Tag Archives: Fort McMurray

BloomsdayTO is tomorrow!

When I started planning this run I figured I would probably have about half of the 21 venues I was visiting taking part. That all but two offered to help me collect funds for Northern Alberta is pretty damn special.

This is absolutely one of my favourite things about Toronto’s craft beer community. I can send an email to just about any brewer and know that I’ll reach someone who doesn’t have to consult half a dozen others on something as simple as setting out a jar for one day. The overwhelming support from so many individuals is what makes it feel like community, more than industry.

Kudos, by the way, to Folly Brewpub and Steam Whistle, both of which already raised money for Fort McMurray through their own initiatives and still enthusiastically jumped on board with mine.

(the icon on the top left pops out the directory)

This is obviously my last update before I start bouncing between breweries tomorrow, with my RunTOBeer co-captain Rich Kuchinsky (the man loves beer as much as I do, and running even more!).

The RunTOBeer community has been incredibly supportive of this, already donating nearly $400.00 and sending lots of online love. Several members will be joining me at various stages of the journey.

Last night a few Tribe Fitness members joined me for a run and pitched in another $80.00. Big thanks to Heather Gardner for helping organize that.

Even if you can’t make a donation you can still help by sharing the message. Thursday, please use your social media accounts to let people know they can support a local brewery and help other Canadians get back on their feet, all while doing themselves a favour by picking up great beer. Use the Hashtag #BloomsdayTO when you do. I’ll be watching for it.

Finally, you can track my journey on Instagram & Twitter by following me at @BrewScout. I’ll be updating at every stop along the way.

This is the final list of breweries accepting donations on June 16th, in the order I’ll reach them. Please give them your support.

  1. Muddy York
  2. Left Field
  3. Louis Cifer
  4. House Ales (BarVolo)
  5. Steam Whistle
  6. Bellwoods
  7. Folly Brewpub
  8. Blood Brothers
  9. Burdock
  10. Halo
  11. Henderson
  12. Lansdowne
  13. Bandit
  14. Indie Ale House
  15. Junction Craft
  16. Rainhard
  17. Great Lakes
  18. Cool Brewery
  19. Black Oak

BloomsdayTO – Six days to go!

With BloomsdayTO now less than a week away, a few quick updates:

  1. 19 of 21 independent Toronto breweries have now offered to accept donations on Thursday, meaning if you want to support this cause it’s going to be very easy to do so. Even if you just have pocket change after picking up some bottles or tipping your server, drop it in the jar and I’ll happily collect it. Everything adds up.
  2. I mentioned in my last update that I was looking for a venue to celebrate following the run. Turns out I’ll be heading to Tequila Bookworm – where RunTOBeer’s 2015 Golden Tap Award is lovingly on display. If you’re interested in joining, a room is reserved upstairs.
  3. Finally, even though the run is Thursday, realistically it’s going to be early the following week before I can make it make back to all the breweries to collect. With that in mind, I’ll accept one last round of donations at The Loose Moose on Sunday, June 19th, when RunTOBeer celebrates Father’s Day and closes out Ontario Craft Beer Week with Side Launch Sunday. There’s no cost to run, Side Launch Wheat and Mountain Lager will be available to all runners and my good friends Jordan St. John & Robin Leblanc will be present to sign copies of The Ontario Craft Beer Guide. There will also be prizes, including round trip transportation and free entry to the Collingwood Beer Run, four tickets to September’s Craft Brew Cruise and a sweet bundle of Side Launch Brewery swag.

