Winter Brewfest

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Tapsucker
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Winter Brewfest

Postby Tapsucker » Fri Dec 11, 2015 6:03 pm

Looks like another big piss-up/blowout. I wonder what the quality will be like.

http://www.brewfest.ca/toronto/index.php
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Re: Winter Brewfest

Postby Provost Drunk » Sat Dec 12, 2015 3:04 pm

Any word on the beer list? I'm sure the Ontario beers will be similar to what's available at any one of a number of similar festivals, but the beers from Quebec have piqued my interest (or is this an Ottawa-specific phenomenon not likely to carry over to the TO event?)
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Re: Winter Brewfest

Postby Provost Drunk » Wed Dec 30, 2015 2:55 pm

The web site has been updated to include a tentative list of participating brewers in Toronto (and Ottawa too). To answer my own question above - yes, it looks like Quebec will be represented at both festivals. Bibloquet, Charlevoix, Gainsbourg, LTM and Brasseurs du Monde are among those coming to Toronto. My interest in this event just spiked. A couple of smaller Ontario brewers that I haven't tried (or in some cases haven't even heard of) also in the mix.
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JerCraigs
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Re: Winter Brewfest

Postby JerCraigs » Sat Jan 02, 2016 3:15 pm

We picked up tickets. Should be fun.
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Re: Winter Brewfest

Postby Morrish » Thu Feb 18, 2016 7:53 pm

Stumbled on this. Thought it might be helpful to those considering going.
https://buytopia.ca/deal/217585/39-for- ... er-glasses
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Re: Winter Brewfest

Postby beerstodiscover » Thu Feb 18, 2016 10:16 pm

They released the Toronto beer list here: http://www.brewfest.ca/toronto/pdf/WBF_TORONTO_2016_ListeBieres_ENG_4x6_FINALweb.pdf

Nothing earth shattering but more than enough to keep me happy.

I offer my top five beer picks here: https://beerstodiscover.wordpress.com/2016/02/19/event-toronto-winter-brewfest/
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Re: Winter Brewfest

Postby FEUO » Fri Feb 19, 2016 8:44 am

Not going.... but I perused the list.
Some ho hum offerings, some new breweries I'd be up to check out, but all in all why so many pale ales, wheats, or other styles in the middle of winter. Good thing its warming up a bit this weekend. But not enough stouts or BWs to warm the cockles for my personal taste in a Winter beer fest.
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Re: Winter Brewfest

Postby Provost Drunk » Fri Feb 19, 2016 10:02 am

Given the number of Quebec brewers represented, I'll go on the record as saying that I am mildly disappointed with the list. But overall the mere presence of this many Quebec brewers will still make this event above average for a beerfest IMO.

It's disappointing that DDC and LTD are bringing beers that are already widely available in Toronto.

I enjoy Les Trois Mosquetaires German-inspired offerings, even if they tend not to conform perfectly to the traditional profiles. I am looking forward to trying their alt, but I think that their gose and Berliner weisse are out of place at a winter beerfest. I would rather have seen something heavier, like their doppelbock or weizenbock.

I was also really hoping that at least one of Charlevoix's dubbel or tripel would be pouring as I consider these to be two of the best (if not the best) Canadian interpretations of these styles. I tried their Flacatoune at Cask Days two years ago and thought it was decent but expected more. Belgian blonde is not a style that lends itself particularly well to cask, so I look forward to trying this one again. Lupulus is a great beer, but the hops are too dominant for my personal tastes.

I haven't tried any Gainsbourg beers yet and so I was excited to see them on the list of brewers. I'm less excited now that 4 of their 6 offerings are IPA variants. A little variety would be nice.

I am looking forward to trying Bibloquet's MacKroken Flower as I've heard really good things about this beer.

In terms of Ontario, I'm mainly interested in trying out the stouts/porters from a number of brewers I haven't had before (Beyond the Pale, Bobcaygeon, Stone City, Cassel, 5 Paddles).

There's certainly enough to keep me interested.
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Re: Winter Brewfest

Postby Provost Drunk » Fri Feb 19, 2016 4:27 pm

I am curious about the pricing. The FAQ section on the event website provides that 4 oz. samples will run between 2-6 tokens, which is a pretty big range. It's probably safe to assume that there will be a premium attached to the "imports" from Quebec and the higher ABV beers. If anyone is going tonight it would be great if you can report on the pricing. I'm going tomorrow and the 25 tokens that I pre-purchased will almost certainly not be enough, it would good to get a sense of how roughly much more I'll need to spend. Thanks in advance!
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Re: Winter Brewfest

Postby Provost Drunk » Sun Feb 21, 2016 9:55 pm

Overall, I had a good time last night. The first hour and a half were glorious - virtually no lines and lost of space to move around. Later in the evening it got pretty crowded and the lines were a lot longer. By about 9:30, a lot of the better beers starting tapping out. Fortunately, I got to try most of my targets before then. by 10:30, my friends and I packed it in and left. Lots of people remained. At the risk of sounding like a snob, I think a good portion of the crowd were not true beer geeks. One bar was dedicated to mixed drinks, which isn't something I've seen at other beerfests.

