I love beer and I’m a lady, so naturally I was interested to hear there was an all-women’s beer fest taking place in Toronto. I’m a little late to the game and this happened to be the 5th ‘beer bevy’ the group (Society of Beer Drinking Ladies, or SOBDL for short) has put on.
16 Breweries and 4 catering companies came together at the Peace and Cotton warehouse in the Junction to impress the crowd of beer enthusiasts. A fun Holiday Maker’s market with local vendors also took part. Everything from candles, soaps, customized cat toys and funky hair ties were up for grabs.
It was pretty ironic to be hosting the event in the Junction seeing as it was a ‘dry’ part of the city from the prohibition era ( A law that lasted from 1904-1991) and it’s now home to 9 breweries and a lady’s beer fest. Funny how that all works out. The venue was a warehouse and half the event was indoors and the other half was out. Sure, it was a chilly November afternoon, but nothing that a few heat lamps couldn’t fix.
“What made you want to come out to the bevy?” the lady selling tokens asked us. “We really liked the idea of female only events, sometimes at other events we go to, guys will hit on us aggressively, or get a little rowdy with one another and we liked the idea of a bunch of women coming together over a shared interest”. She offered us a sticker that said we were taking place in our first bevy. Another sticker said the wearer was at the event solo and was free to make some new friends (I really loved that idea).
I pointed to a little trophy engraved with ‘Lady Beer Fest 2017 Champ – Battle of the Bevy Brew’ “What’s that?” “We have two breweries going head to head with different creations to see who’s wins the most votes , it’s The Second Wedge vs Rainhard’. Joanna and I made our way over to the tent where the two breweries were duking it out.
It was nice to see Zed representing The Second Wedge and he offered us some ‘Sweater Weather’ dark saison. I thought it was a fun name and it tasted great. It was dry, with hints of coffee, chocolate and orange peel. We had to try the contender next from Rainhard Brewery. They offered an orange sour beer that won Joanna’s vote but I was partial to Sweater Weather, so they got mine. (Spoiler alert, the winner ended up being The Second Wedge, congrats, guys!)
We weren’t expecting there to be such a great and expansive selection, and the 16 breweries usually offered 2 or more of their best brews. We tried as many as we could (let’s just say it was a rough next morning) and some we really enjoyed were Nickel Brook’s peach uber and wet hops, Henderson’s target practice cherry, Eastbound Breweries Revealed Constellations, Mascot’s Coconut IPA, and K&W’s Thai Ginger cider. Such fun flavours , right? It was easy for us to get carried away.
I get excited to see a brewery I haven’t heard of before, so ended up rushing over to the Redline tent. I found out they’ve been open for 2 years in downtown Barrie. I sampled their Leather Interior which was a rich brown ale that was slightly bitter with aromas of vanilla, chocolate and almonds and I was impressed! We were told they were also a restaurant, so if we are ever up in Barrie, we’ll have to make a pit stop.
All this drinking worked up our appetite, so we ordered a triple decker grilled cheese with smokey ketchup and pickles from Phancy Food and took a seat by some girls deep into a giant Jenga game. The ladies sharing the picnic table with us had ordered some tacos and were singing their praises. ‘What was your favourite beer tonight?’ I asked the group. They pointed us in the direction of Mascot ‘s Coconut IPA. If giant grilled cheese sandwiches or taco’s aren’t your thing, you could have chosen from dumplings, bao’s, buffalo chicken nuggets or chili cheese pockets. All perfect compliments to any beer.
The market place was a really cool feature and we spent time browsing Gracie Klutz, who sold really fun hair ties/bands, Oh My Cat who had great customized cat toys and knitted coffee kozies of adorable kitties in various colours, Pretty Pennie jewelry who had some really interesting necklaces and earrings with hops on them and Sparkplug Coffee if you needed a little jolt after a couple beers.
Joanna and I had a great time meeting some new people, talking to all the extremely friendly brewers (shout out to Henderson’s and Nickel Brooks reps) and felt really at home in the crowd of ladies. It was nice to come out together to try new brews and raise money for the Canadian Women’s’ Foundation.
After we grabbed our hangover survival bag on the way out (yummy snacks, a surprise beer and vouchers for shops, services and breweries) we were told the next event would likely take place in the New Year. Interested? Keep an eye out on their website (ladiesdrinkbeer.com) and as of today’s date, tickets were going for $35 regular admission, $75.00 VIP, extra sample tokens at the event were $1.50 apiece and the caterers and venders took cash or card. Come out and join the sisterhood (You’ll even get a nifty pin if you get all the spaces stamped on your Bevy Loyalty card!) and let’s raise our glasses and a little money for women’s charity!
Hey! I'm Sarah! A 30 something living in downtown Toronto with a great guy and an OK dog. I love seeing what my city has to offer and try to hit up as many fun events or attractions as I can! I haven't slept since 2004.