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These are the breweries in the order I plan to see them (subject to change). CONFIRMED denotes breweries that have acknowledged their willingness to accept donations:

  1. Muddy York – CONFIRMED
  2. Left Field – CONFIRMED
  3. Louis Cifer – CONFIRMED
  4. House Ales (BarVolo) – CONFIRMED
  5. Steam Whistle – CONFIRMED
  6. Amsterdam BrewHouse
  7. Duggan’s
  8. Bellwoods – CONFIRMED
  9. Folly Brewpub – CONFIRMED
  10. Blood Brothers – CONFIRMED
  11. Burdock – CONFIRMED
  12. Halo – CONFIRMED
  13. Henderson – CONFIRMED
  14. Lansdowne – CONFIRMED
  15. Bandit – CONFIRMED
  16. Indie Ale House – CONFIRMED
  17. Junction Craft – CONFIRMED
  18. Rainhard – CONFIRMED
  19. Great Lakes – CONFIRMED
  20. Cool Brewery – CONFIRMED
  21. Black Oak – CONFIRMED

BloomsdayTO

Since I announced my epic Bloomsday Run, I’ve had several people tell me they want to do part of the journey with me. Maybe they could come for the last 10k? Perhaps they could pop in at one brewery and run as far as the next?

That would be great!

Here’s what you should understand though: Black Oak, my final destination, will be closed by the time I arrive, so there’s no big, final bash.

Unless…

Okay, so I’m going to do my best to get a venue locked down for a low key after party, where I can properly refuel. Anyone who finishes with me should definitely come along.

If you complete any other part of the run please tag me (@BrewScout) in pictures wherever you ended up. I would really love to see that!

(the icon on the top left pops out the directory)

In fact, if you’re at any supporting brewery that day to make a donation, please post your good deed somewhere and tag me so I can see it. The more we all do to draw attention to the cause, the more likely others will follow suit.

I’ll be using the hashtag #BloomsdayTO from here on in. Please share it generously.

These are the breweries in the order I plan to see them (subject to change). CONFIRMED! denotes breweries that have acknowledged their willingness to accept donations:

  1. Muddy York – CONFIRMED!
  2. Left Field – CONFIRMED!
  3. Louis Cifer – CONFIRMED!
  4. House Ales (BarVolo) – CONFIRMED!
  5. Steam Whistle – CONFIRMED!
  6. Amsterdam BrewHouse
  7. Duggan’s
  8. Bellwoods – CONFIRMED!
  9. Folly Brewpub – CONFIRMED!
  10. Blood Brothers – CONFIRMED!
  11. Burdock – CONFIRMED!
  12. Halo – CONFIRMED!
  13. Henderson – CONFIRMED!
  14. Lansdowne – CONFIRMED!
  15. Bandit – CONFIRMED!
  16. Indie Ale House – CONFIRMED!
  17. Junction Craft – CONFIRMED!
  18. Rainhard – CONFIRMED!
  19. Great Lakes – CONFIRMED!
  20. Cool Brewery CONFIRMED!
  21. Black Oak – CONFIRMED!

The Recovery Drink

When I used to blog about beer more frequently I often mentioned my prairie roots. Having lived in Alberta before and after privatization, it was easy for me to call out the Beer Store on the steaming piles of bullshit it used to dump on Ontario.

I probably wouldn’t have ended up in the beer industry if not for coming of age in a province that was so much more forward-thinking in terms of alcohol retailing. The love of craft beer I developed in Alberta compelled me to contribute to Ontario’s scene, both through my writing and RunTOBeer.

You don’t need me to tell you about the unprecedented devastation happening right now in Northern Alberta. You don’t need me to explain the recovery is going to be costly. It’s a terrible situation and you’re probably going to get sick of hearing about it before the clean up even starts.

So even though what I’m planning is still more than a month off, I want to start talking about it now, while Fort McMurray is still something that holds your attention.

On Thursday, June 16th, I plan to run close to 50km, stopping by nearly every locally owned Toronto brewery, from Muddy York in the northeast, to Black Oak in the southwest.

Why June 16th?

That’s Bloomsday, the day the world celebrates James Joyce’s Ulysses. Inspired by Homer’s The Odyssey, this highly acclaimed monster of fiction chronicles one day in the life of two men – Stephen Dedalus and (more notably) Leopold Bloom – as they separately wander the streets of Dublin, stopping for a drink here and there.

