment yet

Voting for the 2017 Golden Tap Awards is now open, and you should vote now. The Golden Tap Awards, now in their fifteenth year, are Ontario’s most democratic beer awards event, as all winners are determined by the drinkers and beer fans in the province.

You can vote in as many of the following categories as you wish:

  • Best craft brewery in Ontario
  • Best bar in Ontario for draught beer selection
  • Best bar in Ontario for bottled and/or canned beer selection
  • Best brewpub or tied house in Ontario
  • Best regularly-produced craft beer in Ontario
  • Best seasonal, limited release or specialty craft beer in Ontario
  • Best craft cidery in Ontario
  • Design Award: For the best packaging design, label artwork and branding in Ontario
  • Innovation Award: For pushing the boundaries of craft brewing the furthest in Ontario
  • Newcomer Award (Bar): For the best craft beer bar or restaurant that is new to Ontario
  • Newcomer Award (Brewery): For the best craft brewery or brewpub that is new to Ontario
  • Event Award: For the best beer event that took place in the past year in Ontario
  • Staff Award: For the best (most beer-knowledgeable, friendly) staff in Ontario
  • Beer Writer Award: For the best beer writer (print, digital or other) in Ontario
  • Brewmaster’s Choice: For the best beer in Ontario, as decided by the craft brewers themselves

The Golden Tap Awards voting is open until September 12, 2017, and the winners will be announced at a gala event at beerbistro on Wednesday, September 20th during Toronto Beer Week. The awards gala is free to attend and no tickets are required, and will feature an all-Ontario beer festival with breweries from across the province being featured.

We hope you vote for the Golden Tap Awards this year, and see you at the awards gala on the 20th!

A Visit To The New Goose Island Toronto Brewhouse

August 28th, 2017 Posted by Bar Towel Radio, Feature No Comment yet

In our latest episode of Bar Towel Radio we visit the new Goose Island Toronto Brewhouse and have a chat with Head Brewer Bernard Priest and Assistant Brewer Marc Mammoliti. We have a great discussion about their backgrounds in the beer industry, all about the brewery and the beers they’ve developed for Goose Island Toronto, and their relationship to Goose in Chicago.

Give a listen to this episode of Bar Towel Radio below or on iTunesGoogle Play or Stitcher:

Greg Koch of Stone Brewing

Greg Koch of Stone Brewing on Bar Towel Radio

July 28th, 2017 Posted by Bar Towel Radio, Feature No Comment yet

In this episode of Bar Towel Radio we have a beer with Greg Koch, Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of Stone Brewing of San Diego, California. With special guest host Jason Fisher, Founder of Indie Alehouse, we have a wide-ranging and lively conversation with Greg about his recent visit to Toronto and the beer scene in Ontario, Stone’s foray into Europe, the evolving beer scene of southern California and more.

You can listen to this episode of Bar Towel Radio below or on iTunesGoogle Play or Stitcher:

Mike Shatzel and Cass Enright

Chatting Buffalo Beer with Mike Shatzel

July 15th, 2017 Posted by Bar Towel Radio, Feature No Comment yet

Last week I visited Thin Man Brewery, the great brewery and restaurant in Buffalo, New York and had a beer on Bar Towel Radio with owner Mike Shatzel. Mike, who could easily be nicknamed the “Beer King of Buffalo”, oversees eight bars in the city, including the legendary Cole’s, Moor Pat, Colter Bay, Allen Burger Venture and more.

In this episode we chat about the beer and brewing scenes in Buffalo and Ontario, Mike’s history in the bar and beer industry, how Thin Man got started and about their beers, and some other beery reminiscing and storytelling including the now-legendary Bar Towel Bus Trip to the Blue Monk.

