Do you love craft beer, food truck fare and live music? Then you’re in luck: It’s the season of beer festivals!
A brand-new event coming to Orléans this weekend is just one of many, many beer festivals on the schedule this spring, summer and fall. In fact, there are four coming up this weekend alone.
Raise a glass in Orléans
The inaugural Orléans Craft Beer Festival (June 9 to 11) is the newest festival on the summer calendar. Why did the organizers think Orléans was ripe for a sudsfest? “We’re trying to give back to the community,” says co-founder Alana Baker, noting that many of the vendors are based in Orléans.
The 19 participating breweries include two brand-new Orléans companies. Stray Dog Brewing Company makes a California Common-style beer called The One, while Orléans Brewing Company’s flagship product is an American pale ale. Local food vendors include LunchBox, a gourmet sandwich shop, and Occo Kitchen, which serves treats like garlic herb fries with citrus chipotle mayonnaise.
Rock on at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau
The Gatineau Beer Festival (Festibière de Gatineau) takes over the grounds of the Canadian Museum of History this weekend (June 8 to 10). You can sample some of the 350 types of beer from more than 30 breweries, along with music by Coleman Hell, Daniel Boucher, the Lost Fingers and other music acts. Food trucks will be on hand to serve up treats such as tacos, cheese sticks, crab cakes and poutine of all descriptions (shrimp, duck, chili, bacon…). The video above, from the 2016 festival, gives you a taste of the fun.
Try new-to-you beers at Fort Henry
On Saturday, June 10, the YGK Craft Beer Fest will take over Fort Henry National Historic Site in Kingston. Since it’s the official after-party of a 5K race called the Cannonball Crush, there will be lots of runners in the crowd, but you don’t have to be an athlete to attend. In fact, you don’t even have to like beer, as vendors will also be serving Ontario-made cider, wine and vodka.
This year, the number of food vendors has grown to 18, serving specialties such as pizza cooked in a mobile wood-fired oven. The live entertainment roster includes female country duo The Lovelocks and alt-country/blues performer JJ Shiplett.
Focus on indies in Peterborough
Also coming up this weekend, the Kawartha Craft Beer Festival (June 9 and 10) will be setting up its kegs in Millennium Park in Peterborough, beside the Otonobee River. The festival tries “to focus on the smaller brewers in the region, some that you may not find in LCBOs or beer stores,” says festival spokesperson Kim Cranfield. Three of the 11 beverage vendors—Haliburton Highlands Brewing, Lake of Bays Brewing Company and Empire Cider Company—are new to the festival this year. Other newcomers include three of the four food vendors, whose clever takes on festival fare include pulled pork in a savoury waffle cone (from Port Perry Smokehouse) and stout-flavoured cupcakes (from Sweet Spirits).
As a side note: I always think Peterborough is farther from Ottawa than it actually is. It’s just a scenic 3.5-hour drive down Highway 7.
More beer festivals to try
The four events above are just a few of the beer festivals you can sample this season; here are some of the rest. Enjoy—and don’t drink and drive!
- New York Craft Brewers Festival (Utica, New York; June 10)
- Mondial de la Bière Montréal (June 14 to 18)
- Ottawa Beer Fest (June 16 to 18): This event at Lansdowne Park will showcase more than 30 breweries, wineries and cider makers from Canada and Europe. On Saturday morning, you can even kick off your beer-tasting day with a yoga class.
- Cornwall Summer Beer Fest (June 24): Canadian hip-hop star Classified is the headliner at this one-day fest, where the amusements also include a craft market and lawn games.
- Kanata Festival of Beer (June 30 and July 1): This Canada Day weekend party at Walter Baker Park has a packed musical lineup, including Finger Eleven, Tomi Swick, The Start, Cannons and Daisy Train.
- Toronto’s Festival of Beer (July 28 to 30)
- Plattsburgh Brewfest (August 5): You can bring your tent or RV to this festival at the Clinton County Fairgrounds, which features some 40 breweries, wineries, cider makers and food vendors from New York state and Vermont.
- Festibière de Québec (Quebec City; August 17 to 20): This major event in Quebec City’s Old Port is slated to host 75 beverage makers and 20 food vendors, along with lots of live musical entertainment.
- Flour City Brewers Fest (Rochester, New York; August 18)
- Back to the Farm: MacKinnon Brothers Beer and Music Festival (Bath, Ontario; August 20)
- Kingston Ribfest and Craft Beer Show (September 8 to 10)
- Beau’s Oktoberfest (Vankleek Hill, Ontario; September 22 and 23): Tickets for this popular event—one of Eastern Ontario’s largest beer festivals—are already on sale, and early-bird pricing is in effect until June 19. The music roster includes everyone from the Rheostatics to Walter Ostanek.
- New York Craft Brewers Festival (Syracuse, New York; December 2)
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