I’ve paused at many of the spots visited on June 16th, 1904, including Davy Byrnes Pub (part of the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl) and the Bleeding Horse Pub. I’ve passed an afternoon inside the James Joyce Centre, which coordinates the official Bloomsday events in the Irish capital.

Around the world others will mark the occasion with walking tours, pub crawls, literary readings, academic workshops or film screenings. There are so many ways, some more intoxicating than others, one could spend the day.

True to my RunTOBeer roots, this Bloomsday I’m going for an epic beer run.

Why Craft Breweries?

Recently, while running around Toronto’s west side, I passed Folly Brewpub on my way to the new Halo Brewery. Then I passed Junction Craft Brewery, Indie Ale House, Bandit Brewing and Lansdowne Brewery before arriving at Bellwoods Brewery. I could have easily changed up my route to see Henderson Brewery and Burdock Brewpub without adding any significant distance. That got me wondering how many more breweries I could hit up in a single trip.

My personal Odyssey begins at the Muddy York Brewery in the city’s northeast and winds its way through nearly 50km of sidewalks and trails. By the time I reach Black Oak Brewery in the southwest I expect to check in at 21 locally owned breweries, pausing long enough to try something refreshing at all that are open.

June 16th is only two and a half weeks after the Ottawa Marathon, but my own Bloomsday is not a race so I’m not worried about pushing myself too hard. Instead, I’ll be taking this one slowly and enjoying the broad range of styles produced by Toronto’s craft brewers. An oatmeal brown ale at Left Field, an IPA at Great Lakes, something sour at Blood Brothers… it’s going to be a flavour-filled day.

Although I’ll likely tweak it between now and the middle of June, this is the approximate route:

Bloomsday_Instagram

Some places won’t be open when I arrive, which means I’ll have nothing more than a social media check-in to show for my efforts. By the time I get to Black Oak, at the end of the journey, it will be closed. Where I’ll go for my recovery beer is just one of several minor details I still need to figure out.

What I’m most interested in right now is enlisting the venues I’ll be visiting to accept donations on that day. I’ll do my best to encourage the public to visit a local brewer on June 16th, but I can’t run with wads of cash, much less buckets of change. If breweries can collect for me on that day, I’ll transfer 100% of the proceeds to the Canadian Red Cross relief efforts for Fort McMurray and share the total with whatever media are interested in a good news story from Toronto’s independent brewers.

If you can’t contribute that day, you can still help.

Among the things I could use:

  • a clever name and possibly a slogan. The Bloomsday Recovery Drink is the first thing that comes to my mind but if you’ve got something better I’d love to hear it
  • a custom branded technical t-shirt
  • P.R. services
  • printing services for posters
  • pails for venues collecting cash & coins on the day of the run
  • tweets or Facebook posts to share the message

Anything you can do to help share the message would be greatly appreciated.

If your brewery is on this list and you’re willing to help, please let me know.

These are the breweries in the order I plan to see them (subject to change):

  1. Muddy York – CONFIRMED!
  2. Left Field – CONFIRMED!
  3. Louis Cifer – CONFIRMED!
  4. House Ales (BarVolo) – CONFIRMED!
  5. Steam Whistle – CONFIRMED!
  6. Amsterdam BrewHouse
  7. Duggan’s
  8. Bellwoods – CONFIRMED!
  9. Folly Brewpub – CONFIRMED!
  10. Blood Brothers – CONFIRMED!
  11. Burdock – CONFIRMED!
  12. Halo – CONFIRMED!
  13. Henderson – CONFIRMED!
  14. Lansdowne – CONFIRMED!
  15. Bandit – CONFIRMED!
  16. Indie Ale House – CONFIRMED!
  17. Junction Craft – CONFIRMED!
  18. Rainhard – CONFIRMED!
  19. Great Lakes – CONFIRMED!
  20. Cool Brewery – CONFIRMED!
  21. Black Oak – CONFIRMED!

I’ll do my best to provide several updates between now and Bloomsday. Please check back.