You can listen to this episode of Bar Towel Radio below or on iTunesGoogle Play or Stitcher:

Cass, Mike and Peter

Great Lakes Brewery Reflects on 30 Years of Beer

June 27th, 2017 Posted by Bar Towel Radio, Feature No Comment yet

Recently I sat down for a beer and a chat for Bar Towel Radio with Peter Bulut and Mike Lackey of Great Lakes Brewery, as they celebrate the 30th anniversary this year. In this episode we chat about their favourite GLB and collaboration beers from the past and present, some memorable stories from the brewery’s past, their new pilot brewing system, and their thoughts about how the Ontario beer scene has evolved and where it’s going.

You can listen to this episode of Bar Towel Radio below or on iTunesGoogle Play or Stitcher:


As a part of their 30th anniversary celebrations, Great Lakes Brewery will be doing a Tap Takeover of the Brewer’s Backyard on Canada Day, this Saturday, July 1st at the Evergreen Brick Works, from 11am until 5pm. They will have six booths set up with almost 20 beers available. Check out the full tap list below and we hope to see you on Saturday!


Marc Rauschmann of BraufactuM

Talking German Craft Beer with Marc Rauschmann

June 13th, 2017 Posted by Bar Towel Radio, Feature 1 comment

In our newest episode of Bar Towel Radio, we go continental with a conversation with Marc Rauschmann, Master Brewer of BraufactuM in Frankfurt, Germany. Marc was recently in Toronto to launch a number of his beers at beerbistro, which will be available on draught in Ontario. During our chat we discussed his background and the beer scene in Germany, plus his beers coming to the market here, including the smoked wheat Roog, pale ale Palor, IPA Progusta, weizen IPA Indra and saison Soleya.

You can listen to this episode of Bar Towel Radio below or on iTunesGoogle Play or Stitcher:


Elliott Brood

Elliott Brood on Bar Towel Radio

June 3rd, 2017 Posted by Bar Towel Radio, Feature No Comment yet

At Toronto’s Festival of Beer Spring Sessions a couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to have a beer with the Juno Award-winning band Elliott Brood. In this episode of Bar Towel Radio I chat with band members Casey Laforet, Mark Sasso and Stephen Pitkin about their favourite beers and breweries, some of their beer memories from the road and what’s coming up from this great Canadian band.

You can listen to this episode of Bar Towel Radio below or on iTunes or Google Play:


Santa Monica Yacht Club

Introducing Santa Monica Yacht Club

May 11th, 2017 Posted by Feature, Importing No Comment yet

Santa Monica Yacht Club LogoWe are thrilled to announce the launch of Santa Monica Yacht Club (SMYC), a boutique agency for the drinkers of Ontario, representing imported craft beers, wines and spirits. SMYC is a re-imagination of Bar Towel Imports, the agency brand created by The Bar Towel.

SMYC is meant to be an open importing agency, one where we involve the drinking public in what we do.  We call ourselves the Santa Monica Yacht Club as we think of ourselves as a collective of passionate beverage enthusiasts, providing drinkers with access to premium products and unique events, and providing breweries, wineries and distilleries with creative representation and distribution within the Ontario marketplace.

If you are a drinker, we invite you to Join the SMYC, and we’ll keep you in the loop for the latest releases, events and opportunities with our importing partners. We also want to want to hear about the best beer, wine and spirits that you wish you had access to in Ontario, and we will endeavour to import them. If you are a brewery, winery or distillery and would like to expand your business in Ontario, we would love to discuss this with you. We are a full-service agency and can work with you across sales, marketing, events and branding in Ontario.

We are very excited to also announce a partnership with À la Fût of Quebec for representation in Ontario. À la Fût is a renowned brewery with numerous sour and barrel-aged beers, and has won Beer of the Year in the Canadian Brewing Awards, World’s Best Kriek at the World Beer Awards and has medalled in the World Beer Cup. We are in the midst of some initial plans for À la Fût in Ontario so please join up so we can keep you updated about the debut of this great brewery here, along with our other partners including Hartfield & Co. from Kentucky and Ruhstaller from California.

We look forward to enjoying some interesting and unique beverages with the drinkers of Ontario!