Our neighbors to the north have caught the same craft beer bug spreading across Western New York, and this weekend plan to bring out their best brews to the shores of Lake Ontario for the second annual summertime Burlington Beer Festival in Burlington, Ont.
“Breweries use the festival to showcase a lot of new and exciting beers they’re bringing to market,” said Karen Belfry, logistics coordinator for the festival and a student at the Niagara College Teaching Brewery, one of more than a dozen trades that concoct craft beer from Toronto to Niagara Falls.
Several of the breweries closest to Buffalo remain too new and too small to dispense product at the beer festival but some will, including Mill Street, Steam Whistle and Amsterdam from Toronto and Silversmith from Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Other Southern Ontario favorites – along with producers as far afield as Central City from Surrey, B.C., and Goose Island and Samuel Adams from the U.S. – also will be on hand. Sam Adams will bring its Rock Lobster food truck, too, and hawk lobster rolls.
Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery from Toronto may steal the show with a custom-built setup that can dispense beers from 16 kegs. “They always do a lot of cool one-offs,” Belfry said. Last year, they included mango pale ale and chili pepper stout.
Thirty breweries, as well as nearly two dozen food trucks and Burlington-area food vendors, also will be part of the mix.
Canadian craft brews offer many of the same styles popular in Western New York, including IPAs, saisons, porters and stouts, but tend to tilt more heavily toward British and European style lagers, ales and strong and bitters brews.
The beer fest runs from 4 to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday in Spencer Smith Park along Lake Ontario. The $35 (Canadian) admission will get you six 4-ounce sampling tokens and a complimentary glass; additional tokens cost $2. For more information, visit burlingtonbeerfest.com.