News & Brews – April 4th, 2012

Bringing back the long-lost news  posts of the goings-on for Ontario. The News & Brews posts will cover events, new beers and the general happenings through the beer scene. Today: looking forward to the summer beer festival season!

  • The next Project X put on by Great Lakes will be Thursday, April 12th at the Victory Cafe. Rumour has it that it will be a porter party. If you haven’t had a recent version of the Harry Porter, just know that Great Lakes make a mean porter.
  • The Cask Days IPA Challenge is returning to barVolo on the weekend of April 20th-23rd. Full event details have not been released, but keep checking the Volo website for more info. All details are now on the IPA Challenge webpage.
  • Session 99 is returning as part of Ontario Craft Beer Week. Same location as last year, but split into two sessions. Seems that tickets now include unlimited beer, which would explain the increase in price and the three-hour session lengths. I had positive things to say about last year (read: got very drunk) and hope that more of beer community comes out to support the festival.
  • Toronto’s Festival of Beer is returning, but with a couple of twists. There will be lead up events, including a Cask Crawl week (unfortunately the same time as Mondiale  or not. Dates TBA) and beer dinners. They also have started the #TAPSnTUNES events, which features free beer once you figure out the clues. The first one featured Rolling Rock, but the next event will showcase an Ontario craft beer. Unfortunately, it is also April 12th, so it will be competing against the Great Lakes event for my affections.
  • Speaking of Mondial de la Biere, it is taking place in Montreal from June 6th-10th. It is a phenomenal beer festival, but unfortunately is once again taking place during the same week as the Grand Prix. Hopefully you’ve booked your hotel already or don’t mind staying in a hostel.
  • In new beer news, the Beau’s Patio Saison will be available the first day in April when the temperature goes over 18 degrees Celsius. There is a nice and handy forecast chart on their website to help figure out when the beer will be released. Wellington’s latest one off beer is called Rye-it! and there is a release part for it at the Wellington brewery on April 14th from 1-4pm. Finally, the F&M Maple Red Ale is now available at their retail store. Follow them on Twitter to find out what bars will be tapping it and when. Cameron’s have released a Rye Pale Ale (aka RPA) and I’ll have a review of that up next week.
  • The op-ed pieces here lately have been generating some nice discussion, so I’m going to try out a new Q&A column. Ask anything you want – about beer styles, bars, the LCBO or anything about the Ontario craft beer scene – and I’ll weigh in. Emails can be sent to ayearofbeer.mike@gmail.com.
  • Hate to end on a sad note, but the Gambrinus Bistro & Cafe in London will be turning from a craft beer leader to an Asian-fusion restaurant. I lived in London for a year when Gambrinus was Chauncey Smith’s and just starting to transform into the best craft beer spot in Southwestern Ontario. The work they’ve done to support craft beer in the area has been incredible and this is a terrible loss. Hopefully someone else in London will see the value of craft beer and reunite all the dedicated people that worked for Gambrinus. Gambrinus will be open until April 14th and it is definitely worth the trip to London if you’ve never been or want to thank them for all their hard work.
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