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beer festival

Is anyone going this year?
Kinda shocked at the price of the ticket.
Is anyone else feeling that way?

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    1. I'm a borderline alcoholic so something like this sounds great for me and my pals :D

      Ticket price isn't that big of a deal but what does the ticket actually get you? Any pints, or what?


      2 Replies
      1. re: duckdown

        I think you'd probably end up being disappointed; might as well spend the extra cash at the LCBO or Beer Store and have your own beer festival.

        1. re: tjr

          Ah, ya.. Probably right.. Who can afford to really just blow cash these days anyway

          I'll do that instead :)


      2. There is a $50 dollar ticket, and then a $100 dollar ticket that gets you into the after party.


        I've been the last couple of years, but I'll give it a pass this year. The independent 'micro' brews haven't been well represented (because it costs them to much for a booth, and everything else associated with a big show), and because I get a little bit irked that I'm paying to have someone advertise at me...


        1. I've pretty much given up on the Beer Festival and prefer going to Volo's Cask Days and C'est What's Spring and Fall Festivals.

          For those that are going to the Beer Festival I suggest you stop by Great Lakes booth. They will have a rotating selection of one-off cask beers each day.


          I'm tempted to go because of that but because I've attended other better beer festivals like Montreal's Mondial and read about numerous American craft beer festivals, our Toronto festival sucks. I lay no blame with the craft brewers but with the organizers and the ridiculous rules that patrons and brewers must follow (many most likely dictated by the LCBO and AGCO.)

          2 Replies
          1. re: lister

            I wasn't laying anything on the craft brewers, my beef is mostly with the organiser...


            1. re: lister

              I would go just to try the Double IPA, but I won't be in Toronto then. I'm hoping this becomes a regular beer for them and not just a one-off special.

            2. I guess part of the reason for the price hike is that there are a few bands playing this year. I won't be going but, the fun part for me is the festival atmosphere, and watching all the crazy people.

              2 Replies
              1. re: haggisdragon

                Yes..great lakes brewery is awesome!! If (and if) I go, I will make sure I visit their booth.
                I wrote an email to the organizer last nite asking "what was the price last year". There was an email in my inbox this morning, explaining the reasons for the price increase.
                However .no answer to my question.
                So..I will ask chowhounders.
                What exactly was the price of a ticket last year?

                1. re: domesticgodess

                  Through some googling I found out that the 2008 Price on Thursday evening was $40 and that the price on the Friday, Sat, and Sunday were cheaper (but didn't find the actual price.. they just said it was cheaper).

                  Back in 2007 the prices were $22 for Friday and Sunday and around $28 for Saturday.

                  These results all came up from threads at Redflagdeals

              2. Went a couple of years ago, and it's a supposedly fun thing I'll never do again ...

                1 Reply
                1. It's dominated by mega brands and there's just not too much to the festival. Additional tickets are expensive once you've worked your way through the "free" samples and the lineups are insane.

                  Spend $50 at the LCBO/Volo/Beer Bistro/Abbot on the Hill trying different stuff. You'll have a much better time and won't have to lineup to use an insanely foul portapotty.

                  I went in 06 and will never return.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: preppycuisine

                    im going tonite (ok soon..lol) and I will report back tonite.
                    Ive been going every year for five years and Im eager to check out the new locations and of course, try some new beers. Of course, Im still pissed about the price increase but ....
                    I gotta go!!


                    1. re: preppycuisine

                      At first glance, the festival is dominated by big brands, but take a look around, and it's not true. I saw new brewers even after touring the site several times.

                      Refill tokens were $1 each --- $1/$2 gets you 4oz, though I found most brewers were more generous. This may change when the crowds are bigger and line-ups start. (Thursday felt like more of an industry night)

                      Fantastic beer at BLACK OAK.. Tried two beers unavailable in the beer store that were awesome.

                      Only tried one of the Great Lakes special beers, it was okay - would have tried more, but it was a stingy pour.

                      Overall a super fun experience - worth a $50 ticket? Doubtful - but - if you love beer, what the hell, live it up! Also, the actual brewers are the people serving you - so, if you're curious, they'll answer questions for you.


                      Someone was selling fresh cheese curds (day of) and chipotle cheese curds - I really wanted to try the latter, but got too bloody drunk. Did refer several people over - I wish them luck, but am not sure a beer fest is the right place.

                      A woman was selling poutine - her curds were not fresh, and when I asked about the gravy she said - oh, I don't believe in gravy, it's more of a jus...???

                      Polish brands were represented with Polish servers.
                      Mexican brand (Tekate) were represented by people who would have trouble pronouncing Ola. Why spend all that money on promo and merch etc. and not follow it up with appropriate staffing? It's not hard to find a Mexican in Toronto.

                      Bud Lime was 2 tokens per 4oz - huh!? .. firstly, who the hell would drink that crap, secondly, who would pay a premium?

