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.


Vote For Beer: The 2014 Golden Tap Awards Launch

GTA - logo - Black and ColourThe Golden Tap Awards, Ontario’s most democratic beer awards event, has launched its voting for 2014 with an expanded set of categories to reflect the ever-growing importance of craft beer in the province.

Now in its twelfth year, the Golden Tap Awards is the leading awards event whereby winners are determined through a democratic vote by the general public – and anyone can be nominated or win – as long as they represent craft beer.

This year the Golden Tap Awards is adding a new set of awards recognizing special achievements, to go alongside the established main awards.



LCBO Autumn Special Releases Revealed

Even though we’re still in the prime time of the summer, the LCBO beer releases for autumn have been revealed.  Over 30 beers will be available in LCBO stores across three sets: an Autumn seasonal beer release, a themed Hallowe’en beer release, and a special Mikkeller brewery feature.  Beers will begin arriving around the middle of September, and you can see which tasty treats are coming out via The Bar Towel’s Discussion Forum:



The Brewery Market Arrives in Quebec on Saturday

MDB_Poster_FinalThe inaugural edition of the Marché des Brasseurs, the inaugural Quebec edition of the Brewery Market, is happening this Saturday, July 26th from 12-6pm at the Hendrick Farm in Old Chelsea.  The Marche will follow a similar format of the Brewery Market and Brewer’s Backyard: a casual, family-friendly event that features local beer and food in a unique setting.

For the Marche des Brasseurs, we’re thrilled to be welcoming some of Quebec’s finest breweries, including Le Trou du Diable, Brasseurs du Temps, Le Castor, Dunham and Benelux.  Food will be served by local restaurants The Village House, Les Fougères and Patisserie Le Toque.

The event will be taking place at the Hendrick Farm, a beautiful and scenic property in Old Chelsea, only 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa.  We’ve already had some great media coverage about the event in Le Droit, Ottawa Magazine, Metro Ottawa and The Low Down, so this promises to be a good one.

In partnership with Brew Donkey, we will be running a shuttle bus from the corner of Fairmont & Wellington (near Hintonburg Park) to the Marche.  Round-trip tickets are $10, and kids ride for free.  You can get your bus tickets here.

This is our first of hopefully many Marchés des Brasseurs celebrating the great beers with our friends in Quebec.  We hope to see you there!


The Brewery Market Returns Tomorrow

obm_menu_JULYThe Brewery Market returns to Ottawa’s Hintonburg Park for our latest event, entitled For Whom the Beer Flows.  This time around we’re welcoming eight local breweries: Beyond the Pale, Covered Bridge, Cassel, Beau’s, Mill Street, HogsBack, Big Rig and Broadhead.  Nearly 50 beers (full cups only, no samples) will be available throughout the day (see the list to the right).  Complementing this incredible beer lineup will be burgers made by the dynamic duo of Absinthe and Murray St..

The Brewery Market is an all-ages and family-friendly event, taking place from 12-8pm at Hintonburg Park.  Admission is free, and you can purchase tickets for food and beer at the event.  We encourage you to get to the park early as we have a limited capacity due to ACGO and City of Ottawa regulations.  Proceeds from the event go to support the great initiatives of Ottawa Riverkeeper.  We hope to see you there!


Celebrating Canada Day with the Brewer’s Backyard

GOS  - poster 11x17 newThe Canada Day edition of the Brewer’s Backyard is quickly approaching on Tuesday, July 1st at the Evergreen Brick Works from 11-4pm.  Entitled the Group of Seven, this one will feature the Brewer’s Backyard’s first-ever cidery participant, Spirit Tree, as well as breweries Great Lakes, Oast House, Left Field and Nickel Brook.  On the food front, returning partners Kanga Meat Pies and Sugar Pie Honey Bunch will be serving delicious eats.

The Brewer’s Backyard is all-ages and free admission, and you will be able to purchase beer and food during the event.  The Group of Seven will open from 11-4pm at the Evergreen Brick Works in the Koerner Gardens and Holcim Gallery areas, going rain or shine (Holcim is covered).

We hope to see you out at the Brewer’s Backyard on Tuesday – let’s celebrate Canada Day the right way – with some delicious craft beer!


AHA National Homebrewers Conference Preview: Grand Rapids, Michigan

The Bar Towel is proud to present our inaugural preview of the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) National Homebrewers Conference, taking place from June 12th to 14th in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This article will cover highlights of the conference as well as some beer and cultural destinations in the city of Grand Rapids.


Downtown Grand Rapids. Photo courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids.

Grand Rapids has over the past few years emerged as one of the premier beer cities in the United States.  And due to its close proximity (about a 6 hour drive from Toronto), it is one of the most accessible craft beer destinations for beer lovers in Toronto and western Ontario.  Grand Rapids, the second largest city in Michigan, is an attractive place to visit with a walkable, safe and clean downtown core, featuring many preserved historic buildings.  Located near the eastern shores of Lake Michigan, the city itself is inland, with the Grand River running right through the heart of town.  Grand Rapids offers a number of hotels right in downtown, making it easy to stay close to the action of its thriving beer scene.

It’s no little wonder then, that Grand Rapids plays host this year to the American Homebrewers Association’s National Homebrewers Conference, the largest conference dedicated to amateur brewing in the world.  The conference, subtitled “Mashing in Michigan”, is organized by the American Homebrewers Association, the group (through the Brewers Association) also responsible for the Craft Brewers Conference, held annually for professional brewers.  The homebrewers conference, which was founded in 1979, is taking place this year at DeVos Place, right in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids.  The conference has experienced phenomenal growth in the last decade, growing from 261 attendees in 2001 to an attendance of 3,400 last year in Philadelphia.  That’s a lot of beards.



Load Up on Great Beer at the Brewery Market

10354830_643003005781701_4044727348877763851_nThe Brewery Market is returning to Ottawa this coming Saturday, May 24th with our next event, entitled Carb Loading, honouring the marathon race weekend taking place across the city.

This edition will feature six breweries from the Ottawa region and beyond: Beau’s All-Natural, Beyond the Pale, Cassel, Whitewater, Ashton and HogsBack.  All together there will be 25+ beers available, and as some will be in limited quantities we’d encourage you to get there early to try the ones you want.  You can check out the menu to the side here.  Streetside Curry Cart and Green Papaya will also be in attendance, providing some tasty eats alongside the delicious brew.

Our popular Brewery Market mason beer jars will also be making a return, with a limited quantity on sale when the event begins.  If you’ve had your eye on a jar, be sure to show up at noon!

The Brewery Market runs from 12-8pm at Hintonburg Park in Ottawa on Saturday, May 24th.  Admission is free and the event is all-ages and family-friendly.  As always our proceeds go to support the great work of the Ottawa Riverkeeper.  We hope to see you out on Saturday!