Toronto has no shortage of festivals. When summer rolls around it’s festival time, every weekend, there is something to do, something to eat, something to drink, whatever strikes your fancy, it’s probably going to happen somewhere between June – September.
Starting this week on June 17th, 2012, Ontario Craft Beer Week, by the Ontario Craft Brewers kicks off a summer celebration of fermented beverages. There will be a variety of beer related events all over Ontario.
On July 27th, 2012 it’s time for one of the many beer related festivals – Toronto Festival of Beer, and it’s going to go on for the entire weekend. Over 30,000 people, 60 exhibitors, and over a hundred different kinds of beer. It sounds like a lot of (potential) fun.
Before moving to Toronto, I wasn’t really interested in beer. It wasn’t exciting, my options seemed limited to huge brands with limited flavours. That all changed when I came here. Craft beers aplenty, there are small local breweries that seem to dominate my perception of the market, there are rich varieties, there are options, there are beers that proudly mention they are vegan friendly – it’s just a different scene.
One thing that people forget (or selectively forget,) is that not all beers or wines are vegan (and occasionally aren’t even vegetarian.) Sometimes beer makers, brew masters, wine masters and distillers include animal ingredients (like dairy, honey, eggs, chicken, bacon, whatever) in their products, or in the processing/filtration (isinglass, gelatin, etc,) of their beverages.
Reading a recent NOW magazine article proclaiming the lack of access to Craft Brewers in Toronto (compared to Portland, of course) I had to laugh a little. You’ve got amazing stuff going on here, and just like most things, you still have to want to go out of your way to find them.
I’m interested in compiling a list of the vegan friendly beers pre-festival. Armed with the ever trusty Barnivore, and my general lack of fear at being annoying via email, I will be putting together a list or two before the event.
Another thing I’ve been interested in doing is creating more vegan recipes with beer. I’ve noticed that beer is pretty meat-paired or as Mill Street Brewery is trying to do – cheese-beer pairings. Interesting change of pace, but I still think there’s more that could be done, that isn’t being done enough.