TORONTO’S FESTIVAL OF BEER 2018: Which Beers You Need to Try Today!

- Aug 25, 2018 at 03:00PM
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The 2018 edition of Toronto’s Festival of Beer boasted over 90 vendors and 416 different beers, meaning there was sure to be something to everyone’s taste. We attended on the Saturday, and amidst the catchy covers by Dwayne Gretzky, there was a variety of amazing brews to try. But in the wild world of craft beer, whether you had the chance to attend TFOB or not, it can be hard to know what to try first. That’s why we’ve compiled a few recommendations to get you started, depending on what kind of beer you’re feeling. So, when you lineup to purchase your 2019 tickets, you’ll know exactly what to look for. You’re welcome.

01. If you’re not much of a beer drinker...
- Starting off with a radler -- a sweet, light drink that’s made from beer mixed with fruit juice, usually grapefruit -- is a great way to get introduced to beer without feeling too heavy. If you’re just getting started in the beer game, you might want to try the Waterloo Citrus Radler, which tastes almost exactly like Sprite. The Moosehead Radler was also a great option, with a slightly higher alcohol percentage than most radlers at four percent (rather than the standard two percent).

02. If you’re looking for something basic...
- Although TFOB featured a wide variety of unique brews, there were also some basic beers to tide you over if your palate needed a break. Two of the highlights we tried were the Waterloo Pilsner, which was nice and smooth, and the Barnstormer First Class Ale. (The entire Budweiser contingent of beers was also there, but why would you waste your time on them at a craft beer festival?) Bonus: if you wanted a snack to go along with it, something simple like the Meltwich avocado and chicken sandwich was sure to hit the spot!

Check out Tatiana Morand’s full photo gallery of beer, bands, and food!

03. If you want to get more fruit in your diet...
- There were several beers that had a strong fruity taste or that were made with fruit featured at the festival. St Ambroise’s Apricot Wheat Ale is also very sweet and fruity, with an enticingly fragrant apricot scent. There was also a few cider options, such as the one from Cracked we tried that was mixed with Pinot Noir (apples and grapes -- it’s basically fruit salad, right?).

04. If you’re feeling feminist...
- The Society of Beer Drinking Ladies offered a wide selection of beers created exclusively by female brewers. We tried a cherry sour wheat beer called Brad Pitt, which was quite uniquely sour with a wheat flavour that came out at the end. If that doesn’t quite sound like your taste, they had a wide variety of options that you could choose from.

05. If you want the perfect patio drink...
- Sometimes all you want is the perfect beer to sip outside under the summer sun. Some of the ones we recommend are the Watermelon Radler from the Great Lakes Brewery, which tasted exactly like snacking on a delicious slice of watermelon, or Beau’s Buenos Dias, a fruit ale, which was tangy and light.

So, what exactly did you miss at this year’s TFOB? Here’s another look...

06. If you want to expand your beer horizons...
- Some of the beers at the festival were good gateways between your standard beers and something a little more elaborate. For example, if you’d like to get introduced to more hoppy beers, Mill Street’s Hopped & Confused is a great initiation. On the other side of the spectrum, if you want to try something a little sweeter, St. Ambroise Raspberry Ale provided a good blend of beery satisfaction and raspberry tanginess.

07. If you’re an IPA lover...
- You’re also in luck! A variety of IPAs were on display at TFOB. Some of the ones we had a chance to sample were the Commuter Session IPA from Hop City, which featured dry hops with a citrus finish, as well as two from Brewdog: Elvis Juice, a grapefruit infused IPA (but about as far from a radler as you could imagine) and their Punk IPA, which they called a postmodern classic and which featured a lower hoppy flavour. Finally, we tried The Six Brewing Company’s Streetcar Delay, a traditional, sweet and hoppy IPA.

Bonus: pair it with The Mack Attack, a mac and cheese grilled cheese sandwich presented by Tony Cheese, for an even more intense experience!

The best part? These weren’t even all the beers (or foods) featured at TFOB this year! Regardless of the experience you were looking for -- or what type of beer you like -- you’re sure to be able to find something that will suit your palate. We can’t wait to go back next year and see what other crazy pairings we can discover.
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