Tag Archive: Session


In the past month, I’ve had the pleasure of going to two distinct festivals in Toronto (sorry Session, I heard you were terrific but I was unable to see past my throbbing hangover after a best friend’s birthday).

The Hart House Craft Beer Festival is in it’s 4th year at UofT. Held in the quad that sits smack-dab in the middle of the aforementioned cultural centre, it’s got an impeccable reputation with enthusiasts and it wouldn’t be difficult to argue that it’s played a large role in the craft beer renaissance taking shape in our city.

Beside the excellent beer, they’ve got a free BBQ and a couple of DJs from CIUT, one of the best radio stations around. Did it live up to my expectations?

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If you attended the first outing of Session last year, you might have been inclined to think it didn’t have a much of a future. Despite the quality of the beer and a thoughtful crowd, the location at Sunnyside was difficult to arrive at, the weather was tempermental and the G20 was a collective bummer in Toronto’s psyche.

Thankfully, Jared Corbeil and Curt Dunlop are back this year with a second iteration of the Session Craft Beer Festival, this Saturday (June 25) and desire to a expand on the possibilities of what a beer festival can be.

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The G20 has ruined many things for the citizens of Toronto (road closures, school closures, transit delays, the St. Lawrence Market, uprooted trees, loss of income, loss of patio space, removal of bike stands… new annoyances are added everyday) but it’s going a bit too far when the LCBO decides it has to close 7 of its stores from Friday to Saturday.

To be fair, many of the products that would be found at these locations can be found at others but that doesn’t make it right. I guess a trip up to Summerhill is in order… |Toronto Sun|

One thing the G20 can’t ruin is Ontario Craft Beer Week. Besides the numerous events happening all week long, be sure to check out the Session Craft Beer Festival at Sunnyside Pavilion on Saturday (June 26th). |Ontario Craft Brewers|

The ash from Eyjafjallajokull may have never made it this far but Icelandic beer is coming to Toronto! Skjálfti (168393, 500 mL, $3.95) is a hoppy marriage between a pale ale and a lager and both Josh Rubin of The Star and Greg Clow of Taste T.O. dig it. (If you have trouble using the LCBO  website, don’t forget to log on to drinkvine, the best way to scout out new beers and wines in the GTA.) |Toronto Star, Taste T.O.|

If you want proof why marketers should never, ever come up with a beer brand, look no further than Biker Beer a brew produced out of Nickel Brook that came about because a couple attended a rally on their wedding day. Since no self-respecting biker (or human being) will ever drink this product, I’m betting it will come to be regarded as one of the most inane vanity products  in the history of beer ever.

I bet they even have matching beach towels with their initials monogrammed on ‘em. |Toronto Sun|

Despite what this blog might be saying, you can tell the difference between different wines and the distance between good and bad wine can be pretty fucking far indeed. Just don’t be a pretentious twit. |You Are Not Smart|

Conflict Kitchen is performance art masquerading as a take-out joint. Taking a country that the United States currently has a beef with, it will serve a signature dish and with everyone happily sated, will offer potential dialog in the form of “events, performances and discussions”. Afghanistan is the first subject and we’ll I’ve never tried kubideh (anyone want to make a road trip to Kabul Farms?) I’m always in favor of exposing people to new street-food. |Kubideh Kitchen|

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It’s no secret that the Toronto Festival of Beer has skewed itself more towards the mainstream for quite a few years now. While good beers and times have been found (I will never forget human foosball) the event is definitely an example of quantity over quality.

While I may not dislike it as much as some folks, I was still quite pleased to receive an email from Curt Dunlop and Jed Corbeil, the duo behind the Griffin Gastropub and the Muskoka Beer Festival, informing me of their plans to hold a craft beer festival in Toronto.

The idea is incredibly exciting… local beers and food should attract a crowd of like-minded enthusiasts and the opportunity to sample some new brews (Tree Brewing from Kelowna, BC is sending their Hophead IPA!) is not to be missed. With 21 breweries attending at last count and each of them bringing 1 to 5 types of beer, it’s going to be a very busy day!

Corbeil and I made arrangements to meet at C’est What? which was appropriate considering the pub is basically a temple to local craft beer. It was quickly apparent that he’s the kind of guy who loves what he does. His passion for beer is definitely there and he knows his stuff but he’s no snob either. Noticing he was well into his pint of Black Oak’s 10 Bitter Years (my favorite of the moment) I ordered myself one as well and we got settled in to talk about Session, the Griffin Gastropub and Ontario Craft Brewers.

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