Next year I will be smart, as many others were, and take some vacation time during Toronto Beer Week. Not only are there a couple of day-time events that would have been nice to attend, it would also have left time to get all the blogging done and ensure that no special beers were missed. The latter problem is what happened Wednesday night when I stopped in at Kilgour’s to find that the Black Oak Hop Bomb cask was finished around 8p.m. and pretty much every had gone home or elsewhere by 9:30. Luckily Chris from the Toronto Beer Blog was still around (he and I are essentially the anti-Polkaroo to each other, at least during this week) and had a pint with two of his friends.
Kilgour’s had a decent tap lineup that was heavily (if not entirely) focused on craft beer. And though I went to U of T and have spent a good number of nights in the Annex, I had never been inside until Wednesday. Perhaps best known as being one of the few Habs friendly bars in the city, it flies under the radar on most nights and would not seem like an obvious craft beer spot to me. So I was pleased to hear that the event had gone well (though not happy to hear I missed out on it), because it showed a local bar could put in a bit more effort while still throwing a simple yet unique beer event (one cask is almost the simplest beer event you can put on) and have it be a great success. This is the perfect example for bars to illustrate that there is definitely money to be made off the growing craft beer movement (obviously we want bars to also be serving good beer because it tastes better, but they also need to know that they can make a profit). Putting in some work will get new people through your door and hopefully coming back on a regular basis (though don’t expect to see me when the Habs are playing). The true success of Toronto Beer Week will not be measured by how many people came out or whether licensees made money, but whether it changes peoples habits (both the general public and those in the alcohol industry). If everything reverts back to normal starting tomorrow then the week will feel a little hollow in retrospect.