Follow beer writer, Troy Burtch, as he explores the wonderful world of craft beer and the pubs that serve it. Great Canadian Beer is a place to come to catch up on beer news, read tasting notes, check out event listings, and for pub previews and reviews.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

And A Successful TBW Pub Crawl - Kensington/Annex

TBW Pub Crawl wristbands
By 2pm on Saturday afternoon the inside of the Cloak and Dagger was beginning to fill with loyal supporters of Toronto Beer Week (TBW). The same was happening a couple of kilometres away at the Queen and Beaver on Elm St. It was the beginning of the TBW six-month countdown event - Two simultaneous pub crawls through the streets of Toronto, visiting 10 establishments along the way and knocking back numerous pints from the fine producers here in Toronto.

Nick Pashley, the author of notable beer books like Notes on a Beermat: Drinking and why it's Necessary and Cheers! An Intemperate History of Beer in Canada, joined me in leading a pub crawl in the Kensington/Annex area of the city while Bar founder, Cass Enright, and Rob Symes led another one in the downtown core. (all four of us are founding members of TBW)

The Kensington/Annex Crawl
As soon as the doors opened at the Cloak and Dagger a handful of eager beer drinkers made their way towards the bar for what would be a great day of socializing, drinking, and celebrating the 2011 edition of TBW.

Armed with special edition TBW wristbands, pub crawlers were entitled to a number of discounts and prizes throughout the day, and the Cloak started our crawl off right as ten tap lines were devoted to $5 pints; a great way to kick things off.

Drinking on Caplansky's patio
After 45 minutes of introductions and sampling, Pashley took to the stage and awarded a number of prizes - two passes to Amsterdam Brewing Co. for brewery tours, a couple of TAPS The Beer Magazine t-shirts, a Great Lakes t-shirt, and a number of Ontario Craft Brewers (OCB) podcast cd's. A representative from Spearhead Brewing Co. (first commercial brew fast approaching) graciously donated some swag, including a hat and bottle opener at the Cloak.

Out the door and after a two-minute walk east our group stood in front of Caplansky's Deli at College and Brunswick. All the tables in the deli were jammed packed with hungry customers, so crawlers decided that the weather was good enough to claim their patio as ours. Chairs and tables were arranged and pints of Denison's Dunkel were consumed. We reached 40 people near the end of our time at Caplansky's and by our next stop, it jumped to 49.

The Burger Bar & Tequila Tavern is on the east side of Augusta just south of College. Another two minute sojourn. Again, upon arrival we were greeted with a packed house of Burger eaters and thristy beer drinkers. Thankfully the patio was wide open and it called out to us, as did the Robust Porter from Cheshire Valley Brewing Co., which word has it, we almost drained. Some more prizes were awarded at the Burger Bar before we pulled up stake and headed to our fourth stop -  The Harbord House.

 Rob Morra (Beau's) & Paul Dickey (Cheshire Valley)
The longest walk between establishments, The Harbord House crew were ready for us when we arrived. Our large crowd was whisked to the second floor where Superman, I mean, ummm, Rob Morra of Beau's All Natural Brewing Co. was waiting for us with a pin of Beau's Winterbrewed. We promised we'd do our best and dammit, we did it - we drank every last drop... After drinking on Caplansky's patio, and the Burger Bar's patio, the upstairs sit down area at the Harbord House was most welcoming.

We gave away some more prizes before heading onto the last stop on the crawl- a wall mounted Steam Whistle retro bottle opener and a bucket full of beer and swag from Great Lakes.

Another quick journey brought us to our final destination - The Victory Cafe on Markham. I'll admit it now, but I was concerned about showing up a 6pm on a courageous day. The Victory is known for filling the place and we weren't 100% sure if we'd be heading to the second floor or not. Luck was on our side as the pub was light in attendance, so we did our best to fill the place. After taking part in a very encouraging chat with the Victory's new owner we handed out the grand prize to one lucky winner - a tub of beer and goodies from the OCB.

By 7:30pm we called it a day. Some individuals moved onto other well-known Toronto craft beer pubs, some went home, and some stayed and helped the Victory empty their kegs. It was a great day from start to finish with 52 people taking part throughout the crawl! People in Toronto love their craft beer!

It needs to be said that the staff at all of the places we attended did an unbelievable job making us feel welcome, serving us in a timely and efficient manner, and doing so with a smile on their face(s). A huge thank you to the staff at Cloak & Dagger, Caplansky's Deli, The Burger Bar & Tequila Tavern, The Harbord House and The Victory Cafe!

Toronto is home to some amazing craft beer establishments and we touched on but a few. Get out there and explore!

We'd also like to thank the following breweries/organizations for donating prizes for the crawl - Steam Whistle, Great Lakes, Amsterdam, TAPS The Beer Magazine, OCB, Spearhead Brewing Co.


Swordsman said...

Hey Troy!

It was a great day. Thanks!


Grimes said...

pardon my tardiness but catching up on some posts now...this crawl was awesome! was great fun visiting all the pubs and seeing some old and new faces. keep us in the loop for the next one!

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