                      VIP area behind the stage (normally a restaurant), was managed by one of the rudest women I've encountered in recent memory.

                      1. re: mikefly

                        I'm going to the beer festival tonight ... I'm going because my husband loves his beers and loves tasting new ones! I on the other hand don't like beer at all ... is there anything else there for people like me?


                        1. re: MrsCooke

                          mead - that tasted like soda pop.

                          bring water with you.

                          I'd suggest sending him with a buddy -- if you don't like beer, it may not be super fun. Then again, you can help carry him home.

                        2. re: mikefly

                          I friggin LOL'ed at Bud Light Lime costing 2 tokens

                      2. I am so curious to find out what's included in the price. I almost ordered tickets but they were way to expensive!

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: TOchowgal

                          So here are my thoughts.
                          I went on Thursday nite and I must admit...I loved the new location.
                          The stage is huge, the festival is well layed-out and everyone was super friendly.
                          I had some great tasting beers....and indeed I brought water with me (it must be sealed..so dont sip it till you are inside the park).
                          I had great food, great beer and great fun.
                          Worth the $50?? I like beer...I like the venue, so yes, I will return next year.
                          But I wish they would throw in something else besides the 5 tokens, i.e some corn on the cob? popcorn? something.....

                          1. re: domesticgodess

                            If they threw in anyhing else, the price would be $60 instead of 50.

                            1. re: foodyDudey

                              there has to be SOMETHING that they can throw in..one just needs to be creative and decide that its an added value item and not something they are going to make a profit on.

                              1. re: domesticgodess

                                I went 2 years ago when the price was 25 or 26 or whatever it was. I had a good time but to me, doubling the price without adding anything extra is truly unacceptable, especially given the current economic climate.

                                1. re: paper_bag_princess

                                  Adding in some swag would be extremely easy -- their corporate partners (Labatt/Molson/whoever) would be delighted to put something into people's hands - $5/$10 off case of beer .. and/or free 6 pack .. something.

                                2. re: domesticgodess

                                  Yeah, give me a branded hat or t-shirt. Free to me, and advertising for them!

                                  1. re: longolame

                                    Moderators might end up removing this - but it's information you should know.

                                    Water was being sold by most vendors for $1.00 - some people came to our booth sort of drunk (alright smashed) and had no money left and we just gave them the water. Sheesh it's like .12 cents or something.

                                    One reason for ticket increases this year, it's being held on the CNE grounds which are COMPLETELY unionized which means ALL the work had to go through them. Raised the base cost of the event massively.

                                    Overall the weekend was busy as heck and from the thousands of people I was able to talk to over the weekend everyone was glad they went.

                                    1. re: BusterRhino

                                      Any idea why they decided to switch venues this year?

                                        1. re: duckdown

                                          We were selling peameal on a bun, couldn't sell our southern BBQ there as Ted Reader has that booth (too bad too).

                                          They were outgrowing the fort, and there was close to 80grand in damage last year to the grounds from the rain, and the thousands of people walking in it around the festival. It had a lot of ambiance, was a great facility etc. The lake at CNE doesn't have the fort but has WAY more room to move around and a great bandshell. They had bands playing all weekend.

                            2. I went on Friday night and had to say that I had a fantastic time!

                              Tried lots of beers I had never had before, cherry, raspberry beers.. pumpkin ale.. stayed away from the big brewers and had a blast.

                              In terms of ticket price.... i went onto craigslist to see if anyone had tickets they were selling off.. sure enough i bought 4 tickets for $140 ($35/ticket) on friday just a few hours before going to the festival.

                              It was well worth it, and the stage/environment/beer/people etc was a blast, will go again next year.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: joellita

                                A dear friend of mine had two tickets and ended up not being able to go. She gave us the tickets. We had a blast. The food was improved over prior years. The space was amazing. There was so much room to walk around. I went first thing on Saturday and once you were in and had your tickets, there was not really any long lines anywhere.

                                We got the free tshirt from Lakeport for filling out a survey. We gave fake details but a free shirt is a free shirt.

                                We stayed with the smaller brewers or at least ones we had not heard of. Some were so nice for chatting with them for a few minutes we received free top ups.

                                The biggest hit for me for Great Lakes and the Casks. We tried so many there.

                                When we got home we both said that next year we will buy tickets for sure.

                                1. re: bustercat628

                                  Which of the casks from Great Lakes did you try and how were they? I believe they had something like 20 different casks and I'm curious how they were.

                                  1. re: kwjd

                                    Sage and Spruce which was refreshing
                                    Pumpkin spice - my partners fav!
                                    Black forest porter - a bit too light for his taste
                                    Simon Says Stout - A winner
                                    Wapoos Snakebite - A good I had two

                                  2. re: bustercat628

                                    Did you have to pay for the food, did you get free samples or both?