The pricing was steep. The vast majority of beers cost 3 or 4 tokens (with most Quebec offerings priced at 4) for a 4 oz. pour. Only some of the really basic Ontario brews were priced at 2 tokens. I only noticed one beer priced at 5 and none at 6. Still, paying a dollar an ounce left a bad taste in my mouth. The entrance fee for this event was a little less expensive than most, but it doesn't take many beers before this gets offset.

For me, the selling feature for this event was always access to the Quebec brewers and I was willing (if not thrilled) to pay a premium. Gainsbourg, Charlevoix and Bibloquet all delivered. MacKroken Flower was a show stealer. I'd consider going again next year if the selection changes and is to my liking.
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Re: Winter Brewfest

Postby beerstodiscover » Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:32 pm

My experience mirrored yours almost exactly.

Getting there early on Saturday was key. I know enough to know that the best beers will sell out. I got to hit everything I wanted and more. I focused on Quebec and some Ottawa brews and did quite well. I really liked Gainsbourg Orange Tie Wrap. MacKroken Flower and Dominus Vobiscum Lupulus also stood out.

From what I hear Friday was a bit of a mess: equipment failure, not enough space and long lineups all stung a little more because of the prices. They increased the size of the space 25% for Saturday and added free water to please the masses.

I had a good time and would consider going again if they lowered the prices a bit or have a similarly interesting selection.

They definitely got a lot of flak for the prices and other issues, so hopefully they'll be back with a better event next year.
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Re: Winter Brewfest

Postby FEUO » Mon Feb 22, 2016 3:02 pm

deepeary wrote:free water to please the masses.

hopefully they'll be back with a better event next year.


Please the masses? Its just being a responsible host of a "tasting" event. That, and allowing people to hydrate.

I hope they don't come back. My guess is that they'd try to improve but I'm of the opinion that the organizers (same guys who run festibiere.ca in Gatineau) will still be working it so that its not going to be seen as a fair value by aware customers. They are in it to make money. Thats it. Once they can't make enough money they're out.

Orkestra is the name of the organizers' company. Thats their sole purpose.
Its fine to make money, but obviously they had some logistical issues forcing samples to be $1 (first version of tickets were 50 cents). This format obviously worked for them in Gatineau and Ottawa. Toronto rental space, permits, logistical costs are likely quite a bit higher.

But all the shady stuff of having friends and family leave 4-5 star reviews, and bribing people with beer to leave a 5 star review is shameful.
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Re: Winter Brewfest

Postby skootles » Mon Feb 22, 2016 3:14 pm

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Re: Winter Brewfest

Postby beerstodiscover » Mon Feb 22, 2016 4:11 pm

FEUO wrote:Please the masses? Its just being a responsible host of a "tasting" event. That, and allowing people to hydrate.

I agree and was being a little sarcastic. The water was appreciated and expected. And there were drinking fountains at the venue.
FEUO wrote:bribing people with beer...

I wish I knew where I could get a beer bribe!
FEUO wrote:obviously they had some logistical issues forcing samples to be $1

So you're saying it can't all be chalked up to greed?
I may very well be wrong here, but I haven't seen that many Quebec and Ottawa brews on tap at any event/bar in Toronto. That alone is worth something. No way $1 per oz. is justified, but I think it was a bit of a feat to pull off. If they found a way to make it work with lower prices I'd be back.
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Re: Winter Brewfest

Postby FEUO » Tue Feb 23, 2016 12:47 pm

deepeary wrote:
FEUO wrote:Please the masses? Its just being a responsible host of a "tasting" event. That, and allowing people to hydrate.

I agree and was being a little sarcastic. The water was appreciated and expected. And there were drinking fountains at the venue.
FEUO wrote:bribing people with beer...

I wish I knew where I could get a beer bribe!
FEUO wrote:obviously they had some logistical issues forcing samples to be $1

So you're saying it can't all be chalked up to greed?
I may very well be wrong here, but I haven't seen that many Quebec and Ottawa brews on tap at any event/bar in Toronto. That alone is worth something. No way $1 per oz. is justified, but I think it was a bit of a feat to pull off. If they found a way to make it work with lower prices I'd be back.

Definitely greed plays a big part. Didn't want to be completely negative and pessimistic. But putting on an event in TO is definitely most expensive than other cities.

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