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!


Queen Victoria’s Secret Returns on Monday

BO-logo_outlined_v1Queen Victoria’s Secret, the third annual Brewer’s Backyard on Victoria Day, returns on Monday, May 19th from 11am-4pm at the Evergreen Brick Works.

As is with tradition, the exact beer and food menu won’t be revealed until the event begins, but it will include beer from Sawdust City, Oast House and Amsterdam, along with food from FeasTO, Sugar Pie Honey Bunch and Royale Popcorn Company.

New for this event is the Brewer’s Backyard’s first-ever collaboration beer, a British ale infused with Indian inspired flavours named Balmoral’s Outrage, brewed with Sawdust City.  And in keeping with the theme the exact ingredients in the beer will be revealed as the event begins.  There’s only a single keg of the beer and it will be sold in limited quantities at the top of every hour during the event to ensure that it can be tried throughout the day.  Samples of Balmoral’s Outrage will come with its own limited edition, take-home collectible glass.

The Brewer’s Backyard takes place from 11:00am until 4:00pm at the Koerner Gardens and Holcim Gallery areas of the Evergreen Brick Works (event goes rain or shine).  Admission is free and the event is all-ages and family friendly, with proceeds going to Evergreen’s great cause.


Toronto Beer Week Early Bird Deadline is Today

TBW_2014Logo_WhtBG-300x300The early bird deadline for bars and breweries to participate in Toronto Beer Week (at a discounted rate) is today, Friday, May 16th.  Toronto Beer Week, which will take place from September 12th to 20th this fall, is one of the city’s preeminent craft beer celebrations.  Now in its fifth year, Toronto Beer Week featured 56 bars, restaurants and pubs, 30 breweries and over 150 events across the city in 2013, with more expected in 2014.

Participating as a licensee or brewery has many great benefits and this year’s Toronto Beer Week promises to be another outstanding week of craft beer events.  If you are a licensee or brewery and are interested in Toronto Beer Week, please take a look at the details and benefits of participation here.  If you are ready to sign up or have any questions, please contact Troy at Toronto Beer Week.

Looking forward to seeing everyone out at TBW2014!

The Bar Towel is a founding sponsor of Toronto Beer Week.


Brewery Market Ottawa Returns Tomorrow

DoDThe weather indicates that winter isn’t over, but spring is definitely here for the Brewery Market.  On Saturday, April 26th from 12-6pm, the Brewery Market returns to Ottawa at Hintonburg Park with our first event, the Drink of Dreams.

Tomorrow’s event should be a smash hit, with upwards of 20 beers available from Covered Bridge, Big Rig, Kichesippi and Clocktower, with food from Stone Soup Foodworks and Clocktower.  Tomorrow’s event marks the first of four this year in Ottawa, with future dates in May, July and October, each one on the following Saturday after the Brewer’s Backyard.

Admission to the Brewery Market is free and the event is all-ages.  Proceeds from the event go towards the great work of the Ottawa Riverkeeper.  Bring your umbrella and boots as the event will go rain or shine, and we hope to see you there!