10 reasons why The Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival 2014 rocked

I go a lot of events and festivals every month, and not all are created equal. Here are ten reasons why The Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival was one of the top happenings of the year:

1. The Admission

It was actually free. As anyone who’s been to a Toronto event lately knows, very few of them – especially when beer and food are concerned – are no charge. If you wanting the sampling mug, or to buy something off the food trucks, then you paid. But otherwise, you were free to enjoy the venue and good times without spending a cent.

2. The Beer

Talk about quality. The Ontario Craft Brewers showcased were all independently owned, working in smaller batches, artisanal styles using only all-natural and undiluted quality ingredients. While you probably know Amsterdam, Beau’s, Mill St., and Wellington, you might not have tried Left Field, King, Railway City, Grand River or Sawdust City. What a dream to be able to try the various drafts side-by-side, pint-by-pint (or half pint, if you preferred). Like beer school, with classes held outside, all in one fun-filled afternoon.

3. The Food

Food trucks galore were gathered to help offset the drinks in the sweltering heat. But not just any trucks would do. They’d been paired perfectly to go with the brews. Dobro Jesti doled out fresh schnitzel, while Dr. J’s BBQ pleased the crowd with their ribs. Fidel Gastro’s lines were long, but people waited patiently for their pad thai fries.

4. The Music

The Steam Whistle house band rocked! Whether it was the Red Hot Chili Peppers or Kings of Leon, these boys weren’t just covering the songs – they were recreating them to a tee! Dinner and a show? Absolutely!

5. The Vibe

A lot of festivals come with a lot of ‘tude. There wasn’t a hint of any here. Everyone was laid back and just happy to be outside with a beer. How cool is that?!

6. The Space

It’s obviously been a long time since I was at the Steam Whistle Roundhouse, as now there is an entire park to go along with it. A perfect mix of concrete and grass made walking and sitting comfortable. And it was all outlined by a kid’s train ride, complete with steam and whistle. Meticulous organization was also in place, so you could move about various areas with ease.

7. The Crowd

Everyone from a women very close to her due date to a guy on crutches helped along by friends was in attendance. Families, couples and besties sat on a small hill to grab some shade while others stood on the grass, close to the vendors for refills. What a great way to spend the afternoon.

8. The Location

Steam Whistle’s Roundhouse is often described as "out of the way." I think that used to be more the case before the park and sidewalks around it were put in. Now it’s nestled right next to the Rogers CentreMetro Toronto Convention Centre and the new Ripley’s Aquarium.  Now you’ve got an instant full day out, all conveniently located in one spot! Sweet.

9.  The Sampling Glass

Ever been to a wine or whiskey show where the glass is puny and feels like it will shatter if it's held too tightly? The Craft Beer Fest mug can be used both as a doorstop and paperweight, thanks to its immense heft. And it’s nice enough to use at home afterwards, without embarrassment.

10. The Host

Steam Whistle, the host of the event, should win an award for not only pulling off one of the best festivals of the year, but by assembling such a great array of peeps. Being beer folks themselves, their passion and commitment for the craft was proved tenfold this past weekend.

Check out more pics on our Facebook page

And see you at next year’s festival.