Good times on tap at the Lansdowne Brewery Cask Festival

Posted on Apr 11, 2016

The Lansdowne Brewery Cask Festival isn’t quite like any other craft beer event in Toronto.

Left Field Brewing Eephus oatmeal brown ale
Left Field Brewing Eephus oatmeal brown ale

I pass by the small brewery’s rather unusual location on the short stretch of Lansdowne between College and Dundas every day on my way home for work. What makes the location unusual is that it’s so short you could stand in the middle of it and catch either the College or Dundas streetcar without breaking a sweat. Literally the only two businesses on that stretch are the brewery and a rather incongruous art gallery.

Eleven locally brewed craft beers
Eleven locally brewed craft beers

I rounded up several friends and arrived early enough to grab a table and a souvenir mini beer mug with my $10 admission. In our early 30s, we were among the youngest in attendance which will come as a mild surprise to anyone who’s attended a similar event in the city, where the crowds typically trend younger and hipper. In fact, there was not a single overgrown beard, ironic t-shirt or pair of skinny jeans in sight.

The 11 different beers on tap might not impress a regular at The Craft in Liberty Village, but the selection seemed thoughtfully curated and showcased a range of distinct styles, all brewed locally.

The space filled up not long after the doors opened
The space filled up not long after the doors opened

While I wasn’t able to sample all of them personally, for fear I wouldn’t recollect enough to write about them later, as a group we did try them all and the consensus was that the best of the bunch was in fact the house brew, London Calling.

To be sure, everything was excellent and whether you preferred a coffee porter or a crisp lager you could find something to satisfy. But the murky-looking London Calling strong bitter stole the show with its slightly sweet, fruity taste that was balanced, and not overwhelmed, by a slight floral, hoppy bitterness.

An honorable mention goes to the Garden Ever Green brown ale with juniper. No one who enjoys a good gin and tonic could pass on a chance to try that distinctive juniper flavor in a refreshing ale. Unfortunately the juniper was just slightly overwhelmed by the hops supplying the flavor, but if the bitterness was toned down just a little this would be a winning beer for summer barbeques.

This is the second cask festival the brewery has hosted, and here’s hoping it’s not the last. With affordable prices, a unique selection of beers you’d be hard pressed to find matched anywhere else and good food this event is definitely going to get more popular as word spreads.

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