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Craft brew fans soak up microbrew festival

Microbreweries from across the north on tap for two-day event

Selling out for a second year in an row just goes to show next year's Northern Ontario Microbrew Festival will have to find a larger venue, said the event co-ordinator.

Ashley McCarvell said Friday night's event was a great success, selling out quickly, given the lineup of entertainment. Sudbury Burlesque kicked off the evening, followed by Murder Murder, and Elliot Brood closed out the evening.

Of course, the main reason for the event was to showcase Northern Ontario microbreweries, and to get the word out there that these businesses are here and available at the LCBO and beer stores.

“It's an industry promotion event, but it's also all about having a good time,” McCarvell said. 

Friday was focused more on one-off beers like seasonals, imperials and casks, she said. There were 10 brewers and one distillery on display.

“It's pretty delicious beer, if I do say so myself,” she said. “A lot of people assume there's only Coors Light and Bud Light out there, so we're trying to show them that craft beer isn't that hops-crazy stuff you see, but you can get lagers, and you can really enjoy craft beer.”

Unless you're a craft beer connoisseur, you don't really know all the craft breweries that out there, but the festival gives people a better taste for what is available in Northern Ontario, she said.

Saturday provided a more low-key event for those taking in the festival, but featured even more brewers — 15 in total.

“Many people are getting their first taste of craft beer at this event,” she said. “It's addicting, and it keeps them coming back.”

North Bay-based New Ontario Brewing Company was back for the festival this year. Noel Clancy said it was his first time at the festival, and he was impressed.
“It was really well done,” he said. “It's really nice to see the Northern Ontario craft brew community come together like this.”

New Ontario Brewing Company started in September 2015 and has some of its product available at the LCBO.

“This is great exposure for us,” Clancy said. “We are now in the LCBO, and people have been recognizing our logo and branding.”

Also showing off their wares was Split Rail Brewing from Gore Bay, Northern Superior, OutSpoken Brewing, and Union Jack Brewing from Sault Ste. Marie, Lake of the Woods Brewing from Kenora, Highlander Brew Co. South River, Norse Brewery from Parry Sound, Haliburton Highlands Brewing from Haliburton, and of course Sudbury’s own Stack Brewing.

Also in attendance was honorary northerners such as Block Three Brewing (St. Jacobs) Redline Brewhouse (Barrie), Beau's All Natural Brewery (Vankleek Hill) Broadhead Brewing Company (Nepean) and Sawdust City Brewing (Gravenhurst). The festival also welcomes the return of Rheault Distillery from Hearst; they’ll be back sampling their locally made vodka and liqueurs.


Arron Pickard

About the Author: Arron Pickard

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