This past weekend, Steam Whistle Pilsner Brewery hosted the 2014 Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival at Roundhouse Park in Toronto. Thanks to scorching temperatures and great food and drinks, the festival was packed both days.
Torontonicity was invited to check out the festival so I asked a few friends to join me on Saturday, August 9, 2014. Our group arrived around 2 p.m. Good thing my friends purchased their tickets in advance as we were informed that tickets were sold out at the door. It was $20 to purchase tickets in advance, which got you access to the festival, as well as a glass half pint beer mug for tasting.
There were over 30 beer and food vendors in the park, but thanks to quick service, the lines were manageable, and you didn’t have to wait long for service. Beer tokens could be purchased for $1 each: one token could be redeemed for a half-mug of beer, two tokens for the full glass. This was a great deal as we spent less than $20 on beer and food each.
Since it was the Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival, the breweries were mostly unfamiliar to me. My group tried beers by Great Lakes Brewery, Big Rock, Left Field Brewery, Wellington Brewery, Oast House Brewers, Lake of Bays Brewing and Mill Street Brewery. Each brewery had three to four different beer options, ranging from pale ales, to India Pale Ales to dark, creamy ales. It was fun to mix it up and try beers you may usually stay away from.
We also stopped by Sugar Mamma’s, one of the local food vendors, who were serving mini donuts. For $6, you got a dozen mini donuts cooked in coconut oil, straight from the fryer – so they were deliciously hot. You could then choose a topping (they had many fun choices available, including Nutella!), but we kept it simple with cinnamon and sugar.
There was a great atmosphere, with live bands playing throughout the afternoon and lots of space on the grass to relax with friends. Since it was so hot out, people were crowded under the few tents provided – shade was at a premium! But the festival also made water and sunscreen available for free to help combat the heat (a great move on their part).
Overall, I would highly recommend visiting the Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival next year. Compared to other beer festivals that take place in Toronto (which can cost up to $60 to enter), we found this event to be affordable and with minimal lines. It was a great way to spend the afternoon, discovering new local beers and food.