Ahhh, gay equality . . . First comes honorable military service. Then comes marriage. What's next? The beer gut.
That's right. Out with abs and in with frosty brews! Up in Canada (naturally), the Queer Beer Festival taps the kegs of Toronto on Thursday, August 4. A first-of-its-kind event in North America ? gay days at Oktoberfest come the closest in Europe ? the fest aims to embrace the queer and trans communities while celebrating Canada’s rich brewing history. Expect live entertainment, food tents, visits from experts of the craft from around the world, and tastes of more than 200 brands. Mezcal might be the drink of the summer, but on our tab, it's time for some suds.
Comedian Maggie Cassella emcee's the evening's entertainment which includes rockers The Cliks (with trans frontman Lucas), local DJs, and a headlining show by Swedish pop stars Ace of Base. (Drink enough beer, you might think it's the '90s!) Over in the grilling the tent, soak up the suds with authentic BBQ and roasted corn, oysters, gourmet grill cheeses, wings, poutine, gourmet burgers and vegetarian options, basically all the important hop-related food groups. Chefs will also conduct cooking and grilling demos.
As an offshoot of the 17th Annual Toronto's Festival of Beer, expect the swill options to be superb, especially the number of brands from the Ontario Craft Brewers in the “Locals” area where you meet the brewmasters behind the favorite Torontonian drafts. And of course it wouldn't be Canada without your biggies, yours Molsons and Labatts. The full list of vendors is expected to top out over 200 with breweries from Europe to Asia.
None of the brands on hand are gay-owned or -brewed as none are available to buy in Ontario, but as Les Murray, president of Toronto's Festival of Beer, notes, “Beer comes in all colours, all shapes, all sizes and all tastes, so this year we decided to create a new evening and fully embrace the beer drinking queer community.” Indeed, portions of pre-sale tickets were donated to local LGBT charity 519 Community Centre. So, “from lesbians to bears, from twinks to clubbers, and all those who love beer, the Queer Beer Festival brings together all facets of the queer community, in celebration of beer.” Here here! We'll drink to that.
Visit QueerBeer.ca for more info and to buy tickets The festival opens Aug 4 from 4-10pm at Bandshell Park at Exhibition Place on the west end of town, the latest gay-ish village to spring up. Tickets cost $38.50 CAD and include a sample cup and 5 sample tokens, or you can “Hoptimize” your tickets for $10 CAD more which gets you early entry and 5 extra tokens. Girl Guided Beer Tour tickets are also available. For general trip-planning info, check out our Toronto Travel Guide.