Beer is very much in the news this week as the new Ontario PC government unveiled its buck a beer challenge, but that's not the type of beverage those attending the sixth annual Elgin Street Craft Beer Festival on Saturday will be sampling.
These beer lovers are more concerned with flavour than price.
Twenty-eight craft breweries, distilleries and cider producers from across the province will serve up samples of their newest creations as well as their most popular brews at the festival, which runs noon to midnight Aug. 11.
Craft beer has exploded in popularity since the festival's creation, said Paul Loewenberg, manager of the Townehouse Tavern and the Laughing Buddha, the adjoining Elgin Street restaurants that co-host the yearly festival.
New breweries are popping up all the time, he said.
Bobcaygeon Brewing Company and Whiskeyjack Beer Company (out of Timmins) are just two of the newest breweries that will be taking part, along with many relative veterans including Sudbury's own Stack Brewing.
Craft beer is also now readily available on the shelves of the LCBO as well as grocery stores that carry alcohol.
Beer festivals such as the Elgin Street event allow people to sample several types of beers at once, including the companies' newer offerings, Loewenberg said.
Admission to Saturday's event includes a souvenir sampling glass and three samples. Further samples cost $2 each.
“You get to sample a whole bunch of different products in a small, responsible size, and determine what direction your tastebuds are going to take you in the next year,” Loewenberg said.
Beyond beer, if you're curious to try the products produced by Sudbury's first distillery — the newly-opened Crosscut Distillery — staffers will be at the festival to hand out samples of their spirits.
Part of Grey Street will be shut down for the festival. The Townehouse, Laughing Buddha and the patios for each restaurant will also be included in the festival's liquor licence.
The festival will also include live music on two stages and games such as giant Jenga and beer pong. Participating breweries will be doing giveaways.
Children under 12 accompanied by parents are permitted to attend, but unaccompanied teenagers are not.
Admission to the festival costs $25 in advance and $30 at the gate. Advance passes can be purchased at the Townehouse, Laughing Buddha or online at Event Brite.
Breweries attending Elgin Street Craft Beer Festival (in alphabetical order)
- Beau's Brewing (Van Cleek Hill)
- Bobcaygeon Brewing (Bobcaygeon)
- Brickworks Cider Co (Toronto)
- Cameron’s Brewing Company (Toronto)
- Collective Arts Brewing (Hamilton)
- Corby’s (Worldwide)
- Crosscut Distillery (Sudbury)
- Dixon Distillery (Guelph)
- Full Beard Brewing (Timmins)
- Goose Island Brewing (Vancouver)
- Highlander Brewing (South River)
- Horizon Beers (U.S., Belgium)
- Lake of the Woods Brewing (Kenora)
- Manitoulin Brewing (Little Current)
- Mill Street Beer (Toronto)
- Moosehead (Halifax)
- Muskoka Brewing Company (Bracebridge)
- New Ontario Brewing (North Bay)
- Nickel Brook Brewery (Burlington)
- Norse Brewing (Parry Sound)
- Redline Brewery (Barrie)
- Sawdust City Brewery (Gravenhurst)
- Split Rail Brewing Company (Gore Bay)
- Stack Brewing (Sudbury)
- Steamwhistle Brewing (Toronto)
- St. Ambroise (Montreal)
- Whiskeyjack (Timmins)
- Whitewater Brewery (Cobden)