Not too long ago, many Canadians replaced their bottle of beer with a glass of wine. There was a surge in wine culture. It was thought to be healthier and more elegant. Beer became a little more secretive – the underground cousin.
As of late, we well know this is not the case. Craft beer has boomed, and there are breweries opening up daily to fill the demand. Even people who once uttered the phrase, "I don't like the taste of beer," have to rethink their stance. Beer is hot.
Free-range Canadians at Toronto's Festival of Beer — Photo courtesy of Andrew Williamson Photography
Passes begin at $39.50 for general entrance and five beer tokens, as well as a commemorative mug to remind you about the summer where you prioritized the right things in life.
If you fancy yourself a beer aficionado, then you probably will find yourself purchasing a "Hoptimize" ticket for just $10 more. It will grant you five more drink tickets and 1.5 more hours in which to pace your consumption of them.
If you have sailed past the term aficionado and are now in the snob category, VIP access will be your ticket. You will get an air-conditioned meal to soak up the hoppy liquids you have been consuming, as well as two full-sized drinks to make sure that your beer levels don't get dangerously low.
Exhibition Place, the unofficial sponsor of summer — Photo courtesy of Andrew Williamson Photography
Arnold Schwarzenegger has said, "Milk is for babies. When you grow up, you have to drink beer."
Speaking of babies, they aren't welcome here, nor are your children, even if they have excellent taste in summer festivals.
Although Canada has an exceptional drinking culture, it's definitely eclipsed by Ireland. Since this is the case, Toronto has stepped aside and invited the Irish on board with Irish craft beers not available in Ontario, four Irish bands and 12 Irish brewers. They call it "The Irish Are Coming."
Add that onto the 300 individual brews already on offer, and attendees will certainly not be lacking in options.
Torontonians will always gather together for great food and drink — Photo courtesy of Andrew Williamson Photography
For those dragged to this event by a beerhead, there are other things to do besides watch people drink. Like eat, for example.
Plus, the entertainment isn't too shabby, with Naughty by Nature set to play on July 24 and 54-40 set to play on July 25.
Not surprisingly, this event is sponsored by The Beer Store. Drink up, Toronto.
Crowds can get significant — Photo courtesy of Andrew Williamson Photography